NCS4 Gameday Security-Spring 2018

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National Center for Spectator Sports Safety & Security 118 College Drive #5193 | Hattiesburg, MS (601) 266-6183

National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security


4 Letter from the Director Update from Dr. Lou Marciani

Dr. Lou Marciani


Lauren Cranford


Daniel Ward


Alison Crumpton


Elizabeth Voorhees


Rod Dillon



Kyle Hopkins


Rod Dillon


10 Lights, Camera, Action

Alan Jones


William Adams


Brooke Graves


Dr. Kelley Gonzales


Christopher Kinnan


Dr. Stacey Hall


Dr. Joshua Hill


Dr. Laura Gulledge


Mitchell Blair


Anna Ready


Brayden Songe



6 The Role of NCS4

Helping professionals stay on top of technology trends.

State-of-the-art technologies are improving how professionals prepare for threats.


14 Fighting the Virtual Battle

How to protect against cyberattacks and social media threats.


16 The Opening Act Embracing new methodologies such as

the Safety Act.


18 Time to Wake Up Explosive detection canines are poised

to revolutionize sports security.


A Note from the Director Dr. Lou Marciani

Our theme for the Spring issue of Gameday Security is “How Technology Aids in the Preparation of Sports Safety and Security.” We’ll take an inside look at how modern technologies are being utilized today to meet the sports security threats of tomorrow. Security threats continue to evolve and grow, and so does the need for ongoing state-of-the-art security solutions. In this issue, we will tackle important topics such as cyberattacks, social media threats, the future of explosive detection, data integration, and why the Safety Act is protection everyone should consider. Since our last issue in November, NCS4 has hosted four Safety and Security Summits, all focusing on best practices. We hosted the National Marathon and Running Events Safety and Security Summit in December. Then, for the first time in Summit history, a joint meeting occurred in January including attendees from both the National Intercollegiate Athletics Safety and Security Summit and the Commercial Sport and Entertainment Facilities Safety and Security Summit. We were honored to have NFL’s Senior VP of Security, Cathy Lanier, open the joint session with a State of the Union address regarding the changing landscape of the field of security since the 1990s. Last but not least, we hosted the National Interscholastic Athletics and After-School Activities Safety and Security Summit in March. Now that we’ve wrapped up our Summits for the year, we are focusing on the integration of technology, based on the best practices established and vetted at the annual Summits. Enjoy this issue and we hope to see you at our upcoming National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition on July 9-12 in Louisville, Kentucky!

Lou Marciani Director of NCS4


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CONFERENCE CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION & XIT The ninth annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition will take place on July 9-12, 2018 at the Downtown Marriott in Louisville, Kentucky. The theme this year is Enhancing Situational Awareness in the Sports Safety and Security Industry. The gathering of top professionals in the field will provide a wholesome environment dedicatedJULY to security/safety technologies, products, services and education for 9-12 | LOUISVILLE MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN | KENTUCKY safeguarding the assets and spectators we are charged to protect.


Target Audience - Security directors and operators, facility and stadium managers, event planners/operators, law enforcement personnel, emergency managers, fire/hazmat, emergency medical/health services, athletic administrators, and governmental representatives These are individuals representing or supporting: professional sport leagues, intercollegiate athletics, interscholastic athletics, marathon/endurance events, and commercial sport and entertainment facilities (concerts, festivals, motocross, wrestling, etc).

The ninth annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition will take place on July 9-12, 2018 at the Downtown Marriott in Louisville, Kentucky. The theme this year is Enhancing Situational Awareness in the Sports Safety and Security Industry. The gathering of top professionals in the field will provide a wholesome environment REGISTER NOW AT WWW.NCS4.COM/CONFERENCE dedicated to security/safety technologies, products, services and education for safeguarding the assets and spectators we are charged to protect.

