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Johns seeks to transform ISI Security

New president will focus on large construction market, nationwide build up

SAN ANTONIO—As the newly named president of ISI Security, Buddy Johns plans to lead this $70 million firm that’s known for its specialization in the corrections vertical through “a major transformation.”

Court: Mall security not negligent in murder


ALBANY, N.Y.—A New York appellate court has dismissed a lawsuit that claimed security at the Hudson Valley Mall was negligent in the 2006 stabbing death of a restaurant manager who worked at the mall, according to news reports.

Securing the Comcast Center

Dealing with skyscraper tenant perceptions in a post-9/11 world

PHILADELPHIA—At 58 stories and 975-feet tall, the Comcast Center is the tallest building between New York City and Chicago. It is also the first skyscraper to be completed since 9/11, construction having been finished in 2007.

Third tallest building in Chicago enhances security, conducts fire evacuation drills


CHICAGO—Since the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 1, Thomas Begg Jr., director of security life safety for the Aon Center in Chicago, the third tallest building in the city, said he has heightened security awareness in and around the building. “We’re more vigilant and looking for things out of the ordinary,” he said

How Ernst & Young changed its emergency plans after Sept. 11


NEW YORK—In 2010, Ernst & Young, a professional services firm, was ranked by Forbes magazine as the ninth largest private company in the United States. It has member firms in more than 140 countries and employs more than 144,000 people worldwide.

The 'key' to security: Museum masters access control


TOLEDO, Ohio—Protecting 30,000 works of art when more than 430,000 people visit the Toledo Museum of Art each year requires a combination of security measures. The most important security asset will always be security officers, said Tim Szczepanski.

Data needs to be physically protected, too


AURORA, Ontario—Even when data protection is your business, ensuring a secure facility to house that data is equally as critical to operations. “Data security is extremely important, but we’ve always had that. Physical security is just as important so someone can’t come inside the building and wreak havoc on our data,” said Dave Ralph, CEO of Commport Communications, a data-storage company that processes about $100 billion in commercial interactions a year.

Failure of New Orleans camera system makes everyone look bad

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's hard enough to get public support for municipal security projects without giving people good reason to reject it. When I read this story about the mess New Orleans has made of its surveillance project, I couldn't help but cringe.

In mid-October, the New Orleans Inspector General released a report that found that 41 of 211 cameras, fewer than one in five, actually worked. A review of the program's finances from May 2009 through April 2010 revealed the city paid nearly $190,000 for equipment it never received and another $200,000 that didn't go through proper approvals.

That's not good.

But, this isn't the first time there has been a problem with the city project. In March 2009, the inspector general found that $4 million had been wasted in association with the city's video surveillance project. The 2009 investigation launched a criminal probe and led to the indictment of the technology chief of the city as well as the contractor who sold the city the cameras, reported the paper.

These findings have prompted Mayor Mitch Landrieu to stop paying for the crime-camera program, which may have cost the city as much as $10 million since 2003 with little crime-fighting impact, according to the publication.

But is that really the best solution? Scrapping the whole project means the city has really wasted that money, whereas it may be quite possible that the system can be salvaged and it can be a useful tool for police. There are plenty of other cities that have implemented strong surveillance systems and found them to be quite beneficial for fighting and deterring crime.

And just to be clear, this isn't a failure of technology. I would chalk this up to irresponsible leadership and poor project management on the part of vendors and stakeholders. If nothing else, this is a good example for other municipal security leaders about how NOT to run a project. Geez, New Orleans, stop making everyone else look bad.