CCICADA Director Roberts Explains How to Enhance Stadium Safety at Annual NFL Security Directors Meeting

Photo By David Reber, Creative Commons

Photo By David Reber, Creative Commons

In a world filled with growing security threats, the National Football League needs outside help in meeting the challenge of keeping sports fans safe as they enter and leave the large stadiums that host 32 teams across the country.

That help was provided June 16-17, 2014, in Carlsbad, CA, by CCICADA Director Fred S. Roberts at the NFL Security Directors Meeting, where he presented CCICADA’s work in stadium security.

The meeting was attended by 275 participants representing all 32 NFL franchises, executives from the league offices, and representatives from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies. This was the first time an academic had been invited to make a presentation to this group.

Professor Roberts presented an overview of CCICADA’s work in the area of stadium safety, including the publication: SAFETY Act: Best Practices for Stadium Security Resource Guide. He also presented CCICADA’s ongoing work under the SAFETY Act to further improve security by identifying new metrics and measures of effectiveness.

The primary focus of Roberts’ talk was continuing research into stadium-security processes and related training protocols. Through its on-site field observations, CCICADA researchers have collected data on the distribution of inspection times for various patron screening methods, including metal-detection wanding, bag check, pat-downs, and walk-through magnetometers.

Recently, CCICADA researchers have worked with their partners in reviewing configuration options for the placement, appropriate number, and staffing of walk-through metal detection. This data collection informs CCICADA’s unique computer simulation models that provide key information such as the size of the crowd, entry lines before and up to game time, and how long it would take to clear the patrons through screening.

Most importantly, the CCICADA computer-simulation modeling—which Roberts demonstrated—can be used to answer certain “what if” questions regarding various inspection scenarios. The audience showed great interest in the value of this methodology informing venue and league policy in the area of patron screening.

The talk was well received and generated much interest in CCICADA’s experience, expertise and research focus in this area. CCICADA has already partnered with a number of NFL stadiums to improve security, but several additional potential partner-stadium representatives, including one from the Canadian Football League, approached Dr. Roberts about joining CCICADA in the review of their stadium security approaches and strategies.

The DHS leadership and management also requested additional information on CCICADA’s methodology for possible broader applications in, for example, infrastructure protection.

At a special session on human trafficking, Roberts met presenter Michael Osborne of the FBI, who has worked extensively with CCICADA’s University of Southern California/Information Sciences Institute and Carnegie Mellon University partners. NFL owners and stadium managers were interested in CCICADA’s work on human trafficking in connection with the Super Bowls in Indianapolis, New Orleans, and New Jersey.


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