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security funding

Hospital director gets creative with security funding

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05/16/2011

NEW YORK—The economic downturn has meant sacrifices throughout most departments, but for security executives—who are often considered cost centers—it has meant coming up with creative solutions to find funding.

In surprise decision, Arizona governor vetoes bill that would have allowed guns on campus

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I was waiting all day yesterday for this news and it finally happened. Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, vetoed a controversial gun bill that would have allowed permitted gun owners to carry weapons on campus, according to this article in The Christian Science Monitor. The bill had been significantly scaled back from its original form, which would have allowed individuals with conceal carry permits to bring their weapons into campus buildings and classrooms. The bill that hit her desk only allowed weapons – open or concealed – in public "rights of way" on campuses.

In her veto letter, Brewer said the parameters of what was allowed weren't sufficiently defined:

"Bills impacting our Second Amendment rights have to be crystal clear so that gun owners don't become lawbreakers by accident," she wrote. She also questioned whether the phrase "educational institution" in the bill could be applied to elementary and high schools.

Dead is how this bill is likely to remain. Forty votes would be needed in the House to override her veto, but supporters look to be short of that mark. The bill passed in the House 33 to 24, according to the article.

Arizona would have been the second state to allow guns on all college campuses, after Utah. Texas also has a similar bill that could be ratified soon.

Governor Brewer's vetoes are considered a setback for the conservatives who control the Arizona legislature, according to the article:
Brewer's decision was particularly surprising because she has been a champion of gun rights in the past, signing bills that allow guns into bars and restaurants and that permit gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Another controversial gun bill is on her desk now: It would require local and state government to either allow guns in public buildings or secure those buildings with metal detectors and armed guards.

Are you surprised by her decision?

School security says social networking can invite crime to campus

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

There's probably no sector of the population who embraces social networking more than college students. After all, mega-sites like Facebook were originally created as a network site for Harvard students and then expanded to other colleges. Plus, having the ability to Tweet out your every thought and observation to a drove of "followers" is right in line with the self-indulgent, the-world-revolves-around-me attitude of many college-age folks - followed closely only by high school students, I'd say.

But some school security folks have found that this surge in social networking has some serious security implications. This article found that social networks often provide too much information about a student's whereabouts and personal life.

"It used to be walking down a darkened street at night and being aware of your surroundings," said security expert Norman Bates. "Now that darkened street is in the computer. You might not be aware of who is listening figuratively or literally and gathering your information, stalking you."

(First of all, this guy is simply referred to as a generic security expert? Hmmm, questionable source at best.)

Anyway, the article points out that students often post about events or parties they plan to attend, making it easier for others to track them down.

But it's not just about students telling too many people where they are or where they're going to be, but social networking sites also makes it hard for campus security officials to know who belongs on campus and who doesn't.

"It presents more of a challenge for campus security or police officers to challenge someone who may be on the property who doesn't belong there, who may have ill designs," said Bates.

Do you think social networking poses security threats? Take our poll here to weigh in.

Student's murder highlights need for better collaboration with police?

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Something I hear over and over from educational security folks is that their working relationship with law enforcement is critical to campus security. Many schools have memorandum of understanding documents with their local police department, establishing an official relationship and setting guidelines about each department's role.

I've been periodically reading about the murder of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia student who was allegedly killed by an ex-boyfriend. While this is certainly tragic, it's the type of incident that likely could not have been stopped by campus security, especially if there were no previous incidents.

However, something that jumped out at me in this USA Today article was that the suspect, George Huguely, was previously arrested for resisting arrest and public intoxication in Lexington, Va. in 2008. Huguely, according to the arresting officer, cursed and made threats and had to be subdued with a stun gun, according to the article.

However, the university was unaware of Huguely's previous arrest. The president of the school, John Casteen, said the law did not require police departments to inform schools about such arrests, though he said some departments do so as a courtesy. In addition, Virginia students are required to self-report such arrests, but of course Huguely did not.

While I'm not sure that it's necessary to make it a law, I would bet that most security directors at major universities do expect police to contact them of incidents involving their students. In this case, Lexington is about 70 miles away from the university and I would assume that police and university officials probably didn't have an established relationship. But does this type of incident demonstrate the need for police to always contact the university when any student is arrested? I'm sure there's logistical issues there (and the police probably want one more rule to follow), but perhaps it could've brought to light a troubled student. More information is always better than less, right?

Caught on tape: Campus violence escalating?

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Friday, October 23, 2009

There are many disturbing elements to this article about the rising violence on the campus of Florida Memorial University. This particular story focuses on a video taken of an incident involving campus security officers arresting a student surrounded by a crowd of jeering onlookers. Watch here:

Similar to the video from Colby College here in Maine that caused a big stir regarding excessive force by officers, these situations are never cut and dry. Even if the person whom the officers are targeting is complying (which in the FMU case I don't think he was), it's the crowd that becomes the real concern. As you can see in the video, the officer takes out his weapon. I don't know what the policies are for the majority of universities out there, but I would assume that brandishing a weapon would be something officers did only when a situation starts getting out of control.

"The man that pulled out the gun, like he pointed it, and they were making it seem like we were a threat to him, and we really weren't a threat to them," said a student who only wanted to use the name 'Star'.

That's where students are wrong. They are a threat to the officers, based largely on the numbers, if nothing else.

