JROTC Drill Competitions
Sports Network International
With the world situation changing in the Fall of 2001, Sports Network International immediately took great effort to evaluate the overall safety factor of every youth competition we host throughout the United States. This top-to-bottom evaluation included both internal review of safety considerations for all attendees at and around SNI events, as well as getting external input from security experts in the field regarding all facets of these tremendously exciting and beneficial competitions.
The first thing we felt needed to be evaluated was, "How could we make our people safe from any possible unfortunate incident". The simple answer is, IT CANNOT BE DONE! No amount of security that could reasonably be expected at any youth athletic contest (or any school, church, or other public facility) could stop any individual willing to trade their life for the lives of those he would wish to harm. This is why school shootings, child abductions, gang activity and other violent acts will continue to occur despite our best efforts to stop them. Therefore, with this knowledge, our focus shifted from "total umbrella protection" to "how can we provide reasonable assurances that our people will be safe".
With this knowledge, we began to look at how we could exercise reasonable security measures, while also protect people by selecting a safe venue from the outset. Several factors that prior to 9/11 we had not taken into consideration were now on the top of the selection criteria. These factors included: Proximity to primary medical services (hospital); proximity to nearby terrorist targets (key government buildings, historically significant structures, etc.); Sufficient staffing and security patrols to keep an eye on both the facility and the attendees; as well as using facilities that are located well off of main access roads that are more easily patrolled and less prone to use by non-attendees.
Our event venues maintain numerous features which make attending these drill & ceremony competitions a fantastic, fun and very safe experience for competitors and spectators alike. Our venues maintain limited access. The facilities are staffed by not only SNI event staff, but by building security personnel from the minute the doors open until the doors are closed and the parking lot is empty. Additionally, both local, county and event state police are notified of the event and will be providing random drive through patrols where applicable. Lastly and very importantly, as a JROTC drill event, hundreds of retired and active duty military personnel will be in attendance as judges & instructors. Their years of experience and training assist in many areas make attendance at this competition generally more secure.
While the venue is not closed to the public, historically those learning of the event and attending are school mates or family members of the teams involved. The event is not largely publicized to the public at large. As a possible terror target, this event ranks virtully non-existent compared to hundreds of thousands of other events and venues within the United States.
It is the belief of Sports Network International after reviewing endless reams of documented facts regarding all aspects of safety, that the cadets who attend this event are just as safe (if not safer) then they would be at home. Unfortunately, evil people and horrible accidents occur just as often at home as they do at school as they do on field trips. Curtailing the off-campus activities of the future leaders of our nation based on perceived, unknown, and undocumented threats seems to be based more on emotion than any actual increased risk of unfortunate incidents occuring through these excursions.Justin Gates
Vice-President, Sports Network International
President, Sports Network Int'l Youth Foundation