The Security Week That Was: A Recap - April 23-29, 2005

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


Proving that homeowners and business owners in such cities as Fremont, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee aren't the only ones who create false alarms, the White House fell victim to a false alarm earlier this week, when on Wednesday, security went on full alert after a radar system mistakenly picked up some anomaly (birds are a prime suspect) in the restricted air space. President Bush was moved to an underground bunker and guys with guns roamed the White House for a few minutes until it was determined that it was just a false alarm. The incident was the first for the year, so like they do in most cities when a false alarm occurs, we hope that D.C. doesn't fine the White House for responding.

Another of our biggest stories of the week was that surveillance/security employees at Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino have been accused of using the casino's cameras to ogle female patrons. The complaint alleges that the operators focused the cameras on "selected parts of the anatomy" of female gambling patrons. The incident is believed to have occurred over three days back in October. This is no light-hearted story -- while Caesars' security workers were getting their jollies focusing expensive cameras on women in the casino, the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement was getting ready to slap them with a reprimand and get their name smeared across the news. Are your employees doing this? Are you sure?

One of the most alarming parts of this week has been the number of stories coming across our news wires about bomb threats and fake bombs at schools. In California, they found a fake bomb in a school's swimming pool. It wasn't the first time the school has been hit by this kind of incident. Speaking of not being hit for the first time by a false bomb threat, point your eyes toward Arkansas where a school has had four false bomb threats in four months. This kind of incident is: (A) Disruptive? (B) Expensive? (C) Disconcerting? I say we choose (D) - "All of the above." In Arkansas, that's equivalent to four days of school lost this semester. If this trend continues, we are going to have to begin weighing the costs of a high security perimeter closer to the likes of an airport against the costs otherwise faced when police and bomb squads are called in to search a school, plus the educational costs of lost teaching time. These aren't the days of the little one-room schoolhouse -- it's a serious endeavor to search today's mammoth-sized school facilities.

Finally, for those of you involved in securing manufacturing facilities, I encourage you to point your computer's mouse to a fact sheet from the DHS about what's being done to secure our nation's chemical facilities. If you've ever wanted to see a plan of action from DHS, take a look at this. Our opinion: These procedures can serve as a model for securing our nation's infrastructure.