The National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) has concluded its12th Annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition with nearly 400 people in attendance.
The conference was held Nov. 9-10 at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The 2021 conference theme was “Reconnect. Reflect. Inspire.” and boasted the most exhibitors and sponsors in conference history.
The conference was the NCS4’s first in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic began and provided an opportunity to reconnect with peers, reflect on industry changes and technological advancements, and support and inspire professionals making a difference in the safety and security of the sports and entertainment industries.
“The conference was a tremendous success,” said Dr. Stacey Hall, NCS4 Executive Director and Professor of Sport Management. “It was great to see friends and long-time supporters of NCS4 gather to share information, tools, and ideas for continuous improvement. We had a stellar speaker and panelist line-up, and the attendees enjoyed engaging with the exhibitors/sponsors showcasing the latest technology solutions. Our NCS4 staff, led by Lauren Cranford, director of operations, deserve a lot of credit for such a professional event at a time that still presents a lot of uncertainty.”
The conference kicked off with Michael Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals’ owner and president. Bidwill welcomed attendees to his hometown of Phoenix and shared his family’s story of Cardinal ownership over several decades. Keynote speaker, James Craig, retired chief of the Detroit police department, addressed attendees on his career work improving community/city safety while building relationships. Craig also received the Champion of Change Award.
Additionally, the Golden Eagle award, sponsored by Security and SDM magazines, was presented at the conference. The winner was Meridian Rapid Defense Group for its work on protecting the Tournament of Roses Game and Parade.
“The Meridian Rapid Defense Group conducted an excellent presentation on their perimeter security solution,” Hall said. “Their vehicle barrier systems are used worldwide, protecting patrons at public venues and special events — a well-deserved honor for an innovative company.”
Eric Alms, president, Meridian Rapid Defense Group, added, “We are very proud to win this award because it’s great recognition for all of our Meridian staff who worked day and night before and after the events to ensure that everyone at both the parade and the football game had an enjoyable and most importantly, a safe time.”
General sessions covered broad topics with panel discussions relevant to sports safety and security professionals in today’s ever-changing landscape, including cybersecurity, litigations issues, DHS Safety Act protections and challenges faced while returning to normal operations. Breakout sessions allowed participants to engage with panelists and attendees on key issues such as de-escalation strategies, technology solutions and crisis communications.
In addition to keynote speakers, an awards luncheon, interactive panel discussions, and breakout sessions, attendees explored emerging technologies and networked with peers during the conference.
The 2022 Annual Conference will be held June 28-30, 2022, at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate in Orlando, Fla.
Visit ncs4.usm.edu for information on upcoming events.