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by: Guest Blogger - Wednesday, September 3, 2014
By Aaron Smith
Director, Sustainable Building Solutions, ASSA ABLOY

When people think about green building, it’s a safe bet that energy-efficient access control isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, in the effort to make facilities as green as possible, every single area where energy can be conserved must be addressed— and that includes a building’s access control system.

As a security director you’re aware that every other aspect of building construction is becoming greener—lighting, HVAC systems, insulation and windows to name a few examples. Now it’s time for security systems to catch up. This is especially true in light of the fact that environmentally friendly building is becoming a mandated necessity.

Whether you’re upgrading an existing system or installing a new one, what factors are involved and what questions should you be asking?

Power Consumption and EPDs

Regardless of device, whether it’s an electronic lock, request-to-exit (REX) sensor, electric strike or other hardware, a fundamental consideration is the amount of power the device uses. When evaluating different products, be sure to ask the integrator or manufacturer to explain the differences in power consumption between different products or technologies.

Keep in mind that although one product might cost more than another out of the box, the initial difference in cost between the two might become insignificant when comparing the overall difference in life cycle cost over a 30-year period and how much energy each product consumes. On the other hand, long-term product costs or savings can differ dramatically. For example, one mortise lock on the market is up to 96 percent more energy-efficient than other types and uses about 0.24 watts of power compared to about 6 watts for older solenoid types. It also requires fewer power supplies in a given installation and generates less heat, further reducing energy consumption. At 10 cents per kilowatt-hour in a facility with 1,000 doors that adds up to more than $5,000 in annual savings.

Another indicator of an electronic access control product’s environmental impact is its Environmental Product Declaration, or EPD. An EPD is a verified document that provides information about the environmental impact of a product or system, based on life cycle assessment (LCA) and other relevant information such as manufacturing processes, materials content, energy use and efficiency, and product end of life policies. Information about EPDs including a downloadable product database is available at For security directors and anyone involved in green building, the site is an invaluable resource for comparing products.

Standards and Regulatory Requirements

Meeting green building requirements means meeting federal, state and local regulations, which are becoming more prevalent every year. Many U.S. federal agencies and state and local governments already require or reward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for projects, and no detail, including more efficient EAC implementation, is too small in working towards LEED and GBI (Green Building Initiative) certification.

Looking at the big picture, the ultimate green goal is to achieve a “net zero” building, where the total amount of energy a building uses is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. To name one particularly urgent example: Executive Order 13514 mandates that at least 15 percent of existing federal buildings and leases meet Energy Efficiency Guiding Principles by 2015 with a goal of all new federal buildings achieving net zero status by 2030.

The more you are on top of these standards and requirements, the better prepared you’ll be to meet current and future mandates.

Make The Most of What You Have—But Look For Improvement

When was the last time you updated or even looked at your current system’s access control specifications? Now is the time to review your existing installation from top to bottom. There’s a strong possibility that you can get greater efficiency out of every element of your security system, from reducing thermal and air leakage by implementing better control of door openings to making better use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) connectivity, which uses less energy than conventional wired connections.

Even if you’ve updated your specification within the last year, you should still reevaluate it now, since developments in green access control are changing rapidly. If you don’t look at what’s going on in the industry right now, you could be missing out on opportunities for significant energy—and cost—savings.

While the need for more energy-efficient access control is more compelling than ever, never compromise the integrity of your security system in the quest to go green. In truth, today’s green security products and top performance go hand in hand, and you can have both. To accomplish this goal, it’s essential to team with an integrator who is on top of the latest developments in green access control, understands how access control interfaces with other aspects of a building’s IT, HVAC and other systems – and above all, is there to help security directors like yourself achieve greater overall energy efficiency in your facility.

Aaron Smith, LEED AP BD+C, is director of Sustainable Building Solutions for ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions

by: Guest Blogger - Wednesday, May 28, 2014
By Mike Matta
Co-founder and CEO of Solink

Is video surveillance an underdeveloped asset in the world of Big Data analytics and security system management?

That is the question many security industry executives and managers are beginning to ask themselves as new technologies prove an expanded role for video content in the day-to-day operations of any competitive business environment.

