The security week that was: 09/04/09

A weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession


Drug law changes in Mexico

Mexico is either gearing up to be the next Amsterdam, or police and legislators are simply tired of wasting officers' time on simple drug possession charges. No matter the reason, the nation's new drug laws -- which legalize personal amounts of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, speed and LSD -- could impact U.S. businesses' own employee drug policies. That's the word from Security Executive Council managing director Bob Hayes, who says that the issue with Mexico's drug laws is largely being ignored by the business press. That could come back to bite companies who aren't paying attention to this issue. Hayes says the SEC is not sure yet what should be done to respond to this change, but he says companies should at the very least be reading over their drug policies and working with their lawyers to understand the ramifications of such a change to Mexico's drug laws.

On a side note, some speculate that the real reason Mexico decriminalized personal possession is that police were accepting bribes from individuals to get out of simple possession charges, and that the legislative move is designed to reduce unethical behaviors in Mexico's police forces. Whatever the reason is, Mexico has been plagued with real violence. The city of Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, recorded more than 300 murders in just one month this year. Earlier this week, the city saw an execution-style mass murder at a drug rehab clinic which left 17 dead.

Sabotage hits Washington radio station's towers
Police think eco-terror banner is designed to be a misdirection by real criminals

After building two 199-foot-tall radio towers in the Snohomish River Valley of Washington State, sports radio station KRKO had made enemies with some people who thought the towers detracted on the valley. And now, after winning a lengthy court fight to get the permits and taking two months to build the towers, the radio station is faced with sabotage of its towers. This week, it seems, some individuals commandeered a nearby trackhoe and wrecked both towers, toppling them to the ground before allegedly escaping on foot. The perpetrators are said to have hung an Earth Liberation Front banner on the security fencing at the site (which was ineffective when faced with a trackhoe), but authorities believe the ELF banner may be designed to throw investigators off the track of the criminals. ELF is considered to be an eco-terror group, and operates clandestinely in cells. You can read the condensed story here, but if you want to see raw video of the damage, hop over to KIRO-TV's site.

Amazing school security story
Plus a plug for our upcoming webinar

There was a grainy surveillance camera on the school bus, but it wasn't the camera that disarmed a student who pulled a semi-auto handgun on a school bus in rural Mississippi. The hero was high school senior Kaleb Eulls, who tackled the potential shooter and wrestled the gun from her. Eulls was just the guy for the task; he's a 255-pound defensive end who has played for Yazoo County schools, and who has signed on with Mississippi State to play college football. Perhaps most amazing is that Eulls was napping on the bus when he was awoken by his sister to the potentially dangerous scene. Talk about springing to action; someone get this young man focused on the security profession if he doesn't end up in the NFL!

Speaking of school security, make sure to sign up now for our free webinar on Sept. 17 with University of Virginia Professor Dewey Cornell, who is going to present on how schools can analyze student threats and hopefully dissuade those actions before a sentinel event occurs. We're also having our vendor sponsors, Hirsch Electronics and Dedicated Micros, present on how to best use video surveillance and electronic access control during a school violence situation -- such as how to open up access for the video system, perform a lockdown and more.

Register here!