Stadium & Arena Security

The director of the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management outlines strategies for overall security planning and implementing management systems


Threat and Risk Assessment: Starting Point
Conducting a comprehensive threat and risk assessment is a known starting point for identifying the necessary risk reduction and mitigation measures. It is recommended that only trained and qualified personnel should conduct these assessments to identify potential threats like common crimes, fires, vandalism, natural disasters, protests, terrorism or gangs; gauge potential damages from such threats; determine the likelihood that the problems will occur; and develop cost estimates and actions to prevent the threats.
One of the outcomes of the assessment can be a determination of the appropriate size and scope of the security workforce. It is highly recommended that this workforce be properly screened, trained and equipped.

The Command Post
It is recommended that a Command Post (CP) be established to facilitate and further manage the security aspects of a sport event. The following personnel are recommended in the CP: security director, potential incident commanders, law enforcement, fire/EMS, facility management and media. The security coordinator and the planning committee should select a site and determine equipment requirements and staffing needs. It is imperative to have pre-determined, clearly-defined written duties with specific roles and responsibilities, as well as centralized command and control. The security staff should use an Incident Command System (ICS) with a security director/incident commander to coordinate local resources in response to a critical incident at the facility.

As part of the ICS, the planning team should develop and sign a memorandum of understanding with local jurisdictions that clarifies the legal authority of assisting government agencies to enforce the law in the lead agency’s jurisdiction, and enumerate the commitment of assisting government agencies in providing personnel and equipment. The ICS should be integrated with the CP and use the developed Facility Emergency Action Plan to carry out its responsibilities. The CP should be capable of collecting and interpreting threat intelligence from local, state and federal agencies and maintain constant awareness of current threat conditions.

Following this written agreement, a chain of command should be established and coordinated with local, state and federal emergency management authorities. It is vital that each event have its own ICS document that clearly identifies who has the authority to make decisions relative to man-made or natural incidents. As part of the Facility Emergency Action Plan, an Emergency Medical Plan should be developed and include clear procedures for a catastrophic event, requiring primary and secondary triage and designate triage and transport sites.

Policies and Procedures
We are not able to eliminate risk altogether, therefore we should identify the most appropriate measures to reduce risk to as low as reasonably practicable. We must protect those aspects of our security business that are critical. This involves instituting physical security measures; training and managing security staff; and development of policies and procedures.

There is little point to investing in physical security measures and training if spectators can undermine the venue policies and procedures. The enforcement of the venue policies and procedures is essential for a successful security and safety program. Based on lessons learned, it is essential to develop policies and procedures covering: ADA Compliance; Alcohol; Communications; Credentialing; Employee Code of Conduct; Evacuation; Fan Conduct; Individual Search and Seizure; Missing Child/Person; Parking; Prohibited Items; Tailgating; Ticket Taking; Protecting Critical Systems; and Waste Management.

Security Staff Training
One of the most significant ways to ensure plan effectiveness is having properly trained and experienced personnel with clearly-defined roles and responsibilities. An organizational chart is recommended to further support this, along with individual qualifications and training. It is critical to properly screen, train and equip the security staff for a successful security program. The general training for all facility employees should include:
• Identifying roles and responsibilities;
• Emergency response procedures;
• Evacuation procedures;
• Location and use of common emergency equipment;
• Emergency shutdown procedures; and
• Information regarding threats, hazards and protective actions.