For years, video surveillance has been thought as nothing more than an expensive insurance policy that protects the organization from theft, accident fraud and employee misconduct. Video has been a defensive tool in protecting assets, employees and customers, and continues to serve that limited function in millions of businesses today.

However, recently introduced software applications and technological advances have begun to move video surveillance from a reactive tool to a proactive role in developing data-driven strategies and in providing contextual video content for resolving a variety of timely business challenges.

Surveillance video has become both the blessing and a curse of the 21st century. We produce over 413 petabytes of recorded video data on a daily basis and have invested billions in recording and storage devices that house all of this information. For the past decade, the security industry has continued to create new and innovative ways to record and store video, but has not addressed the question of how to make the best use of video content produced by that expensive investment.

Until recently, the timely accessibility of this wealth of information has been challenging at best. More manual than automated, it was almost impossible to find a reliable way to correlate video with other types of recorded business data to take action or predict future behavior.

The challenge has always been that recorded surveillance video and traditional business computerized data is stored in different parts of the enterprise network and have not been considered a collaborative business tool across the enterprise.  Other than time stamps and some programmed event trigger alarms, there were not too many reliable ways to use one in cooperation with the other.

With the introduction of simple exception-based reporting systems, video can now be proactively programmed to become part of any marketing, operations or investigation activity by linking it directly with the corresponding transactional or business data. This approach provides a more contextual understanding of any questionable activity or business opportunity. 

Recorded and live video provides the ultimate form of contextual insight to know exactly what happened at any given date or time.

The applications for this new asset are obvious in the areas of proactive theft and fraud detection and prevention. The alignment of video and other recorded business data can also have a positive impact on employee training, inventory control, retail promotions and sales, and other areas of the business where predicting employee or customer behavior can lend itself to building a more competitive business strategy.

The emergence of IP video has made a lot of these new solutions possible. Digitizing live and recorded video has made it accessible to and compatible with other applications and video solutions available today. Business executives and managers are currently searching for new ways to democratize the data stored in their existing security and enterprise network equipment without investing in additional expensive hardware fixes.

There seems to be an inevitable convergence of video data with other forms recorded information that will connect customer actions and transactional events to one another. The ability to pull targeted bits of information from the collective data stream already exists with other forms of data. Retail, financial, entertainment, transportation and medical are all industries that are driving the demand for the context found in recorded and live video to improve their business operations.

Video surveillance is quickly emerging as a critical part of all future data-driven applications and activities. For better or worse, it has become an essential component in the information mix that is pushing data-driven content into all aspects of our lives and the corporate boardrooms. Video analytics platforms and other decision-support systems are in the market and can easily connect with any web-enabled device, such as, a smart phone, tablet or laptop computer. 

The market acceptance of the trend to manage video and data content as a whole will drive the next round of video surveillance tools and applications, from a device that simply records events to a converged enterprise platform that enable actionable and timely business intelligence.

Mike Matta is co-founder and CEO of Solink in Ottawa, Canada. Matta has a long history in the creation and implementation of date analytical products and services.

by: Guest Blogger - Thursday, April 17, 2014
Jeffrey Hawkins
Manager, Strategic Initiatives for the Private Security Sector, American Military University

On March 17, Security Director News Managing Editor Amy Canfield (a media colleague I respect) wrote a blog post, “Journalists 'surprise entries' to schools draw criticism. Why?”

And as much as I like and respect Ms. Canfield, I have to totally disagree with her take about media people showing flaws in security, especially at schools, by walking into unsecured buildings and areas.

As I told Ms. Canfield, in my opinion they had no right to do this, it was dangerous, and frankly I think they should have faced charges.

I know that sounds harsh, but here are some points:

1. With the climate of heightened awareness of what is happening in our schools, an untrained person should not be the one testing security at a place like a school. As a former cop, FBI-trained SWAT member and chief security officer who worked in an armed capacity, I know this could have turned out very bad. Imagine I am the armed officer in the school and see this person enter a bathroom. I confront the person, and they make a move that I perceive as going for a weapon—I am going to shoot. I have had the unfortunate experience of seeing fellow police officers shoot and kill suspects who made moves perceived as threatening only to find out that they were not armed—it happens and is very bad when it does.

