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Massive Security Staff Keeps the Peace at the World Games

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CHAPEL HILL — Providing security for theSpecial Olympicsis a massive undertaking. It is especially difficult because the Triangle is flooded with thousands of athletes and fans.

For example, there are 475 athletes competing in volleyball at Carmichael Auditorium on theUNCcampus, and they have about 16 volunteer security officers monitoring the venue.

There are a total of 3,000 people in the Special Olympics security staff. The staff also gets a lot of help from local law enforcement, in Chapel Hill and at every venue. The security personnel say everything is running like clockwork.

"We are here for two main reasons; first of all for asset protection -- to make sure the volleyballs and equipment stay here on site," said Traci Thompson, a venue security director. "Also, just for access control -- to make sure that nobody gets in the way of the athletes so they can stay safe during the competitions."

Archie Daniel is aUNC policeofficer assigned to the volleyball venue on campus. He says thing are flying as smoothly as the volleyballs soaring over the nets.

"We're looking for people that are acting up, maybe stealing something or creating a problem," Daniel said. "So far we have been very lucky, and have not had many problems, and people have been very cooperative. The athletes, coaches and volunteers have been super."

The main goal of the security staff is to make the athletes feel safe. Coaches say that so far the venues have been comfortable environments for the teams.

"I feel very safe," said volleyball coach Katie Franjola. "They are well supervised, and managed with all of the volunteers and other coaches here from all around the world."

The security staff does not anticipate any major problems, but they say they have a plan in place for almost any situation that could happen.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Joe Frieda, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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