The security week that was: 08/29/08

An Olympic Security Effort

With America walking out of the 2008 Summer Olympics with more medals than any other country (110 medals, with 36 of them golds!) and with the creation of a new superstar (Michael Phelps), it's safe to say the Beijing Olympics were a success. Not only were they a sporting success for the United States and all other competitors who traveled around the world to give it their best, but it was a safety success as well from all reports I've been able to dredge up.

Whether that was because of a tight control by the Chinese government or the addition of thousands of security devices (watch out, London, Beijing has got some cameras now!), the point is that the Olympics were allowed to be at their finest: a place for competition and record breaking, and not a place of worry and violence.

Watching the Olympics these last three weeks was a thrill, but it also reminded me of some not-so-favorable times in the Olympics.

We recently featured an interview with Thomas McMillen, a former NBA player and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who has since formed Homeland Security Capital Corporation. McMillen was at the '72 Olympics with the U.S. basketball team when terrorists took Israeli competitors hostage. He shared his experiences with us in an article we posted on the site about a week ago.

Before the Olympics started, we profiled U.S. Olympic Committee CSO Larry Buendorf, the man responsible for coordinating security for the U.S. teams while they are still in the U.S. and when they are abroad. Larry didn't tell us as much, but we can assume has some sleepless nights thinking about the protection of our nation's athletes.

Finally, however, these 2008 Beijing Olympics reminded me of a walk I took a few years ago through Atlanta's Centennial Park area. This is the park area that Atlanta built for visitors to the 1996 Summer Olympics. It's also where a bomb exploded on July 27, 1996, during the Olympics. It was a backpack-style bomb placed by Eric Robert Rudolph and it killed two and injured around 100 others. If you wander around Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, you will find a large copper-patina, fan-shaped sculpture where -- if you look closely -- you can see a remnant of the bomb's blast and shrapnel. I mention this only because this park is almost adjacent to the 2008 ASIS show that is being held at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center in about 3 weeks. If you have the time, walk over to the park and find this sculpture (see picture). I know that it will intensely remind you of how important your work in security is.

In other news:
Apple = surveillance?, Panasonic changes, TWIC grief, more...

Apple might be getting involved in our industry; they're co-hosting a panel at ASIS with a video surveillance firm. We can only speculate (join the speculation in our forums) on what could be planned. … Last week, we reported of a new federal law requiring emergency notification on campus; this week we report on an Illinois law for campus preparedness. … Depending on whom you ask, TWIC is either a resounding success or an uphill battle. Some of the the card users (longshoremen, port workers and drivers) are frustrated by delays that affect their employment, and an advisory committee also has criticized the program. I'm going to place my vote in the "uphill battle" category on this one. … A firefighter's widow is suing two security companies, alleging that mistaken alarm dispatch information is linked to the firefighter's death.

Watch out for those badge holders: NASA is worried about a defective one hurting employees or potentially ejecting its clips as "foreign objects" inside high-tech equipment. … Panasonic Security Systems is restructuring its sales force; John Centofanti is the new national sales manager. … Former Panasonic IP video guru Steve Surfaro, who handled much of the company's notable P-Tech training, has now moved to IP video products manufacturer Axis Communications.

Finally, we close with a look at the most read stories of the week: