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Office buildings. Public advocates tend to represent citizens' concerns about government waste or inefficiency, respond to complaints about government services or programs, and generally ensure that government meets the needs of its citizenry. After 9-11, that includes prodding government to require the private sector to take more precautions against terrorism, including ratcheting up the quality of security officers.


In a scathing report on security in New York buildings, New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum has done just that. Gotbaum writes that standards for private security officers are "alarmingly low," and that private building owners have failed to train security officers to respond to terrorism or work with other first responders. High turnover, substandard wages and benefits, and poor enforcement of training standards that do exist also contribute to the problem.

Gotbaum offers a slate of suggestions. They include increasing officer training hours beyond the eight now required, and mandating further training for officers working in Class A buildings; having the city audit security companies more often; revising and strengthening training curricula to focus on terrorism; and having public first responders coordinate their emergency response efforts with private security firms. SM Online has the report.

Motel security. Because tourist trade fluctuates, businesses such as bars and restaurants often try to appeal to locals as well. Motels probably want to avoid that tack. The premise of a new guide from the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is that a high level of occupancy by locals in motels generally correlates with higher crime rates. Prostitutes, drug dealers, smugglers, and parolees are among the local residents often found using or living in budget motels.

A study in Chula Vista, California, has shown that local visitors to problem motels had probation rates 13 times that of the state's adult population. Not a single tourist questioned at these motels indicated that they were on probation or parole. The COPS guide offers 37 possible approaches to this problem that motels, communities, and law enforcement could adapt.

Besides the obvious physical security, law enforcement, and CPTED advice, some thought-provoking strategies emerge. For example, motels can assign potential problem guests to rooms near the front office or with high natural surveillance, prohibit back-in parking (used by criminals to conceal license plate numbers), and inspect rooms of guests who refuse maid service or act suspiciously. Oakland, California, has required a chain of budget motels to take out a $250,000 performance bond in return for continued operation of the facility. Rather than lose the bond money, the chain now uses round-the-clock security officers to control access. Learn more by reading the guide at SM Online.

C-TPAT. The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT). Green lanes. FAST (Free and Secure Trade) lanes. The Container Security Initiative. Smart containers. Automated Commercial Environment. These various cargo security programs and elements launched by the federal government may seem like a morass of overlapping parts. A new document by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) clears up much of the confusion as far as C-TPAT is concerned. The document explains the origin and purpose of the program, in which companies can voluntarily partner with the government to strengthen supply chain security.

Five "strategic goals," which list individual objectives for each, are outlined. One strategic goal, for example, is for C-TPAT companies to improve the security of their supply chains. Objectives within this goal include certifying security profiles supplied by partner companies and having CBP verify that a company's security plans are effective and accurate. The second strategic goal is to enable companies to expedite their shipments to other C-TPAT partners. To learn about the complete program, read Securing the Global Supply Chain: Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) Strategic Plan via SM Online.

Port security. In any tabletop exercise involving multiple authorities and jurisdictions, it's virtually certain that some of the lessons learned involve the need for better coordination, clear lines of authority, and improved information sharing. And so it has been with Coast Guard exercises on port security, says the Government Accountability Office (GAO). According to GAO auditors, 59 percent of the 82 exercises studied raised communication issues, including problems with interoperable radio communications, failure to share information with other agencies, and difficulties in accessing necessary classified information.

Almost as many exercises were plagued with resource problems, including poor facilities or equipment. Forty-one percent of the exercises raised concerns about the participants' ability to coordinate a command and control system, for example. Part of the problem, acknowledges the GAO, is that the National Response Plan, launched in January, wasn't in place during the exercises. That plan supercedes all existing federal interagency emergency response plans. SM Online takes you to the report.

Incident reporting. Contending with bad breath and nervous patients, dentists and hygienists have plenty of challenges. One university is also training them to stop abuse by reporting broken jaws and suspiciously chipped teeth--signs of family violence.

Because 60 percent of abuse cases involve head and neck injuries, which dental professionals are uniquely suited to identify, the University of Minnesota's School of Dentistry and the Program Against Sexual Violence created a training program to deal with patients affected by family violence. The program discusses the dynamics of abuse, teaches dental students and professionals how to intervene in and report violence, and shows how to identify community service providers and establish office protocols.

A report by the Justice Department's Office for Victims of Crime indicates that the training "made a significant, positive impact in teaching dental professionals how to identify and report cases of abuse." The report urges that this training be integrated into dental schools, dental hygiene programs, and dental associations. Read it on SM Online.
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Title Annotation:News and Trends
Author:Gips, Michael A.
Publication:Security Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2005
Previous Article:When dorms get too warm.
Next Article:Builders construct better security.

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