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A great talk with health care pros

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Yesterday I traveled south to Westford, Mass., to Tyco Security Products’ HQ to meet with the company’s Healthcare Advisory Council.

It was well worth the two-hour road trip in torrential rain. The members of the council were forthcoming and generous in their comments about the challenges they face as security pros at some of the nation’s leading hospitals.

Council members attending the meeting were Lauris Freidenfelds of Rush University Medical System in Chicago; Steven Bourg of Houston Methodist; Kenneth Rasmussen of Waterbury, Conn., Hospital; Marvin White of Yale-New Haven Hospital; Joseph Forte of Penn Medicine; Kurt Vahle of UF Health in Gainesville, Fla.; and Ralph Nerette of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Jim Stankevich, global health-care lead for Tyco Security Products, ran the event.

Hospitals are like small cities, members said. Medical centers house retail operations, must offer hospitality, ensure visitor safety, security for their patients and protect their employees. There’s a high stress level and high emotions 24/7.

Active shooter drills, workplace violence, risk assessment surveys, access control, panic buttons, surveillance cameras, visitor management systems and more were the topics that came up during my discussion with these knowledgeable pros. Lots of good article fodder for Security Director News, so stay tuned about that.

What are your health-care security concerns? What do you hope is the focus of your local hospital’s security director? Let me know and I’ll write about it.






'20 under 40 award winners always come through!

Monday, July 22, 2013

I had the pleasure last week of speaking with one member of last year's class of SDN’s “20 under 40” winners. Randy Johnson, corporate security-shortage controller for Ferguson Enterprises Inc., based in Newport News, Va., and I were discussing what retailers do to confront organized retail crime in the top ORC hotspots in the United States.

I plan to write an article about that, talking to more LP pros in the near future. But, until then, I have to say that once again I was so impressed by this award-winning security pro’s insights.

I’ve called on many of last year's “20 under 40” winners over the past year for their expertise and information. These people are good, readers! They know what they’re doing, they know what they’re talking about and they know where the physical security industry is—or should be—headed.

That’s why it’s so very important that you nominate your younger associates for our award. Not only do they receive special, well-deserved recognition at our annual TechSec Solutions conference, to be held in January, they get the opportunity to bring their knowledge, acumen and visions to the table, benefiting us all. 

The deadline is Sept. 1. You can nominate here.

Please do. I look forward to meeting them!




Sign me up!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Transportation Security Administration is adding a new process that will allow more U.S. citizens to enroll in TSA Pre✓™ , an expedited screening program for pre-approved airline travelers. Approved passengers will be able to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes.

Previously, to be eligible for TSA Pre✓™, travelers had to opt-in through an airline’s frequent flier program, or be enrolled in one of CBP’s Global Entry, SENTRI or NEXUS Trusted Traveler programs. More than 12 million travelers have already experienced TSA Pre✓™ at 40 airports nationwide, and the new process will expand the availability of this program to a larger portion of traveling U.S. citizens, according to a prepared statement from the TSA.

Starting later this year, U.S. citizens will be able to apply online and visit an enrollment site to provide identification and fingerprints. TSA will start the program at Washington Dulles International Airport and Indianapolis International Airport, and it has plans to expand to additional sites nationwide.

“This initiative will increase the number of U.S. citizens eligible to receive expedited screening, through TSA Pre✓™,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “TSA Pre✓™ enables us to focus on the travelers we know the least about, adding efficiency and effectiveness to the screening process.”

The TSA Pre✓™ application program requires a background check, fingerprints and an anticipated enrollment fee of $85 for a five-year membership. Once approved, travelers will receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) and the opportunity to go through TSA Pre✓™ lanes at security checkpoints at participating airports.

TSA will continue, however, to incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.

Gun safety and kids in Missouri

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Among a number of pro-gun measures passed in Missouri this year is a law encouraging school districts to teach first-graders gun safety though a course sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

Other laws include requiring school personnel to take part in “active shooter and intruder” drills and transferring the issuance of concealed carry permits from driver’s license clerks to sheriff’s departments.

