HATTIESBURG, MS (The University of Southern Mississippi) - Best practices for ensuring stadium security will be the focal point for 38 sport risk management workshops scheduled during 2010 at various sites across the country.
Conducted by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at The University of Southern Mississippi, the workshops are designed to train personnel on the collegiate level in stadium security. The workshops are funded through a federal grant provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The first workshops are scheduled for April 6-7 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Other sites include the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, FedEx Field in Washington, D.C., and Texas Stadium in Dallas. The workshops are set to run through mid-July.
"The efforts of the National Football League, National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the National Center provide for a great workshop environment to share best practices between the NFL security expertise and those of intercollegiate athletics," said Dr. Lou Marciani, NCS4 director.
Established in 2006, The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security was created to provide an interdisciplinary academic environment to further increase sport security awareness; improve sport security policies and procedures and enhance emergency response through evacuation, recovery operations and crowd management training.
Last year NCS4 sponsored 29 Sport Event Risk Management workshops across the country. Seventeen of those workshops were held at NFL stadiums, including the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans. A total of 1,061 individuals from 228 NCAA Division I, II and III institutions received training in the workshops.
Milt Ahlerich, director of security for the National Football League, serves on the NCS4 Advisory Board. He considers the upcoming workshops to be essential tools in the ongoing commitment to stadium security.
"The need for venue manager to have this training has never been higher," said Ahlerich. The NFL is pleased that again this year several of these workshops will be held in our facilities, and we are delighted to serve as their hosts."
Mike Cleary, executive director of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, echoed those sentiments. "I think I can honestly say that the upcoming NCS4 risk management workshops are one of the most important tools for an athletics director and his or her game-day staff to learn about safety as it relates to event management," he said.
William Wardwell, homeland security and planning inspector at Michigan State University, said workshops such as those being offered by NCS4 serve an important purpose in the realm of public safety. Michigan State hosted one of the risk management workshops in 2009.
"These workshops are extremely valuable for colleges and universities where I believe the planning is fairly limited, particularly in the small venues," said Wardwell. "Bringing multiple disciplines together (fire, police, emergency management, EMS and event management) creates a real team effort and gets everyone on the same page for making security improvements."