2. Putting school children in a panic is just uncalled for, no matter what point you are trying to make. I remember an incident when I first started in security and was working for a pharmaceutical distribution company outside of Chicago. It was high risk and security was tight. A security vendor I was considering using to supplement my security decided one day to make unauthorized entry into the building and run out a fire exit into a waiting car, setting off all types of alarms. They were proving the point that there were "gaps" in our access control, however, as pointed out above, they were almost shot, and they really didn't enter into any secure area except the office and scared the heck out of office personnel. If traumatic to adults, I can't imagine, in this day of tragic events we have witnessed in schools, how traumatic it would be to children. (As a side note, that vendor never got work from me or anyone else I told about what they pulled.)

3. Lastly inducing panic is pretty plain and simple by definition. No one should be doing this, period.

Now to Ms. Canfield’s point: how the heck does this happen in any school given what we have experienced, and where is the security? I totally agree; if a reporter can penetrate the school, what would a bad guy be able to do?

But this comes down to several points (below) about what an effective security plan entails, which I think a lot of people do not understand, and I would guess a lot of organizations do not practice: penetration tests of their own security.

1.  Security is never 100 percent and never will be, but untested security is 100 percent vulnerability—you are guessing it will work.

2. Security is not "things" you just put in place for peace of mind. Alarms, CCTV, etc., are parts of overall security (physical, electronic and procedural), but the object is to create layers to make it harder for the bad guy to penetrate. “Things” cannot be put in place and left untested, and that goes for people as well as technology.

3. There are ways to do controlled penetration tests without panicking people. I have personally completed many at various institutions around the country without inducing panic, and as a chief security officer I have hired people to test my own security and security personnel. Typically, I would do four to six penetration tests a year (not an alarm test, but a person physically gaining entry into a protected facility or area). There are safe ways to do this and afterwards, pass or fail, make adjustments and let your staff know how they did.

Unfortunately, many organizations spend resources on security but never actually test its effectiveness, and this is a big mistake.

There are ways to do controlled, unannounced penetration tests, but they need to be done by professionals, before the media shows up or, worst, a tragic incident occurs.

Jeffrey A. Hawkins, B.S., M.S. is a senior public safety/security professional with over 30-years of diverse experience working for profit, not-for-profit and government organizations on a local, regional, and global level. He currently serves as Manager, Strategic Initiatives for the Private Security Sector at American Military University. His full bio may be found on LinkedIn at:


by: Guest Blogger - Monday, November 4, 2013
Jeffrey Hawkins
American Military University

The attack on at a TSA security checkpoint Nov. 1 at Los Angeles International Airport seems to have shocked the media, politicians and the general public.

I truly hope that it did not come as a surprise to any law enforcement or security practitioner.

There is a false sense of security that has been created by investing billions of dollars in creating TSA and security checkpoints after 9/11.

Up until last week’s attack at LAX, many people really thought that they were safe from all threats at airports, and that could not be further from the truth.

In an article I wrote in July and several articles before that, I have expressed my concern with these TSA checkpoints, security in the terminal areas and the role of security and police.

Any metal detector/security checkpoint, be it at airports or elsewhere, without armed officers places everyone in jeopardy.

The fact that TSA has detected so many weapons over the years is laudable; however the fact that none of these weapons have been turned on them before the LAX incident is just lucky.

The initial thought of protecting airplanes from people getting on with weapons or explosives, as we experienced during the 9/11 attacks, is a good idea, but there is a distinct difference between a terrorist trying to “sneak” weapons or explosives onto a plane and an all-out assault.

And this applies to any security operation using metal detectors and security personnel.

One operation I was in charge of in Chicago years back was to provide security for a high-risk museum exhibit coming from another country. Even prior to the exhibit arriving, the museum was receiving threats.

The decision was made to deploy metal detectors for the three-month period that the exhibit would be in Chicago. It was a big decision at a big cost.

