Introduction. We’re excited to have recently added two more great partners to our community! At Gate 15, our team focuses on risk management and organizational security and resilience, with unique expertise in threat analysis, operations and preparedness (planning, training, exercise and continuity) support. Recognizing that clients and partners require additional technology, services and capabilities to effectively manage their complete risk profile, our team partners with organizations that can enhance our competencies and which offer additional risk management resources that complement our capabilities. On the “About Us” page of this website, you’ll see some of our outstanding partners.
USESC: Interview with Founder and CEO, James A. DeMeo
James, thank you for your many years in law enforcement and your continued service in the security profession. Would you mind sharing a little about your background and some of the work you’ve been involved with after law enforcement? First, thank you for your kind words and this terrific opportunity to share my experiences with your audience. My name is James A. DeMeo, M.S. I have over 25 years’ experience in law enforcement, security and consulting. I am totally committed to public service, being one who is a servant leader. I care deeply about protecting people, places and things.
You’ve recently made a big transition and stood up USESC. Can you explain what that stands for, what you’re focused on and the types of organizations you’re trying to help? Thanks!! USESC-stands for Unified Sports and Entertainment Security Consulting LLC. I started my own consulting company primarily with a focus on confined space protection for stadiums, venues and arenas here in the US. USESC, based upon the client’s needs, designs proactive risk mitigation training modules for the gatekeepers – guest services and security – working within the event management vertical.
Furthermore, Sports and Entertainment is a highly-visible, publicly-focused business that’s a huge part of America’s and families’ traditions. It’s all about fan engagement brand/patron protection and safeguarding the ownership assets. It’s also about duty of care, a share industry responsibility, helping to shield the organization from inherent liabilities within the space. Security leaders are not fear mongers but rather we create a heightened awareness through continuing education and career development resources for event staff. This strategy helps to empower the employee, keying in on their emotional intelligence, increasing job satisfaction, while helping to reduce staff turnover. This way everyone wins: the fans get the best experience possible while being protected by event staff with the highest level of industry training.
I really enjoy getting out to sporting events, concerns, performances and the like. Given the work Gate 15 does, I tend to always see opportunities to improve some part of a venue’s security activities. Are there certain types of events or venues you focus on and do you think there are types of venues or sizes of venues where security isn’t a concern? Great question. Security is always a concern whether is a small, mid-size, or billion-dollar building. Conducting a thorough threat and vulnerability assessment of a client’s site is a great way to know exactly where the weak spots exist within the organization. USESC’s philosophy is to view the aspect of security from a wide-angle lens. When safeguarding sporting events, the days of the 5 minute huddles with the “yellow jackets” are in the rearview mirror.
James, we both know there are, unfortunately, a lot of folks out there who want to cause harm. Domestic and international incidents, repeated government warnings, and the threats and propaganda all point to “soft targets” as an area of focus. Given the current and evolving threat landscape – from crime, to extremists of all types, terrorism, drones, and more – what are the threats you would you encourage organizations with limited time and resources to focus on? Post Boston, Paris, Nice, San Bernardino and the Paris Stadium bombing, lessons learned is the prevailing theme. A few points of interest immediately come to the forefront:
- Responsible social media monitoring; every venue should have a social media manager.
- Effective communications between venue staff and contracted law enforcement.
- Drone, Hostile Events (Active Shooter, Workplace Violence, Bomb Threats) and Severe Weather policies/procedures.
- Technology integration, along with proactive risk mitigation event staff training.
- Data analytics, metrics, situational awareness and verbal de-escalation skills training.
Gate 15 spends a lot of time digesting and analyzing the broad threat environment so we can encourage and assist our partners to best prepare for and mitigate their greatest risks. Given today’s physical security threat landscape, there’s a lot a venue or event manager could become overwhelmed with if they tried to “do it all.” Given the limited time and resources that can be put towards security preparedness and operations, what are some of the preparedness and operational activities you’d want to see leaders prioritizing?
- Lone actor / lone wolf, domestic and international terrorism awareness training.
- Protection of exterior perimeters – entertainment zones outside the inner perimeters of stadiums, venue and arenas.
- Mass transit hubs, ingress/egress, effective screening measures, preventing chokepoints, smooth patron traffic flow.
- Crowd control, demographics, doing your homework prior to an event being held at your venue.
- Background checks, vetting of part-time event staff and contractors entering the space.
- Enhanced relationships with critical security partners, such as the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF), the Department of Homeland Security, contracted law enforcement, fusion centers, and via public-private partnerships.
If someone reading this post is wants to learn more about you and USESC, what’s the best way to get more information? Great news!! USESC business offerings can be found at smeeventsecurity.com. My name is James A. DeMeo, M.S. and you can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook-Sports Security Professionals. I am honored to have a business partnership with Gate 15 and Andy Jabbour. Sports Security is a highly-disciplined niche market which is gaining a great deal of attention based upon today’s ever changing security climate. I am passionate about this field. We are all in this together. Thank you for this amazing opportunity to share my insight.
Thank you, James! It continues to be a real pleasure sharing ideas and perspective with you as we share a passion for increasing awareness of the threats, risks and solutions that are out there. Our team is excited to continue to collaborate with you as we move forward!