DHS calls for public-private partnerships with sports industry

Aug. 3, 2010 -- In an address before the attendees of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security (NCS4) conference in New Orleans, La., on Monday, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said that sports security should be top of mind, as evidence by the World Cup terror attacks in Uganda, Munich 1972 and Atlanta in 1996.

She said the sports industry was both symbolic as well as economically important to the American way of life, which made the industry both a target for extremists and a key asset for the DHS to focus its threat protection efforts upon.

"We need to work together to keep your venues secure," Napolitano said. "We need to make sure that the fans are safe and we need to make sure that in doing so we are protecting the economic and social benefits of sports."

Napolitano called for the sports industry to adopt the DHS "See something, say something" public security awareness campaign that the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority first used and which has been adopted this year by DHS for a national campaign. The program calls for citizens to report crimes and suspicious activity to law enforcement and security. Napolitano introduced the program to Amtrak last month as part of the campaign's expansion. DHS has also expanded the program to shopping malls, where an effort was made to train shopping mall employees.

"We have already met with the major sports leagues and the NCAA, and we met with them about involving the fans," Napolitano said of the plan to expand the program into the sports industry.

"Security is a shared responsibility," Napolitano told the attending sports security personnel. "You can't do it by yourselves and we can't do it by ourselves, but an alert citizenry and stadium employees can be force multipliers way beyond what the people in this room can accomplish."

Dr. Lou Marciani, the conference organizer and director of NCS4, said the industry would support the expansion of the "See something, Say something" campaign, and he said that NCS4 would work with colleges around the nation to help coordinate the campaign. Marciani said that much of the work to be done on the campaign was a marketing effort to get the "See something, Say something" message out to sports event attendees.

Operators of sports industry leagues and all stadium venues were encouraged to contact the office of DHS Assistant Secretary Sean Smith at (202) 282-8010 to learn more about supporting the "See something, say something" campaign.

For more information on this initiative:
Listen to SIW Radio Episode 53, which features the full address of Secretary Napolitano to the NCS4 attendees