CCICADA Exploring Ways to Make Sports Stadiums Even Safer

Its SAFETY Act Work Focuses on Multiple Threats to Patrons

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Crowd safety is the chief concern of CCICADA in its SAFETY Act work to enhance stadium security. (Photo credit: Phil Roeder, Creative Commons)

Large sporting and entertainment venues are widely recognized as potential terrorist targets. If attacked, the effects could be horrific. The implementation of effective security practices is essential.

Through its advanced data methodologies and long-standing partnerships with the stadium security industry, CCICADA is positioned to start answering the questions about which security strategies are effective and how the industry can measure their effectiveness.

Under the federal SAFETY Act, insured liability coverage is afforded to those who have installed or operated designated counter-terrorism technologies such as cameras and sensors. In recent years, that coverage has been broadened to include approved counter-terrorism plans at large gathering places and sports stadiums in particular.

To date, three stadiums have achieved SAFETY Act designation or certification: Yankee Stadium, Citi Field (home of the NY Mets), and MetLife Stadium (certified in 2014). CCICADA developed a Best Practices Resource Guide, which was published online by the Office of SAFETY Act Implementation (OSAI), US Department of Homeland Security, and is regularly used by stadium owners and managers as well as by OSAI to prepare and evaluate applications for SAFETY Act designation.

As an extension of its original SAFETY Act project (SAFETY Act: Best Practices for Stadium Security or BPATS I), the DHS Office of SAFETY Act Implementation has tapped into CCICADA’s unique expertise and leadership by awarding a Phase II project under the title Best Practices in Anti-terrorism Security (BPATS) Tier II.

The BPATS II project focuses on outsider threats (e.g. patron access/screening, inspection of vendors, service providers, and news media) and on insider threats (e.g. credentialing, background checks, and smart ID card technology). A key component of the project is development of quantitative metrics for performance in these areas. A second component calls for development of ways to assess effectiveness of security measures.

Security is only effective if employees are trained to do their jobs. CCICADA is also developing tools and guidelines for testing security training and developing a package of testing protocols.

Sports venues can differ in significant ways. Some are large, some small. Some have primary access through public transportation and some by private automobile, while still others abut hotels and waterways. How does one compare test results for two quite different venues? This is an important component of the BPATS II project.

In approaching these tasks, CCICADA has built on its strong partnership with major sports venues and been given behind-the-scenes and on-the-field access to explore and experiment with its ideas and concepts.

For example, the work has taken the Center’s researchers to observe the roll-out of walk-through metal detectors (WTMDs) at an NFL stadium, MLB stadium, and NBA arena. Experiments and testing procedures have given the Center a great deal of insight into how these WTMDs operate in non-perfect settings, for example, outdoors in the wind and rain or near machine-disturbing vibrations. Field observations and interviews have also given the Center insight into what features of these devices are being used or not used at stadiums, and why, and they have led the Center to recommend the development of new standards for these devices in outdoor and other stadium settings.

CCICADA researchers have explored the relevance of other efforts in inspection, credentialing, and training, including:

  1. The problems encountered in the roll-out of the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC)
  1. The applicability of the training protocols used by agencies like the Transportation Security Administration, which makes use of Rapiscan machines that can randomly insert images of threat objects onto the screen
  1. The usefulness of the manuals prepared by manufacturers of hand-held wands and WTMDs

The research work conducted under the BPATS II project will culminate in a report to the Office of SAFETY Act Implementation that will be used to guide the SAFETY Act certification/designation process. CCICADA is hopeful that the report will prove as useful as its Best Practices for Stadium Security Guide developed in  BPATS I.

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