Subscribe to


Security all around, from Worcester to Chicago!

Friday, September 20, 2013

I spent Sept. 19 learning a lot more about ORC from Joe LaRocca of RetaiLPartners, Jon Gold of the National Retail Federation, Garth Gasse of RILA, J. Hart of the Force Training Institute and Jason Adams of Gap.

They, and many other informative pros, were at the New England Organized Retail Crime Symposium in Worcester, Mass. It was my first time there, and it was well worth the trip south. Presenters delivered up-to-the-minute news on topics that included technology, public-private partnership efforts and active-shooter scenarios to the New England retailers in attendance.

About 300 people turned out for this seventh annual event, which also included a small but impressive floor of exhibitors.

“Because the New England states are so close together, ORC is a big issue in the area,” Curtis Picard, executive director of the Retail Association of Maine, told me. It’s easy to hit one state, then quickly drive to another to do the same thing, he said.

Jason Adams announced at the symposium the formation of the New England Organized Retail Crime Alliance. You’ll want to read about this public-private partnership here.  I'll be writing more about the info I got later, because ...

Now I’m getting ready for ASIS International’s 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits next week in Chicago. I have some great appointments lined up with physical security end users and their vendors. About 20,000 security pros are expected to attend. And, there are way too many educational sessions I want to go to. I'll see how many I can pack in during my three days there.

There’s so much good information out there, and I will do my best to bring the highlights to you.

Let me know what you’re most interested in.



Bases crank up security after Navy Yard shootings

Friday, September 20, 2013

WASHINGTON—Security is tightening at some of the nation’s military facilities following the deadly shootings at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard on Sept. 16.

Extra security has been present at facilities in Maryland, Virginia and Oregon this week, news organizations reported.

The 142nd Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard added an extra security guard and tightened patrols, while a Walter Reed National Military Medical Center spokeswoman said security there had increased. She declined to offer details. Reports said visitors to Maryland’s Fort Meade may experience delays because of extra measures being taken at entrance security checkpoints.  

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Pentagon to review security at all U.S. defense installations worldwide and examine the granting of security clearances that allow access to them, The Associated Press reported. "We will find those gaps and we will fix those gaps," he told the news organization.

The attack at the Navy Yard raised serious questions about the adequacy of the background checks done on government contractors who hold security clearances, Hagel said.

Off to the New England ORC symposium

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I’m off to the New England Organized Retail Crime Symposium being held tomorrow in Worcester, Mass.

The program at the conference, hosted by the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, Retail Association of Maine, Retailers Association of Massachusetts, Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire, Rhode Island Retail Federation and the Vermont Retail Association, looks great. It features Kevin Plante, chairman of the CVS/RAM loss prevention committee, Joe LaRocca from RetailPartners and representatives from the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, police departments and others, including dozens of exhibitors.

ORC is such a pressing issue these days, costing U.S. retailers $30 billion a year, so I’m looking forward to learning more about it—and what’s being done about it successfully.

I’ll be writing about what I learn, so stay tuned.



New tech at airport coming right up!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tomorrow I am headed to my hometown airport, the Portland International Jetport, to see first-hand the new security technology in place to secure exit lanes.

The Transportation Security Administration recently mandated that a number of airports oversee designated exit lanes.  With recent federal budget cuts, the TSA now asks airports to upgrade security technology at their own expense. Previously, TSA guards monitored exit lanes, but many of those jobs have been cut.

The Portland, Maine, airport  is one of only two in the nation to implement the Exit Lane Breach Control Containment System from Tyco Integrated Security. Other airports are expected to roll out the containment system early next year.

With the system, airports can set up motion detection and surveillance cameras around exit doors.

I’ll be meeting with Paul Bradbury, the airport director, and Tyco reps to see how this system works, so stay tuned.

Update: Read about it here.

Miss America, meet the NFL

Friday, September 13, 2013

The 2013 Miss America competition has something in common with the National Football League. Yes, it's true. The commonality: Enhanced security.

During this year’s Miss America happenings, which have been going on this week and will cap off on Sunday with a talented beauty being crowned at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., noisemakers, fireworks, Frisbees and diaper bags are on a list of prohibited items, according to CBS Philly.

Alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, cans, bottles, recording devices and large handbags are also banned. Clutch-type bags and clear bags, no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches, will be permitted.

Spectators attending the events have been and will be subject to bag checks, physical searches and metal detector screenings before entering Boardwalk Hall.

The policies, in line with those put into effect at NFL stadiums this season, are intended to provide a safer, more enjoyable environment for fans, the TV station reported.

"We understand that some of our guests may be unhappy with these restrictions, but our obligation to ensure fan safety and comfort is paramount," said Greg Tesone, general manager of Boardwalk Hall. "Our intent is not to inconvenience any patrons, but to deliver an entertainment experience that meets or exceeds our guests' expectations, and that includes their wellbeing."

May the best woman win, and wouldn't it be awesome if she could also throw a tight spiral?

Let's remember 9/11 in the best way, shall we?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

As I was driving to work this morning, listening to a morning radio program, I was moved by the fact that the deejays on the particular pop station I was listening to, Coast 93.1, would be broadcasting live tomorrow, Sept. 11, from a local fire department to honor first responders on the 12th anniversary of 9/11.

There have been two tragic, national events that have deeply affected me. [Maybe I should count myself lucky that there are only two, I realize.] The first was the Columbine massacre in 1999, when I was a stay-at-home mom with an 8-month-old son. I wrote a letter to one of those surviving kids, pouring my heart out. He had lost a sister and many friends. I told him I hoped my son would grow up to be as strong as he showed himself to be.

The other was 9/11, what was supposed to have been the celebratory first day of my then 3-year-old son’s preschool experience. He had gotten sick the night before, so I didn’t want to bring him to the big Opening Day event. Leaving him at home to recuperate with his father, I went to the Open House by myself to meet the teachers, other parents and children.

