The security week that was: 02/26/10

A weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession


It seems like there are some obvious security tips to be learned from this Newark incident:

  • Make sure officers don't go off post.
  • Don't trust your video surveillance system 100%.
  • Remember that even if video surveillance is working, it can't reach out and grab a guy who is going the wrong way.
  • Make sure video loss alerts are set up on your video recorders.
  • Make sure you have alerts in place to signal failure to record.
  • If you're in a high-security scenario, make sure to do daily checks of your equipment.
  • Compare the cost of a breach to the cost of replacing old, bad technology.

So, what else happened in the last week? As it turns out, quite a bit. Here's what was on our radars from this week:

First body scanners planned for U.S. airports to be installed in Boston. The story here is that these machines have been used in test instances, especially in Europe, but our squeamish, protestant culture in the U.S. was too afraid of our private parts showing up in grainy images to the numbed head of a security staffer who's looking for weapons, not for giggles. I'm glad this technology is in use, and I had no problem being scanned when flying in Europe a year ago.

Teacher tackles gunman suspected in school shooting. My take on this is that doctors and teachers usually rate as two of the highest respected professions. Sometimes teachers go crazy and become school shooters themselves, but other times they are the heros and take down a gunman unarmed, like this story out of Littleton, Colo. I suppose there's a reason teachers still get high ranks in terms of most-respected professions.

Memo: Coast Guard nominee wants to cut funding for counterterrorism programs. Obama has nominated Vice Admiral Robert J. Papp Jr. to head up the Coast Guard, and the word today is that Papp has proposed cuts to counter-terrorism funding in the Coast Guard. Before you think the Coast Guard could care less about terrorism (they are part of DHS), realize that this may be more about shifting counter-terror responsibilities to the most effect organization. After all, it can present a problem if you have an agency with two divergent responsibilities. In the Coast Guard's case, that would mean search-and-rescue and counter-terror. It makes sense, though I'm not fully convinced, and probably won't be until I better understand what DHS unit is going to pick up the slack on coastal counter-terror.