For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
NASHVILLE, TENN.— Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke today delivered remarks at the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) VenueConnect 2017 conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Acting Secretary Duke reaffirmed the Department of Homeland Security’s commitment to partnering with private sector venues to ensure the safety of the American public. Excerpts of Acting Secretary Duke’s remarks as prepared are below.
“The places where we gather—our stadiums and concert halls, our fairgrounds and convention centers—are living symbols of our free society. Freedom of expression. Freedom of assembly. And freedom to cheer for whichever team we choose.
“But recently, the world has watched in horror as these symbols of free society have come under attack…
“As ISIS loses ground in Syria, terrorists affiliated with—or inspired by—the group are bringing the battleground to our city streets.
“Our friends in the UK know firsthand how barbaric our enemies really are. We saw this all too clearly in the attack on Manchester Arena on May 22. An Ariana Grande concert with more than 14,000 fans—many not even old enough to drive. What should have been a fun night with friends and family was shattered by a radicalized young man filled with hate, and his homemade bomb full of shrapnel.
“Last week, I had the privilege of touring AT&T Park in San Francisco to see firsthand how you—venue operators--secure large venues and special events. It also showed me how DHS works alongside our private sector partners.
“The tour was a timely reminder that security is a shared responsibility and the public and private sector must work together to make these places more secure and resilient.
“Effective security doesn’t stop or start at the fence line and instead requires close coordination between law enforcement, venue owners and managers, and emergency management…
“Terrorists use the element of surprise in their attacks to maximize damage. Through we can’t always prevent attacks, we can be ready to respond. And we especially encourage those who organize public gatherings to take four proactive steps to prepare for a worst case scenario. They are Connect, Plan, Train, and Report.”
DHS works closely with private sector and community partners to help them protect themselves through initiatives such as DHS’s Hometown Security. Hometown Security is designed for small and medium-sized businesses, and people who organize public gatherings that extremists might consider soft targets. The goal is to protect restaurants, clubs, grocery stores, sporting events, places of worship, and other places where people gather. The Hometown Security portal on DHS.gov makes it easy to find free, useful information that helps communities enhance their security.