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security breaches

Will campus officials overburden police even further?

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sadly, it often takes a tragic event to highlight vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It took something as awful as the Virginia Tech massacre to make schools, students and parents more aware of the importance of emergency response plans and caused a huge push to add technology like mass notification systems. Virginia Tech prompted schools to dust off their emergency plans, refine them and start conducting regular drills, as well as better educate their staff and students about security procedures. I would bet most schools have conducted some form of an active-shooter drill because of Virginia Tech.

And there are lessons to be learned after the murder of University of Virginia student Yeardley Love allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, George Huguely. University officials were unaware that Huguely had been arrested in November 2008 on charges of public intoxication and resisting arrest. The arresting officer's report said Huguely had threatened to kill her and a female probation officer, and he had to be subdued with a stun gun, according to this article in the San Francisco Examiner.

Some say that having that information could have possibly prevented Love's murder.

If school officials had known about that arrest, University of Virginia President John Casteen said they might have been able to discipline Huguely and keep a closer eye on him. Instead, he said the incident highlighted not just a gap in the law, but "a hole you can drive a truck through."

I have to say I'm skeptical about such logic. Sure, knowing that Huguely had run into some trouble certainly couldn't have hurt, but would it have really stopped anything from happening?

Casteen is calling for a state law that would require police to report off-campus arrests of students to colleges and universities.

But law enforcement officials and some campus safety experts say such a law would be complicated and costly. They question what steps would be required to verify if a suspect was a student, either halfway across the state or halfway across the nation.

While I think schools in general work very closely with their local law enforcement agencies and probably do pass along that type of information, it really can't be expected that agencies beyond the local area will contact school officials when students have a run-in with the law. I would think the logistics would just be too difficult. And frankly, police are taxed enough as it is, should campus officials really be adding more to their plates?

Are the Olympics too secure?

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Friday, October 9, 2009

With 126 days until the Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. a member of the International Olympic Committee has raised concerns about the "unnecessary" level of security being planned for the Vancouver 2010 Games, according to this article.

But with memories of the high security at Beijing fresh on his mind, Israeli IOC member Alex Gilady said he's worried Vancouver's security plan, with its extensive use of metal detectors, is too much.

In an article in the Vancouver Sun, the Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said that security will be “very intense,” but it won't turn Vancouver into an armed fortress.

“It's not going to be the kind of situation where tourists are going to be nervous because there are armaments on every corner,” he said. “But I can tell you the security will be very good and very intense but will be done in a way that is user-friendly.”

Security was estimated to cost between $400 million and $1 billion, despite original figures that it would cost a mere $175 million.  Day said a contributing factor for the difference is securing airspace.

“Security costs money. And when you talk about the aviation security alone monitoring the airspace, you can get an idea of the kind of dollars we are talking about,” the minister said.

The Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit and Joint Task Force is preparing for its third pre-game security exercise, scheduled for Oct. 19-23, according to this article.

"That's probably our biggest exercise internally, that's where we will have our commanders in place, there will be no actors in the chairs," said V2010 ISU chief Bud Mercer. "To do that testing there will be a lot of actual play outside on the water, in the air. It's to test the interaction and communication between the key decision makers."

Exercise Gold, the biggest of three privy council-mandated Olympic security rehearsals, is scheduled for Nov. 2-6. So, there's lots of security excitement to look forward to. And really, is there such thing as too much security?