Press Releases


Operation Vanguard presents opportunity to identify, coordinate and test public safety protocols for large venues

BOSTON ―The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) will host an Active Shooter Exercise, Operation Vanguard, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) on Friday, March 22. The MCCA and its partner Public Safety agencies including the Boston Police Department, Boston Fire Department, Boston Emergency Medical Services, Massport, Massachusetts State Police, Mass DOT, MBTA, FBI, and United States Secret Service have worked collaboratively over the past two years to design and develop a comprehensive Active Shooter Joint Response Plan (ASJRP) for the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center ― the largest building in New England.

The establishment of the ASJRP is the first of its kind in the City of Boston. The live exercise will bring together the full complement of expertise, resources and personnel of the respective agencies to test critical elements of the plan and validate the unique protocols developed to implement a full-scale response to an emergency situation at the BCEC.

 “The Boston Convention & Exhibition Center presents a unique challenge for safety and security due to its size, location and purpose which is to open its doors to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to Boston from around the world to enjoy their event and experience everything that makes Boston a premier global destination,” said Rob Noonan, MCCA Chief Information and Security Officer. “The work thus far has already delivered tremendous benefits for all of the participants and Operation Vanguard provides an opportunity to test our assumptions in an environment specifically designed to deliver actionable results.”

Operation Vanguard marks the first comprehensive full scale exercise to take place at a “Large Venue” since Governor Baker signed into Executive Order a security task force to examine the safety and security of large venues including stadiums, concert halls, and convention centers in Massachusetts.  Lessons learned from this exercise will be shared with all of the large venues throughout the Commonwealth.

“Beyond the obvious benefits of training in a live action environment, the long term impact of working with and among all of our public safety partners are the professional contacts and personal relationships that are so vital when emergency situations arise,” said David Gibbons, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. “The plans and protocols developed today will be the foundation for a coordinated response to a potential public safety emergency on our property, as well as other large venues in Massachusetts.”

Due to the size and scope of Operation Vanguard, and to simulate as closely as possible the real time impact and response to an emergency at the BCEC, there will be significant activity in and around the venue on March 22.

About the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA)

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority owns and oversees the operations of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, the MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA, the Boston Common Parking Garage, The Lawn On D Powered by Citizens Bank, and The Lot On D. The MCCA's mission is to generate significant regional economic activity by attracting conventions, tradeshows, and other events to its world-class facilities while maximizing the investment return for the residents and businesses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.