Utah-Based Agencies Aid in Success of Security at Winter Games

LOGAN, Utah – August 1, 2002 – The 2002 Olympic Winter Games held in Salt Lake City may ultimately be known for setting a new standard in efforts to preserve public safety. The games are over but with a successful finish not only for the athletes and supporters but also for all those who spent countless hours providing security. As the world eagerly watched the news to hear the latest update on their favorite athlete, the 2002 Olympic games were also newsworthy because of the unprecedented focus on security.

A key security ingredient during the winter games was effective information management. Today's demand for sophisticated software has never been greater for public safety. Dispatch provides those on the front lines with information about how, where, and when to respond to potential and present threats. If dispatching fails and the right information isn't communicated quickly and effectively, the bad guys often succeed.

This became clear recently after it was discovered that in June of 2001, an individual known to be dangerous was pulled over by a Florida police officer for driving with an expired license. When the officer sent the man's information to dispatch, they reported having no information on him, even though the driver had indeed been flagged as a potential terrorist. The man, Mohammed Atta, was not arrested.

Spillman Technologies, a Utah-based company, developed the public safety software used by a large number of agencies in Utah who were involved in making sure the 2002 games were carried out safely. Some agencies that played a key role in providing security during the Olympic games were: Valley Emergency Communications Center (VECC), Salt Lake City Airport Authority, Summit County Sheriff (Olympic Park, Park City and Deer Valley venues), Weber County Sheriff (Ogden Ice Sheet, Snow Basin Resort), West Valley City Police (E-Center, Olympic Oval), South Salt Lake City Police, Sandy City Police, North Salt Lake Police, Midvale Police, Murray Police, North Ogden Police, West Jordan Police, South Jordan Police, American Fork Police, Wasatch County Sheriff (Soldier Hollow venue), and more.

These Utah agencies are equipped with state-of-the-art Spillman software for dispatch, law, jail, records management, mobile data communications, mapping, imaging, fire and EMS. Each agency has the ability to search the Spillman database, as well as the state and national databases for records checks, wants, alerts and past criminal history on any person in the system. The Spillman system provides each agency with easy-to-use functionality such as cross-table searching, photo identification, gang affiliation, criminal activity and known aliases.

It's also worth noting that VECC provided the dispatching for several Spillman agencies during the Olympic games and is transitioning to its own Spillman dispatch system that is planned to go live in mid April of this year. Gary Lancaster, from VECC commented that he thought the activity during the games went surprisingly well. During the 17 days of venues, VECC's call volume actually went down by 3 ½ percent. This was due to extra on site help at each venue. Several media resources had asked VECC if domestic violence activity was an issue during the games because more people were staying at home. Lancaster recalled that VECC had no major issues with this. Our dispatchers, officers and volunteer personnel were so well prepared that providing dispatching and routine security services during the games was completed with ease.”

John Rogers of Wasatch County Sheriff's Office was stationed at the Soldier Hollow venue command post at the Sheriff's Office in Heber City, UT. Rogers, along with several other Wasatch County officers and volunteers, monitored activity throughout the games. Rogers, who was very impressed with the planning and preparation for games' security, said, Security was all dressed up but had nowhere to go. In all my fondest dreams, I would have never thought these games would go this well with no major security problems.”

One dispatcher was stationed at the Soldier Hollow venue three hours before and three hours after events to enter incidents in the Spillman system if anything occurred. Deputies were also on hand to follow up on any occurrences. Highway patrol observed 90 percent of traffic to and from the Soldier Hollow venue. Possible concerns security expected to see were from protestors, environmentalists, PETA, the homeless or even possible bomb threats like the incident during the Atlanta games, but Rogers reported that none of these potential threats were a problem during the games. Rogers also commented on the assistance provided by their Spillman system, Spillman worked amazingly well. We were able to use dial-up connections from remote locations. It was very responsive. It was beneficial to have access to surrounding jurisdiction's databases as well as state information. The system is unique; it looks great and works great.”

Lisa Julio, the Spillman system administrator for the Salt Lake City Airport described February 25th, as busy, tiring, and too many people as it was the day most athletes and Olympics goers flew home. Julio commented that with the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, the airport saw its fair share of traffic. Delta and Sky West Airlines both major airline carriers for the 2002 Olympic games trafficked 24,876 just in departures on February 25th. Terminal 1 which included all other airlines trafficked 36,185 in departures. The airport dispatch center received a 31 percent increase in calls, which ranged to be about 200 calls per day, doubling their average of only 100 calls per day. The airport experienced a high radio volume due to the extra security. During the Games, the airport had four dispatchers on shift at a time along with 17 officers, three or four dog teams and six National Guardsmen. Julio said, I was able to produce numerous statistical reports from Spillman to submit to the FBI and Secret Service to show our increase in calls, current trends, the increase in security and LEO verifications. The [Spillman] system did not falter–it did what was expected and we had no major problems.”

West Valley City Police Department was also involved in providing security for the Winter Games. Kent Jenson, a records supervisor at West Valley City Police, said that his department supplied about 200 full-time officers throughout the games for security purposes. West Valley City Police worked very closely with the Olympic Public Safety command post to aid in monitoring possible criminal activity at the Oval, A Quart, E Center, and surrounding areas for parking problems and traffic control. Records clerks were on hand to enter data for any incidents and dispatchers were also working round the clock for assistance to the Secret Service for 9-1-1 activity. West Valley City Police were required to submit several statistical reports to the Olympic Public Safety Command Post as well as the FBI and Secret Service for information on types of arrests, number of speeding tickets issued, and other offenses during the games so comparisons could be made and conclusions formed to enhance security for future games. Jenson said, Our personnel would have had a mess of paperwork and frustration if it weren't for the Spillman system. Our dispatchers as well as records clerks were able to input data into the system easily, quickly and accurately. The games were successful and no major problems occurred–we were glad we had the aid of Spillman.”

Everyone around the world can agree that the 2002 Olympic Winter Games were a success. Spillman Technologies was proud to be a part of this event. For over 20 years Spillman has supplied software solutions to over 500 agencies nationwide for their information management needs. Fifty-one of these agencies are Utah-based. Spillman has a 95 percent customer retention rate, 100 percent successful implementation among its users, and almost half of its sales come from customer referrals. Spillman takes care of its customers and looks forward to creating lasting partnerships with each and every user. Spillman products run on Windows platforms as well as UNIX platforms. For more information on Spillman Technologies and its public safety software please call (888) 774-5562, search the web at www.spillman.com or e-mail salesinfo@spillman.com.