On February 23, 2021, four members of the public attempted to physically disrupt a Nevada County virtual Board of Supervisors meeting. Although the meeting was being broadcasted virtually, there were those who came in person, and the situation became chaotic—a security guard was assaulted, people tried to access the board chambers and other physical spaces of the building. At this time, public meetings were being disrupted by protestors at the local, state, and national level, just as in Nevada County.

Action Plan

To Nick Poole, Nevada County Risk Manager, this situation called for event security planning.

“The origin [of the plan] was sitting with Elections Officials, hearing their concerns and threats made around October 2020 for the presidential election. A plan of action was drafted and implemented, but then shelved after the election.”

After the events at the board of supervisors meeting, “I pulled a copy of our election security plan, researched some event security plan frameworks, and adopted a crude draft for the first Board meetings in March 2021,” said Poole. 

What’s in the Plan?

All public meetings include a multitude of aspects—from the public access, Brown Act, logistics, venue(s), and so forth. Event security, especially when factoring in pandemic related regulations and the recent disruptive behavior, meant creating an all-encompassing plan.

The county’s plan outlined the roles and responsibilities, assignments, and positioning of the staff involved, and clear instructions of how to setup for crowd control.

Poole said they planned for several anticipated scenarios, after an outside Board of Supervisors meeting was met with threats from groups who had previously engaged in acts of civil disobedience.

The security plans “would be drafted for the venue, anticipated crowd size, as well as staff and supervisors’ safety. We would evaluate how many security guards are needed, and how many County personnel are needed to carry out the plan.”

As part of creating a security plan, Nevada County consulted with Mainstream Unlimited, a PRISM Partner Program. “They could review our plan, know our intent, and make effective recommendations,” Pool said. “We also started threat assessments on the more hostile people and groups; we would include warning about their behavior and what to look for.”

The security plan was created and modified over time, and evaluated after meetings for what worked and what needed improvements.

Keeping Plans Fluid

No plan will work 100% of the time and not every circumstance can be anticipated. Nevada learned this, and has constructed a plan that is designed to be “fluid.” Once the basics are in place, and the people involved are educated on their responsibilities, making a change becomes simpler.

“The plan is really just for how to start the day; the situation is fluid and will require constant changes/deviation through the meeting,” Poole said.

Weaving aspects of change and fluidity into the plan enabled the county to make changes on the fly, when the situations warranted.

Proactive Safety

Balancing the public’s right to be involved with the security and safety of all meeting attendees is no small feat. The County’s creation of a fluid and dynamic security plan allowed for continuation of services as well as safety.


Nevada County was a recipient of the 2021 PRISM EAGLE Awards. Get a sample template of the Event Safety & Security Plan by Nevada County (Word document).