Document Type


Publication Date



Published in: Security Journal, Volume 18, Number 4, 2005. P. 65-74


Special events offer the potential for considerable threats to public safety. Perhaps no other special event rivals the Olympic Games in scope, duration, and potential for threat to communities, participants, and dignitaries. This paper reports on the results of a study of safety and security at the Salt Lake Olympic Games by a team of researchers with wide-ranging access to operations, personnel and documents from the security effort at the 2002 Winter Games. This paper focuses on three specific areas: changing definitions of safety and security during the Games; the development and maintenance of organizational structures and interaction; and lessons learned for other large-scale events. The goal of this paper is to document some of the challenges of establishing a temporary security organization. The paper concludes that building such organizations require for their success a major focus on creating a set of shared assumptions and working relationships.