When the Ottawa Redblacks took the field for the first home game of the season, the Securitas team already was in position – checking bags and directing football fans to their seats in the new, 24,000- seat stadium at TD Place.
The Stadium at TD Place is the centrepiece of a major redevelopment of historic Landsdowne Park, located in the heart of Ottawa. The 48-acre site features the new stadium, home of the Ottawa REDBLACKS and the Ottawa Fury soccer team, as well as a 10,000-seat arena that hosts the Ottawa 67’s hockey team and a variety of other sports events and concerts. The development also includes an 18-acre urban park, a shopping district, two condominium towers and 1,300 underground parking spaces.
The players trained hard for opening day; and so did the Securitas security guards. They had become familiar with the stadium, knew the rules and procedures, and had honed their customer relations skills. Wearing distinctive green uniforms, they greeted fans, answered questions, and set the tone for a fun event. “A key factor in the selection of Securitas as our security provider is its customer service philosophy,” says Anne-Marie Villeneuve, director, Event Services for the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group that manages the TD Place stadium and arena complex. “We want to maintain a fun, friendly, family environment and, at the same time, ensure that it’s a safe and secure place for everyone.”
A permanent team of seven Securitas security guards and two supervisors is joined by 200 part-time security guards on football game days, and 100 part-time security guards for soccer and hockey matches. On event days, guards rotate through the seating areas, maintaining a friendly security presence and helping to ensure that rules are followed and everyone is safely enjoying the game. Crowd activity is monitored by Remote Guarding Specialists at the Canadian Security Operations Centre via a state-of-the-art CCTV system, and guards are dispatched to potential trouble spots, if needed.
When events are underway, a river patrol by security guards monitors the Rideau Canal side of TD Place. “We worked closely with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group to develop security plans and procedures for each of the venues,” says Ottawa Regional Branch Manager Gabriel Antonini. “
Our North American experience in handling security at stadiums was a great asset.” Prior to start-up, Antonini and Site Manager Paul Askin met with Joe DiCocco, Securitas USA’s account manager at Red Bull Arena, a soccer stadium in Harrison, NJ, to discuss security best practices. One program Securitas offers is Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) training, designed to help guards spot and effectively deal with alcohol impaired fans. The approach, has been used successfully in the US and was adopted at Lansdowne Park as a non-confrontational way so that alcohol-impaired fans don’t become a problem during events or later on the road. Securitas also has special training on other security-related policies for the venues, including lost-child procedures and weather-related advisories. In addition to the TEAM training and site orientations, Securitas security guards completed Smart Serve certification, a program advocating responsible alcohol service that is required for anyone who serves or handles alcohol in a licensed Ontario establishment. They also attended a rigorous Canadian General Standards Board training class that helps prepare participants to handle real-life security guarding scenarios professionally. “With the help of people throughout Securitas, we were able to start up the account quickly and with confidence that the right policies and procedures were in place,” adds Antonini. “Our security guards are well-trained, look good, and are customer service-oriented, so everything has gone smoothly.”