|Sports security combines manned guarding with access control devices, HD surveillance cameras & analytics in a command centre for a comprehensive security presence|
Providing security for sporting events and venues has long focused on personnel. Protection came in the form of guards and other personnel who controlled access to the venue and to restricted areas. With an increasing need to provide higher levels of protection in an age of terrorism, venues have turned to traditional access control equipment.
Access control equipment for enhanced protection
These days the typical large venue is equipped with cameras, and fans are checked by metal detectors at entrances. “You start off with access control to better protect the stadium,” explains Dr. Lou Marciani, Executive Director of National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi. “We’re into magnetometers. We have bollards inside stadiums to protect against vehicle-borne explosives. We’ve got better trained people at gates that know how to use wands or magnetometers.”
These tools are combined with enhanced surveillance and integrated systems within a command centre, that are tracking information from sources as diverse as social media and alarms.
“We have much-improved pixel capacities and surveillance (cameras) that can tell me if you shaved last night,” he says. “We’re really moving along fast with good solid technology to enhance our capabilities without a doubt.”
HD cameras for detailed coverage
Technology manufacturers have responded to the needs of sports security with the right kinds of equipment.
“High resolution digital cameras and the recording equipment are something that more and more stadiums are relying on,” says Paul Turner, Director of Event Operations & Security for AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys. “You have an array of cameras so that the goal is you’re able to provide coverage on every seat on the bowl. You’re digitally recording all the time so that you can zoom into a particular section and rewind the recording and watch what happens.”
Facilities are no longer using just the standard pan-tilt-zoom cameras that scan areas and may or may not record a particular incident.
“Now technology is out there where everything is being recorded all the time and you can forensically examine what happened very easily and understand what led to that situation,” explains Turner. “Not every stadium has that, of course, but more and more are making room for that kind of technology.”
|NCS4 provides information on sports security best practices, as well as rigorous |
tests and research into the best equipment available to the industry
NCS4 providing information for sports security professionals
Centres like NCS4 have increasingly become the source for not only best practices, but information on the best equipment available to the industry.
“There are hundreds of camera manufacturers out there, and there are hundreds of folks that sell access control stuff,” observes Richard Fenton, Vice President of Corporate Security at Ilitch Holdings Inc., which includes the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and MLB’s Detroit Tigers. “There are all sorts of products, and they all say they’re the best. So [NCS4 has] a very elaborate lab testing protocol so that vendors can bring their products there. They put it through some rigorous testing; develop white papers on it. For someone like me who’s building a new arena, that’s a great advantage.”