My Point of View: 2015 Secured Cities Highlights Partnerships

Dec. 21, 2015

We have just completed our 7th Secured Cities Conference this past month in Houston. And if there was one overriding theme that permeated the more than 40 presentations and panel discussions it was that public-private partnerships remain essential for today’s municipal and regional public safety agencies. City, county and state police departments across the country have felt the brunt of budget cuts and increased media focus on community relations that exacerbate both personnel and technology limitations.  Having an opportunity to share best practices, lessons learns and technology advancements in a peer rich environment  allows law enforcement, emergency management and private security professionals  to learn that a spirit of cooperation can bring success.

Adrian Garcia, the former Sheriff of Harris County who ran an unsuccessful bid for the Mayor of Houston this fall, talked about the spirit of partnership in his keynote address at the conference’s Security Innovation Awards luncheon. He stressed that the cooperative efforts among agencies helps strengthen overall Pubic Safety in urban communities and that the sharing of information is essential to taking a proactive approach to law enforcement.  “The true strength of partnership comes when the private and public sectors join forces to change hearts and minds and protect their communities,” said Garcia. “The advancement of technology and improved information sharing has given law enforcement the ability to be more proactive in protecting citizens and our businesses than ever before. But it will take long term partnerships to ensure we stay ahead of today’s emerging threats.”

Assistant Chief of Police for the City of Houston Matt Slinkard shared Sheriff’s Garcia’s vision of cooperation and partnership as he opened the conference with an overview of how Houston and neighboring Harris County, along with several private partners teamed up to create a unique solution that should serve as a model for Public Safety technology implementation. Our keynote sponsor from IBM had Robert Griffin, their General Manager for IBM’s Safer Planet division, discussed the impact cybersecurity and law enforcement is having as cities plan for 21st century security policy.

Perhaps more than any other previous host, the City of Houston and Harris County, provided tremendous hands on narratives of how their respective entities have taken UASI funded projects and turned them into showcases for not only technology sharing, but models of progressive public-private partnering.

As conference director, I would personally like to thank the more than 65 Secured Cities sponsors and partners, including IBM, EMC, Verint and Axis Communications and association partners IAHSS, IAPSC, InfraGard, SPF, the Houston and North Texas chapters of ASIS and Friends of Chuck, that helped make this the most successful event to date.

We are happy to announce that we will be returning to Houston next November 8-10, so we encourage you to pencil Secured Cities into your calendar now.

About the Author

Steve Lasky | Editorial Director, Editor-in-Chief/Security Technology Executive

Steve Lasky is a 34-year veteran of the security industry and an award-winning journalist. He is the editorial director of the Endeavor Business Media Security Group, which includes the magazine's Security Technology Executive, Security Business, and Locksmith Ledger International, and the top-rated website He is also the host of the SecurityDNA podcast series.Steve can be reached at [email protected]