BATON ROUGE – LSU has earned a certification in assessing and mitigating risks to safety and security at sporting events, the university announced on Thursday, April 18.
The LSU Police Department, in conjunction with the LSU Athletic Department, received the Sport Event Security Aware, or SESA, certification from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, or NCS4.
“This is very, very important, what LSU has gone through; this is the industry standard,” said Lou Marciani, director of NCS4. He said that as part of the certification process, LSU and NCS4 conducted an extensive review of LSU’s safety programs, looking at a number of standards and metrics and examining all of LSU’s plans. “It’s been a grueling experience that the university has gone through to reach this day,” he said.
LSU is the 10th university in the nation to receive this certification, and the fourth in the Southeastern Conference. Other SEC institutions that have received the SESA designation are Texas A&M University, the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University.
“The utmost responsibility of the university is the safety and security of our students, staff, faculty, fans and the LSU community at large,” LSU Police Chief Lawrence Rabalais said. “This certification is yet another tool in our toolbox of measures taken to ensure preparedness, prevention and response as it relates to the safety and security of the LSU fans during game-day events.”
Rabalais noted that obtaining the certification was a “rigorous process” and said that process would not stop here, but would be ongoing, as LSU plans to maintain the certification and continue to improve its safety plans.
Both Rabalais and LSU Interim Chancellor and President William L. Jenkins noted that local law enforcement agencies play a key role in assisting the university with major sporting events, and therefore, were crucial in helping LSU receive the certification.
Jenkins said that during his 20-plus years at LSU, the relationship between the LSU Police Department, the city police, the state police, the sheriff’s office, GOHSEP and law enforcement agencies in surrounding parishes has been wonderful. “That’s very special,” Jenkins said. “That means we’re in this together and we understand the challenges.”
The certification is offered to all professional, collegiate, and amateur organizations that own or operate sports facilities and provides a set of scalable standards for assessing risks, identifying vulnerabilities, developing appropriate plans, policies and procedures, and providing training and exercise to facility staff. The result is a continual four-year cycle to review and upgrade safety, security, and incident management programs.
“Now that the plan’s in place, it has to constantly be updated and monitored to make sure we’re always on the cutting edge,” Joe Alleva, LSU Athletic Director and Vice Chancellor, said. “There’s nothing more important than the safety of our students and our fans. No win or loss is more important than safety.”
NCS4, established in 2006 at the University of Southern Mississippi, is a worldwide interdisciplinary center specifically focused on research, education, and outreach efforts in sport event security. The center works to address the potential threats and risks inherent at sporting events.