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Public and Private Security: Bridging the Gap

June 1, 2010
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The infamous border between southwest U.S. and Mexico. G4S security personnel are working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to help secure it. 


The city of Vancouver partnered with a private security company and RSI Videofied at the Vancouver Olympics. The blended video solution that combines security video pan/tilt/zoom cameras with the Videofied BucketCams for scouts and sentries provided cost savings and led to arrests

Like water and oil, day and night, rich and poor – public and private organizations couldn’t be more different, which is why they have shied away from forming partnerships. After all, what do they have in common? Actually, quite a bit. At a time when financial resources are scarce, yet security’s already critical role increases every day, federal, state and local government entities are looking more closely at public-private partnerships as a means of tapping the expertise and economic power of the private sector to make possible large projects that might otherwise not happen. 

While such partnerships “are not the answer to all problems,” according to Richard Norment, executive director of the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) in Arlington, Va. “But they are the answer to some of them. They are definitely an option that needs to be examined.”

Critical to the success of any such partnership is a comprehensive review of all of the implications of the agreement, Norment says. NCPPP has identified six keys to success, which include statutory and political environment, a public sector’s organized structure, a detailed business plan, guaranteed revenue stream, stakeholder support and the ability to pick your partner carefully, as the best value in a partner (not just a low bid) that’s vital in a long-term relationship.

For security, both public and private, the fact is that many security executives within the public sector say that they could not do without their private sector colleagues. They work closely with stakeholders throughout their respective security communities and the cooperation often allows them and their security partners to improve procedures and share best practices.

For example, Ryder, which delves in supply chain, warehousing and transportation management solutions, hosted a U.S.-Mexico Border Security Conference in early April to initiate information sharing between customers, business partners and government security agencies and, it says, to reinforce its commitment to bring higher levels of safety and security to its operations and those of the customers it serves. The conference featured presentations by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its component agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; International SOS; and LoJack Supply Chain Integrity.

“Long-term security issues along the southwest U.S. border, coupled with a recent increase in violence, are forcing companies that do business in Mexico to re-evaluate their supply chain security practices,” said Eugenio Sevilla-Sacasa, vice president and managing director of Ryder Mexico. “As criminals increasingly look to leverage transportation and logistics networks for illegal activity, it is more important than ever for businesses to bolster security throughout cross-border transportation and supply chain operations.”

At the event, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) representatives discussed emerging threats and security trends impacting businesses with operations along the border between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Increasing collaboration between government agencies and the private sector is one of the best ways to mitigate security threats against business,” states Sanford Hodes, vice president, Safety, Health & Security for Ryder.


The Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District includes ambassadors patrolling to help visitors with directions and pick up trash and be the security eyes and ears for the city. A number of private Minneapolis downtown businesses contribute a certain amount of money each year to fund the project. 

Presidential Directives Encourage Cooperation

In some cases, mandates by the federal government almost force public agencies to find private sector counterparts with security related issues. For example, there are 25 Homeland Security Presidential Directives on matters pertaining to homeland security. They focus on organization and operation of the Homeland Security Council (HSPD-1); national preparedness (HSPD-8) to identify steps for improved coordination in response to incidents; a policy for a common identification standard for Federal employees and contractors (HSPD-12), which establishes a mandatory, government-wide standard for secure and reliable forms of identification issued by the federal government to its employees and contractors (including contractor employees); a martime security policy (HSPD-13), public health and medical preparedness (HSPD-22); and a national cyber security initiative (HSPD-23). 

The HSPD-12 mandate also deals with E-Verify, which is an online system operated jointly by DHS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) where employers can check the work status of new hires online by comparing information from an employee’s I-9 form against SSA and DHS databases.

Several of the mandates apply to border patrol along the Southwest U.S./Mexico border, and it’s an issue that Pattie L. Caulk, contracting officer, branch chief, western operations for the Border Patrol Contracting Division, a division with DHS, pays close attention.

“I definitely think that our private sector relationships will stay the course,” says Caulk. “DHS, as with other agencies, does not have the manpower to perform all tasks.”

