Route 91 Harvest Festival: Security One Year Later

10/24/2018 | By Jeff Heilman

The mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017 tragically underscored the challenges of securing major venues, including outdoor areas and buildings such as hotels, convention centers and arenas. In Las Vegas, safe monitoring is a formidable task, with metrics to match.

“If you see something, say something. It’s a vital part of keeping everybody safe, and part of our daily message to our employees here, as it is at other properties.” - David Logue

Offering nearly 150,000 hotel rooms, Las Vegas welcomes 6.6 million convention attendees and more than 42 million visitors from around the globe every year. That’s a daunting amount of people, real estate and infrastructure to watch and secure.

Route 91 Harvest Festival Music
(Photo: Oct. 07, 2017: The Route 91 Harvest Live venue after the shooting incident on the Las Vegas Strip)

The Las Vegas Convention Center alone has 5,500 doors. 

Principal agencies safeguarding the destination include the Las Vegas Security Chiefs Association, the Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Through close interagency collaboration and communication, they maintain an ever-vigilant security posture based on personnel, planning, preparation and practice.

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Yet, for any building, the lone actor, invisible on the intelligence radar, is the perpetual wild card and greatest threat.  

David Logue, president of the Las Vegas Security Chiefs AssociationAs IMEX America 2018, the largest annual gathering for the meetings, conventions and incentives industry, began at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas in mid-October, Meetings Today (BUILDINGS’ sister publication) spoke with David Logue (pictured), president of the Las Vegas Security Chiefs Association, to get a broad picture view on where public safety and security in Vegas stands one year later

“Every critical incident, anywhere in the world, causes a review of the weaknesses during a given attack and crucial practices for improvement,” said Logue, who also serves as vice president, security, surveillance and night club compliance at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

“It’s a continual process, ongoing for decades. We have several inter-agency coalitions within Las Vegas that communicate daily and meet monthly,” he continued.

[Related: Anniversary of Mandalay Bay Shooting - Update: MGM vs. Victims]

Formed in 1987, the association, with 7,000-plus members, comprises resort and casino security directors from across Las Vegas and Southern Nevada, plus representatives from public safety agencies around the community. Other coalition members include counter-terrorism officials and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Law Enforcement Flag memorial after Route 91 Harvest festival shooting.
(Photo: Oct. 7, 2017: A law enforcement police flag to remember victims of the Las Vegas Shooting victims.)

“Our meetings include the vice presidents and directors of security at the resorts and first responders from the Las Vegas police and fire departments,” continued Logue. “Topics include reviewing best practices and best policies, understanding what is working and what is not working, and looking at new technologies on the horizon.”  

New measures since the shooting include a more visible uniformed presence around town and enhanced K-9 teams at several Las Vegas resorts.

As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal this month, the destination’s two largest operators, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International, have created armed emergency response teams composed of former military and law enforcement officials.  

“It’s always a balancing act between security and hospitality, but around the world, the general public is far more open to seeing more security than less,” Logue said.

Route 91 Harvest Festival Memorial
(Photo: Oct. 7, 2017: Memorial Message of the Las Vegas Shooting victims on the Las Vegas Strip Near the Mandalay Bay.)

“Once, security checks were viewed as an inconvenience, and heightened police and security presence could cause alarm. Today, travelers are not bothered by seeing people in uniform. True here and around the world, that includes security checks at venues like T-Mobile Arena and Las Vegas nightclubs, and large-scale events. Visitors want that visibility, because everybody wants to feel safe,” he continues.

Logue added this reminder to locals, tourists and conventioneers alike: “If you see something, say something. It’s a vital part of keeping everybody safe, and part of our daily message to our employees here, as it is at other properties.”

Jeff Heilman, senior contributor, has been covering North American and global destinations, trends and other topics for us since 2004. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and Passport Magazine.

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