The most disturbing part of this article is the fact that this doesn't seem like an uncommon occurrence on this campus. Is that what anyone else in the educational security space is experiencing? Is it getting harder for university security officers to secure their campuses? Why?

Campus shooting police chief under fire

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Donald Grady, the chief of police who was hailed as a heroic leader when a gunman opened fire at Northern Illinois University in February of 2008, has been placed on a 30-day paid leave while an independent commission investigates allegations of bribery, according to this article.

However, Grady has a lot of supporters as well, largely as a result of his actions regarding the campus shooting where a man opened fire in a classroom, killing five students and injuring 21 others. The article says that when the first reports of the shooting came into Grady's office, he ran the near-quarter mile from his office to the scene.

The bribery charges stem from allegations accusing Grady of threatening the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and offering him an opportunity for post-graduate employment in exchange for a positive story about an NIU police officer who later resigned.

In addition to the bribery charges, the article states that "law-enforcement officials in DeKalb County find him uncooperative to the point of hostile. Some school officials fault his controlling nature and combative personality."

That's not a good sign. Everyone I've spoken with about campus security issues has emphasized the importance of working closely with local law enforcement. One would think that would be very evident to Grady who has actually executed the campus shooting response plan and understands the important role of law enforcement. But, of course, these are only allegations. We'll have to wait and see what the commission finds. Stay tuned...

Students request more security

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Granted, it's been a few years since I was in college, but I distinctly remember avoiding campus security (not because there was any reason to, just because).

Here's an article from The Guardian (which covers Prince Edward Island LIKE THE DEW apparently. Canadians can have a strange sense of humor, but really? Like the dew? I don't believe that's real, this could be the Canadian version of The Onion, but let's roll with it).

Apparently, the UPEI student union has taken a stance that campus security is stretched too thin (which I believe) and is looking at ways to improve security, including adding a student-led police force.

Not long ago I spoke with Len Boudreault, director of university safety at Carleton University (also a Canadian school located in Ontario) and he said one of the most effective measures to improve security has been the creation of an auxiliary special constable program. This program hires students in security roles and gives them legal and regulatory enforcement powers similar to that of peace officers.

“By having them in our department, we know have peer education and students talking to students,” he said. “That’s part of reaching out to students and listening and hearing what they have to say and a method of communication that also allows us to send our message the other way.” Auxiliary special constables work 20 hours a week in addition to being full-time students.

I wonder if students are more receptive to their peers cracking down on their behavior (or perhaps it's still security officers who have that pleasure) and the student program is more of the outreach portion? Either way, it can't hurt to pursue alternatives to bringing more security awareness to students.

...but school just started

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

This school year is not off to a good start in terms of security. Just read an article about a shooting yesterday at Skyline College in San Bruno, Calif. The article says a student was shot and injured in a parking lot. The campus was evacuated and classes have been canceled for the day while police try to locate the suspect(s). [On a possibly inappropriate side note: The article did say that police believe the suspects are driving a fluorescent purple Ford Escort with paper license plates. I know it's California, but still, I think that might stand out.]

Anyway, I just got off the phone with the security director at Carleton University who recently completed a $1.6 million project to upgrade security on campus. They did everything from adding more video cameras and a mass notification system to training students as peace officers (read the article here). The security director there, Len Boudreault, said that of all the measures he anticipates having the greatest impact will be the student "auxiliary special constables" (I think it's a Canadian thing). This "peer education" approach to security allows the department to "reach out to students and listen and hear what they have to say and it's a method of communication that allows us to send our message the other way," he said. That message reminds me of my visit to Bowdoin last year, where the security director there, Randy Nichols, emphasized that he wanted students to know him and all his security staff on a first name basis. I don't know that building a personal relationship with students would have necessarily prevented the incident at Skyline College, but it wouldn't hurt either.

My professor's packing heat?

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Legislators in Michigan are trying to amend a law that categorizes college campuses as a 'no-carry zone" to instead allow concealed weapon permit holder to carry guns on college campuses, reported the Daily Telegram.

Here's the nuts and bolts of it:
Senate Bill 747, sponsored by Sen. Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, would remove college campuses from the no-carry zones for concealed weapons, allowing people with CCW permits to carry a weapon at a Michigan college or university campus.

Richardville is quoted as saying that because of the increase in violent crimes on college campuses in recent years, individuals should be allowed to protect themselves. I may not have a lot of support on this one, but I'm of the opinion that bringing more guns on campus only increases the chance of a gun-related incident. I don't know a lot about the specific training required to get a concealed weapon permit, but I doubt it involves a very thorough psychiatric evaluation. Unstable people come in all forms, professional or not. Am I wrong?

And while I think it's dangerous to have weapons in any educational setting this isn't nearly as dangerous as the Texas law last year that allowed teachers to carry concealed weapons in a K-12 school. Yikes. Kindergarteners are pretty savvy little creatures. You never know what they might find in your desk drawer.

Campus security caught cheating

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This isn't a campus safety story you read every day. Dominican College, in Orangeburg, N.Y., will have to pay the state $20,000 as well as reform its crime reporting policies as part of a settlement made with the state attorney general's office on June 12, according to this article. The college was being investigated for falsely reporting crime statistics on campus and the state revealed three consecutive school years where the crime statistics published in the student handbook did not match records filed with the Department of Education. Basically the school was lying to its student body (along with their parents) and underreporting crime stats to make it appear more safe. Grade: F-

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