Students in a special topics class focusing on security management in the world of sports and entertainment participated in a behind-the-scenes tour of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, getting a firsthand look at all that goes into the preparation and execution of a major event security operation.
The tour for students in adjunct professor Michael Farley’s class was hosted by Bill Christiansen, senior director of security for TeamOps, the security management firm based at Gillette. Christiansen, an attorney and 34-year veteran of the Massachusetts State Police, heads up security at the stadium, where the New England Patriots and New England Revolution play their home games, in addition to hosting dozens of concerts and special events annually.
Together with Christiansen, the Salve students inspected the field, security command center, jail cells, player locker rooms and the tunnel which connects all working areas of the stadium, and also surveyed the equipment and technology in use.
Administration of justice major Ryan Costa, who plans to become a police officer and possibly attend law school, said both the special topics class and the tour are particularly relevant because he has a summer job on the security team for Strawberry Park campground and resort in Preston, Connecticut.
“The security that we’re learning is a larger scale than where I work, but I can take back a lot of the core organizational tactics on how to prepare for a disaster, prevent injuries and lawsuits, and hopefully keep people safer,” he said.
In Farley’s course, students examine contemporary and historical sports tragedies and drawn lessons from each. These incidents range from the Burnden Park disaster in 1946 and the Munich Olympics terrorist attack in 1972 to the more recent Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the Stade de France suicide bombings in 2015, the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, and the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017.
Using these case studies as a basis for continuous improvement of security management procedures, Farley said the students have also learned about the National Incident Management System and the National Response Framework, which guide modern security preparations and responses.
“Security management for the entertainment world is a growing field,” said Farley who, together with his father, operates a security consulting firm with strong ties to the sports and entertainment world, including the National Football League, Major League Soccer and the Big East Conference. “It involves high level coordination of state, federal, local government resources, as well as private businesses. As these Salve students begin their local, state or federal law enforcement careers, they will be well-equipped to assume command leadership and advisory positions for a variety of public safety scenarios.”