From “Ground Shipments Undergo Limited Security Checks”
Associated Press (03/20/18) Koenig, David. Posted by ASIS.
Packages intended to be placed on a truck, like the bomb that exploded Tuesday at a FedEx facility in Texas, are not screened as carefully as items carried by passenger planes. Delivery companies such as FedEx and UPS rely on a risk-based strategy, hoping to detect illegal or dangerous shipments by spotting something unusual about the package or the shipper. Screening every parcel intended for domestic delivery would be too expensive. Cargo on passenger planes must be screened, usually by computed-tomography scanners, said Jeffrey Price, an aviation-security expert at Metropolitan State University in Denver. However, if a package is going to be placed on a truck for delivery within the United States, as with the device that exploded on a conveyer belt at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, “there is much less likelihood that it’s going to be physically screened with X-ray or even a person examining the package,” said John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator at the Department of Homeland Security. For truck shipments, cargo carriers train employees to look for suspicious behavior, including anything that looks odd about the package. An employee at a FedEx center in Austin, Bryan Jaimes, 19, told reporters he never received new guidance from managers about handling packages. He said his job is to load the trucks and that he assumes other workers earlier in the shipping chain give packages a once-over before they get to him.
From “Designing a School to Stop Shooters”
The Wall Street Journal (03/13/18) Hobbs, Tawnell D. Posted by ASIS.
The Wylie Independent School District spent $19 million to make George W. Bush Elementary School in an upper-class Dallas suburban neighborhood able to withstand a school shooter. The special features include sparse landscaping and numerous windows in the front to provide a clear view of approaching visitors. In addition, entering the school is a multistep process. First, visitors enter a vestibule and must be buzzed inside the main office. Then, a government-issued ID must be scanned through a system called the “Raptor,” which flags child molesters and anyone else who should be kept out. The school has wide hallways and no small nooks, making it harder to hide or avoid video surveillance that is viewable by school administrators and police officers in patrol cars. The Wylie School District has regular lockdown and emergency drills, full-time security officers trained in active school shooting situations, and strong ties with local police, according to district spokesman Ian Halperin. These types of designs and tactics are becoming more common among the country’s 98,000 public schools as students, parents, administrators, and lawmakers grapple with the rash of school shootings. Since 1990, there have been 32 shootings in schools where at least three people were killed or injured.
From “Weapons in the Workplace”
Security Management (03/18) Sorrells, Eddie. Posted by ASIS.
For most private employers, the issue of guns in the workplace is complex. There is currently no U.S. federal law regulating weapons at private workplaces, and while many state legislatures have taken up the issue, these laws vary in terms of their restrictions and make it difficult for employers operating in multiple U.S. states to implement one overarching weapons policy. By understanding the legal landscape surrounding firearms on work property, and establishing policies within the employers’ legal rights that properly address workplace violence, security professionals can help ensure a safe work environment without infringing on the legal rights of their employees. Notably, 23 states have some form of “parking lot laws” that allow employees to have firearms in their locked, private vehicles while parked on company-owned property. Meanwhile, more lawsuits can be expected regarding employee termination based on gun-free workplace policies. Florida, for example, passed a law in 2008 that prohibits employers from discriminating against any worker, customer, or invitee for exercising the right to keep and bear arms. Policies on workplace violence should include a thorough explanation of state law regarding guns on workplace property and outline how to respond to employees who are potentially violent. When firing any individual considered to be high-risk, companies should consider providing a security escort to the parking lot. Organizations should also train security officers in the use of de-escalation techniques. Finally, for workplaces that must comply with parking lot laws, organizations may consider increasing security in parking areas, such as adding an access control point, conducting patrols, installing video surveillance systems, and implementing proper lighting.
From “U.S. Closes Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen, Bars Employees From Travel Over ‘Security Threat'”
ABC News (03/08/18) Finnegan, Conor. Posted by ASIS International.