Target Audience - Security directors and operators, facility and stadium managers, event planners/operators, law enforcement personnel, emergency managers, fire/hazmat, emergency medical/health services, athletic administrators, and It’s having the ability to governmental representativesbring order out of chaos, understanding traffic flow, These are individuals representing or supporting: professionalknowing sport leagues, whereintercollegiate to point athletics, interscholastic athletics, marathon/endurance events, and commercial cameras, and having asport and entertainment facilities (concerts, festivals, motocross, wrestling, etc). structured security plan in place.

It’s not just about having a security plan when things go right –

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AHEAD OF THE CURVE How NCS4 is helping sports security professionals stay on top of the latest technology trends and be better prepared for modern threats. BY ELIZABETH VOORHEES, DIRECTOR OF CERTIFICATIONS AND COMPLIANCE, NCS4

In today’s digital age, technology systems are constantly evolving and new solutions are changing the traditional business landscape. When utilized effectively, these systems and solutions can serve the security management workforce. In the Safety and Security Best Practice Guides (pictured page 8), published by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), technology is identified as an important part of safety and security operations for all segments of the sports and entertainment industry (professional, intercollegiate, interscholastic and marathon and running events). Each sport venue and event relies on technology differently to address a variety of issues. From simple smartphone applications to more complex simulation software tools, technology is changing the way security teams manage events. Leveraging new technology can help enhance safety and security operations when the proper controls are in place. Establishing a collaborative team to identify who is responsible for technology systems, and the information those systems collect or produce, is a vital first step. It is important to identify who has control over the following: • Purchasing and installation • Hosting • Maintenance and service • Insourced or outsourced agreements • Operation and administration • Upgrades and enhancements • Security In the absence of formal control measures, service level agreements and other mechanisms for sharing and reporting between public safety agencies and venue operators/event organizers can be established prior to the event to ensure needs are met. If existing systems do not meet current needs, safety and


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security leaders should define the requirements and identify which providers are best suited to meet those needs. Current best practices suggest technology is primarily utilized for enhancing access control, surveillance, information management, communications, social media and weather monitoring. For example, installing electronic access control systems in high-risk areas provides greater accountability and efficiency. Electronic access control systems limit access to restricted areas through key fobs, proximity entry cards, and biometric identification tools increasing the accountability of entities who enter restricted areas through authorization identification. Access control systems are reinforced by surveillance technologies such as closed circuit television (CCTV) systems. Whether accessing available public/private systems or installing systems dedicated to the event, CCTV installations can assist in monitoring crowd conditions, screening checkpoints and other areas of operations from a central command facility. Video is a force multiplier generating situational awareness of live activities or documenting prior events for risk and liability purposes. It has a forensic value capturing activities for post-event review (providing evidence, in some cases) and it can be used as a training tool. The convergence of multiple technological systems requires structured protocols and controls. Developing and implementing a cybersecurity plan is essential, due to the potential for far-reaching impacts. Installing and maintaining current cybersecurity technology and techniques (such as user authentication, firewalls, virus, ransomware/spyware protection and encryption) can help mitigate authorized access or system hacks. It is also important to establish policies for staff and volunteer access to sensitive information and revoking that access following the conclusion of their role. Moreover, developing a response plan for any attack or

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information breach can reduce data damage and loss. Building expertise and experience with social media platforms is critical during this time of emerging technologies. Establishing a strong social media acumen across sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram can help organizations monitor individuals and/or groups while understanding – or even predicting – intended behavior or actions at events. Staff should monitor social media platforms via software that tracks activities, hashtags and trending topics prior to event day, as well as in the command center during an event. One of the greatest benefits of social media is the use of two-way communications to inform stakeholders, staff and attendees of pertinent event information. It is necessary to continuously monitor changes in popular modes of communication since technology is in a state of constant evolution. Venue and event operators should ensure communication platforms have redundant backups, as well as alternative systems available for operations or emergency communications. For example, weather is an issue that impacts most outdoor events. Providing advanced warning through multiple communications tools (i.e. public address, video boards, radio, sirens, social media) is an efficient way to provide advanced warning of impending weather issues, as well as actions attendees must follow. Innovation in technology will continue to alter the way we share timely and actionable information, as well as how we coordinate response, mitigation and recovery efforts. Implementing the latest technology systems can enhance security operations on many levels, and that is why the Safety and Security Best Practice Guides exist, to help sports security leaders stay on top of the latest technology trends and identify which are best for their event or venue. To stay on top of the emerging trends in technology and implementation strategies, visit


