What the recent terrorist arrest teach us about public safety


Last week law enforcement officials in New York and Colorado broke up a terrorist plot to use chemical weapons of mass destruction, allegedly led by Najibullah Zazi. Zazi had been planning the attack, to culminate on 9/11/09, for over a year, during which time he purchased and stockpiled household chemicals to make explosives. A report by the FBI documents Zazi’s efforts to buy common chemicals: hydrogen peroxide and acetone to make triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, from beauty supply stores in Colorado. Apparently, the FBI and law enforcement interviewed retailers and reviewed video from in-store surveillance cameras to collect evidence. It shows us that we are all part of the effort to keep the public safe. It makes it even more important for businesses to be dedicated to security in and around their facilities. Installing video surveillance cameras is just one of many steps business owners can take to help monitor potentially dangerous inventory and keep employees and customers safe. Surveillance cameras can record suspicious behavior and features like remote viewing can add an extra layer of security on top of well-trained employees. A Wall Street Journal story reports that, Bill Gulledge, manager of the hydrogen peroxide panel at the American Chemistry Council said there is no formal procedure for screening sales of hydrogen peroxide products sold at beauty supply houses. But in this case the retailers and their security infrastructure provided the necessary documentation. From business owners to customers, public safety is everyone’s business. Technology, training and vigilance are some of the most powerful public safety tools. -- PSW Staff * Photo of TATP courtesy of FBI Laboratory Explosives Unit