In nearly every interview I conduct, there is at least one reference to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. And for good reason. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center changed the security landscape forever here in the United States and made security, particularly aviation security, a priority. In many respects, that has been good for security professionals particularly in terms of funding, but also in bringing validity to the profession. Basically, the terrorist attacks gave security professionals a seat at the table. Of course, it’s unfortunate such a tragic incident had to occur to make people understand and appreciate the importance of security programs, but so often that's what it takes for things to happen.
That’s why I was particularly humbled this past week to meet with Louis Barani, The World Trade Center Security Director for the Port Authority of NY & NJ. My colleague Martha Entwistle (she’s the new editor of our sister publication, Security Systems News) and I had the opportunity to sit down with Barani and discuss some of the challenges of the project. We were also able to speak with the primary security consultants, Ducibella Venter & Santore (DVS), about the difficulties of managing seven towers, all with different owners, and ensuring that the architects and those involved with the design of the building met high security standards.
The 16-acre site will include seven towers, a PATH train station, a vehicle screening building, and, of course, a plaza with two reflecting pools that are the former footprints of the Twin Towers. And, in terms of security, there were many considerations to be taken into account. Because of the threat to the site, a vehicle screening building has been designed to screen every vehicle entering the site, which is limited to delivery and executive drop-off vehicles – there is no parking garage or public entrance areas. In contrast, the ground level, including the memorial site and plaza, is designed to accommodate a free flow of people and Barani said he expects one million visitors a year to the site.
Barani said he was hired in Oct. 2009 to "catch security up to construction." One of the biggest challenges has been the fact that each tower is owned by a different stakeholder, so they have separate security systems in place. But, it's obviously critical that there be strong communication. It’s the job of Barani and DVS to ensure that there is the best situational awareness possible for all seven towers and the surrounding area. And, of course, it’s important that law enforcement - NYPD and the Port Authority Police Department - as well as FDNY and those in the private sector to know what’s happening.
There will be a more in-depth article on my visit to the World Trade Center on our next newswire, including greater detail about how Barani and DVS solved some of those challenges and some of the technology involved, but for now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my time here in New York City. If you just can't wait, you can read Martha's story here.