During the three months of the exhibit, we screened almost 400,000 people through three metal detectors. Every hour that the metal detectors were being used for screening the exhibit was staffed with nine off-duty armed police officers and 15 unarmed uniformed security officers; this was in addition to all other security personnel.

At the end of the three months the officers had confiscated 12 knives, six handguns and a stun gun.

Most of the people who had their weapons confiscated were honest people from other states who did not realize it was a felony to carry a handgun in Chicago even if you had a permit from another state. A couple of people were suspicious in nature and escorted out of the building, and the guy with the stun gun ran off once it was discovered.

But our role was to provide security, not to be the police and arrest or chase people; it was to keep everyone safe.

There was no way I would have staffed a metal detector checkpoint without armed officers being present—it doesn’t make sense when you are dealing with the public, especially in a high risk environment.

Case in point can be made with the incident in 2009 at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington. A man with a rifle walked in and immediately shot and killed a security officer point blank.

The death of that security officer was tragic, but the immediate response from other armed security officers at the metal detector checkpoint shows why staffing these points with armed officer is vital: Several officers drew their weapons and returned fire, shooting through the glass doors and striking the gunman several times, stopping him.

Had the gunman made his way past the checkpoint, thousands of people, many of them schoolchildren, were potential victims.

As security practitioners it is our job to avoid creating a false sense of security, even at the cost of being politically incorrect on gun issues or having to tell our employers the truth about costs and risks.

Jeffrey Hawkins is manager, strategic initiatives, private security sector for American Military University. He is a former law enforcement supervisor who transitioned into the private security sector serving as chief security officer in the pharmaceutical, health care, cultural properties, religious and corporate industries.












by: Guest Blogger - Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Bhavin Shah
Marketing and Business Development, Polaris Wireless

Public safety and security provide significant growth opportunities for the location industry, in applications ranging from criminal surveillance to emergency response. But not all location solutions are alike, and some work better than others in powering the next-generation efforts of law enforcement and private security organizations. The two technologies most in use today are:

· Global Positioning System-based location systems. These require GPS receiver chipsets to be included in the caller’s mobile device. GPS solutions take relatively longer to locate a target resulting in possible life-threatening situations for emergency callers. GPS solutions work well in direct line-of-sight conditions with the satellites, such as suburban and rural areas, but are challenged in dense urban areas and indoor environments where most calls originate.

· RF Pattern Matching [RFPM] is a network-based positioning method based on radio-link measurements collected from the network, using the device’s own radio signals to identify its location and eliminate any dependency on satellites or other hardware. RFPM is able to locate all callers across any air interface and in any environment, eliminating limitations related to the phone type or network technology. RFPM works extremely well in non line-of-sight conditions, such as dense urban and indoor environments, and is highly reliable for mission-critical applications.

As high-accuracy wireless location solutions become increasingly prevalent in public safety applications, law enforcement organizations are finding new and creative uses:

· Gunshot detection. As profiled in a recent 60 Minutes episode, the Springfield, Mass., police department deployed a location-based application called ShotSpotter that detects the sources of gunshots using acoustic measurements, detecting over 4,000 gunshots in the first two years it was deployed, leading to more than 25 arrests.

· Augmented reality. Imagine an officer approaching a suspect location. By using location technology interfacing with court and police records that have been geo-tagged, the officer can instantly access all outstanding warrants, arrest records of persons living there, and other useful information to better assess the situation before he enters the building.

· Facial recognition. An officer can photograph a suspect in the field under surveillance and upload the photo to headquarters where it is instantly analyzed. The suspect identification and related information (criminal record, arrest warrants, known associates) is then relayed back to the officer, providing a real-time snapshot of the suspect and better equipping the officer.

· License plate reader. When tailing a suspect vehicle, an officer can scan license plates and check against a database to determine if the car is stolen, has been used in a crime, belongs to a crime suspect, etc. The location application can also alert other officers in the area if backup is required and determine the most optimal routes to intercept the suspect vehicle.

· Crime heat maps. Location technology can be used to create crime “heat maps” based on public safety statistics to identify concentrations of various types of crime, such as auto theft and burglary, and respond accordingly. The officer will be alerted when he has crossed a virtual geo-fence into such a hotspot so that the officer can prepare and respond. Similarly, headquarters can filter and analyze geo-tagged events such as arrests, 911 calls and more to determine patterns and better allocate resources.

