Securing the Big D

By Teresa Anderson

While Dallas citizens may cherish their frontier heritage, there is no denying that the city is now an urban center. The Dallas/Fort Worth area is home to 6.3 million people, 25 Fortune 500 companies, five professional sports teams, and a world-class arts and entertainment district. Protecting all of this is a serious challenge for law enforcement and private industry. Security professionals who attend the ASIS International 56th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Dallas later this month can see for themselves how the city and businesses address the risks they face. Meanwhile, the following four case studies illustrate how local groups have structured their security programs to meet specific needs.

Cowboys Stadium

Those designing Cowboys Stadium took the motto “everything is bigger in Texas” to heart. At 3 million square feet, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, located in Arlington, Texas, is the largest domed stadium in the world, with a maximum capacity for 110,000 people, larger than any other National Football League (NFL) venue. In addition to its retractable roof, which is also the world’s largest, the stadium has the largest retractable end zone doors, measuring 120 by 180 feet.

The stadium boasts the largest high-definition video screen in the world as well—it is even certified by the Guinness World Records. The screen hangs 90 feet above the ground and spans the football field from one 20 yard line to the other. To put that in perspective, when basketball games are played at the stadium, the video screen is larger than the court.

With a price tag of $1.3 billion, the stadium is also one of the most expensive sports venues ever constructed. Naturally, with such impressive features and such a large price tag, protecting the stadium was top of mind. Consequently, security was a major factor in the design and construction of the facility.

Included in the design were a host of protection elements ranging from physical security barriers at the perimeter to surveillance cameras throughout.

There are 263 CCTV cameras, both analog and digital, and more than 600 access control points. The camera feeds are recorded and also monitored live from an on-site control room. (A second on-site control room is used solely to monitor traffic conditions around the stadium.) The primary control room is staffed by security officers as well as two officers from the Arlington Police Department who monitor texts and e-mails from fans.

This fan-based security initiative is used most often during football games and was suggested by the NFL. “We run a public service announcement during the game,” says Jack Hill, stadium general manager. “We ask people to text or e-mail if they are sitting in a section with unruly fans.... [P]eople do use it on occasion.”

Up to 240 contract security officers and 160 police officers patrol the venue, including the five levels of private suites. The stadium has a detention center with four cells. An Arlington police officer is on-site at the jail during large events. The detention facility was designed with input from the police and contains a gun locker and a room for SWAT gear.

(To finish reading October's cover story, "How Dallas Does Security," click here.)

♦ Picture by stephenhanafin/Flickr


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