Caulk tells Security that DHS, and specifically U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), receives from its current contract with G4S, for example, “the ability for more Border Patrol agents to get back to the front line instead of transporting detainees. And while the agents still transport detainees, it’s a relative small portion compare to the time before this contact was awarded.”

DHS works with G4S on border security along the U.S./Mexico border, which has been a topic of contention lately. The 1,993-mile southwest stretch separating it from Mexico is currently the major focus of attention.

Responsibility for preventing unwanted “guests” crossing this divide and trespassing illegally on U.S. soil falls to the CBP. As America’s largest uniformed federal law enforcement organization, its role includes the detection and detention of the huge numbers of aliens attempting to circumvent the multi-layered defenses that have been put in place along the border. Once apprehended, those aliens need to be processed and, in some cases, transported to detention facilities to await judicial review, all of which can take six hours. It requires a transportation plan capable of collecting the prisoners – the detainees’ official designation – from a variety of points along the border and carrying them to the IMS centers. Later, they need to be transported once more to their point of release, back across the border.

But in 2006, notice was given that the 19,000 federal agents responsible for this component in the border protection program were to be withdrawn.

The CBP had two choices: absorb or outsource, Caulk says. It opted for the second course of action and awarded the transportation contract to G4S, which today has more than 600 personnel trained as custom protection officers (CPO), including 208 hours of additional training to meet the contract’s special needs. The men and women who join G4S’s CPO division are required to have criminal justice degrees or background and experience in law enforcement and/or elite military units.

The contract is not a bus service; it’s a high-security transit service, says Kevin Johnson of G4S. The transportation plans, agreed between G4S and CBP on a monthly basis, requires the company to be very flexible in its deployment of personnel. Some 70 percent of routes are fixed, defined and consistent while the remainder are for special purposes or operate on an on-call basis and they can be extremely challenging.

The resulting collaboration between the federal agency and private contractor quickly developed into a successful one. CBP was able to maintain the level of its protective border services without disruption during the transition to G4S. The contract was renewed for a fourth year last August.

While this story has a successful ending on both sides, it is often difficult to form such a partnership, says Caulk. “Some projects and programs change with each Administration,” she says, yet “the situation along the southwest border has been a contention with Border Patrol for quite a while,” and that has not changed with who is in the White House. “It’s not easy to get a contract,” she adds. “With our current contract, the employees had to not only go through a background investigation with G4S, but also within our agency. This is a long process that cannot be cut short due to the type of work they are performing.”


An Essential Partnership

In another example of a solid venture between public and private entities, (HSPD-7) and the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) provide a structured partnership between government and the private sector for protection of our nation’s Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources (CIKR).

The Office of Infrastructure Protection (IP) is a component within the National Programs and Protection Directorate, which leads the coordinated national program to reduce risks to the nation’s CIKR posed by acts of terrorism, and to strengthen national preparedness, timely response and rapid recovery in the event of an attack, natural disaster, or other emergency.

This is a complex mission. CIKRs range from the nation’s electric power, food and drinking water to its national monuments, telecommunications and transportation systems, chemical facilities and more. The vast majority of national CIKR is privately owned and operated, making public-private partnerships essential to protect CIKR and respond to events.

IP manages mission complexity by breaking it down into three areas:

• Identify and analyze threats and vulnerabilities.
• Coordinate nationally and locally through partnerships with both government and private sector entities that share information and resources.
• Mitigate risk and effects (encompasses both readiness and incident response).

Critical infrastructure security directors need to know what the specific risks are in their locations and to their industries; how to coordinate with others within and across sectors and share vital information; and to prepare, protect and respond. IP addresses these needs through the NIPP, which etablishes a partnership structure for coordination across 18 CIKR sectors, and a risk management framework to identify assets, systems, networks, and functions whose loss or compromise pose the greatest risk.

Specifically, IP works with public and private partners coordinating efforts to protect CIKR and provide CIKR functions to strengthen incident response. IP initiatives include partnerships, outreach, and training; contingency planning and incident management; chemical security and compliance; CIKR protective security and field operations; infrastructure analysis, research and development; and infrastructure information collection and protection.

IP also has Sector-Specific Agency responsibility for chemical, commercial facilities, critical manufacturing, dams, emergency services and nuclear reactors, materials and waste.


