National organization gives award to UF for safety, security at stadium
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has received a Facility of Merit Award from the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. The NCS4, which is organized and supported through the University of Southern Mississippi, is recognized nationally as an industry leader in facility and sports management safety and security operations.
UF’s stadium was among three facilities nominated by the NCAA for the award, which recognizes a facility that has performed above and beyond normal operations to demonstrate an innovative approach to enhancing safety and security. The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and Highpoint Solutions Stadium are the other NCAA nominees.
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, which is home to more than 90,000 University of Florida fans on football game day, was chosen for this prestigious award because it provides a safe and enjoyable environment for spectators. The University of Florida Police Department and the University Athletic Association coordinate the use of more than 250 sworn law enforcement and support staff members from multiple local, state and federal agencies each game.
“We are fortunate to have a very cooperative and dedicated team of law enforcement officials that ensure the safety of our fans on game days,” UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said.
The operation also utilizes a credentialing system for all stadium employees, monitors vehicle and pedestrian traffic through the use of 57 cameras located in and around the stadium, and conducts continuous, proactive patrol of all areas nearest to the stadium for several hours both before and after each game.
“Public safety is our number one goal,” UFPD Chief Linda Stump said. “We will continuously assess our operations, plans, and ways to improve how we can consistently reach that goal. This award is clearly a recognition of our collective efforts with the UAA in working toward that end.”
Lou Marciani, director of the NCS4, cited Stump’s leadership as one of the reasons for the award.
“She is cognizant of all the latest best practices and technologies and she strives to annually and continually improve the safety and security at the stadium and probably the campus as well,” Marciani said.
Stump received the award on behalf of the stadium during the Third Annual National Sports Safety and Security Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans on Aug. 1.