Location-enabled solutions for security applications help protect the public and law enforcement officers, and they are cost effective, often resulting in smarter use of resources. Most importantly, high-accuracy wireless location technology gives public safety organizations an advantage over criminals and opens new doors to more advanced applications in the future.

Bhavin Shah leads the Marketing and Business Development activities for Polaris Wireless. He can be reached at: (408) 492-8900 or


by: Guest Blogger - Friday, June 7, 2013

Education in the physical security sector remains remarkably low. According to a 2010 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, only 12 percent of security professionals have bachelor’s degrees, 42 percent have some college, and the remaining 46 percent have a high school diploma or less. However, many leading security professionals throughout the industry are working to change those statistics by putting education at the forefront of their security programs.

Marilyn Hollier, CPP, CHPA, is the director of HHC Security Services at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers. In her leadership role, she has made it one of her career objectives to ensure her security staff has the opportunity to achieve a higher level of education.

In January of 2014, Hollier will have a wider opportunity to share her outlook on education with other security leaders when she takes the helm as president of the International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS). As president she will continue building the membership of hospitals around the country and the world promoting training and certification programs. IAHSS has also recently developed an educational partnership with American Military University to promote the value of education within the security industry. This partnership will jointly encourage those in the hospital security profession to pursue higher levels of education and help “professionalize” the security industry.

“I want a well-educated staff to help us be successful,” said Hollier. “As a leader, I tell all my employees that they are resources—their success is mine and my success is theirs.” She encourages all her employees to get their bachelor’s, master’s or other certifications. Employees are offered incentives to further their education, from bonuses after they complete programs to flexible work hours to account for school schedules.

The proof of her dedication to education is in the numbers. Out of her 166 staff members:

  • 12 have high school diplomas
  • 20 have Associate’s degrees
  • 123 have Bachelor’s degrees
  • 11 have Master’s degrees


Hollier makes a point to talk about education even during the interview process. “Before they sign on the dotted line, we make a verbal contract where they agree that they will train beyond their job,” she said. “They understand they are resources to this department and that I want them to be successful and continue their education if they can. It’s a win for us and a win for them.”

She attributes her focus on education partially to her own career experiences, specifically addressing some of the obstacles she faced during her early career. After getting her master’s degree in Urban Studies/Human Resources in 1987, Hollier said she had difficulty getting recognition for her academic achievements. “I struggled to get law enforcement and/or security leadership positions because I was often more educated than the people interviewing me,” she said. “I would think to myself: ‘I’m a resource to help you be successful,’ but they often saw me as a threat. That stayed with me and I learned from that,” she said.

Hollier also stresses the importance of professional certifications. Many on her leadership team have obtained theirs. She has eight Certified Healthcare Protection Administrators (CHPA) through IAHSS, four Certified Protection Professionals (CPP) and one Physical Security Professional (PSP) through ASIS International.

She has found that education helps build self-esteem and confidence among her employees. “It is common sense to me,” she said. “You get good at your job when you have a combination of education and experience. Education teaches you tools that you can try out in your job.”

Leischen Stelteris the coordinator of Social Media Integration at American Military University, writing about issues and trends in the physical security and public safety sectors. Stelter is the former managing editor of Security Director News. In addition to contributing to AMU Security Info, she also manages the blog, In Public Safety, which focuses on issues and trends in law enforcement, fire services, emergency management and national intelligence.

by: Guest Blogger - Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The National Anti-Organized Retail Crime Association was created in 2011 to assist loss prevention professionals and law enforcement officials by bringing the private sector and public sector together against the growing tide of organized retail crime.

We at NAORCA are dedicated and passionate about this topic. ORC has been linked to terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and the funding of other criminal gang activity in the United States and around the world. Everyday another international retail theft ring is uncovered.

Retail is global and so is organized retail crime. This is truly a global epidemic.