Local Partnerships are Valuable, Too

Just as partnerships on the federal level have shown success, there is potential in state and local government relationships as well. 

Mark Warrington, public safety manager for the Portland Parks & Recreation Department, says, “We work on a daily basis with private security in many different ways – it supplements our police patrol. We have 250 parks and 10,000 acres of property to secure, so the supplemental patrol is helpful, not only to us but to the Portland police department.

“We also have a high-end private security contractor to help with our downtown business district. The city’s contribution includes four full-time police officers to keep the downtown area safe and clean. It’s truly an integrated approach.”

In addition, he says the protective detail for the Portland mayor used to be a city police officer, but is now assigned to a private security contract. “In the security world, that’s an eye opener,” Warrington says.

Similarly, in Manchester, N.H., the majority of security work is contracted through private vendors, including first responder intrusion alarms, says Ronald Robidas, security manager for the city. “One area we have successfully entered into partnerships is with some of our commercial property owners. In each instance, we have been able to secure agreements that allow us to utilize their buildings to attach some of our pan/tilt/zoom cameras and wireless transmitters to the roof top of their respective structures,” Robidas says. “These installations provide us with advantage points to some of our identified critical infrastructures. In each case, this has been accomplished with no additional cost to us. We have secured written agreements with each property owner that relieves them of any liability, identifies us as the owner of the equipment and responsible for all costs for replacement and repairs. Both parties within the agreements reserve the right to cancel the agreement at any time.”
In Minneapolis, Minn., private security firms are involved in every construction meeting that involves a city building, says Kirk D. Simmons, Hennepin County security manager, Property Services Department.

“The division I head up includes 160 security personnel, in addition to private security firms,” he says. “When we integrate the two units together it works very well.”

An additional partnership is with the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (DID), which was funded through a federal grant, and includes city ambassadors patrolling the city in bright yellow shirts with green lettering. The ambassadors not only help visitors with directions and pick up trash, they are also the eyes and ears for security, as they carry 800 megahertz radios with a direct link to the Minneapolis police dispatch. A number of private Minneapolis downtown businesses contribute a certain amount of money each year to fund the project. 

“It’s not about working in our little world; it’s about working with various sources and gathering information with private firms as well. Every aspect of what we do is to develop and maintain relationships with private vendors to get our work done,” Simmons says.

On average, says Sarah B. Harris, president of DID, each month more than 10 lives are saved, in addition to a 15-percent reduction in serious crimes and an 18-percent reduction in thefts, thanks to the DID program.

A bit further south in Chicago, the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is trying to implement an advanced citywide intelligent security system as part of the city’s Operation Virtual Shield, a project that encompasses one of the world’s largest video security deployments.

In collaboration with its business partners Firetide and Genetec, IBM has deployed the infrastructure build-out for Operation Virtual Shield with plans to expand the network throughout the city. In the first phase, IBM worked with city network engineers to design and implement a surveillance infrastructure to capture, monitor and record video for real-time and forensic-related safety applications. This entailed building a unified fiber network throughout the downtown Chicago area, deploying a critical wireless infrastructure to offer flexibility as required, installing hundreds of new surveillance cameras, linking thousands of preexisting cameras to the network, and creating a back-end system, which monitors the video, stores the images and allows for business continuity and disaster-recovery applications.

The Chicago OEMC and IBM are now teaming to expand the surveillance system and to add analytics, license plate recognition, trending projections and intelligent search capabilities to the existing infrastructure. According to a release from IBM, Chicago’s security solution will provide real-time video surveillance intelligence for proactive homeland security monitoring; faster response time to emergencies; more effective deployment of emergency responders; and increased travel efficiency through traffic congestion tracking.

“Mayor Richard M. Daley has had, for many years, a grand plan to incorporate cameras from public entities and private-sector businesses into a single unified system allowing first responders access to real time visual data,” says Tony Ruiz, executive director of Chicago’s OEMC.

Yet, don’t pat Chicago on the back quite yet. According to a Chicago Sun-Times report, Project Shield has come under fire for being sharply over budget and years behind schedule.

