Managing a sports facility effectively means keeping all athletes, fans and passersby as safe as possible at all times. This rule is inflexible whether the arena or field in question is part of a school campus or used for professional games. The need for protection goes deep, with both dedicated security personnel and overall leaders needing to have a stake in proceedings. The personnel, equipment, tactics, strategies, contingencies and physical area features involved in security must all work together as parts of a unified whole.
While devoting time and resources to security functions can be taxing, both upfront and on an ongoing basis, suffering a serious incident with insufficient preparation could be devastating. There is an enormous variety of things that can go wrong, from uncontrolled crowds to deliberate attacks or chaotic situations following a fire or natural disaster. Preparation pays off when times are at their worst and leaders are tested.
Taking sensible approaches to security
Recreation Management recently reported on ongoing efforts by sports facility administrators to upgrade their preparedness. Recent industry gatherings and field-wide studies have found some overlooked and potentially impactful security changes are relatively simple to understand and implement. For example, facility managers tend not to communicate with other agencies, including state and federal authorities.
When security programs receive collaborative design attention, they'll likely be more comprehensive and effective than versions created in seclusion. In addition to listening to others, leaders should take comprehensive approaches to risk management, both in terms of preparing for scenarios and defending different parts of their properties. Recreation Management noted that it's relatively easy to miss risk in areas that often go unsupervised, such as team or visitor locker rooms.
Recent years have seen an increase in the amount and sophistication of technologies available to facility managers, and these cutting-edge solutions should have a place in leaders' ongoing calculations. The source even pointed to the potential to harness consumer technologies. Monitoring public social media postings around a sporting event could help facility managers ensure safety at busy times. While digitization brings advantages, it also has its risks, and leaders should be on guard against cyberthreats.
Using Off-Duty Police Officers
Many of the security functions in a sports venue can be effectively accomplished with security officers. However, it is common practice, and a good idea, to supplement security officers with off-duty police officers.
Off-duty police officers provide a greater deterrent to criminal activity, they have better training in diffusing volatile situations, they have full powers of arrest should that be the appropriate option, and they provide better security response. A police presence in parking or "tailgating" areas, at each entrance or egress point of the actual venue, and in a roving patrol gives comfort to attendees that they are visiting a safe and well-protected environment. Those who would engage in malfeasance are better deterred and those not so deterred can be handled more efficiently, safely and with minimal impact.
A mix of security officers and off-duty police officers offers the best, and most cost-efficient, mix of security personnel.
Consultants can help
When managers and their teams reach out to external security consultants, they potentially gain a new window into both their own needs and the most effective practices to address any issues. The outside perspective and insights may represent the difference between a merely adequate security strategy and one that excels. Consider Frizell Group's Security Consulting Services and Off-Duty Police Services for your sports facility needs.