At NCS4 conference, DHS and sports industry line up on same page

Office of Infrastructure Protection encourages collaboration, focus on the probable incidents


Finally, said Armstrong, the focus has to remain on involving fans in the security process. At the 2010 NCS4 conference, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano had lobbied for adoption of the “See something, say something” citizen-driven suspicious activity reporting effort. A year later, Armstrong said she had seen strides made in the promotion of that campaign (AEG's entertainment venues are one area where the campaign has been heavily adopted).

But as sports venue operators have become better at adopting DHS-recommended security procedures as well as best practices developed within the industry itself by groups like the University of Southern Mississippi's NCS4 program, event organizers like Helton have been able to turn their attention beyond the “probable” incidents (weather, fan behavior, crowd control) and now can work to secure themselves from the “possible”.

“It's a work in progress,” said Helton of NASCAR's efforts to prevent terrorism. “We are looking at the 'what if' types of scenarios.” He said his organization had already made crucial changes, such as not allowing unscreened trucks to be parked below populated grand-stands, but that there wasn't a magical method of measuring how effective their security procedures were.

“I don't know how you would put a metric on security,” he said. “Our metric is if everyone goes home safely at the end of the day.”