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Started in 2010, the National Sports Security Laboratory (NSSL) at NCS4 was originally created at the request of the National Football League to help vet and validate technologies and solutions ideal for enhancing and supporting sports safety and security. With a widerange of available products and solutions, it is easy for professionals to become overwhelmed, according to Director of the National Sports Security Laboratory Daniel Ward. The goal of the NSSL is to connect practitioners with innovative solutions designed to fit their unique needs. The lab has quickly grown to meet industry demand. “What started as simply validating product capabilities has evolved into working closely with sports security professionals and solutions providers to assess and validate technologies throughout all phases of development; starting as early as proof of concept,” Ward says. The program’s rapid expansion warranted the need for a state-of-the-art facility capable of supporting ongoing research, education and testing. Today, the NSSL exposes practitioners and students to a fully outfitted research, training, and operation center with integrated safety and security technologies. The university applies sport safety and security best practices in an environment uniquely designed to integrate people, processes and technology. Students, practitioners, and solution providers can engage in exploring the problems of today in an effort to solve the problems of tomorrow. At the heart of the lab remains it’s testing and validation functions, and Ward emphasizes that not all security solutions are a fit for the modern sports environment. “While there are great technologies out there, not all of these technologies are completely applicable to this environment,” Ward adds. “When you have mass gatherings of people and large sporting events, we have to look at how that technology functions and operates and how feasible it is in the hands of the end users.” Beyond the physical lab, the NCS4 also has the luxury of testing technologies at the University of Southern Mississippi’s football stadium, basketball arena and baseball stadium. The M.M. Roberts Stadium (football), Reed Green Coliseum (basketball), and Pete Taylor Baseball Park (baseball) serve as extensions of the laboratory. A close working relationship with sports and entertainment venues, coupled with key physical and technological infrastructure, ensures that the future of sports technology is evaluated and validated in an environment that is second to none. “As technology evolves, so will the lab,” concludes Ward. To learn more about the National Sports Security Laboratory, go to




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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION! From data intelligence to video surveillance, state-of-the-art technologies are improving how sports security professionals prepare for threats and protect their venues and events. For 15 years, Kirk Arthur worked as a special agent with the U.S. Secret Service where, among his duties, he was responsible for presidential protective details. When he wrapped up his career with the Secret Service as a member of the Electronic Crimes Task Force, he had gone from being the last line of defense for the most public person in America to protecting America against the most private threats. Now, as Microsoft’s Director of Worldwide Industry Solutions, Public Safety and Justice, Arthur is continuing that fight and providing a different level of protection at a time when America and its sporting events need it most. The ever-evolving threats facing sports security professionals require the brightest security minds like Kirk, as well as the latest technologies to help them proactively prepare for and mitigate any risk to protect the sports millions of Americans love. According to Arthur, that all starts with those technologies and systems working together. SYSTEMS AND DATA INTEGRATION While the presence of physical security remains critical to maintaining order and ensuring the safest environment for fans, players and workers, it’s the technology behind the scenes that’s making a big difference as well. Data and systems connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI) are redefining how sports professionals approach security. “By using cloud technology and switching to artificial intelligence, you can integrate different technologies and create a flexible, scalable environment that improves operations.”

“By using cloud technology and switching to artificial intelligence, you can integrate different technologies and create a flexible, scalable environment that improves operations.”


