LAKELAND, Florida -- Security was extremely tight before, during and after a high school football game in Polk County as Lakeland High School hosted Kathleen for the district championship.
Lakeland Police reported one arrest inside the football stadium that was packed with 8,000-plus fans. Officers say a number of guns were also found and confiscated in areas immediately surrounding the stadium, several possibly during a traffic stop.
"You've got the cross town rivalry and the district championship implications and all that's just ramped up and created a really good buzz in town," said Lt. Hans Lehman of the Lakeland Police Department before the game.
Lakeland Police, Polk Sheriff's deputies and Polk County School officials were out in full force at every entrance and surrounding the field. A sheriff's office helicopter flew overhead and even Lakeland's Police chief was in attendance keeping an eye on the situation.
"The big thing is our increased manpower and uniformed presence, that's the biggest deterrent," said Lt. Lehman.
Police say there were no specific threats, only "chatter" typical of big games. A slight uptick in gun violence across town coupled with the huge crowd had officers taking no chances.
"We really just wanted to make sure we were sending a message that is was going to be a good clean environment. That we were here for protection and visibility and to ensure everyone had a really good time tonight," said Lt. Lehman.
Parents says they were grateful for the extra security.
"You never know, you always want to be prepared," said Lakeland parent Anthony Davis. "Prepare yourself for the worst. It's always a possibility anything can happen."
Beau Zimmer, 10 News