Whether hired by a promoter or a private company, event security staff do more than physically guard the parks, sports stadiums and universities that they patrol. Some of the basic responsibilities include crowd control, directing traffic, managing parking and collecting admission fees or tickets. Depending on their levels of training, event security staff may also be asked to assess potential threats, and work with local law enforcement in developing crisis management plans.
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Training and Standards
No formal standards exist for event security personnel, with education and training depending on the nature of the assignment and venue where the security staff is posted. Most states require guards to be licensed, be at least 18 years old, and be able to pass a criminal background check, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Training is more intensive for armed guards, or security staff posted at a venue that places a premium on security, such as a sports arena.
Rather than working at a fixed spot, event security staff may spend most of their shifts on their feet, or move between various locations, depending on their assignments. Continuous contact with the public is a given, so advanced communications skills are necessary, according to the BLS. For events held at other high-traffic sites--such as art galleries, or museums--staff may be required to check people's credentials, inspect packages and protect exhibits.
Following the 9/11 attacks, event planners placed a greater emphasis on assessing potential threats. As part of those efforts, staff may be required to work with management in determining an appropriate level of pre-event screening. This is most apparent when a high-profile guest is appearing, according to security expert Jim Stanley. Event security staff are also likely to spend time securing key locations, such as the event site, VIP and media rooms and parking areas.
Information-gathering are critical aspects of any threat assessment plan. Event security staff are often the point persons of these efforts. Basic tasks may include interviewing key individuals, reviewing past and present data, and determining the capabilities or motivations of people making threats, "Campus Security" reported in 2007. After an event concludes, staff may meet with management for a debriefing session to discuss what went well, and what went wrong.
Employers are requiring higher levels of training, education and certification to blunt criticisms of event security staff as "rent-a-cops" with guns. ASIS International, the field's leading private security training firms has developed voluntary guidelines to help improve standards. Major recommendations include at least 48 hours' training within the first 100 days of employment; the passing of a written or performance examination; and additional firearms training. An increasing number of states are also making training a legal requirement to stay licensed.
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