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Arthur says, “And that’s what’s exciting, the data process and analytics that can be utilized from the implementation of artificial intelligence.” That actionable intelligence is great when analyzed appropriately, but one of the challenges facing sports security professionals today is quickly consuming that overwhelming amount of data and sifting through the white noise to ensure what’s elevated, according to Arthur. “Trying to find that needle in a haystack is such a heavy lift to try and do, but technology can be that force enabler and enhancer when systems are fully integrated,” Arthur notes. As sports security professionals prioritize incorporating more high-resolution cameras with longer retention times, an increased burden can be placed on an organization’s IT department, according to Ken Mills, General Manager and Chief Technology Officer at Dell EMC. “There has been a notable shift in how people view the technology that supports public safety and surveillance applications,” Mills notes. “Instead of treating video surveillance as this black box kind of closed circuit television approach, venues and IT departments are having to look at video as an enterprise application that must be managed and deployed.” As a result, data centers have become an increasingly important part of a security platform. Data centers started becoming more prominent when cameras started transitioning from standard to high definition, and even more so recently, when the transition was made from high definition to 4K and multi-megapixel imaging cameras. “Five years ago, you could deploy one hundred cameras with standard definition resolutions on a handful of servers and call it a day, it really wasn’t

TECHNOLOGY all that complex,” says Mills. “But now in a stadium or venue, the camera density is much bigger, the resolution requirements are much higher and tension times are typically longer. All of a sudden, those same hundred cameras now take seven times more capacity and performance to manage, so you can’t just approach it the same way that you have been approving it because there’s a very high chance you’ll undersize your storage capacity and performance.” Mills refers to the emergence of surveillance data ‘lakes,’ pools of data that can be combined in a common infrastructure. That can include access control data, IRT data, counterterrorism information and social media, to name a few. “Instead of treating those as independent pools of data, we’re seeing a big trend around creating data lakes around these different pools of data, so there’s a common approach to managing security and making data resilient,” Mills continues. The benefit to this approach is that venues can integrate data between different applications, creating a collaborative environment for the data to work together to solve even the most complex safety challenges. But that data is meaningless if mismanaged. One of the biggest mistakes a venue can make, according to Mills, is investing in 100 cameras that require 500

terabytes of storage, for example, and then investing in the cheapest terabytes of storage that can meet the capacity requirement and then just leaving it be.

“Surveillance is one of those things you don’t know it’s not working until you go looking for it.” “Surveillance is one of those things you don’t know it’s not working until you go looking for it.” Mills says, “You’ve got to make sure that your system is ready to handle the worst-case scenario and if it’s not, you’re going to be in jeopardy.” In the coming years, Mills expects to see emerging technologies like artificial intelligence start playing a much bigger role in security. “I have traveled the world and talked to many different organizations, not just sports venues, and AI has the best opportunity to really impact public safety and provide really useful additional data and actionable intelligence,” Mills adds. “AI is where we’re going to see the best opportunity for enhancement of technology to really aid in the public safety arenas, but you can’t get to that future if you don’t start building the right technology foundation today.”

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TECHNOLOGY VIDEO SURVEILLANCE Mark McCormack, National Sales Manager with Axis Communications, has been in the industry more than 30 years and remembers, prior to 9/11, seeing some professional stadiums utilizing less than 20 video cameras. Today, that number has significantly increased, as has the type of camera system those facilities are utilizing. “Back then, it was your old analog cameras with very limited resolution, but today, you’ve got megapixel, tenand twelve-zoom cameras, thermal imaging cameras, dome cameras and discreet cameras,” McCormack says. Specifically, McCormack has seen a large increase in the implementation of thermal imaging cameras. In the past, thermal imaging was primarily used for detection purposes, such as at the U.S.-Mexico border, to spot individuals trying to illegally cross into the U.S. at night. Now, through its heat signature technology, sports venues are utilizing thermal for identification purposes. This has been partially driven by the limitations of fixed cameras, which provide a crowd overview but cannot detect specific events happening in a crowd, such as a child or elderly person falling, who’s now at risk of being trampled.

says, citing the higher profile an event it is, the more important utilization of video technology with facial recognition becomes. The incorporation of high megapixel cameras is another key trend in sports security management. This technology allows venues to observe virtually everyone in a stadium, from the upper deck down to the lower bowl. This is a significant departure from the days when stadiums only used a few tilt-zoom cameras to cover the entire bowl. McCormack also notes that video cameras today can not only be utilized to address what a sports security professionals sees, but what they hear as well. Sound intelligence inside cameras can now recognize gunshots or aggressive behavior, but perhaps most important, it can also be used as a tool against one of the most challenging new threats to open air stadiums – unmanned aerial vehicles or drones.

