Events and lectures, which often bring together a variety of guests at Chautauqua Institution, have an appropriate security plan. But it is not always a “one size fits all” approach, said Emily Morris, senior vice president and chief brand officer.
“All plans are developed according to the needs of each event”, – said Morris.
After Friday’s attack on world-renowned author Salman Rushdie shortly before he was scheduled to give a lecture, those security plans came under the microscope.
A 24-year-old New Jersey man stabbed Rushdie multiple times, and Henry Reese, who was also attending a scheduled lecture at the Chautauqua Amphitheater, was also wounded. Hadi Matar was taken into custody minutes after the attack and is now facing charges of attempted second-degree murder and second-degree assault.
Morris said Chautauqua develops security plans for every lecture and event that takes place on its grounds. According to her, these plans are being developed in cooperation with regional law enforcement agencies, the FBI and expert consultants.
“Safety is our priority and always has been.” – said Morris.
In January 2020, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office announced that security officers in Chautauqua would no longer be designated as “special deputies”. The sheriff’s office said security officers have been operating under the guise of being special deputies appointed by the sheriff for several years.
However, citing opinions from the New York State Sheriffs Association, the Chautauqua County Law Department and Sheriff James Quattron, it was determined that there is no authority to designate security officers as special deputies.
“The change in status was notified to Chautauqua Institute management earlier in the year when it was discovered that such authority did not exist, resulting in Chautauqua County, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and any individuals acting under the mistaken belief that they are “special deputies “. under potential liability and other legal consequences”. 2020, the sheriff’s office said.
After the announcement, Chautauqua officials said they were considering constable and peace officer status.
After the attack on Friday, several people commented “special deputies” and drag to unmark them. Quattrone, using his personal account, responded to one comment on The Post-Journal’s Facebook story on Rushdie. He said the Chautauqua Institute, the New York State Police, the FBI and the Sheriff’s Office have provided security at events since earlier this year.
“Uniform Sheriff’s Office and State Police officers were present along with security personnel,” Quattrone commented.
He added, “While we strive to keep our entire community as safe as possible, we must also abide by the laws of New York State.”
Morris said a detailed discussion of Chautauqua’s safety protocol will allow “negative impact on plan effectiveness.” However, she said that the officials were “I am studying absolutely carefully together with law enforcement and other experts. And yes, we are immediately improving the protocols.”
Chautauqua said access to the grounds was restricted to pass holders, those who live or rent the grounds and staff.
“While some programs may be changed or canceled at the request of a presenter or performer, we intend to have a full schedule of community programs by the end of the Summer Assembly.” Chautauqua said in a statement posted on its website.