Extraordinary Events. We hear the term frequently around the time large-scale events are being scheduled in the Queen City. But what does that term mean and where did it come from?
Since the city manager's office declared the Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade an extraordinary event earlier this week, I've been getting numerous questions as to what this exactly means.
Providing a special security designation to large-scale, significant events is nothing new in the United States. Known as National Special Security Events (NSSE), procedures for these were established by President Bill Clinton in a portion of Presidential Decision Directive 62 in May of 1998. This set out the security roles for federal agencies at major events.
By definition, a National Special Security Event is an event of national or international significance deemed by the United States Department of Homeland Security to be a potential target for terrorism or other criminal activity.
As the federal law was later refined in 2000, the designation of a NSSE puts the United States Secret Service in charge of event security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in charge of intelligence, counter-terrorism, hostage rescue and investigation of incidents of terrorism or other major criminal activities associated with the NSSE, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in charge of recovery management in the aftermath of terrorist or other major criminal incidents, natural disasters or other catastrophic events.
Since 1998, there have been approximately 48 events held in the US that have received this special designation. In September, 2012 the City of Charlotte experienced such an event with the Democratic National Convention.
Understanding the need for a special security designation for public events, in January of 2012, the City of Charlotte, ordained by the Charlotte City Council, amended City Ordnance 4814, Chapter 15, titled Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions, to include a new Article XIV to define Extraordinary Events and outline the procedures that accompany such a declared event.
According to the Charlotte ordinance, an extraordinary event is defined as a large-scale special event of national or international significance and/or any event expected to attract a significant number of people to a certain portion of the city.
Declaration of an extraordinary event rests with the City Manager who may declare the event, fix the location or boundaries, and establish the period of time of the event.
Other past local events that have been declared extraordinary include Food Lion Speed Street, the Fourth of July celebration and First Night on New Year's Eve.
From a public safety perspective, this ordnance is not meant to marginalize or single out any particular event or host, but is instead a viable result of a threat assessment process designed to keep our city safe during unique times.