On August 26th, 2018 a single person changed the dialogue about video game culture and gaming events in Jacksonville, Florida. Friends, families, and the community are still recovering from the repercussions of the tragedy – and the team at WasabiCon and Green Mustard Entertainment, Inc. have been monitoring the situation very closely.
Since last month, we have had conversations with the Jacksonville’s Sheriff’s Office, the Lexington Hotel and Conference Center, and Visit Jacksonville in regards to our operational plans in light of recent events. We’re very happy to say that our infrastructure was already in place for convention safety prior to the incident at the Jacksonville Landing. That said, we felt it important to share some things.
JACKSONVILLE SHERIFF’S OFFICE
In addition to the hotel’s in house security, WasabiCon will be paying for uniformed officers to be on-site during WasabiCon 2018. This was something that was implemented last year that we are repeating. Please be sure to say hi to these officers when you see them and thank them for being there!
As with previous years, all props (replica weapons, etc.) must follow the event guidelines listed on our website and registration forms: http://wasabicon.com/policies#weapons. If, upon inspection, one of our trained staff is still unsure about your prop we will defer to one of the uniformed officers from JSO to review it.
THE LEXINGTON HOTEL & CONFERENCE CENTER
While WasabiCon is a private event, the conference center is shared space with hotel guests. This does create certain limitations in regards to what can and cannot be done regarding non-convention attendees passing through, but we are working with the host property to minimize this as much as possible.
All WasabiCon staff will be provided with important emergency management training prior to the event opening its doors. This will include emergency exit information, procedures during a crisis, and other elements to help enhance mindfulness of a safe convention environment.
VISITOR SAFETY IN JACKSONVILLE
Jacksonville, Florida is home to some of the most amazing people, businesses, and organizations we’ve had the pleasure of working with in this industry. A couple of comments have been made online about questioning attending WasabiCon in Jacksonville due to safety. As a result, we’d like to share this statement from Visit Jacksonville:
Jacksonville is a major metropolitan city welcoming more than 20 million overnight and daily visitors each year, like every other major city, we encourage all visitors to be aware of their surroundings and practice common sense in all areas. Despite isolated incidents, Downtown Jacksonville has the lowest incidence of crime in Jacksonville with a dedicated team of JSO (Jacksonville Sheriff Officers) patrolling at all times. Additionally, JSO regularly deploys extra officers Downtown for ongoing special events including conventions, community and holiday events, parades, races and sporting events. Downtown Ambassadors also monitor the Downtown area to help visitors feel safer. They are available for escorts upon request.
SEE SOMETHING; SAY SOMETHING
In addition to WasabiCon’s anti-harassment policies (http://wasabicon.com/policies – Convention Rules, #3) – we encourage our attendees to feel comfortable approaching our staff, on-site security, and law enforcement at our event. If you see something, say something. We want our convention to be a SAFE environment where everyone can have FUN.
Please feel free to contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at the office of Green Mustard Entertainment: (407) 536-9272.