Center for Spectator Sports Security Management to Develop Enhanced Technology for IED Response

HATTIESBURG, Miss.

A project to develop technology for preparation and response to improvised explosive device (IED) threats and attacks on sports facilities is underway through the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management at The University of Southern Mississippi.

“The constant worry of IEDs is what keeps a sports security officer up at night,” said Dr. Lou Marciani, Center director. “Every effort is being made to develop the tools necessary to better prepare agencies for this type of threat.”

Supported by a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Southeast Region Research Initiative, the project is a collaboration between Southern Miss, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Engineering Research and Development Center in Vicksburg to bring together years of experience and expertise to develop the technology needed for improved IED threat planning.

The project will provide advanced software equipment to the first responder community, said Dr. Dan Koch with ORNL. Southern Miss has already developed the Sport EVac 3D visual tool for simulating evacuations. The ERDC has the Electronic Bomb Card, which gives first responders critical data about a specific explosive device; and the ORNL is developing the TRIPwire Field Tool for DHS.

Improvised explosive devices are an increasing threat to the security of any venue that holds large groups of visitors.

“It’s no secret that terrorists favor large so-called ‘soft targets’ to have the greatest psychological impact,” Koch said. “Sports stadiums and other high-profile venues would suit their needs quite well. These large gatherings of people present special problems due to their sheer size, from inspection of personal belongings as people enter a facility to maintaining an orderly exit in the case of an emergency.”

Jim McGee, director of programming for the Southern Miss center, said DHS has identified IEDs as the popular weapon of choice by terrorists. Projects specifically aimed toward prevention of explosives and terrorist activity requires continuous development of modern equipment and training.

“It is critical for research to be conducted that addresses measures that will mitigate and reduce this threat and improve response capabilities in the event a crisis of this nature takes place,” McGee said. “The grant will assist in augmenting capabilities for training, planning and responding to IED incidents. This capability will, in turn, enhance existing protocols and improve tools that are currently utilized by first responders challenged with addressing a bombing incident.”

For more information regarding the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management, visit www.sporteventsecurity.com.

The University Of Southern Mississippi February 2009 press release.

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