Manchester attack impacts security measures at Coast Coliseum - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Manchester attack impacts security measures at Coast Coliseum

With its capacity of seating upwards of 13,000 people, this venue has to have a system of security in place every day. (Photo source: WLOX) With its capacity of seating upwards of 13,000 people, this venue has to have a system of security in place every day. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The world is in shock after Monday night's attack in Manchester, England. What if a similar event were to happen closer to home? Some people here on the coast have to think about these issues on a regular basis.

The Coast Coliseum could be considered one of the biggest soft targets for attacks in South Mississippi. Safety is always a concern at big event venues like this. The attack in Manchester pulls that concern into sharper focus.

"We will certainly take a look at things that transpire out of this tragedy and other tragedies and try to implement best practices, and that's what we always have done and always will do," said Matt McDonnell, Coliseum Executive Director.

With its capacity of seating upwards of 13,000 people, this venue has to have a system of security in place every day. But, even then, McDonnell said there are still vulnerabilities.

"No matter how much security we provide and how tight our security plans are, there's always going to be that risk out there, and that's what you've got to be vigilant of, and you've got to make sure that you're paying very close attention to your surroundings," McDonnell said.

That's the same line of thinking that Windy Swetman follows when it comes to his company's work with the Coliseum.

"You cannot completely police or secure the world, unfortunately. There are evil people in this world that we have to be aware of," said Swetman.

His company provides security for the Coliseum and dozens of other venues throughout the state. This takes months of planning and preparing.

"Every show is different. Every area, every venue is different. You have to take one individually and then do a threat assessment on each one of those," said Swetman.

From there, Swetman and his team try to make event attendees feel as safe as possible. Because, as Swetman says, if people are too scared to go out, the attackers have already won.

Swetman said he sometimes assigns as many as 200 security professionals at a time to the coliseum, depending on the needs of an event.

If Coliseum executives can find a funding source, they plan on purchasing as many as a dozen state of the art metal detectors. McDonnell tells us these security devices will be placed at the entryways to the coliseum complex. The hope is they'll provide an extra layer of security to make sure people at the Coliseum are safe.  McDonnell is hopeful to find a funding mechanism and order the metal detectors by early July.

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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