On July 11-13, 2017, the University of Southern Mississippi is hosting the eighth annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. This year, the focus will be “Building Resiliency in the Sports Safety and Security Industry.” The conference will include talks, exercises, and discussions on how to build resiliency towards terrorism, cyberattacks, pandemics, and natural disasters across all levels of society. As part of the program, those attending will be split into groups to run a scenario to increase a stadium’s resiliency over a 10-15 year period, aiming to maximize their security investment.
The keynote speaker at the event will be Dr. Stephen Flynn, director of the Global Resilience Institute and a professor at Northeastern University; his speech is titled “The Importance of Building Resiliency for Your Programs.” Dr. Flynn commented on the subject, saying “The timing for a focus on resilience could not be more urgent. The evolving terrorist threat is making it more difficult for law enforcement and security officials to detect and foil attacks…we need to place new emphasis on not just trying to prevent these attacks, but skillfully responding and recovering from them when they occur.”
Mass gatherings are becoming increasingly attractive terrorist attacks, due to both the high volume of people and the symbolism and attention they garner. As such, states and private industry are increasingly talking about how to secure large sporting events, like the Superbowl and the Olympics, often taking lessons from past incidents, such as the Boston Marathon Bombing. However, securing places of mass gathering can create downsides; one example of this was when LAX Security officials evacuated five terminals on the threat of an active shooter, only to discover it was an unarmed man dressed as Zorro.
This focus on resilience for sporting events is an important step towards both being more prepared for all types of disasters, and ensuring continuity of function in the event something goes wrong.
Sources and Further Reading:
Building Resiliency Focus of National Sports Safety and Security Conference – University of Southern Mississippi
Mass Gathering Security: A Look at the Coordinated Approach to Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey – House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications
The Boston Game and the ISIS Match: Terrorism, Media, and Sport – American Behavioral Scientist
Protecting Euro 2016 and the Rio Olympics – Combating Terrorism Center
LAX Brought to Crawl Following “Active Shooter” False Alarm – Global Resilience Institute