By Lori Perry-Morrow, Director of Special Operations
Like all SIS deployments, a successful Special Events deployment require flawless execution. However, in the events space, success depends not only on the actions of SIS employees, but on the relationships we maintain with other organizations and the people that make up those organizations. The people we work with are normally excellent at their job, but in order to do our job to our standards, we must cultivate these assets. Professionalism only goes so far. At some point, the person helping you has to want you to succeed if they’re going to go the extra mile for you. Making sure that is the case is a special, valuable skill.
Below, you’ll find an accounting of some of the external assets we work with in Special Events, and a brief description of the relationship we have with those individuals or organizations.
Client Security Management We work with the client to understand expectations surrounding the event. This includes: what we need to protect, the number of attendees, executive protection requirements, including celebrity attendees, use of ODO or uniformed PD, threats against the event or company, and the number of uniformed security specialists. Together with client security management, we review maps, production schedules, timing, access lists, rehearsals times, transportation schedules, and various other logistical concerns. •
EP Representatives We work very closely with any EP representative to determine path of travel and any additional support required during an event. This could include extra ODO’s for additional support inside large venues and crowds, special access credentials, or coordination to open restricted door areas for access. It could also include help for support vehicles and drivers to support our EP representatives, whether they are associated with the client, talent in attendance or performing, or another third party. •
Production Management and Back-Of-House Staff We have to work closely with all production management to understand the overall build and risks to the event. This involves understanding the production schedules which shows timing and show flow. It also helps identify who’s allowed back stage, and their start and end times.
House (Venue) Management The house understands their property better than anyone else. We are guests and we always respect the venue as if it were our own space. Venue security staff typically has experience dealing with protesters, fire emergencies and police emergencies, and can be a great help with our own emergency planning. They are also responsible for any trespassing, so they are a great resource that helps us during an event.
Hotel Events Staff Nearly all SIS special events occur in hotels. Often, hotels have a dedicated events staff. Our interaction with them could be as simple as setting up a room block, or as involved as co-managing the entire event. We coordinate with the hotel events staff on the following:
- Setting up a room block
- Setting up a security office with table, chairs, power, network, etc.
- Hotel maps
- Restricting conference rooms to hotel staff
- Re-keying ballrooms and conference rooms.
Loading Dock – Shipping and Receiving The loading dock is a particularly vulnerable area. Specifically, there are concerns with access control and suspicious packages due to the large number of legitimate deliveries that may obscure a potential threat. We work with in-situ shipping and receiving staff to separate the various deliveries of catering, production equipment, flowers and FedEx, from potentially nefarious arrivals.
Union Staff In order to avoid running afoul of any union rules and regulations, we interface directly with relevant unions. Beyond that, union staff assist us with crew calls and badging requirements.
City Permit Management Depending on the event, there are a whole slew of permits that may be required from the city in which that event takes place. There are street closures, sidewalk closures and lane closures all require different permits. There are also sound permits, park use permits, and permits for the use of specific municipal event spaces. We work with city management and city officials on behalf of our clients to ensure that events are properly permitted.
Law Enforcement Our coordination with law enforcement depends on the nature of the event. The size, location, and the attendees all go into determining which agencies we work with and to what extent. Some of the agencies that we work with include:
- Local Police agencies
- K-9 team (Bomb Dogs)
- Sheriffs departments
- Secret Service
- Homeland Security
Hopefully you now have a sense of the importance of maintaining excellent working relationships, or cultivating assets, in the event space. If our partners are only motivated by their own professional obligation, it is possible that in performing their duties to their own standards, they will inadvertently fail to meet ours. Communicating about timelines, tasks, and general work flow goes a lot more smoothly when the people you’re communicating with are in a mood to help you personally. In Special Events, success is about people, about relationships, and about cultivating assets.