Enroute to the preschool, I heard the news. About the Twin Towers. After an at-most 20-minute distracted visit at the preschool, I returned home to tell my husband what I had heard on the radio, only to hear then about Pennsylvania and the Pentagon.

It’s still haunting to this day.

One of my neighbors, directly across the street at the time, was a young Muslim man. I often heard him praying from his living room, along with some of his friends, [Screened windows, I couldn’t help it; I wasn’t eavesdropping.] His name was Ali. My young son used to call him Ollie.

On the night that we were all asked to go out and light a candle for the 9/11 victims, I did that. Ali came across the street and told me, “It is a very sad day.” His girlfriend’s cousin’s husband had been one of the Word Trade Center victims.

Ali was a good neighbor. I’ve lost track of him. He’d come to our garage sales and would buy my son’s castoffs, such as a tiny bike with training wheels and other toys, for his own daughter.

My family has moved since. I hope Ali and his family are doing well.

And I hope that tomorrow’s 9/11 remembrances—and there are many scheduled—will help all concerned.

Be safe everyone.

And thank you, so much, first responders.







Farewell, Secretary Napolitano

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday was Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s last day on the job, which she held since 2009.

DHS held a send-off ceremony for her, at which U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Vice President Joe Biden praised her accomplishments and thanked her for her service.

Lord knows she had a big job to do, fraught with controversy over the years, but with some successes as well. Biden and Holder both brought up the fed’s response to Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombings.

Napolitano is moving on to become president of the University of California System, although Biden apparently thinks he’s got her next career move in mind.

He said today, according to CNN reports, that he would like to see her on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Napolitano was the third DHS s Uniecretary and the first woman to hold the position.

Before that, she was governor of Arizona.

We wish her well, we’re sure the new job will be a tad easier—we hope, for her sake—than managing 22 different disparate agencies and overseeing 240,000 employees.

Access control just a heartbeat away?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Your heartbeat just became the latest biometric. Who knew?

Biometrics are pushing into areas never dreamed of. Electrocardiograms could possibly become your pathway to future access control at your place of work.

Cardio rhythms were discovered 40 years ago to be unique, dependent upon a person’s heart shape and size and other factors, according to Karl Martin, CEO of Bionym.

Toronto-based Bionym, specializing in biometrics, authentication technology and identity services, has just launched Nymi, a bracelet that provides identity through cardiac rhythm recognition. Passwords, pins and locks will be eliminated as a result, the company says.

Bionym was part of an inaugural cohort of the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. It spun off from the university in 2011.

Nymi is first being aimed at tech-forward thinking consumers, Martin told me in an interview, but down the road he has enterprise customers in mind, too.

“There has been no shortage of interest from enterprise security,” Martin said. “It’s wide open right now. In the end it’s all ID security. We just want to make it simple, and the idea is that it is very simple to interface with. It would be extremely simple for [enterprises] to integrate.”

Access codes and key cards? They’re just proxies for ID, he said.

If his technology becomes prevalent, he said, a new employee at a company could use this converged form of technology not only for personal use but for the workplace, too.

Privacy is a chief concern. Every user will have complete control over data and identity, Martin said.

The Nymi, according to a prepared statement from the company, functions as a three-factor security system. It requires your personalized Nymi, your unique heartbeat and a smartphone or device that has been registered to the app, which will be available on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OSX. This system, and the biometrics supporting it, allow for complete security without compromising convenience, the company says.

What do you think?  Do any of you security pros see this in your future? Please keep me informed. Thanks. 

60 more airports get TSA Pre-Check

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WASHINGTON—The Transportation Security Administration announced today that it will expand its expedited screening program to 60 new airports in addition to the existing 40, bringing the total number of airports with TSA Pre✓™ to 100. These airports are expected to have TSA Pre✓™ lanes at select checkpoints by the end of the year.

The agency also will expand the number of TSA Pre✓™ lanes and availability at the existing 40 airports in the coming weeks.

TSA Pre✓™ is an expedited screening program that allows pre-approved airline travelers 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. To date, more than 15 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre✓™ since it launched in October 2011.

“As TSA continues to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to transportation security, we are looking for more opportunities to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible,” TSA Administrator John S. Pistole said in a prepared statement. “Expanding TSA Pre✓™ to more locations enables many more passengers across the country to experience expedited screening.”

Passengers who are eligible for TSA Pre✓™ include U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs invited by participating airlines. Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of CBP’s NEXUS program qualify to participate. Later this year TSA will launch an application program, allowing more U.S. citizens to enroll in TSA Pre✓™.

Eligible passengers traveling on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America may receive expedited screening benefits. JetBlue and Southwest are expected to begin participating when operationally ready.

For more information on the program and the new airports signed up for it, go here.



Under 40? Exceptionally talented in physical security? Tell us, please!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I've just reviewed the latest entries for Security Director News' 20 under 40 Awards. Every year we honor young professionals under the age of 40 in the physical security industry, and this year we've gotten, as always, some great nominees. A big thanks to all you nominators!

We haven't made any decisions yet, because the deadline hasn't arrived, so please take some time over your holiday weekend to think of the up-and-coming security pros you know who deserve to be recognized for their hard work, initiative, tech-savviness and accomplishments. (And yes, you can nominate yourself.)

For the 2014 TechSec conference in Florida in January we'll again be choosing four of the winners to participate in a topical panel discussion, which is always a highlight of the meeting. People in the industry want to know, need to know, what's on these winners' minds.

Here's a link to the TechSec conference page and here's a link to our most recent winners.

We can all stand to learn much from these young pros. Who do you know? Put the spotlight on them. Nominate them here. And thanks.