A Multi-Faceted Role
Guard services and managing the logistics of event security
- By Corey Meredith
- Apr 09, 2020
On so many levels, the
events of September 11,
2001 drastically altered
the event security landscape.
Event security has evolved
from the ‘bouncer' mentality of
yesteryear, which featured security
decked out in yellow jackets emblazoned
with "SECURITY" in block
letters, to today's concierge security
professional which features highly
trained security professionals with
access to cutting edge technology including
From Start to Finish
Event security staff assist from pre-planning
stages through post-show
wrap-up, working with the client
from start to finish. Today's event security
team plays a multi-faceted role
that includes alcohol enforcement,
audience management, bike patrol,
crowd control, ID checkers, 24-hour
event security, access control, parking
services, red carpet staff, ticket
takers, ushers and VIP/talent escort.
Event security professionals wear
business attire for VIP escort and
red-carpet events, with their attire
varying accordingly dependent on
what other roles they assume. Given
the world stage we all live on, which
includes volatile times and acts of
terrorism, people want to know they
are going to events and venues that
are safe and secure. Guests want to
see security at these shows.
Guests have adjusted to waiting
in line for bag checks or pat-downs
because they understand the overall
purpose event security has for mandating
event security has the power to create
magical moments and memorable
experiences for live audiences with
safety and security as a first mindset.
Event security is fluid and ever-changing
with crowd movement
and dynamics. During these turbulent
times, ensuring the security
of event participants at entertainment conferences like the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) or other high-profile events, including the
Academy Awards, NASCAR, NBA or NFL sporting events,
demands the use of cutting-edge technology paired with well-trained,
highly screened security professionals.
Staffing is Critical
Hands-down, employees are the most valuable assets of any event
security company. It is vitally important for an event security firm
to adhere to strict guidelines for hiring and training. In addition,
the event security's management team should be coaches and
mentors to all front-line employees.
Through the combined capabilities of Allied Universal®, my
event services division is now a single-source solution for everything
from temporary staffing, consulting and security for all
events. Our event services team addresses convention, sporting
and concert events and trade show's complex challenges from a
security and staffing perspective.
Event security personnel often gravitate to this sector because
they thrive in its multi-faceted and exciting environment. For example,
a senior executive member of my team, Thushan Rajapaksa,
says that he "loves live entertainment and live music" and feels
like he has "the best job in the world because he is able to "create
magical moments and memorable experiences for live audiences."
Experienced, trained security professionals, who are licensed,
and who have undergone background checks and drug testing,
are the foundation of event security.
The Importance of Continual Training
Detailed, comprehensive training is vitally important for event
security personnel. Training methods include classroom training,
field training, hands-on simulation training, table top exercises,
workshops, e-learning, certification courses, Guard Card courses
and annual refresher classes.
Event security is a dynamic sector that demands that the security
professionals engage in extensive training which includes
how to deliver First Aid and CPR, understanding the signs and
symptom of heat stress, how to handle attendee slips, trips and
falls, workplace fire safety, workplace violence and active shooter,
emergency response and disaster planning, hazardous materials
and best practices for arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters. In addition,
there is venue specific training including crowd management
that includes technical and guest services skills, line control,
front of stage, ushers, roamers and overall venue security and
Training on how to effectively communicate is of paramount
importance. We call this "verbal judo" which is learning how to
stay calm in the midst of conflict, deflecting verbal abuse, and
Ensuring Open Communication
Event security professionals should have an open line of communication
to their supervisors. A 10 to one ratio of security
professionals to supervisor is recommended to ensure that
there is continual communication and that expectations are exceeded.
Event security entails far more than staffing the venue with
security staff. The process is complex and requires extensive coordination,
communication and advance planning. Every venue
requires its own specific strategy and road-map which includes
extensive facility orientation.
Advance planning requires teamwork with the venue's facility
management and local law enforcement to put together a ‘best
practices' methodology that can be used to address a myriad of
Earning DHS Safety Certification
The ASIS safety certification program, which my company has
secured, is the first and only program of its kind to be awarded
a coveted designation by the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective
Technology (SAFETY) Act of 2002.
The purpose of the SAFETY Act is to ensure that the threat
of liability does not deter manufacturers of anti-terrorism technologies
from developing and commercializing new products that
could significantly reduce the risks or effects of terrorist events.
Companies that supply products and services that can be used to
detect, defend against, or respond to acts of terrorism can apply
for and receive coverage under the law.
Event security firms should declare their commitment to the
DHS Safety Act by applying and receiving this critical safety
designation as it demonstrates to clients that the company has
a system of risk and liability management benefits in place for
providers of anti-terrorism products and services.
Technology is constantly changing. Security supervisors put into
place a network of people, processes and technology to deter and
mitigate threats. Law enforcement is a partner with physical security
and may ask to access video footage. Today's access control
includes bio-metrics with video analytics with facial recognition.
Video analytics is also able to measure and gauge crowd behavior,
detect suspicious packages, and instantly alert security and
law enforcement so that preemptive action can be deployed. Social
media platforms are monitored using specific key word analytics to
assess if there are any potential issues that are happening.
Security professionals and law enforcement are able to work
together to leverage multiple technologies and share information
to understand and mitigate potential threats. Ultimately, it is vitally
important to determine the policies and procedures that are
in place that allow security staff, law enforcement and other entities
to effectively work together as a blended team.
Understanding what the policies and procedures
are for all concerned parties enables them
to work cohesively to better mitigate the risk
for any and all types of threats.
This article originally appeared in the April 2020 issue of Security Today.