Pilot aims to improve security at sports venues
HATTIESBURG, Miss.—The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), located here at the University of Southern Mississippi, has enrolled several universities in a pilot program to test new security measures and training of front-line staff at sports venues.
NCS4 collaborated with eVerifile to develop the pilot, which will help establish a workforce risk management standard for major collegiate and professional venues and to improve security measures and enhance fan safety. The Department of Homeland Security ranks stadium attacks as one of the 12 most devastating possible acts of terrorism, according to NCS4.
NCS4 began developing the curriculum behind the pilot four years ago with a grant from DHS.
Participating universities include the University of Southern Mississippi, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Texas A&M, according to Lou Marciani, NCS4's director. Each school will focus on a different area of a venue's workforce. For example, Ohio State will work with NCS4 to establish security training and procedures for parking attendants. Other universities will focus on ticket takers, ushers, and concession operators, Marciani said. The pilot officially begins in August.
The pilot is the beginning of what could become a broad standard for security measures at sports venues, Marciani told Security Director News. "The long-term goal is to professionalize and add accountability to these positions, so that an athletic director or team owner would recognize some qualifications both in training and in backgrounds," Marciani said.
In furtherance of that goal, Marciani said NCS4 in addition to the pilot will launch a nationwide survey in July to gain a better understanding of what kind of security training is going on at sports venues across the country, the quality of that training and what kind of formats are used. It will be the first attempt at gaining a comprehensive picture of security training among these sports venues. "It's been frustrating," Marciani told SDN. "I don't know sitting here in this chair what kind of training people are getting, if they're getting background checks, anything."
The survey should be complete in the fall, allowing NCS4 to have "a good handle on things by next winter," Marciani said.