The World Games 2022 Legion Field (TWG2022)
With the clock continuing to countdown towards the 2022 World Games, Birmingham, Alabama city officials and local organizers held a press conference on Wednesday to provide an outline of security measures that will be in place for the global multi-sports event this summer.
“The eyes of the world will be on the city of Birmingham, the state of Alabama, and the good citizens here,” noted Patrick Davis, Secret Service Birmingham Special Agent in Charge. “We want to put our best foot forward.”
“Our responsibility from a security standpoint is to ensure the safety and security of the Games, the patrons, and the athletes that are coming from over 120 countries from around the world,” said Davis, who will be head of a unified security effort aided by local and federal law enforcement authorities during the Games.
Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022, noted the staging of the World Games as a “historic moment” for Birmingham, while acknowledging, “with great benefits, comes some responsibility.”
He confirmed the 2022 World Games would be classified as a SEAR Level 1 event, meaning law enforcement from both the local and federal level would be involved in securing the event. Sellers promised, “a Super Bowl level” of security.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents watch as LA Rams fans cross the street towards the Metro Los Angeles bus shuttle to head to SoFi Stadium, prior to Super Bowl LVI in Lennox, California U.S., February 13, 2022. REUTERS/Bing Guan REFILE – CORRECTING LOCATION
He also stated athletes, media, officials, and other attendees should expect security measures on par with those of other major sporting events, such as the use of magnetometers and certain bag policies.
On the topic of transportation, Sellers mentioned the use of road closures and detours, while promising to release a comprehensive transportation plan for the Games in the near future.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin commented, “we are committed to having a very safe event for the people of our city, athletes, and visitors.” He admitted, “there will be some things we have to do to make sure everyone is safe.”
Woodfin also confirmed the involvement of the Birmingham Police Department in the security of the Games.
Thousands of protesters march through the Port of Oakland with the International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU), who shut down all 29 U.S. Ports on the Pacific Coast for eight hours, on a day known as Juneteenth, to show support against racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Oakland, California, U.S. June 19, 2020. REUTERS/Kate Munsch TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Policing has become a deeply polarizing political issue in the United States in recent years. Thousands of people protested police brutality in major cities across the United States in wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others during policing operations.
Protest group NOlympics LA included putting “an end to police militarization” on its platform aimed at stopping the organization and staging of the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
The group argued, “from a safety and policing perspective, the Olympics threaten some of our most vulnerable communities: immigrants, the formerly incarcerated, sex workers, the homeless, the disabled, low income people of color, and so on,” adding, “the Olympics also further criminalize homelessness and privatize public space.”
Regardless of the role played by police during the 2022 World Games, it’s clear that local officials, international organizers, and other interested parties will be keeping a close eye on security measures and activities during the 2022 World Games.