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Officials to Train in New Orleans for Center for Spectator Sports Security Management Workshops PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Contact Jeannie Peng - 601.266.5568   

Security professionals from 10 states will attend a training conference Jan. 27-30 in New Orleans to prepare for the delivery of 80 Sport Event Risk Management Workshops in April at National Football League stadiums across the country.

The Center for Spectator Sports Security Management (CSSSM) at The University of Southern Mississippi will conduct training at the Sun Belt Conference office, located at 601 Poydras St.

Trainers selected for this conference include retired FBI agents, university athletic directors, active trainers with the Department of Homeland Security and personnel with private sector consulting groups.

"These selected trainers will get to know one other, build trust and learn this curriculum and of our expectations for its delivery," said Dr. Walter Cooper, director of training for the CSSSM. "We all have the same goal; that is to serve the sports world by helping them build systems to effectively protect both people and infrastructures."

Mike Verden, a security professional with Hillard Heintze who has previously trained with the center, will receive additional training at this conference to prepare for upcoming workshops. Verden is considered a leading expert in executive protection, security planning and operations security with past experience that includes a highly distinguished career with the United States Secret Service and as senior director of security for the National Basketball Association.

"My background and experience is about collaboration and the understanding that the whole is greater than sum of parts," said Verden, who currently travels to various Major League Baseball parks to assess security vulnerability. "Whether you have 80,000 people or 80 people at a game, there are similar safety concerns.”

Bryant Carter, Sun Belt Conference assistant commissioner, will also receive curriculum instruction to become a trainer for the Sport Event Risk Management Workshops.

“The work and training provided by the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management is extremely valuable, given the challenges that we are faced with in operations and event security at collegiate sporting events,” Carter said. “Workshops like these provide a great deal of information on risk assessment and stadium security, and it’s important that administrators embrace the concepts being taught.”

The Sport Event Risk Management Workshops, funded by a $3.5 million grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security, will be directed by the center and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics with assistance from the Stadium Managers’ Association.

For more information about the workshops or the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management, call 601.266.6183; on the Internet, visit

About the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management
The Center for Spectator Sports Security Management at The University of Southern Mississippi was established in 2006 to provide an interdisciplinary environment to further increase sports security awareness; improve sport security policies and procedures; and enhance emergency response through evacuation, recovery operations and crowd management training.

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at

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