Georgia Dome interim security manager Parris Brooks has steadily climbed the sports security ladder, starting as a security officer 10 years ago. An expert in numerous facets of venue safety and security, as well as sports and special events incident management, Brooks was instrumental in implementing various security tactics that have been critical to protecting the home of the Atlanta Falcons, as well as the annual SEC Championship game and two NCAA Final Fours. Gameday Security editor in chief Dennis Van Milligen recently talked with Brooks about his security challenges outside the Georgia Dome.
Q: How do you handle spectator vehicle inspection in your parking lots?
A: We inspect and label all vehicles permitted inside the 100-foot perimeter. We have an off-duty Georgia Bureau of Investigations agent that will assist Georgia World Congress Center Authority Public Safety in the inspection of a vehicle. This process includes trunk inspection and running a mirror under the vehicle. We're looking for hot spots, including large coolers or backpacks, that could be potential homes to things such as explosive devices.
Q: How does this process differ from player or staff vehicle inspection?
A: Everyone is subjected to a security inspection, including those with credentials, passes or wristbands — even players, coaches and officials. We are much more detailed in our approach, given the proximity of these vehicles. We first have a blocking vehicle that will prevent them from proceeding until we are ready to inspect their vehicle. We then utilize a vehicle scanner from Advanced Detection Technology where they drive over the scanner and we can view in clear detail everything the scanner picks up. We also have a K-9 unit at the location that sweeps the vehicle. The players and staff undergo this same process, as well as a bag check, prior to entering the parking deck.
Q: How long has the Georgia Dome used this approach?
A: The NFL incorporated a mandatory hardened 100-foot perimeter as part of its best practices last year, but we've enhanced our procedures the past four years.
This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Athletic Business with the title "GEORGIA DOME INTERIM SECURITY MANAGER PARRIS BROOKS"
Dennis Van Milligen is former editor in Chief for Athletic Business.