It’s Time for High Schools to Consider Text-Based Incident Management Systems for Large-Attendance Athletic Events

I recently met with Mr. Ben Fraser, UW-Madison Director of Guest Services, to discuss access and security considerations for large-scale events.  Mr. Fraser shared a few pieces of the puzzle that comprise the vast security network for UW-Madison athletics.  First, allow me to praise the outstanding security processes of UW-Athletics.  As a fan and also someone with a depth of knowledge in security, I was clueless as to how intricate and refined the safety measures are for UW-Athletics.  I appreciate everything they do to ensure safety of fans, players and workers.

Mr. Fraser shared two recent changes in event security.  The first is a heightened awareness of unattended bags and the second is the implementation of a facility management texting system.  He pointed to a corner of Camp Randall Stadium where a permanent sign was located with a number patrons could text to report to anything from spilled food in their seat area to suspicious activity.  Via a central processing hub, event security personnel can be dispatched instantly to any area of the stadium.  Per Mr. Fraser, the system has been in place for a couple of years and is becoming more known by patrons.  In essence, it’s adding 80,000 security observers to a Badgers football home game!

In addition to real-time reporting, the text system has an outstanding post-event analytical component which permits study of all texted reports, locations, times and resolutions.  The text-based incident management system utilized by UW is ISS 24/7

I’m a proponent for high schools utilizing text-based incident reporting systems due to the reality that contemporary secondary athletic stadiums and field houses are expanding capacities to accommodate thousands of fans.  I work in a school district of 3500 students and it’s not uncommon to have 5000 people pack the new football stadium on a Friday night!  In a time when the spotlight is upon school safety, text-reporting systems are a solution for expanding the role of the spectator to spectator-observer-reporter.  Additionally, the forensic review of reporting will identify patterns of event concerns and “hot spots” that warrant additional supervision.