Larger than Life
Next month, ASIS hits the Big D
- By Megan Weadock
- Sep 01, 2010
As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas.
That’s why Dallas is the perfect home for
ASIS 2010, one of the industry’s largest and
most important tradeshows.
The 56th annual seminar will be held Oct. 12-15 at
the Dallas Convention Center. Dallas is a lively, forward-
thinking city in the middle of the fourth-largest
metropolitan area in the United States -- and home to
Security Products magazine.
An Unprecedented Challenge
Clearly, access control, perimeter security, transportation
safety and similar measures are important in the
6-million-resident Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex.
And with major events -- such as the 2010 Super Bowl
XLV -- continually hosted in and around Dallas, the
challenges are even greater.
Cowboys Stadium, the team’s home as of May
2009, is the new apple of the Metroplex’s eye. At 3
million square feet, the largest domed stadium in the
world also features the world’s largest high-definition
video screen, which hangs from 20 yard line to 20 yard
line. With a total seating capacity of 110,000 fans --
greater than any other NFL venue -- security at Cowboys
Stadium also has to be world-class.
Jack Hill, general manager of the stadium, said
security and safety were a very important part of the
facility’s design and will continue to be a key element
of its daily operations.
“The NFL -- as with all their stadia -- monitored
the progress, wanted to know what was going on and
were here quite a bit,” he said. Meetings and collaboration
with the local Arlington Police Department,
FBI and Secret Service help further ensure that every
security angle is considered.
Even on non-game days, Cowboys Stadium is a
popular destination. Ron Underwood, back-of-house
director at the stadium, said the facility sees about
1,000 visitors a day, many of whom opt to take the
new self-guided tour. Other events, especially concerts,
are a major draw at the stadium as well.
When Super Bowl XLV hits North Texas in February,
an estimated 175,000 visitors will come with it. With
such a massive event on the horizon, Hill said he and
his team have been preparing for more than two years,
with NFL officials involved every step of the way.
In many ways, the design of the building itself has
been one of the greatest security challenges, Hill said.
“The way sports are going these days, the closer
you can get the fan to the athlete, the more you can
make that fan feel like he’s a part of the game or
event,” he said. “And one feature that has really given
us a challenge is the five levels of suites.”
Some of those suites are at field level -- and suiteholders
actually drive into the building for access.
“On game day, we’ve got 31 suites down here, with
a group of several hundred suiteholders who have the
ability to park down here,” Hill said. “That’s an element
of control that’s a challenge. And we’re obviously
very concerned about player safety by virtue of
the fact that the fans have the ability to literally stand
within a few feet of the players coming through the
tunnel [onto the field].”
A variety of security measures ensure that players,
fans, visitors and staff members are as safe as possible.
At entrance points, reinforced hydraulic barricades
control traffic. The design of the tunnels -- and
the building’s perimeter security measures -- prevents
vehicles from getting “a running start,” Hill said.
Using a blend of security personnel and technology
helps cover all the bases. Proximity readers provide
access control, and a network of 263 cameras --
primarily IP -- watches over every inch of the facility.
Obviously, security is most important during events
“This facility is more desirable [as a target] when
it’s full of people,” he said. “Someone wants to make
a big impact, the thought is that they’re going to try to
do it during an event.”
That’s why Hill and his team step up security exponentially
on game day. Every person entering the
facility -- including team owner Jerry Jones, former
President George W. Bush and the players themselves --
undergoes a car sweep and inspection. The
number of security officers on duty is increased; the
day-of-event command center, on the stadium’s upper
level, is brought to life; the FBI and Arlington Police
are present; and fans are encouraged to report any
suspicious activity during the game. Believe it or not,
security will be even more restrictive on Super Bowl
“I don’t know if you can ever do enough,” Hill
said. “Time will tell. But we think we’ve put in some
To see the wonder of Cowboys Stadium for yourself,
sign up for the ASIS Dallas Cowboys Stadium
tour, which will be held Oct. 11.
This article originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Security Today.
Megan Weadock is a communications specialist at Monitronics.