Public safety struggles to cope with growing threats

Aug. 28, 2015
Secured Cities event to provide peer-led best practices and lessons learned for security, emergency management professionals

With less than two months remaining before the start of the 7th Secured Cities conference in Houston on November 10-12, we are reminded daily of the constant threats faced by our municipalities, school campuses, healthcare facilities and transportation centers. The spotlight of inner-city violence permeates many neighborhoods and business districts, spilling over to private and institutional venues as well.

As Public Safety agencies struggle to cope with the growing threats, they are often cash-strapped and short on manpower when it comes to addressing these issues. So it is crucial, more now than ever, that cities and counties find partners in funding and technology. Creating strategic policy roadmaps within your own agencies and then sharing those plans among partner agencies are important steps in defining measures that secure your cities.

Law enforcement agencies and others in the Public Safety sector need new and smarter solutions to ensure our security. They need ways to harness information to better understand situations and how to respond faster to threats. Data visualization, real-time collaboration and credible analytics can help agencies monitor city areas, predict and respond more effectively to incidents, streamline information sharing and collaborate in the management of major events and emergencies.

As cities work with the private sector to gradually implement new competencies and technologies, the increased information-sharing and unified communication efforts are helping them to establish solutions that help identify successful outcomes and assists in developing preventive tactics.

“In an environment where budgets and personnel resources are constrained for cities, while demands for public services are growingly more vocal, bringing sharp minds together to create and refine solutions is key,” says Benjamin M. Butchko, CPP, who is President/CEO of the respected consulting firm Butchko, Inc. “The 2015 Texas State Legislature highlighted the fact that law enforcement organizations are struggling with unfilled police officer positions.  Secured Cities is an ideal forum for public and private sector organizations to communicate on real issues, share ideas, and collectively develop solutions which benefit all.”

Coordinating efforts among public and private municipal stakeholders allows for a cohesive security and risk mitigation plan. That is the mantra of Secured Cities, the only content-driven national conference providing an interactive forum for Public Safety, law enforcement and management-level security personnel – both public and private – to address trending topics relevant to securing municipal, educational, and healthcare and transportation sectors.

Funding and rapid technology advancement are two issues both Public Safety and security personnel are challenged with when it comes to today’s strategic planning. As public and private partnerships emerge across the country, having a venue where law enforcement, emergency management, security and government officials can meet in a collaborative environment is essential. Secured Cities is that venue.

Whether you are accountable for understanding and implementing government funding and grant initiatives, emerging technologies, security and emergency management policy and operations, best practices and peer-led applications, Secured Cities provides the educational and networking opportunities to help you establish the programs and build the relationships to address today’s security and emergency management challenges.

“Cities which are safe and secure stimulate business growth.  The upcoming Secured Cities event not only provides a forum to benefit the public safety environment, but firm up the basis for business stimulation and sustainable business success,” adds Butchko, who will be handling two sessions at the event. The first session will be Tuesday at 1 PM, entitled, Public-Private Partnership to Improve Community Security along the US-Mexican Border, and the other is Wednesday, November 11 at 3 PM entitled, Emergency Management Coordination in Major Metropolitan Areas.

Lieutenant Samuel Hood has played host to Secured Cities the past two years in Baltimore.  Lt. Hood is a 19-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department, and the current director of law enforcement operations for CitiWatch, the City of Baltimore’s closed circuit surveillance network which consists of more than 542 cameras. He is responsible for the virtual law enforcement, public safety and crowd control of Baltimore City, which attracts approximately 10 million tourists, convention attendees, vacationers, Grand Prix enthusiasts, sport fans and the downtown work force each year.

“This annual conference provides Federal, state, and local government agencies, along with private, Public Safety and security discipline practitioner’s evolving governance capabilities when integrating edge technology,” says Lt. Hood. “The event goes beyond the conference creating this niche community throughout the year providing information for specific area(s) grant funding, subject-specific white papers and webinars, not to mention the in person presentations by the Worlds Subject Matter Experts (SME) pioneering tomorrow’s Secured Cities at the yearly conference.”

Lt. Hood will be involved in several sessions and panels at the Houston event, including the Current Events and Funding Fast Track Body Worn Cameras panel on Wednesday, November 11 at 1 PM.

Another public sector expert who will be speaking at Secured Cities is Yilmaz Halac, a director with the Chicago-based security consulting firm SDI. Halac previously served as Managing Deputy Director City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), overseeing technology for Chicago Police (CPD), Chicago Fire (CFD), 311 (non-emergency) and OEMC - 911. He was a member of Public Safety Technology Consortium, a group which consists of CFD, CPD, OEMC, Health Department and Aviation. He was responsible for the research, planning and development of new technologies for all the public safety agencies.

Halac is well-credentialed in large-scale, event-based security management, having worked on the planning for the recent NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012, as well as serving as a member of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Subcommittee along with the US Secret Service, FBI, DHS and other high profile supporting agencies.

His session, Managing the Unmanageable: Evacuating a Major City during No-Notice Massive Event, will spotlight the high-profile scenario of evacuating a major city during no-notice massive events such as chemical, radiological attacks or hazmat spill. This presentation is slated for Wednesday, November 11 at 5 PM.

“I applaud the access that Secured Cities provides attendees to meet representatives from many Public Safety, private sector and top-notch, proven technology providers.  With over 40 highly relevant hands-on sessions, steered by well-recognized industry leaders and executives in the field of public safety, attendees can participate in focused and reality-driven safety and security topical discussions. These interactive educational sessions enable individuals and groups to share their issues, experiences and best practices – as well as see the impressive next generation of Secured Cities projects and solutions,” Halac points out.

 Secured Cities is dedicated to security, Public Safety, law enforcement and emergency management issues. More than 85 industry experts will be on hand to teach and answer questions, and another 60-plus technology sponsors are showcasing their solutions throughout the event.

 For more information on the conference sessions/panels, click onto to see the complete three-day lineup. Secured Cities is November 10-12 at Houston’s Reliant Park Crowne Plaza Hotel.

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]