“You are seeing a trend in stadium security where the perimeter is being pushed out further and further as drone detection becomes a bigger challenge.” “You are seeing a trend in stadium security where the perimeter is being pushed out further and further as drone detection becomes a bigger challenge.” McCormack says, “There is audio that is kicked out of a drone, and sound intelligence can hear the vibration or buzzing of a drone in a particular area.”

“We just completed a stadium on a lakefront where they are utilizing thermal imaging cameras to monitor potential threats on boats that are close to shore,” McCormack shares. “Thermal imaging sees the temperature change in the water from a boat, kayak or other floating device, even from a swimmer, that could potentially be a risk.” Video surveillance manufacturers like Axis Communications have also placed great emphasis in the development of video analytics that are embedded in modern camera technology. Today, cameras are being utilized for license plate recognition, identifying objects that have been left behind, facial recognition and to identify people approaching. This technology is particularly important at endurance events, where it’s virtually impossible to monitor all 26.2 miles of a marathon, McCormack notes. “Terrorists are looking for the biggest crowd and it’s important to deploy this type of technology at key intersections or locations throughout a marathon,” he


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METAL DETECTORS Today, the presence of walk-through metal detectors at professional sporting events is almost as commonplace as the physical presence of security throughout a venue or event. In 2015, metal detectors were mandated at all National Football League and Major League Baseball stadiums, and they are have started popping up on the collegiate level as well. In that short period of time, metal detectors have become an important component of enhanced security


while helping create a consistent, security and guestfriendly environment. But like any technology, metal detectors must continue to evolve, as CEIA USA Director of Operations, Luca Cacioli, notes. “Security threats continue to evolve and grow, and so does the need for ongoing state-of-the-art security solutions,” he says. “Additional capabilities have become integrated, including gamma radiation detection, as well as continuous improvement in discrimination of threat versus non-threat items, while meeting or exceeding applicable detection standards.”

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HOW TO PROTECT AGAINST CYBERATTACKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA THREATS Cyberattacks are deeply impacting all sports and levels – from a NASCAR team being hit by an aggressive ransomware attack to a prominent tennis tournament enduring a 300 percent increase in attempted attacks on its official website. And by all indications, the problem is only getting worse. Gameday Security recently sat down with Dan Donovan, Vice President of Sport and Entertainment Security at T&M Protection Resources, to discuss the state of cybersecurity as well as other electronic security threats, including social media. Gameday Security (GS): When did you start seeing sports teams, associations and schools start prioritizing cybersecurity? Dan Donovan (DD): I would say 2-3 years ago is when we started to see more teams and stadiums employ chief information officers as part of their management team, and those CIOs really started taking a deep dive into network security and cyber as more bad guys were attempting to get into networks and really disrupt operations. GS: How much has cybersecurity evolved from that point to today? DD: I think you’ve really seen it evolve on the commercial side, whereas the stadium side tends to lead the way in physical security. We’re seeing an increased emphasis on the basics of penetration testing and taking networks offline, especially for major events. They are closing down the access points to their networks when they are hosting major events, and that’s something we’re seeing much more of today versus a few years ago. But I think there’s still a lot of work to do. I think we can do a lot more to strengthen and mitigate risk as it relates to cyber, and apply some of those best practices that we’re seeing on the commercial side. GS: Where do you see the biggest immediate weaknesses? DD: Let’s start with countermeasure sweeps that can be conducted if a team is traveling, or if I’m inside someone else’s facility or locker room or conference room. There’s some basic technologies that can be deployed to ensure that you have confidentiality. This starts with understanding who owns that network and how is it really secured as it relates to the stadium itself. If I’m on at a university stadium, for example, I know that network is likely part of a much larger campus network, so there’s a lot more potential users versus a standalone professional facility. Is my operator running my network? Is the team owner running their own network? Where does the security technology and PA audio-visual sit on the network? These are the key questions we have to understand in regards to a cyber strategy because everything from access control systems and visitor management systems to credential systems and camera systems are potentially at risk.


