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Protecting the Games: Law Enforcement’s Olympic Legacy of Information Sharing

By Jon Gordon, Deputy Chief (Retired), Atlanta Police Department & Professor of Homeland Security, American Military University

Coordinating the law enforcement and security responsibilities necessary to safeguard the Olympic Games is a task that takes years of preparation, thousands of people, and an international law enforcement effort. The task of protecting the Games is so enormous that regardless of which country hosts, there may be a lack of indigenous law enforcement expertise in place to secure such a massive international sporting event.

Fortunately, there is a well-established legacy of sharing professional knowledge among law enforcement professionals—individuals charged with securing previous Olympics (formally and informally) who make themselves available to subsequent host countries. These law enforcement professionals, from all over the world, get together to share strategies, lessons learned, and the methods necessary to fulfill mandated security requirements imposed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Reality of Terrorism The terrorist attack during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympic Games resulted in the murder of 11 Israeli athletes and forever changed the atmosphere of special events. After 1972, “the specter of terrorism would [henceforth] be linked to all international special events.”

Sochi mapSubsequent terrorist attacks, such as the bombing of Olympic Centennial Park during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, and post-9/11 realities have further reinforced this view for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. On Feb. 7, 2014, the world will watch the opening ceremonies, which will begin under a palpable threat of terrorism as evidenced by the following headlines:

(Read the complete article at ‘In Homeland Security’)

About Jon Gordon: Jon Gordon retired from the Atlanta Police Department after 28 years, as Deputy Chief of Police. Prior to his career in law enforcement, he was honorably discharged as a sergeant from the U.S. Army after three years of service in the Military Police. In addition to his Olympic legacy work, he has conducted classes, seminars, or exercises emphasizing all-hazard, collaborative emergency preparedness, and response capabilities for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, British Ministry of Defense, Israel National Police, DHS, and other agencies. Jon currently teaches Homeland Security courses as a full-time faculty member at American Military University.

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