All 129 municipalities in Cook County were supposed to be included in the system. But faced with problems that included cameras that didn’t work properly, suburbs including Tinley Park, Berwyn, Park Ridge and Morton Grove opted out, the report said. The entire countywide network now includes a total of 103 cameras, with just three more cameras still to be installed. The total of 106 would amount to fewer than a single camera per municipality. More than five years after it was launched, just 76 municipalities have fully operational cameras.

And the price tag to provide that slimmed-down network keeps going up. Project Shield was started in 2004. Originally, it was to be completed in the fall of 2008, at an estimated cost of $31.5 million, the report says. As of last fall, the county had obtained -- and spent – $43 million. Now, says the report, county officials have asked for an additional $5 million. And the work isn’t expected to be finished until sometime next year.

The project’s troubles caught the attention of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, who said at the time, “We are looking into it right now,” Napolitano said. “I am as opposed to misspent, overspent, inefficient use of tax dollars as anyone you will ever see.”


Olympic-sized Security

While the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC, Canada earlier this year was filled with fanfare, sportsmanship and athleticism that thrilled us all, behind the scenes, security was a high priority. 

International Crowd Management (ICM), a private event security company in Western Canada, helped the city protect a celebration center, the Ozone on the Olympic Festival site that was on 50+ acres of city land for visitors to see the Olympics. ICM gave an initial bid based upon standard crowd management/security architecture used at large events like concerts. Unfortunately, the quote was too expensive for the city budgets – it was actually funding the celebration center and had no ticket revenue to pay for ICM security. ICM researched other options and found Videofied and “blended video” architecture that combines Videofied MotionViewers with security video cameras. ICM requited blended video from Videofied and was able to reduce the quote to the city by 30 percent. The systems were used for perimeter protection and asset protection. 

The plan worked. On one occasion, two individuals attempted to breach the perimeter and were apprehended by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. On a second occasion, an intruder approached the “sound mixing boards” and was scared off before he could do any damage.

Geoff Lake, a security consultant for the city who worked on the project, tells Security, “It came apparent very early in the planning process that the city did not possess the personnel or experience to plan an Olympic Festival without some outside expertise. It also became apparent that the time commitment required to undertake such a large project was beyond existing staff capabilities. As such the city hired several outside consultants to coordinate planning and preparation for the Olympics, specifically, ICM.

“In addition to a colleague, I was charged with safety and security was provided throughout the 17 day event,” Lake says. “Given that neither of us had any experience with the security side of large events it was evident we would need to contract a private security company to both advise us what our security needs would be and to provide the service as required.”

Lake adds that the city has an existing private security contract with an existing company for building security (the city hall). However, “they are a very small company and were not considered suitable for the festival site,” he says. “The use of video cameras and of intrusion devises helped the city keep the costs reasonable and will provide for actual video footage in the event of any future legal actions,” he notes.


First Air Cargo Security Summit a Success

The Global Trade and Commerce Association, a non-profit organization providing educational programs on global trade, hosted the first Air Cargo Security Summit to educate companies certified under the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Certified Cargo Screening Program (CCSP) and to help them meet the government’s mandate to screen 100 percent of all cargo aboard commercial airlines by August 3, 2010.

    

TSA’s Marc Rossi and Doug Foster were on hand to answer questions about the role the CCSP will play in overcoming the hurdles inherent in a 100 percent screening requirement.          

    

“The industry has a lot of work to do,” said Rossi, a branch chief for the TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Program. “There will not be enough Certified Cargo Screening Facilities to meet the demands of the supply chain at the current rate of certification. Programs like this are essential if we are to meet the deadline. It was good to see so many people at this summit, but there should have been over a thousand here.”

    

Thomas C. McDaniels, Jr., senior professional staff, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives; Jennifer Arangio, Republican Counsel, Committee on Homeland Security, U.S. House of Representatives; and Holly E. Woodruff Lyons, Republican Staff Director and Senior Counsel, Subcommittee on Aviation, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee were the guests of honor and speakers at the first day’s luncheon. Everyone on the panel mentioned that they came to hear from the private sector and to learn more about the issues related to the industry working with the CCSP. They felt that they needed to hear industry’s concerns regarding meeting the mandate and to take them back to Congress. “Homeland Security needs to be a public/private partnership. We need a balance between security and the free flow of commerce,” said Arangio.



