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workplace violence

’20 under 40’ winner: Communication and teamwork go a long way

Demerle Lewis, 39, security manager, New York State Insurance Fund

MANHATTAN—Communication and teamwork are at the heart of Demerle Lewis’ role at the New York State Insurance Fund.

Workplace homicides down, but prevention needs to be stepped up

Only a proactive approach will work, expert says

YARMOUTH, Maine—The number of workplace homicides fell from 518 in 2010 to 458 in 2011, the lowest number on record, a new fact sheet shows.

Hospital employee shoots two supervisors


An employee at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, Conn., shot two of his supervisors on Wednesday after a "disciplinary action," according to the hospital.

Paramedics face large amounts of abuse on the job


OTTAWA—More than two-thirds of paramedics in Ontario and Nova Scotia have experienced some sort of abuse while on the job, according to a survey published in this month's journal of Prehospital Emergency Care. The amount of abuse the paramedics reported in the survey surprised one Canadian security professional, who conducted the country's first in-the-field threat assessment for this city's paramedic service.

Report finds workplace violence still a high risk, but awareness growing


LAKE FOREST, Calif.—Threats of workplace violence should remain at the forefront for security professionals. The recent release of the 2011 Workplace Violence Fact Sheet found that more than 5,900 people have been victims of homicide in the workplace in the last 10 years. Workplace homicides continue to be the third leading cause of death for people at work, according to the report, with an average of 590 homicides every year.

Challenges of an international organization: IMF protects at home and abroad


WASHINGTON—Developing a security program for any large, international organization is challenging, but combine that with working in high-risk locations and a staff with diverse cultural backgrounds, the challenge to security is even greater.

AutoZone identifies survival rooms, emergency teams for active shooter program


THE INTERNET—When AutoZone developed its workplace violence and active shooter program, it purposely designed it to be all-encompassing.

Draining the Vendor Pool: Tradeshow tips for narrowing your vendor search

Thursday, July 29, 2010

By Fredrik Nilsson, General Manager of the Americas for Axis Communications

There were 900 exhibitors reported on the show floor at ISC West 2010 last March. At October’s ASIS International in Dallas, organizers expect more than 700 booths to be filled. Rest assured, if you asked any one of the thousand polo-clad sales and marketing reps if their solution is the best, you can bet that you’d hear a resounding, “Yes, of course!” It’s tough to find an unbiased opinion on show floor products.

Opting to skip the events and research on your own can be equally frustrating – if not more so. A quick Google search of video+surveillance yields “about 9,470,000 results in .33 seconds.” It’s an understatement to say that the surveillance market is saturated with vendors and their many products. While this is good for the economy, it’s not so good for your peace of mind as a security decision maker.

If you’re one of the lucky few with a budget to hire a security consultant to recommend a solution, then you have a leg up on your industry colleagues. But if the decision to secure the organization is yours and yours alone, here are some basic tips for cutting out the vendor fat and evaluating a new security solution:

Is the vendor in good financial shape?
This is an especially important question to ask nowadays. You’ll be left in a terrible position if your vendor of choice goes out of business in the middle of your project or during your product warranty period. It’s prudent to work with an established market player as opposed to an emerging vendor with a brand new solution that is relying on investment dollars to survive. A profitable and growing company is typically one with solid products, experienced management and excellent partners – all of which are characteristics you should leverage before, during and after the install.

• Is the solution open? Will this product work in a best-of-breed system?

By selecting products and software that can run in an open ecosystem – meaning that they can integrate with different products from different companies (even competitors) – you will typically be guaranteed the lowest total cost and best performance for your specific needs. Additionally, you’ll avoid locking your company into one vendor, which is important when considering the scalability of your system. Ask to see a list of the vendor’s partners, and then ask those partners if the vendor you’re considering is their product-of-choice for your application.