But let’s get back to the first-graders. At first read I was appalled, imagining 6-year-olds on a firing range. But, after some research on NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program, I was impressed. The goal is to teach young elementary school students to stay the heck away from guns, which can be found in half of U.S. households, the NRA says. The program’s main teaching is that when kids come upon a firearm they should:





Seems to me this training, along with the shooter drills for teachers and staff, would make anyone responsible for school security happy and rest a little bit more easier at night. We’ve all heard about little kids bringing loaded guns to school to show them off.


TSA honors most secure mass-transit agencies

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sixteen rail and mass transit agencies have earned the highest rating from the Transportation Security Administration.

The TSA's Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement is a voluntary comprehensive review of transportation agencies' security programs, which includes security training drills, background checks, public outreach initiatives and more.

Those receiving the Gold Standard in 2012 are: Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bus Company, N.Y.; Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA); San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART); Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH); Metro Transit Minneapolis-St. Paul; Metra-Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation; San Diego Metropolitan Transit System; Port Authority of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh; Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority; Utah Transit Authority; Pace-Suburban Bus Company; Westchester County, N.Y., Department of Transportation’s Bee-Line System; Connecticut Transit-Hartford Division; Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority of Ohio; Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Staten Island Railway; and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA).


ORC targets Thin Mints, Nutella and what else?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

I had an informative talk with Mark Doyle the other day about the annual retail theft survey his loss prevention/shrink reduction consultant firm, Jack L. Hayes International, recently released. You can read about that here.

But here’s more from our conversation.

Professional shoplifters, or organized retail crime boosters, whatever you may call them, usually focus on a specific item, Doyle said. We’ve all heard about ORC thefts of baby formula, Tide laundry detergent and other popular goods that sell well on the black market, but what Doyle told me? Interesting, to say the least.

“We were talking to a gang a number of years ago, and we asked them, ‘What do you specialize in?’ And they specialized in paintbrushes. Jack [Hayes] and I just looked at each other, like ‘What the heck?’ And we kind of started laughing, and the guy was ticked and said, ‘Have you looked at the price of paintbrushes lately?’

“So, the next time we went into a hardware store we went to where the paintbrushes were, and sure enough” the most expensive brushes were missing. They sell them to contractors,” he said.

Now, Doyle said, every time he goes into a Lowe’s, Home Depot or Ace Hardware, he goes to look “just out of habit” in the paintbrush aisle. “Sometimes the two pegs are stripped of all the expensive ones,” he said. He doesn’t know if they were stolen or pulled for security reasons, but said he’s seen no postings advising customers that if they want one of the expensive brushes they should contact an associate.

Other recent hot commodities, in the food and beverage genre, according to the Summer 2013 Hayes Report:

  • Thin Mints. A truck driver stole $19,000 worth of the favorite Girl Scout cookie from a warehouse.
  • Maple syrup. Four men stole 16 million barrels of the sweet, gooey stuff, worth about $18 million, in Quebec.
  • Soup. A Florida man made off with a cargo of Campbell’s soup worth $75,000.
  • Nutella. Five-and-a-half tons of Nutella valued at $20,710 was taken from a parked trailer truck.
  • Raw beef. In Florida, someone stole a full truckload of meat valued at $250,000.
  • Chicken wings. Two men from Georgia were arrested for stealing $65,000 in chicken wings.






Gun news—from crackdown success to missing and stolen …

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lots of news out there lately about guns. Here are three of the highlights:

1. A recently released study from Sam Houston State University found a concentrated Houston Police Department crackdown on illegal gun possession resulted in a significant reduction in subsequent crimes involving firearms.

“These findings add to the growing evidence that supports the use of directed patrols to target illegal gun possession in high crime locations,” wrote William Wells, co-author of the study. “An interesting phenomenon observed in Houston and in other cities is that relatively small numbers of additional gun seizures [and gun possession arrests in the current analysis] generate meaningful results.

The award-winning study looked at the Houston department’s Crime Reduction Unit.  You can read more about it here.

2. Meanwhile, the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior, just released its review of the U.S. Park Police, finding that the organization could not account for more than 1,400 of its weapons.

“The accompanying report provides ample evidence that USPP's firearms management requires immediate attention to address the multitude of problems we found, which ranged from fundamental errors in recordkeeping to glaring nonfeasance by senior command officers,” Mary L. Kendall, deputy inspector general, wrote to Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, and Teresa Chambers, chief of the USPP.