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GS: When we talk about cyberattacks in the world of sports, what specific events come to mind? DD: One that immediately comes to mind is when the Ticketmaster system went down worldwide last fall. I was at Mercedes-Benz Stadium when it happened and it was a big challenge for that operating team. A penetration attack that takes down my capabilities to provide information to my guests, one that includes potentially a video board attack or attacking the communications system we’re utilizing to communicate across our security team, that’s an area that always concerns me. But this is what we have to put our clients through, those types of scenarios. It’s one thing to work through the measures to mitigate the threat, but what about our operations? If I lose my IP building system, which in turn knocks out the network and radios, how will I manage the building? It’s never about whether or not something can happen, it’s about what’s the plan when it does happen. GS: While cyberattacks are the private battles most might be unaware of, social media is a very public platform that presents its own challenges. What are you seeing in terms of utilizing social media for security instead of merely for fan engagement? DD: A lot of our clients have engaged a social media monitoring service and they’ve had great success identifying potential incidents before they happen, such as someone planning to create a disruption by running on the field. I think one of the challenges is that we’re willing to pay for a service but we don’t always put the right level of analysts in the room to evaluate the data and end up missing some things. Command centers that analyze this data 24/7 certainly help, and that centralized monitoring with professional analysts that are constantly combing through data is extremely beneficial toward supplying the operating team and security team with the information they need. GS: What is the biggest challenge with social media in terms of sporting events, and what’s the next big thing we need to be prepared for? DD: With social media, it’s all about what intel can we get out of someone who has ill intent in advance of their actions. When we’ve had a serious incident in this country or around the world, we have found that information post-incident. So how do we get to a point where we’re seeing that information in advance of an incident. There are so many lone wolf scenarios that it can be extremely difficult. Consider the drone incident at Levi’s Stadium last November. Was there any social media intel that this guy provided prior to putting a drone over the stadium and dropping pamphlets on the crowd? Maybe he didn’t provide any advanced warning, but anything we can do to help us prevent that scenario is going to be a big topic moving forward. GS: And when there is no advanced warning? DD: Exactly. And once it happened, they acted very quickly, collaborating with Santa Clara police and the FBI, so much so that they were able to alert their counterparts in Oakland to warn them. Oakland is only a few hours away and sure enough, the drone was heading in that direction. They’ve got a great team at Levi’s Stadium and they received phenomenal support from their local and federal agencies as well as their intel community. GS: What is the most important advice you can give to event operators as it pertains to utilizing that actionable intelligence? DD: I think it’s really a combination of your relationship with local agencies, your fusion of intel centers that can support your event, and the right level of staff members or consultants that you can rely on to assist you in getting that data or that cyber strategy in place. I think a true cyber strategy is one thing that not all stadiums are focused on getting into place.

To learn more about Dan Donovan or T&M Protection Resources, go to



THE OPENING ACT Embracing new methodologies, such as the Safety Act, provides better protection for sports venues, events and security professionals. Shortly after the events of 9/11, a law was passed as part of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 that is becoming an area of focus for sports security professionals – the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, better known as the Safety Act. The Safety Act is intended to ensure the threat of liability does not deter manufacturers or sellers of anti-terrorism technologies from developing technologies that could save lives. “There was fear after 9/11 that no matter what companies did or no matter how good the technologies were that they offered, if something went wrong during a terrorist event, these companies would be sued for negligence or poor planning or poor design after the event,” explains Brian Finch, a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. In some cases, Finch notes, there are lawsuits that span decades costing several million dollars, worrying many security manufacturers. “Congress set up a mechanism that would allow companies to say beforehand that ‘this is what we do, here’s how we do it and here’s how it deters, defeats or mitigates the consequences of a terrorist attack,’” Finch continues. “And if it looks effective and useful, and there’s a program in place to make sure it continues to be effective, we should be entitled to some form of liability protection.” Finch also praises the Safety Act’s functionality beyond establishing a good security program or policy. “It’s also about documentation and repeatability so, in the event your security director leaves or other key team members leave, there are written materials in place that clearly define expectations and how your security team should conduct their operations,” he notes. “The Safety Act has done a wonderful job of saying that, if you want to get our protection, you need to have that repeatability and continuous improvement in place.”


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GAINING CONFIDENCE From a technology perspective, the Safety Act provides end users with confidence that a new or unknown technology is going to be reliable and meet their specific needs. “By going through the government review process, it gives a significant measure of confidence to those customers and allows them to feel more comfortable purchasing the new technology or service knowing that it has the support of an independent third-party in Homeland Security,” Finch shares. There are two levels to the Safety Act: designation and certification. Designation puts a cap on liability, while certification gives the defendant in a case that ability to have claims related to their approved technology or service immediately dismissed. Designations are awarded to companies that have good programs or policies in place with appropriate documentation demonstrating there are quality control programs in place. Meanwhile, certification is applicable to those companies that have shown that a product or service has been successfully deployed in the field and, if any issues occurred, they were promptly addressed by that organization’s continuous improvement process. One of the challenges surrounding Safety Act certification for sports venues and events is the length of preparation and intensity of the development process. Luckily, according to Finch, one of the industry’s “legends” has streamlined the process, having created the blueprint by which others can follow. He says,

“No other law provides the kind of security or liability protection as the Safety Act, and the Safety Act really validates to your owership, fans and local governments that you are doing things the right way.”

SAFETY ACT MOTOR CITY MAGIC “Rick Fenton, he’s a legend in the security world. He’s really set the bar for other teams and venue owners in terms of how you need to do things and the importance of having everything documented,” Finch notes, also praising the New York Mets’ John McKay for sharing that same commitment to security excellence. Fenton, Vice President for Corporate Security with Ilitch Holdings, received his Safety Act certification in fall 2015 for Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, with renewal set for 2020. “At the time when we started this journey in 2014, there was only one major league baseball team that had achieved it on their own, which was the New York Yankees,” Fenton shares. “When you apply for the Safety Act, you’re defining what your technology is. You can make that as narrow as you want or as broad.” This can be as simple as applying for Safety Act certification in one specific area or it could be for all security services being provided at the venue. In Fenton’s case, he applied for the latter, and that included things like risk assessment, security and technology compliance for the various professional sports leagues. In total, there were 10 separate items in the application that spanned more than 15,000 pages. “It was probably one of the more comprehensive applications that they’ve seen, but we really have a commitment from our CEO and president to do everything that we can to make the venue just as safe for a concert or a wedding that might take place in one of our clubs as we do for Tigers baseball games or the Metallica concert we hosted there last summer – I’m blessed to work within a leadership team where that’s a priority to them,” says Fenton. Fenton formed an internal team and they conducted an initial assessment before attending multiple workshops in Washington, D.C., and a local workshop the Safety Act offered. “The Safety Act office is probably one of the most collaborative groups that I’ve ever worked with in government,” Fenton shares. “In my law enforcement career, I’ve been assigned to all kinds of federal task forces, and they are just wonderful folks that go out of their way to work with you in the process. For example, they’ll look at things in the preliminary stage and tell you where things need to be shored up and some ideas how you can do that.” Fenton has also engaged the Safety Act office on Little Caesars Arena, the new home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons. His team worked on two applications, one for the unique design elements that he views as being one of

a kind from a design perspective and then a more traditional application that’s focused on policies and procedures similar to what Fenton originally submitted for Comerica Park. “I hate it when I hear either someone from a professional sports league or from a team say they want to achieve Safety Act certification or designation because it will limit liability if a terrorist incident were to occur,” says Fenton. “While that’s true, the real reason to achieve Safety Act certification should be to demonstrate that you are not only complying with best practices, but you’re also doing everything you can to support those best practices.” That best practice could be firearm protection. But what if that firearm is carbon fiber, making it undetectable by walkthrough metal detectors? “You have to evolve your training capabilities to train your staff to meet these new challenges,” Fenton explains. “The Safety Act not only encourages you to do that, but it’s a component of your application of how you’re going to do that.” Finch agrees. “No other law provides the kind of security or liability protection as the Safety Act, and the Safety Act really validates to your owership, fans and local governments that you are doing things the right way.”



MSA Security® Windsor Teams, operationally trained for deployment at stadiums and entertainment venues, identify explosive odors in the air and track it back to the source – even in crowds of tens of thousands – keeping millions of people safe across the globe each day. | (212) 509-1336 Look for the RED DHS SAFETY Act Seal to receive the highest level of protection possible.


VWK9, innovators of Vapor Wake Explosion Detection Canines, is poised to revolutionize professional sports security. VWK9 is best known as a premier provider of specialized Vapor Wake® Explosive Detection Canines (VW/EDC) that provide a mass screening capability to mitigate the risk of body-worn or carried explosives in high pedestrian traffic venues. Their advanced training protocols

and techniques have allowed VWK9 to leverage the canines scenting ability to address the most viable global and domestic threats sports security professionals face today. These threats are being recognized by professional sports with multiple mandates for explosive detection canine screening at home fields, arenas and stadiums. These mandates have come with increased security costs, as well as the need for professional education regarding the selection, utilization and deployment of the right type of canine explosive detection capability. There are essentially three types of Explosive Detection Canines: • Traditional Explosive Detection Canines: Those that search only static objects such as luggage, vehicles, buildings. • People Screening Canines: Those that search people as a static object. • Vapor Wake® Canines: Those that can unobtrusively screen large crowds of pedestrians in transit wearing or carrying explosives with little impact on the fan experience, as well as provide a traditional static search capability for objects if a security situation should present itself.


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So how does a professional sports organization choose the right canine capability, mitigate risk of static and body-worn explosive attacks, have little impact on the fan experience and use the increase in security costs to benefit their community? They employ VW/EDC and follow the vision of Rick Fenton, Vice President of Corporate Security for Illitch Holdings Inc., in Detroit. PURE MICHIGAN The Illitch family from late 2014 had a vision; they anticipated the increased security requirements and with due diligence looked at several canine service providers. In February the following year, the Illitch family and their VP of Security, Rick Fenton, decided that the first place to address security concerns was within the community they lived and operated. They continued to build strong bonds within their community by purchasing and graciously donated 3 VW/ EDC and training courses to law enforcement agencies throughout Detroit. The success of the Vapor Wake Canine Teams in 2015 with local law enforcement led to the deployment in 2016 of additional VW/ EDC teams throughout the state of Michigan, with teams actively securing Wayne State University, Michigan State University, as well as the Michigan State Police. VWK9 continued to serve as a canine subject matter expert to Illitch Holdings Inc., and provided various courses of action for use and deployment. In February 2017, Fenton continued to build upon the Illitch Family Vapor Wake K9 Police teams success by sourcing VWK9 to provide the Detroit Tigers with a full-time, turnkey K9 service solution. VWK9 deployed three Vapor Wake Canine Teams full-time on a multi-year contract. The overwhelming success of the VW/ EDC programs in various agencies has led to further expansion in 2018. Michigan State Police has expanded its program with two additional VW/EDC teams, and Illitch Holdings Inc., has expanded their full-time services with the addition of three Vapor Wake teams.

Fenton continues to raise the security bar, deploying the very best in body-worn explosive detection. The 6 VW/EDC teams are now providing the supporting fans and community the continuity of performance and proficiency at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers; Little Caesars Arena, home of the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Red Wings; and Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. In total, there are currently 14 VW/EDC securing communities, universities, fields, arenas and stadiums throughout Michigan. The mandated requirements for Explosive Detection Canines in MLB, NBA, NHL, and the NFL have far been surpassed in Detroit. Rick Fenton’s forward thinking of community first, and continued initiatives have arguably made Michigan fans among the safest in the nation. For its part, VWK9 is pursuing Department of Homeland Security Safety Act Designation, which will exceed the mandated requirements of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the National Football League. To learn more, go to


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Chris Truss, PSP

Business Development Manager 334.273.8558





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