U.S. Olympic team trials kept safe by multifaceted safety and security campaign that included partcipation from the public.
Have you ever wondered what goes into making a large-scale event safe and secure? In the case of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field, held June 18-27 in Eugene, Ore., it involves years of planning. While some of the best athletes in the world competed to take part in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, a multi-faceted safety and security effort was the culmination of a comprehensive effort with local, state and federal partners who teamed with private security companies, volunteers, and even the public to ensure a safe, secure and comfortable experience for fans at the newly renovated Hayward Field.
“Being a part of something like this is really exciting when you get down to the core of what we’re doing here, selecting athletes who are going to represent the United States of America in Tokyo this summer,” said TrackTown USA Director of Event Continuity Nathan Reynolds.
With COVID-19 safety measures in place, Hayward Field boasted Oregon’s largest crowd since the pandemic. Reynolds said it felt good to be a part of the historic event at Hayward Field, mentioning that the event went smoothly despite many obstacles, including postponement and extreme heat. Reynolds added that what made the event most special for him personally was watching the partners and teamwork that went into making it exceptional.
One of those partners was Joanna Kamppi, the Eugene Springfield fire EMS chief, who said it was inspiring to see the event happening safely and successfully after so much adversity.
“It feels so good to be back in a venue like this, and to be part of the opening of the stadium, and to see it be utilized in such a great capacity—it’s just incredible,” Kamppi said.
Eugene Police Department Captain Eric Klinko echoed Kamppi’s sentiment and gave some insight into the scope of the planning effort.
“There are security providers from all different levels, obviously local law enforcement, along with federal law enforcement partners here with State of Oregon resources; every layer of government is involved with private security, volunteers and the patrons themselves who are a part of the security effort,” explained Klinko.
The Eugene Police Department supported outreach and awareness for the “If You See Something, Say Something®” campaign prior to and during the trials in partnership with the City of Eugene, Lane County, TrackTown USA, the University of Oregon, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, the Oregon Titan Fusion Center, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the Department of Homeland Security. The campaign encourages the public to report suspicious activity.
According to Reynolds, involving the public in the security effort at the trials, and in the Eugene/Springfield community prior to the event, made this occasion different from other TrackTown events he has been a part of.
“I would like to thank our partners, the media in Eugene, and the public for supporting this team effort to raise awareness about everyone’s role when it comes to security.”
“If You See Something, Say Something®” is the hallmark slogan of a public awareness campaign, initially implemented and trademarked by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority and licensed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the purpose of creating a nationwide campaign. In 2010, DHS launched the campaign in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative, which serves as an example of how residents working together with law enforcement can make a difference to protect their communities.
“The public is a component of security. That’s part of the tenet behind the “If You See Something, Say Something®” Campaign,” said Protective Security Advisor Chass Jones, Department of Homeland Security Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security (CISA). “If you see something trust your instinct, if it feels out of place find a security guard or find law enforcement and report to them. There’s literally a whole community effort and whole government approach to this campaign which has been fantastic.”
Klinko added that no matter how benign something seems, the public along with staff and volunteers, should notify the appropriate authority if they see something that looks out of place, and call 911 if it is an emergency.
“It’s important to notify somebody so we can appropriately assess and deal with the situation. The public has been a part of this multifaceted effort with sworn law enforcement, private security companies, a lot of volunteers.”
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management supported local emergency management agencies by monitoring the Olympic Team Trials activities in Lane County. In coordination with local, state, and federal partners, the Oregon TITAN Fusion Center and DHS CISA Region 10 were also a part of the collaborative effort helping to provide actionable intelligence results when needed.