The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Nov. 5-11, 2005

SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession


The security of schools and hotels came to light in the worst way this week with incidents in Jordan at three high-end Western-type hotels, and in Campbell County, Tenn., with an attack at a public high school.

Campbell County Schools Shooting

In the fatal high school incident, a student is accused of shooting his principal and two assistant principals with a .22 handgun. Now, with one assistant principal dead, and the feeling of security lifted from this rural county's school system, schools across the country are being forced to consider what their response would be.

In the incident, the principal called for a lockdown, but the openness of the school had already allowed in the dangerous weapon. If this incident doesn't serve as a wake-up call that its time to reexamine policies, procedures and security technologies used at schools, then perhaps a look at fatal school shootings since 1997 will. We can no longer afford to react; school security has to be proactive. Look for more on this topic in Tuesday's Security Frontline e-newsletter.

Hotels & Soft Targets

In Jordan, where many in the population have demonstrated against terrorism since yesterday's attacks at three American hotels, these latest terrorist actions reflect the continued targeting of "soft targets". Why do terrorists go to soft targets? I'd argue that part of the reason that terrorists hit soft targets is because we have so focused our efforts on securing infrastructure, such as in a new DHS infrastructure protection plan. But as we move forward we need to ask at what point a privately owned soft target becomes a national security interest. Where do we draw the line? It's a question that will have to be repeatedly discussed as we determine grants and funding for private sector facilities that become national interests.

Ghosts of Robberies Past?

Many of our security executives have, as part of their duties, a role in management of security officers. And while it's no longer Halloween, we think it's still worth noting an odd news story about the firing of a guard who claimed to see ghosts. The guard was initially denied unemployment benefits because his firing was said to have been based on 'misconduct'. However, a judge has overturned that decision; apparently seeing ghosts isn't misconduct.

Selling Security and Buying Security Businesses

Brink's reached its millionth home security customer last month and celebrated that milestone with a $10,000 donation to the American Cancer Society earlier this week. The company is rumored to be readying to jettison its heavy-freight delivery unit BAX Global, allowing Brink's corporate structure to devote extra energies to the company's security business.

While Brink's Home Security was out growing its customer base one sale at a time, Devcon decided to go the alternate route and grow its customer base by buying two companies at a time. They purchased Florida footholds with the acquisition of electronic security companies Coastal Security and Guardian International.

In Honor of Our Veterans

We've not forgotten that today is Veteran's Day, a holiday for our armed services veterans that was formally established in 1919 as "Armistice Day" to celebrate the end of World War I (formally ended in Versailles on Nov. 11, 1918) and then expanded in 1954 to celebrate all U.S. veterans. Read more history, as given by the Department of Veterans Affairs. At SecurityInfoWatch.com, we recognize that the security that you, our readers, are creating also rests on the security that veterans have created for our country. Today, SIW salutes all American veterans for creating that bedrock of security upon which our industry relies.