Be wary of sticker shock. Instead, consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI).
Every industry has companies who survive solely on a low price point, and security is no different. These vendors will explain how much money you’ll instantly save by buying their product. But security investments are for now and the future. Ask the vendor for information on TCO and ROI, which should include scalability, quality, false alarm deterrence, product warranty, and business intelligence.

References, references, references.
All datasheets look nice and glossy, and many competing products offer similar features, at least on paper. To put a tangible slant on your potential purchase, ask for several references from other end users who can attest that the technology is as good as promised. Word-of-mouth is still the best and most reliable advertising.

Confirm that the technology is mature.
Again, this goes back to tangible, real-life results. Find out how many units are installed globally, nationwide and in your region before making the purchase. No matter what you’re buying – from video surveillance, to access control, to alarm systems, to analytics – you want to make sure that you’re not the de facto Beta tester.

Check the support after warranty.
The product warranty is an important failsafe when buying a new security solution. But after the warranty expires, will the vendor still stand behind its product with great customer and technical support? If your system goes down unexpectedly, you’ll suddenly be very interested in how long it takes to get someone live on the phone or to receive a response via email. It’s better to research this information before you have a problem. Here’s a tip: Try calling the support line and see how long it takes for a live person to pick up the phone.

• Local partnerships and training will be invaluable.

Does the vendor have a list of qualified integrators in your area who you can leverage for both installation and expertise? To that end, does it provide certification training to those integrators to guarantee the quality of service and know-how? Both factors will be important not only for the initial install, but also for maintenance and upgrades to your system.

Does the vendor invest a substantial amount in R&D to keep up with new requirements?
Today, especially when installing network-based surveillance equipment, the best systems are designed with the future in mind. Ask any potential vendors to provide a roadmap so you can verify how many new products have been launched the last 12 months. This will give you an idea if they too have their eyes on your future.

While the security landscape is a vast – and perhaps at times overgrown – one, there are many well-educated vendors, integrators and consultants who will happily spend time to answer all your questions. While you’re likely to encounter different viable opinions on what products are best for your installation, if you show up to the next tradeshow armed with a checklist of your questions and qualifications, you can cut through the marketing hype and narrow the vendor pool down to the ones worth following up with.

Fredrik Nilsson is General Manager of the Americas for Axis Communications and author of the book Intelligent Network Video. He has authored numerous articles about networked video surveillance systems and cameras.

Are you prepared? Gunman goes on rampage in manufacturing plant


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—When a gunman stormed through Emcore Corp.’s manufacturing plant here last week, it was another grim reminder for security professionals that threats of workplace violence should remain high on their list of concerns.

Conviction of transit officer leads to riots

Friday, July 9, 2010

There were riots in the streets of Oakland, Calif. last night following an involuntary manslaughter conviction of a white Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer for shooting a 22-year-old unarmed black man on January 1, 2009.

That sentence carries a maximum four-year sentence.

But some in Oakland expected a tougher penalty for the former police officer, and took to the streets in protest, reported CNN.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said the high point of the protests there were about 800 people in the streets, which lead to the arrests of 50 people.

The shooting was captured on a bystander's cell-phone video camera:

At his trial, the officer claimed that he intended to draw and fire his Taser rather than his gun. But I wonder: How does a legally sworn officer make that kind of mistake? I'm not an expert on guns or Tasers, but it's my understanding that they're held and fired quite differently. It's apparent from the video that this situation was getting out of hand and there was a lot of chaos, so maybe the officer just lost his head? But I wonder too if this is any indication that these officers aren't properly trained?

Especially after watching the video, it seems like inexperience and chaos likely contributed to this outcome. There's a moment in the video, right after the shot is heard (around the 1:25 mark), when the officers seem completely stunned, especially the officer with the gun. It seems like they don't know what to do with the body or how they should deal with the situation.

Of course, it's still murder, regardless of whether he meant to do it or not. The officer will be sentenced August 6, and it'll be interesting to see how many years he gets and what the public's reaction will be.