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Should a school district use an armored military vehicle?

Monday, September 15, 2014

The San Diego Unified School District’s new-to-them 18-ton, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle—also known as an MRAP—is causing a stir, according to a report from NPR.

Some parents and other residents say they don’t want the MRAP, which they have referred to as a tank, at their children’s schools.

The local police chief defends its use, saying it will be outfitted with medical supplies, trauma kits and teddy bears. The chief said the acquisition of the MRAP is not a sign of any militarization of schools, the news report said.

The San Diego district received the MRAP for free from the U.S. Department of Defense as part of its Excess Property Program. It did pay $5,000 to transport it to the district, reports said.

The Excess Property Program has been in the news in recent weeks after supplying police in Ferguson, Mo., with armored military equipment in the wake of protests over the police shooting death of an unarmed young man.

What do you think? Is this a good use of an MRAP?

You can read more about it here.


Gun-packing teacher shoots herself in leg at elementary school

Friday, September 12, 2014

A teacher at an elementary school in Taylorsville, Utah, licensed to carry a concealed weapon, accidentally shot herself in the leg at her school Sept. 11, according to news reports.

The teacher, a woman who has not been identified, was hospitalized and is recovering.

Fortunately, no students were around at the time of the accidental shooting.

Earlier this month, a professor at Idaho State University who had a handgun in his pants’ pocket, shot himself in the foot while teaching a class.


Your (physical security news coverage) wish is my desire!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I’ve got a few big events on my upcoming schedule, and I’m looking to you, my readers, to let me know what focus you’d like me to take in covering them for Security Director News.

First up, I’ll be attending the 8th annual New England ORC Symposium and Trade Show in Worcester, Mass.

Awards will be handed out, which are so important to honor individuals who go above and beyond these days to excel in the fight against ORC, but the educational, networking and career development program at the show also looks great. The show, Sept. 18, will feature speakers from CVS Caremark, JC Penney, the FBI, Polk County, Fla., Sheriff’s Office, Compass and more.

Retail/LP readers, what are your pressing ORC issues and questions? Let me know, I’ll ask and do my very best to get them addressed for you!

Soon after the NEORCA conference, I’ll be heading to ASIS’ 60th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Atlanta. My schedule for those three days is getting full, but I’ve specifically asked to speak with end users at the show. So far, so good. I have some lined up to discuss how they’re using the latest in physical security technology. If you can’t attend the show—or even if you are and your schedule doesn’t permit you to visit every booth and attend every education program you’d like—what do you want to know? What are your chief areas of interest? Access control? Biometrics? Video analytics? Privacy issues?

I aim to please, so let me know, and I’ll do my best with coverage of the show that is most important to you.

Meanwhile, thanks for reading and keep in touch.






Guns on campus. Oops! And ouch!

Friday, September 5, 2014

I admit I’m guilty of shooting myself in the foot a huge number of times. But not literally.

That can’t be said for an assistant professor of chemistry at Idaho State University. He truly did shoot himself in the foot Sept. 2 in a classroom with students present.

The instructor, Byron L. Bennett, who has an enhanced concealed-carry permit, apparently had a handgun in his pants pocket when it went off, injuring him.  He was treated at a local hospital and released.

Idaho passed a law, which took effect in July, allowing concealed guns to be carried on public campuses.

The bill to allow guns on campus was opposed by all Idaho college and university leaders, but was put into law anyway.

One of the opponents was Arthur C. Vailas, Idaho State’s president. In response to the recent foot-shooting incident, he said, according to the Idaho State Journal: “When they passed this law it was bound to happen.”

Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again.



What security directors need to know about green access control

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

Big thanks to those who nominated for our ’20 under 40’ awards

Friday, August 29, 2014

I would like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination for Security Director News’ “20 under 40” awards to honor outstanding and up-and-coming end users.

I’ve just gone over the nominees' list, and once again it’s stellar! It will be difficult to choose just 20.

The Security Director News staff will be reviewing the nominees in the coming weeks and will be notifying the winners. Then, we’ll be interviewing each of them for profile articles on

The award has meant a lot professionally to past winners, and I’m so looking forward to presenting our Class of 2014 with their awards at our TechSec Solutions conference in Delray Beach, Fla., in early February.

Much more about the winners and our TechSec conference to come, so stay tuned!


Wait, what? Suit-wearing, Mercedes-driving bank robber had what job title?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A man arraigned Aug. 26 in Tyler, Texas, for a Capital One Bank robbery earlier this month was employed by the bank as its corporate security consultant/investigator.

Daniel River Burson, 37, is accused of robbing two female employees as they were collecting weekend deposits from overnight slots, according to a report from the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

He apparently was wearing a suit at the time of the robbery, the report said.

And, he was driving a Mercedes.

Go figure.


Who will be at ASIS 2014?

Friday, August 22, 2014

I’m looking forward to the ASIS conference in Atlanta late next month, and I am beginning to put my schedule together for the event.

I’d like to meet up with my readers, you end-users out there, who will be at the show. It’s always helpful to know what news you like to read, what topics matter most to you and how Security Director News can supply the most useful information to you. Please get in touch with me at if you’d like to have a cup of coffee or even just a 10-minute conversation.

I like seeing all the new tech on the show floor, but I especially enjoy meeting with the security pros who put that technology to use. Booth visits are great, but if you’re a company who can set me up with one of your customers who can tell me how they’re benefiting from your product, so much the better—I’ll be there. And I’ll probably write about that visit for Security Director News.

I apologize in advance for not being able to accept all invitations.

I also want to carve out some time to attend a few of the educational sessions ASIS has planned. The schedule looks great! I won’t be able to get to all I have bookmarked, but I hope to get to as many as possible in between meeting with end users.

I look forward to hearing from you and, I hope, meeting you in person in Atlanta. My colleague, Martha Entwistle of Security Systems News, will also be at the 60th annual ASIS show.

See you there!


Pssst! Still time left to nominate for '20 under 40' awards

Monday, August 18, 2014

So here’s some inside scoop: I was out of the office all last week and was tied up all Monday responding to phone messages and emails, getting articles written and news out.

What this means is that I haven’t had a chance as of yet to pore over the dozens of nominees we’ve received for Security Director News’ “20 under 40” awards—although I can’t wait to do so.

What this means for you is that if you haven’t had a chance yet to nominate your most impressive up-and-coming end user in the physical security industry, you still have time.

You can read here why past winners say it’s important that you take the few minutes it takes to nominate.  Please go here to do so.

This'll be your last chance! I look forward to congratulating you on your choices!


Mission 500 looking for security pros' help for border kids

Friday, August 8, 2014

Mission 500 and World Vision are looking for security companies that will help provide basic necessities for children currently being held along the U.S. border.

They especially are reaching out to participants of the Security 5/2K, which Security Director News and Security Systems News helps sponsor.

The first company to participate in this relief effort is Monitronics, one of the nation's largest alarm monitoring provicers, which has made a pledge to provide backpacks, school supplies and hygiene items to the children.

"Our industry is made up of people who believe in safety and security," Barb Holliday, Monitronics’ director of dealer services, said in a prepared statement.

Mission 500 invites other security professionals to participate in this relief effort to help children on both sides of the border. There are three ways to help, it says.

Let me know if you or your company participates in this, and I’ll be sure and post that good news here in the future.