“We initially set out to determine if USPP could account for all military-style weapons in its inventory, whether USPP had intentionally concealed missing weapons, and whether officers used USPP weapons for their personal use. Our efforts to definitely address the allegations were hindered by a failure of the USPP property and firearms custodians to provide a baseline inventory and accounting of firearms. We found credible evidence of conditions that would allow for theft and misuse of firearms, and the ability to conceal the fact if weapons were missing,” Kendall continued in her [pretty much] scathing memo. Twenty recommendations were provided and the department was given a 45-day deadline to respond. You can view the memo and the report here.

3. That report came on the heels of an ATF report that found that more than 190,000 firearms were reported lost or stolen in the United States last year. President Obama ordered the first-ever audit in the wake of the Newtown school shootings last year. Of the 190,000 figure, 183,660 were stolen, up from 145,300 in 2010, reported in a review from the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victims Survey, according to an article from USA Today. That survey found that firearm thefts have been on the decline. The ATF report said its findings “likely reveal only a fraction of the problem,” because of underreporting.


A purpose for cockroaches? Think biobots

Friday, June 28, 2013

As a former Florida resident, I know all about cockroaches. Here’s what I know: They’re Nasty, and no, that uppercase N is not a typo. I’ll spare you my cucaracha horror stories, because the story below is more interesting.

North Carolina State University researchers have something positive in mind for these icky, albeit hardy, insects. They are using video-game technology to track how the roaches respond to remote control. Their hope is they’ll discover ways the bugs can be used in search-and-rescue missions at disaster sites.

I’m not kidding, I read about this on the Homeland Security News Wire.

The researchers are using Kinect to remotely control the cockroaches, track their progress and collect data on how to steer them more precisely, the report said.

“We want to build on this program, incorporating mapping and radio frequency techniques that will allow us to use a small group of cockroaches to explore and map disaster sites,” Dr. Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-author of a paper on the project, said in the report. “The autopilot program would control the roaches, sending them on the most efficient routes to provide rescuers with a comprehensive view of the situation.”

“The roaches would also be equipped with sensors, such as microphones, to detect survivors in collapsed buildings or other disaster areas,” the report said. “We may even be able to attach small speakers, which would allow rescuers to communicate with anyone who is trapped,” Bozkurt is quoted as saying in the report.

The paper is titled Kinect-based System for Automated Control of Terrestrial Insect Biobots. You can view a video here.

Military transitioning into private security: What's your take?

Monday, June 24, 2013

I had an interesting discussion last week with Jeffrey Hawkins. Strategic initiatives manager for American Military University, Hawkins will moderate a panel at the fall ASIS conference on “Transitioning from the Military or Law Enforcement into the Private Security Sector.”

Many think any person with a military background makes him or her a perfect fit for private security. The ASIS Foundation, in fact, has scholarships for active-duty personnel who want to gain certifications. Guard companies have been especially open to hiring ex-military.

But Hawkins, whose university’s 100,000 students worldwide are 58 percent active-military, had some great points, which can be seen here. A veteran who worked protection detail? That’s great. A career soldier who worked in the mess hall? Um, not so much.

Security Director News has written about this previously.

A number of our “20 under 40” winners last year have military backgrounds and they are stellar professionals. I’m sure a fair amount of the outstanding nominees we get for this year’s awards will have military backgrounds as well.

What is your experience? Were you military? Did you hire someone from a military background? I’d like to know for a future article for Security Director News. Any input is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


'20 under 40' nomination time!

Friday, June 21, 2013

I had a great time at the TechSec Solutions conference this past February in Fort Lauderdale. It seems like it was just yesterday, but we here at Security Director News are now gearing up for the 2014 event, to be held in January in Delray Beach, Fla.

Last year was my first TechSec experience, my first time helping to choose the “20 under 40” award winners, and my first time meeting a dozen of them in person after interviewing each of the 20 via phone. I was so impressed by their professionalism and dedication to the physical security field. You should be, too.

Now it’s time for new nominations and new winners.

I’ve reached out to last year’s class of winners, asking them to pay it forward to nominate any of their young(er) colleagues, and they’ve responded enthusiastically. I can’t wait to see who they think is worthy of this award and why.

I’d like to hear from you, too. These young men and women truly have voices that need to be heard. From their emerging technology know-how to their thoughts on strategies to physically secure their businesses, they represent the future of the industry. Nominate them here.

Thank you!