Our industry must continue to work together and build partnerships throughout the world. We can do this through education, training and awareness. Being on the front line in this fight I have seen all types of ORC, such as credit card fraud, check fraud, refund fraud, organized shoplifting, fake and altered receipts and price tags, E-fencing, burglary, robbery, smash-and-grab and counterfeit money and merchandise.

Retailers must continue to work together and share information about these criminal groups. As our industry continues to evolve, along with new technologies, we must try to be one step ahead of the criminal activity before it hits the bottom line.

Let’s stop being victims of this crime and stand up, work together, share information and make an impact.

Top executives must look at this as an industry problem and work with other retailers by sharing information and let go of the mindset that sending these criminals to another retail chain will solve the problem. Talk to the people who are out there in the field investigating these crimes, and look at the complexities and sophistication that these criminals have undertaken to commit these crimes.

Retailers can be proactive by establishing ORC units dedicated to this fight. They must continue to fund training and education in credit card, check, refund and gift-card fraud. They also must fund training in counterfeiting and e-crimes. 

Retailers could also provide funding to local, state and federal agencies that are on the front line in tackling these crimes. Funding could help with equipment, and help these agencies off set payroll dollars needed to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

NAORCA is dedicated to ORC education, training, and awareness not only to loss prevention and law enforcement but to many other industry sectors these types of crimes impact.

Christopher McGourty has more than 20 years of experience in loss prevention, including working for Filene’s Basement, TJX and Lowe’s Home Improvement and is a founder/board member of the National Anti-ORC Association Inc.,

by: Guest Blogger - Friday, May 17, 2013

The recent spike in attacks upon members of the justice community in the United States has caused many to be concerned. Perhaps most disconcerting is the diversity of the attackers. A white supremacist parolee kills the head of Colorado's prison system, Tom Clements. A discredited former judge kills Prosecutor Mark Hasse and District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife. A rogue, discredited LAPD officer kills the daughter of the captain he felt failed him. In the wake of these attacks, personnel and offices are increasingly reevaluating security measures.

In my study, Murdered Justice: An Exploratory Study of Targeted Attacks upon the Justice Community, I found a total of 133 incidents of targeted violence against judges, prosecutors and cops between January 1950 and December 2012. This work rose out of the need to understand this type of violence, to understand the potential adversary. All too often I have heard command staff make a statement regarding security based upon assumption without any statistical or practical knowledge to support it. Many times, as my research revealed, they were incorrect.
Of these events, 63 were categorized as being completed; 41 were successful in killing the victim. Another 70 events were classified as attempts, wherein no violence against a targeted individual occurred, mostly due to law enforcement intervention.

While 63 attacks over six decades is a decidedly low frequency of occurrence, especially considering the number of murders that occur every year in this country, it is nevertheless still of note for a number of reasons. First, these attacks place judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officers amongst the top four government members to be targeted for violence (the fourth profession being world leaders). Secondly, these murders are not the more commonly encountered random violence, nor do they stem from domestic issues. Rather, these are the most heinous of crimes, calculated and premeditated attacks for no other reason than the individual doing their job.     

My research revealed three primary motives for this violence. Revenge was by far the most common motive, accounting for 67 percent of all attempts/completed attacks against 108 victims.  Offenders' efforts to "derail and/or delay" an active investigation/prosecution was the second most common motive, accounting for 30 percent of the all incidents; there were 45 individuals targeted behind this motive. The final motive was one of "professional rivalry."  While only accounting for 3 percent of all attempts/attacks studied (none of which were perpetrated against prosecutors), these were of note for two reasons: All of the primary offenders (those instigating the attack) were current members of the justice community; and all were successful in killing the victim.

In examining the victimology of targeted violence, some variation was noted between the attempted and completed attacks. Members of the judiciary were the primary targeted victim, accounting for 35 percent of the attempts and 43 percent of the completed attacks.  Prosecutors were the target in 34 percent of the attempts, while law enforcement officers were targeted 31 percent of the time. However, in the completed attacks, a switch of positions was found, with law enforcement the victim of 30 percent of the completed attacks and prosecutors 27 percent.
The offenders behind these attempts and attacks were found to be predominately white male adults, followed closely by black male adults. In 83 percent of the instances of attempts to attack, the offenders were facing pending charges, in the instances of completed attacks, that percentage dropped to 48 percent. These charges included the expected violent and narcotic-related offenses, but also included a large number of fraud, property and, surprisingly, DUI-related crimes. There were also a large number of attempts and attacks stemming from civil- and divorce-related matters, which were almost exclusively targeting members of the judiciary.

