The World Series of Security: Protecting the National Pastime

As the last days of October are upon us, the Fall Classic—otherwise known as the World Series—has begun. And for the first time in 71 years, my favorite professional sports team, the Chicago Cubs, are participants. The Cubs and their opponents, the Cleveland Indians, represent the longest championship drought with 108 and 68 years respectively. While many people are watching lightheartedly, the security professional in me understands the World Series is about more than just baseball. It is a major international event with the eyes of the world watching, including possibly those of people with intent to do harm.

From the perspective of a security professional, I am thinking about the various disciplines that are required to help ensure safety, such as an event security plan, crowd control measures, emergency preparedness policy, and civil disobedience tactics. The planning and preparation for an event of this magnitude cannot only focus on the ball park, but also need to address the extended area around the venue. To emphasize my point, the City of Chicago in an unprecedented move, is prohibiting access to this area unless you are a resident or have a ticket to the game.

It’s Better to Be Preventative Than Reactive

By employing a prevention-oriented methodology, security personnel can minimize the potential risk confronting a World Series while protecting the brand of the event. They must first identify all threats and vulnerabilities associated with protecting the venue, individuals, and operations. Prevention-oriented security planning and risk management for significant events is a multi-faceted, highly detailed, continuously changing process based on absolute control of the environment. You need a disciplined and comprehensive approach to screen and control all people, vehicles, services, and equipment seeking access to the stadium.

Plan for the Worst—Hope for the Best  

The event security plan needs to account for access control, security, safety, and enforcement of the policies and procedures that discourage unlawful activity both INSIDE and OUTSIDE the venue. As one of the main requirements, your security plan must clearly demonstrate succinct and measurable processes to safeguard all assets, including the people, event, and venue. It is equally important to incorporate crisis management into the security plan and have specific guidelines to address all hazards, such as a field intrusion, power outage, or intruder. Coordination with the public sector is also a must, including contingency operations, emergency management, and incident response, to ensure that the event participants, as well as the attendees, are not exposed to risk.

Nobody Goes There Anymore, It’s Too Crowded

Baseball legend Yogi Berra reportedly once said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” If you’ve been watching news coverage of the playoffs, you’ve seen the crowd of fans converging on Wrigleyville, the neighborhood around the ballpark. When you have large numbers of people in a limited space, the potential for crowd control issues, civil disobedience, property damage, and public intoxication increases. Examples of specialized units, local resources such as paramedics, riot police, and mounted patrol are called upon to incorporate into a holistic security posture to protect not only the venue, but also the people who do not have access to the event.

We’re Going To Party Like It’s 1908

History has taught us when a professional sports team wins a world championship we might witness a few incidents of overzealous celebration. Some of this fervent revelry has resulted in burning vehicles, vandalized stores, and physical altercations with police. The lessons learned are that security and law enforcement need to address possible incidents before, during, and after the event. Proper planning includes strategies for crowd dispersion, mass arrests, detention facilities, judicial processing, and temporary housing. Because local resources might not be able to address these scenarios, mutual aid agreements between municipalities are formalized to provide additional manpower, vehicles, specialized equipment, and office space.

We Can Strengthen Your Bench             

Do you have the resources, staffing, and expertise to plan, prepare, and implement a holistic security strategy for a large-scale event—or the “World Series” within your organization?  The Lake Forest Group offers insight acquired through decades of engagements providing protective security for organizations in the private sector such as Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA), professional golf, horse racing, hotels, resorts, casinos, and gaming. We provide the necessary insight and hands-on advice that lead to tangible results—and help to ensure the safety of your constituents. Contact me at gmv@lakeforestgroup.com or 312.515.8747 to find out how we can address your particular security challenge—or share this blog post with someone who wants to improve their security program.


On the Outside Looking In: How a Trusted Advisor Helps Protect Your People, Property, and Brand

Being on the outside looking in can have a negative connotation but sometimes that’s exactly where you need to be. Just ask Donald Trump—he’s been positioning himself as an outsider during his entire campaign. Why? Because an outsider has access to other perspectives, can question the status quo without the constraints of things like corporate culture, and isn’t influenced by preconceived notions about the way something must be done.

Are you an outsider? If you work for a company, corporation, school or university, chances are you’re not. And if you’re not an outsider, you can’t provide a totally objective opinion on the effectiveness of your organization’s safety and security programs due to your involvement, relationships, and, in some cases, prejudice, in the operations of your organization.

Since most organizations do not have the staffing, expertise, and resources to conduct an assessment as detailed and comprehensive as is required to help to ensure the safety of your people, property, and assets, the best option is considering the services of an outsider—an independent professional—to provide an objective, impartial and unbiased opinion.

Priority #1—Protecting People and Brand

After conducting countless security and risk assessments in the private and public sectors, I have found the paramount concerns of my clients are the safety of their people and integrity of their brand. With that understanding, an assessment needs to be uniquely tailored to best serve that particular client to deliver the highest value possible to the engagement. My projects follow a developed and still evolving process based on the 35+ years of experience of my team in law enforcement, security, legal, and human resources.

Independence + Refreshing and Unadulterated Candor = Improved Safety

An organization can benefit from the insight and counsel that an outsider can provide if that consultant has successfully completed similar engagements. By leveraging experiences with comparable clients and organizations, a consultant offers an independent voice that benchmarks your operations with best practices in the industry. Someone with different experiences than you and your team can apply lessons learned to your unique situation and deliver an assessment report that identifies what’s lacking in your programs and policies so you can update, enhance, and improve them. In other words, the consultant can help you see the forest through the trees, or in our world, the vulnerabilities that leave you exposed to potential harm.

Establish Your Start Line—So You Can Walk Before You Can Run

The first step to an enhanced, updated, and comprehensive security program is forming a collaborative relationship with a trusted security advisor. A professional consultant can help you understand your starting point. How do you compare with industry best practices? Your competitors? Then after listening to your security and safety objectives, the consultant will work with you to deliver those specific goals to mitigate exposing your people and brand to harm. After all, you can’t know what you don’t know or don’t have access to. Even the most skilled athletes have coaches and mentors who offer them insights and suggestions to make them perform better.

Be Sure to Get What You Need

At the completion of a tailored, comprehensive, and strategic assessment, you will be able to clearly identify succinct and measurable processes to safeguard people and property—as well as incorporate incident management strategies with specific guidelines that address all hazards, such as internal theft, active shooter, severe weather, and power outages. As a trusted partner, your security consultant offers expert counsel on all security- and safety-related decision making you will face regarding your company, other companies, services, equipment, technologies, procedures, and personnel.

Take Advantage of Screening, Filtering, and Recommending Services

Think of this outsider as a de facto clearinghouse for vetting, testing, validating, and ultimately recommending options based on shared experiences in the law enforcement, security, legal, and human resources fields. Also, be sure the work is not delegated to a junior member of the consultant’s team with less experience. The listed project team members should be the ones performing the assessment personally, and ultimately delivering a service grounded in a higher level of expertise.

Are you ready to see how well you’re doing to protect your organization? The Lake Forest Group offers assessments (http://lakeforestgroup.com/services/security-assessment/) to protect against all hazards and to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. Our support goes beyond simple project management and vague recommendations. We provide the necessary insight and hands-on advice that lead to tangible results—and help to ensure the safety of your constituents.