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University Police Veteran Joins State Safety Task Force

Lt. Melissa Mullen Helping Large Venue Security Task Force Improve Standards, Training

A view of the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell Photo by file
Improving the security and safety of venues like the Tsongas Center is the charge of the Large Venue Security Task Force.

By Ed Brennen

Lt. Melissa Mullen, a 23-year veteran of the UMass Lowell Police Department, has been appointed to a new statewide task force created by Gov. Charlie Baker that will examine ways to improve safety and security for large venues such as the Tsongas Center.

“I’m happy to contribute to the task force. It’s great for the university,” says Mullen, who was nominated to join the Large Venue Security Task Force (LVSTF) by former Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone, now general counsel to the UMass system.

A Wilmington native, Mullen earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from UML in 1998 before receiving a juris doctor degree from the Massachusetts School of Law.

She says the need for the task force shows how much the public safety profession has changed over the past 25 years.
“This is something you didn’t have to think about when I started,” Mullen says. “But it’s a changing world. It’s definitely important work.”
“This is something you didn’t have to think about when I started. But it’s a changing world.” -UMLPD Lt. Melissa Mullen

The task force is made up of 16 members from across the state, including six public safety officers, five representatives from large venues (Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden among them) and five from the commonwealth’s executive office of public safety.

Task force members will spend the next several months reviewing best practices, both in the United States and around the world, for handling security at sports stadiums, concert halls, convention centers and other places where people gather in large numbers. By April 30, they will submit to the governor a strategic plan that recommends standards for planning, training, communications and intelligence gathering and sharing. They will also draft any recommended changes to statutes and regulations to implement at the state level.

Mullen says the UMLPD already works closely with security staff at the Tsongas Center, who are employed by the venue management company Spectra. “But this will be getting them a little more training,” Mullen says.
Police Chief Randy Brashears adds that as the task force identifies best practices, “additional resources could be sought for the protection of venues like the Tsongas Center.”

Gov. Baker signed an executive order to create the task force before a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium in early October.
“Tragic events in the United States and overseas have highlighted the need for our state, local and community partners to be focused on large venue security,” Baker said. “We look forward to the work this commission will pursue.”