One of the more unnerving findings of my study was in the locations selected by these offenders in which to stage their attacks. While a common assumption for such potential violence is that it would occur at or near the office and/or courthouse locations, my research revealed this not to be the case. The homes of members of the justice community were the site of 51 percent of all known attacks. While surprising, it makes sense from the perspective of anyone wanting to conduct a successful attack and escape. Office and/or courthouse locations throughout the United States continue to strengthen their security signature with armed officers, metal detectors, alarm systems and closed circuit television cameras. This serves the goal of presenting a formidable obstacle to potential offenders, thus causing them to look elsewhere for suitable sites of attack.

Conversely, the residences of most people provide an offender with many advantages. There is generally less overall lighting, pedestrian and vehicle traffic is often low, thus reducing potential witnesses, but perhaps most importantly, there is the tendency to reduce one's guard at home. No one, not even highly trained and experience law enforcement officers, are prepared to deal with an attack at their threshold. None of this has been lost on potential offenders. In the just the past three years, the number of attacks occurring at the residence has increased to 62 percent.
While my study focused on the criminal justice community, for those in corporate America, there were a number of similarities. Corporate executives ranked fifth in total instances of targeted attacks around the world. Like those targeting the justice community, the majority of these attacks occurred at or near the residence, followed closely by attacks during transit between locations. Worldwide, the attacks most often came in the form of shootings, however, in the United States, 58 percent were kidnappings. Equally of concern, most of these attacks occurred while the executives were by themselves, without any of the security normally afforded to them while at the office.

What this study reveals is, regardless of one's profession, all are susceptible to a targeted attack. As office locations continue to be hardened, potential adversaries will be forced to stage their attacks farther away from such locations. The sheer cost of a full-time protective detail is prohibitive for most organizations, government or corporate. This unfortunately results in the reality that for most people, security and awareness of potential hostile activity rests upon their shoulders. Security personnel can and should be proactive and provide these potential targets with an understanding of how and what to look for. It is only by understanding their individual vulnerability points, in relation to the indicators of a build up to attack, that early detection is possible. While this initial work can be considerable in terms of manhours, it is nothing when compared to the costs of a protective team.  More importantly, it is the one step that can be taken now, which with periodic updates, will last well into the future for that individual.
Glenn McGovern is a senior investigator in the Santa Clara, Calif., District Attorney's Office. He has been in law enforcement for 20 years, including being assigned to SWAT and Special Operations teams and working for three years on international terrorism investigations with the FBI.

by: Guest Blogger - Friday, February 1, 2013
Alan Kruglak
Genesis Security Systems

Post-installation service is becoming more and more of a critical concern for most end-users today. However, when qualifying potential vendors, they often make the simple mistake of asking this question: "Do you provide service after the project has been completed?"

The standard response from any vendor is: "Yes."

Unfortunately, the vendor gave the right answer while the real problem resides in the question. This question treats service as a peripheral commodity without fully understanding what it takes to meet the client's expectations for service.

Instead of asking the above question, a better question would be: "How do you achieve responsive excellent service?"

While there are many factors that go into establishing an effective service program, one of the most critical components is your prospective vendor's approach to product standardization. For instance, if a security integrator carries more than two access control products, the chances are that they will be less likely to fulfill the client's service requirements since their technical infrastructure is not standardized to a specific solution.

For those firms that adhere to strict product and design standards, the benefits and efficiencies of standardization surface in many areas. First, by standardizing to a limited number of name-brand products, a security integrator can afford to invest in technical training for their service personnel. At our firm, where we carry one and only one access control product line, with a total of 48 employees, we invest more than $100,000 annually in training. If we carried more products, this number would most likely have to double, maybe even triple.

If you select an integrator that believes in standardization, you are less likely to hear one of their technicians utter the most horrifying words: "I've never seen this product before."

