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Fingerprint readers bring biometrics to C-Cure 9000

Tyco’s popular hospital security system partners with Entertech

WESTFORD, Mass.—Users of Software House’s C-Cure 9000, the security and event management system popular at hospitals, can now add another layer of security with the addition of Suprema fingerprint readers.

No longer the standard in municipal budgets: "Squeeze everything else but police and fire"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

For every municipal story I've written in the last year, I've heard the same thing, over and over: Budgets are being slashed. And it's only getting worse. But those same stories involve municipal security folks spending money on security, right? It's true, there are plenty of case studies out there about the deployment of wireless video surveillance systems or an improvement to communication networks, but many of those projects are funded through federal grants. The government has spent money on security since 9/11, but will that money start to dry up soon?

Yesterday, I spoke with the panelists for an upcoming presentation at TechSec Solutions called "Look Ma, No Wires." This presentation will focus on wireless technology and address issues including when to implement a wireless solution and what type of solution works best for certain deployments. But something that caught my ear as I was listening to Ralph Bell from Motorola was in regards to the work they do with municipalities. Basically, he reiterated that municipalities often have the money needed for an initial deployment, but don't have the financial resources or in-house expertise to maintain the infrastructure or pay for upgrades to the system. It's my understanding municipalities often receive federal grants, which are often designated for initial deployments, but rarely can be used for maintenance or repairs and the municipality must pay for that from its own funds.

And budget woes aren't going away any time soon. I just read an interesting Q&A article with the mayor of Newark, N.J., Cory Booker, about his approach to budgeting. Here's the link from the Huffington Post. Like many elected officials, he understood the importance of police, fire and other public safety agencies. As a matter of fact, here's his original approach to budget cutting:

"Squeeze everything else but police and fire."

But, according to the article, last year, the city laid off 164 officers, about 13 percent of the force. The reporter asked how it came to that. Here's his answer:

Look, budgets across the country -- 60 percent of American cities have had reductions in their forces of public safety. And, so, this is not something that's unique to Newark...So, we have dramatic losses in revenue. And public safety, frankly -- police and fire -- make up the significant majority of our budget. We were squeezing and starving every other area of our city. Furloughing employees, cutting staff. But it came to a point where we couldn't cut enough to make up for the tremendous budgetary shortfall.

He goes on to address having to put older police officers back out on the streets in order to maintain the same police presence before the cuts, but also notes that such budgetary restrictions have impacted the reduction in crime in the city. Of course, he also spins it as actually putting more experienced officers back out on city streets - he's a politician after all.

What do you think? How worried are you about the correlation between budgetary cuts and public safety? Are we over the worst of it or is the worst yet to come?

Are you Facebook phobic? Buck up, it could help your org

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We all love social media right? Hmmm, not always. I'm even in the media business and I must say, keeping up with my Twitter account (why aren't you following me?!), Facebook and multiple blogs (here and here) consumes a large portion of my working day. And that doesn't even include the time it takes to stay up-to-the-minute by reading other people's Twitter posts, Facebook updates and blog entries - that's almost a job in and of itself.

Well, many public and private entities have made it a single job, creating positions such as "chief media spokesperson." While this title sounds like it could be synonymous with public information officer, it is distinctly different. Often this person is in charge of monitoring and tracking activity on such social media sites.

Here's a great article about how the Boynton Beach Police Department in Florida is using social media. Not only does the police department monitor what residents are saying about the city via Twitter, they also have their own Facebook fan page and library of YouTube videos. And they're using such sites to improve the way they do their jobs. For example, the department recently posted surveillance footage of a person breaking into a local liquor store on YouTube in hopes someone from the city will recognize the suspect.

But, the best thing this department has going for them, in my opinion, is the right attitude towards social networking:

"We figured this would be a perfect way to kind of brand the police department, and to interact with our community in a fun setting, to use something that people enjoy doing to educate them."

"Anything that we send to our local media we put on all of our social media sites so that it's basically that we are our own newspaper, we are our own radio station, we're our own TV station."

"It personalizes the local police department. For a lot of people, their experiences with police are not positive, so here's a great outlet for people to have a positive interaction with their local police department."

That's what these social sites are good for: Personalizing your company and providing a way to reach your audience in a way you never could before. Time to warm up your Tweeting muscles, folks.

Ports gear up to test TWIC readers


LOS ANGELES—Following the mandated card-deployment part of the Transportation Worker Identification Card program in April of 2009, several ports around the country are now preparing to test the biometric element of the program. However, there remains significant concern that implementing the fingerprint reader component to the TWIC program could significantly impact the flow of commerce.

Bouncers given direct line to police

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I know you've read it over and over here at SDN, but frankly, I don't think the subject of private-public partnerships could ever be discussed enough. While this collaboration was made 'official' not long ago with the partnership between ASIS and IACP, two of the largest associations representing private and public entities, there just can't be enough examples of folks making this a reality.

Here's an interesting story out of West Palm Beach, which as you might know, has quite the party scene. The local clubs and businesses have partnered with police and are being issued radios so they can communicate directly with law enforcement instead of having to call 911 when there's an incident.

What a concept. I envision that bouncers, for example, when faced with a situation that they're unable to handle, will be able to quickly and easily contact the nearest officer for assistance. According to the article, the West Palm Beach PD has an 'entertainment district unit' who are stationed in the vicinity and would be able to respond quickly.

But, apparently, West Beach isn't the first to try this out:

Maale said he got the idea from San Francisco, where many bars are in contact with each other via radios, but he wanted to take it to the next level and have them directly contact police.

Frankly, it doesn't seem like that much of an innovative concept, especially in the world of technology that we live in, yet the precedent it sets is fairly forward thinking. After all, I think most of us would agree that it's imperative for private security to partner directly with law enforcement so everyone can do their job better.