3. Information Technology (IT)
How many events have been planned, vetted, and begun when officers discover they can't talk with one another on the radios? Who makes sure everyone has the "determined" channel, and how do officers navigate to the channel? We've all been called out "go to B10" only to learn that the other officer doesn't have "B10." The IT personnel should know the regional communications configurations.
The incident commander may have established a Command Post (CP) for public safety or event coordination for a large event. Smaller events won't require a CP, but when you set one up, you'll need to know what information will be made available? Are there public or private cameras available? Municipal internet filters can play havoc, when commanders try to view public streaming video. Simple coordination on the front end and having that person available during the event makes changes on the fly a breeze.
4. Public Works
The Public Works staff can be the unsung heroes of any event, because we're often oblivious to details such as trash, traffic or pedestrian congestion. These "little things" can help an event run smoothly or give it the appearance of chaos.
A large number of visitors arriving in your community for an event presents challenges for the Public Works department. Extra scheduled trash pick-ups and trash-bag placement help control litter at the event or along a parade route. Coordination for additional clean-up and that person responsible for deploying those resources can be key.
Additional barricades or stops signs can help keep pedestrians corralled or divert traffic around a specified area. Most municipalities now have computerized traffic signals and grids controlled from a central hub. Adding a few seconds to a traffic light can keep traffic moving along smoothly on primary routes during a parade.
5. The Media
Events present a wealth of information to be shared across the broadest forums possible. Who better to help you disseminate updates than members of the media?
This has become even more crucial with the advent of social media that keeps everyone connected almost instantaneously. They can help inform neighborhoods and businesses about how an event will affect their plans or operation prior to the event to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. Parade routes, parking restrictions, site location, restrictions on packages and other pre-event information needs to be circulated to minimize confusion.
Media professionals want to be in the know, and are willing to use their resources to keep their public informed. During the event, you can use these same media connections to quickly notify the public of changes or a new problem.
6. Organized Volunteers
An organized volunteer cadre is a resource that pays consistent dividends to any police department. During a special event, volunteers can help with public notifications by handing out fliers, making calls, bagging meters, running errands, and providing support for food services or logistics. Volunteers must be trained and vetted before you deploy them as an agency representative. They are one of the most loyal sources of manpower.
Gerry Long served with the Savannah-Chatham (Ga.) Metropolitan Police Department for more than 30 years, retiring in 2011 as a deputy chief.
Major Special Events Planning