The second benefit of standardization is that it enables an integrator to maintain a reasonable service inventory of spare parts. Using basic logic, if a company carries a broad range of products, its inventory would have to be so large that most firms would be unable to afford a large inventory. The default service plan would be that they would depend on the manufacturer to maintain a service inventory. Of course, when your system is down and you need an immediate response, you do not want to hear the technician say on Friday evening: "There is a spare part in California, and we will have it here by Monday, Tuesday at the latest." It happens all of the time.

At our firm, by adhering to strong standardization principles, we are able to maintain a $500,000 (wholesale) inventory local to our market, and all of our service vehicles are fully stocked with spares. There is an added benefit of stocking our service vehicles with spares. It decreases the downtime of our clients, thereby increasing client satisfaction. Most important, it also lowers our operating costs since it makes us more efficient.

So, when it comes time to investigate a potential vendor's service ability, go above the norm and ask the real questions:

1. How many access control products do you support?
2. How many of your technicians are factory-certified on the products that you install?
3. What is the wholesale value of your service inventory?
4. What is the wholesale value of parts on each of your service vehicles?

The above questions will get you the right answers to make the best-value decision for your organization.

Alan Kruglak is senior vice president of Genesis Security Systems, an electronic security systems integrator based in Germantown, Md.

by: Guest Blogger - Friday, January 25, 2013
Jeffrey A. Hawkins
American Military University

Over the last 30 years, several incidents stick out in my mind that either happened at institutions where I was chief security officer or happened to close colleagues. All taught me valuable lessons that are applicable to all organizations.

In one incident, a tragic accident happened in a public venue on a very busy summer Saturday afternoon. A young teen was killed in a fall in front of dozens of people, many children. It was a horrific scene. My colleague, who was on his way to a ballgame with his son, was called in.

My colleague told me after the incident that he had many security and emergency plans in place prior to the incident, but was taken by surprise when the captain of the fire department on the scene told him that he better get some counselors in for all the people that witnessed the death. My colleague told me that, being in a major city, he had alwayts assumed first responders would have people to contact for that type of thing. He never thought that would be his responsibility.

In another incident, a U.S- based research company was contacted by one of its employees. One of the helicopters the company had hired went down in a Peruvian jungle, most likely with fatalities, what should be done? The president of the organization, who later readily admitted that there were no plans in place for something like this, was suddenly faced with many critical decisions and actions to take. Who notifies the families? How do you get the bodies back to the United States? Who should go to Peru to handle the situation, if anyone, and who pays for all these expenses?

Shortly after, that company established a Crisis Management Team.

Security, law enforcement and first responders spend a lot of time trying to develop and implement ways to prevent incidents—from accidents to acts of violence—from happening, as well as how to respond quickly and efficiently when they do.

The fact of the matter is that security is never 100 percent. and incidents will continue to happen, be it at a school, church, corporate office or mall. All organizations must have a CMT in place, trained and ready to handle whatever may happen to or within their organization.

Often, organizations think their security team is the CMT. That could not be further from the truth.  Security personnel may be part of the CMT, but they are not the team itself.

The CMT handles an incident after it occurs and is generally given the authority to act quickly without having to contact executives or boards of directors, etc. This is a critical piece. The CMT must be given the authority to act, whether that means making public statements, dealing with authorities, making operational decisions or spending money.

The optimal CMT is usually small, about five people, with back-ups for each position. The members include representatives from human resources, finance, legal, facilities and security departments. These may be direct employees or may be outside contractors, especially in the areas of legal, insurance and finance.

What the CMT may have to handle is only limited by one's imagination. It may include everything from a fire. a death due to violence or medical problem, to a kidnapping, domestically or abroad.

Regularly scheduled tabletop exercises, from start to finish, is the best training team-members can receive. Coming up with scenarios is as simple as reading today's headlines and putting your organization in that situation. There will be many things that were never thought of, like counselors for children on a Saturday afternoon.

But this is the time to find out what you don't know, before an actual incident occurs.

Jeffrey A. Hawkins is manager, strategic initiatives for the private security sector, at American Military University. He has more than 30 years of experience as a public safety/security professional.