The U.S. has closed its consular agency in Playa del Carmen, a coastal resort town in Mexico, and is restricting its employees from traveling there over a “security threat.” The State Department offered few details on what the threat was, saying only that one was received by the embassy in Mexico City on March 7. The warnings come after a bomb exploded on a ferry that runs between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel in February, injuring 25 people, including two Americans. One week later, an unexploded ordinance was found on another ferry in Cozumel, Mexico. The State Department confirmed “undetonated explosive devices” were discovered on the ferry by Mexican law enforcement, warned Americans to “exercise caution,” and barred employees from traveling on that ferry route. Both incidents are still under investigation. “We take our obligation to provide information to U.S. citizens seriously as evidenced by the clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information we release worldwide,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said. Both the closure of the consular agency and the limits on personnel travel will continue “until further notice,” added Nauert. Still, Americans were not told to avoid travel to Playa del Carmen. The State Department’s alert system ranks it at a “Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.”
From “After Mass Shooting in Florida, Indiana Lawmakers Call for Study of School Security”
USA Today (02/27/18) Herron, Arika. Reprinted from ASIS.
Lawmakers across the country have been looking for ways to improve school security since the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. Some Indiana lawmakers are calling for a review and report on the status of school safety across the state. The Indiana House education committee recently added language to a bill that would require the Secured School Safety Board to review current school safety issues, report back to the legislative council, and make recommendations for improvements. Some states have suggested arming teachers as a possible security solution. Indiana is one of several states that already allows school boards to decide whether or not to permit individuals, including teachers, to carry guns on school property. Most districts do not, but at least one district already has a provision to allow administrators to carry guns and another district is reconsidering the idea of arming teachers after the Florida shooting. Some lawmakers have suggested other means for protecting students. One lawmaker proposed mandatory active shooter response training last week and another pitched a plan for $100 million school security grants. However, neither proposal made it into a bill.
From “Massachusetts Hospital Makes Security Changes After Nurse Stabbed 11 Times”
Campus Safety Magazine (09/27/2017) Brennan, Amy
Harrington HealthCare System’s Southbridge, Mass., hospital began implementing new security measures in September following the June stabbing of a nurse by a former patient. Elise Wilson was working as an emergency room nurse on June 14 when 24-year-old Conor O’Regan stabbed her 11 times. Doctors say Wilson almost died from tremendous blood loss. Investigators say O’Regan picked Wilson at random and was seeking revenge for what he considered to be unsatisfactory treatment at the hospital three weeks prior for a wrist injury. He told court physicians that he heard voices telling him to “be a warrior.” Hospital administrators say the new security measures include limitation of visitors in emergency departments and mandatory bag searches at Harrington’s Southbridge and Webster locations. Each patient in the emergency departments will be limited to two visitors. Added public safety officers will manage visitors as they arrive. Public safety officers will also now carry batons, pepper spray, and handcuffs. “There are very strict guidelines and circumstances under which these tools would be used, and that is being communicated during the training being taken by our Public Safety Department,” says Harrington vice president Harry Lemieux. Many hospital employees, including public safety staff, will participate in de-escalation training and defensive tactics. On-site training and drills will also be rolled out with department and building-specific protocols. Two walk-through metal detectors have also been placed at emergency room entrances and additional security cameras and panic buttons have been installed throughout the hospital.
From “Mitigating Active Shooter Risks”
PropertyCasualty360 (08/16/17). Posted by ASIS.
Security professionals should prepare their companies for the possibility of an active shooting, as the number of incidents involving active shooters has risen steadily over the last 15 years. Keith Plaisance of Global SHE Solutions says implementing an active shooter program is similar to preparing for a fire drill, and survival depends on having a plan with three specific options: run, hide or, fight. Preparing for an active shooter scenario involves the development of a workplace violence policy and plan, emergency response plans, training, and exercises. For the workplace violence policy, the employer should establish acceptable workplace behavior, affirm the company’s commitment to take action and provide a safe workplace for employees, and address physical violence as well as threats, bullying, harassment, and weapon possession. Plaisance says a reporting mechanism should be in place letting employees know who to approach with concerns. He also recommends creating a threat assessment team within the company. Companies should test plans to determine effectiveness and identify potential problems, presenting plans to employees in regular training. Companies should also conduct a detailed physical security assessment, with the goal of denying unauthorized access and protecting property, personnel, and operations.