James is the Founder & President & CEO of USESC (Unified Sports & Entertainment Security Consulting LLC) and has over 25 years Security, Law Enforcement and Consulting experience. He is regarded as a Subject Matter Expert in Event Security by several leading domestic and international publications. His concentrated focus is to establish trusting business relationships, while adding incredible value to his client base.
Confined Space Protection-Stadium, Venue & Arena Security 2017 & Beyond
In the following article, entitled “Confined Space Protection-Stadium, Venue & Arena Security 2017 & Beyond”, security expert James A. DeMeo looks at how best to safeguard stadia, venues and arenas.
Today’s Sports and Entertainment Industry is a multi-billion dollar juggernaut. Safeguarding today’s stadia without question has become quite complicated more so than one could have possibly imagined.
In light of recent events, i.e. post the bombings in Boston and Paris, and events in San Bernardino and Nice, the emergence of terrorist/anarchist groups is a constant reminder that our work continues on a daily basis. Monitoring the ebb and flow of specific threats within confined space-densely populated areas, requires the implementation of proactive risk mitigation strategies to best protect patrons, athletes, vendors, contractors, media, assets and organizational brand.
Furthermore, threats and vulnerabilities, such as workplace violence, active shooter, bomb/IED, terrorism-domestic, international, lone wolf, intoxicated patrons, inclement/severe weather, and drones are most concerning within the space.
Security leaders should not instill fear to the general public but rather create a heightened sense of awareness through ongoing education, career development and research when best delivering their message. Thought Leadership is predicated on changing a reactionary mindset to one that is more proactive in nature.
Mini-Mega Events & Marathon Security Preparations: 2017 Boston Marathon & NFL Draft
Professional sports leagues have made excellent strides with pushing out their message via social media platforms in regard to specific codes of conduct-tolerated behaviors for patrons, and clear bag policies once fans arrive at the ballpark. In addition, proper credit goes out to both officials in the City of Boston and more specifically, the BU Police Department for utilizing Twitter as a technology conduit prior to the race event. At this year’s event we saw the implementation of tethered drones at the starting line to monitor crowds, while looking for potential trouble spots, chokepoints and bottlenecks-prime areas for a potential terrorist strike.
Furthermore, kudos to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the City of Philadelphia Police Department working side by side to make this year’s Draft, with an anticipated crowd of 200k, safe and enjoyable for all the fans who made their way to the City of Brotherly Love. DHS, JTTF-Joint Terrorism Task Force, public private partnerships and fusion centers are additional resources for properly safeguarding the event managment space.
Continuing Education, Training Modules & Event Staff Career Development Resources
When addressing the need for proactive risk mitigation, the following topics should be fully addressed to best prepare staff to meet the aforementioned challenges:
- Effective Screening Measures: Ingress/Egress Checkpoints
- Handling Intoxicated Patrons: Effective ABC Programs
- Effective Communications with First Responders & Contracted Law Enforcement
- Command Center Controls
- Duty of Care Responsibilities
- Challenges with Part Time Event Staff: Low Morale, High Turnover
- Drone Technology
- Inclement/Severe Weather Preparedness
- Responsible Social Media Monitoring: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
- Conducting Site Visits: Threat and Vulnerability Assessments
Today’s Security Industry is constantly evolving and should be viewed from a holistic perspective. The potential for cyber security threats with regard to a stadium’s infrastructure, business continuity/resiliency needs further exploration.
The key stakeholders in the vertical will need to operate from a position of strength when confronted with the aforementioned challenges. Event Staff must possess the highest level of training and certifications possible while maintaining essential verbal communication/de-escalation skills training.
There is way too much at stake in terms of inherent liability exposure and tarnished brand image to not have staff bring their ‘A plus’ game to every stadium, venue and arena in the U.S. This all begins with Training.
James A.DeMeo, M.S.
Main image (top), courtesy: Oakland Raiders