Neyland Stadium was recognized with the National Sport Safety and Security Facility of Merit Award earlier this month at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security Conference in Orlando. The award recognizes a facility that has demonstrated an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security beyond normal operations, or addressed a significant safety or security concern.
The university has invested in upgrades for the stadium, including planning, training, and equipment to improve the safety and security of the facility. These include:
- the integration of twenty private, local, state, and federal organizations into planning and operating the unified command;
- revising the shelter plan to improve fan cooperation and response timeliness;
- creating a buffer zone protection plan to increase security for credible threats;
- creating a communications plan;
- adding an external emergency operations center to improve incident command redundancy;
- increasing evacuation and sheltering training for police and stadium staff;
- providing threat awareness training to outer perimeter staff;
- instituting a standard bag size check;
- increasing closed-circuit television systems such as digital video and thermal imaging to increase perimeter, monitor critical infrastructure, and improve situational awareness;
- adding external speakers to address exterior gates and tailgating areas;
- improving crowd control, egress, and shelter through stadium renovations; and
- employing a text messaging system for fans.
David Elliot, assistant athletic director for event management, has led the way for many of the stadium’s upgrades. The university works with many local agencies to ensure the stadium’s security, including the UT Police Department and the Knoxville Police Department.