New Physical Security Standards Released for Federal Buildings

Almost 15 years after the April 19, 1995, bombing attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, the DHS-led Interagency Security Committee has released new standards for protection of federal buildings. The Physical Security Criteria for Federal Facilities “establishes a baseline set of physical security measures to be applied to all federal facilities and provides a framework for the customization of security measures to address unique risks at a facility. These baseline measures provide comprehensive solutions in all five areas of physical security, including site, structural, facility entrance, interior, security systems, and security operations and administration.”

In 2009, the Interagency Security Committee released Use of Physical Security Performance Measures. The document “provides guidance on how to establish and implement a comprehensive measurement and testing program,” and follows an Interagency Security Committee policy which “requires all federal agencies to assess and document the effectiveness of their physical security programs through performance measurement and testing.”


Take It With You – Everywhere

Here’s yet another reason to justify having your cell phone or iPhone with you at all times: with the Cell-All initiative, spearheaded by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), Cell-All aims to equip your cell phone with a sensor capable of detecting deadly chemicals at minimal cost – to the manufacturer ($1 a sensor) and to your phone’s battery life. “Our goal is to create a lightweight, cost-effective, power-efficient solution,” says Stephen Dennis, Cell-All’s program manager.

How would this work? Cell-All regularly sniffs the surrounding air for certain volatile chemical compounds, and when a threat is sensed, such as a chlorine gas leak, a warning is sounded. For catastrophes such as a sarin gas attack, details – including time, location, and the compound – are sent to an emergency operations center.

And because the data are delivered digitally, Cell-All reduces the chance of human error, Dennis says. The end result is that emergency responders can get to the scene sooner and cover a larger area.

Your privacy is protected too, Dennis says, as Cell-All will operate only on an opt-in basis and will transmit data anonymously. “Privacy is as important as technology,” avers Dennis. “After all, for Cell-All to succeed, people must be comfortable enough to turn it on in the first place.”

The project involves teams from Qualcomm, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Rhevision Technology. Qualcomm engineers specialize in miniaturization and know how to shepherd a product to market. Scientists from the Center for Nanotechnology at NASA’s Ames Research Center have experience with chemical sensing on low-powered platforms, such as the International Space Station. And technologists from Rhevision have developed an artificial nose – a piece of porous silicon that changes colors in the presence of certain molecules, which can be read spectrographically.
And S&T is pursuing cooperative research and development agreements with four cell phone manufacturers: Qualcomm, LG, Apple and Samsung. These written agreements, which bring together a private company and a government agency for a specific project, often accelerate the commercialization of technology developed for government purposes. As a result, Dennis hopes to have 40 prototypes in about a year, the first of which will sniff out carbon monoxide and fire.


Centers of Excellence (and Cooperation)

Public and private partnerships are not just limited to those specifically involved in the security industry. The nation’s leading experts and researchers are very much involved in securing our nation through the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which allowed DHS to create 16 Centers of Excellence (COE) to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions. The Centers are authorized by Congress and chosen by the DHS Science & Technology Directorate (S&T) through a competitive selection process. 

Each Center is led by a University in collaboration with partners from other institutions, agencies, laboratories, think tanks and the private sector.

Four COEs are internationally based. There are currently 12 Centers of Excellence across the country, including:

The Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events, led by the University of Southern California, which develops advanced tools to evaluate the risks, costs and consequences of terrorism
The Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment, led by Michigan State University and Drexel University established jointly with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, fills critical gaps in risk assessments for decontaminating microbiological threats, such as plague and anthrax, answering the question, “How Clean is Safe?”

The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, led by Texas A&M University, protects against the introduction of high-consequence foreign animal and zoonotic diseases into the U.S., with an emphasis on prevention, surveillance, intervention and recovery.

The National Center for Food Protection and Defense (NCFPD), led by the University of Minnesota, defends the safety and security of the food system.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, led by the University of Maryland, informs decisions on how to disrupt terrorists and terrorist groups, while strengthening the resilience of U.S. citizens to terrorist attacks.

The National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response, led by Johns Hopkins University, optimizes our nation’s preparedness in the event of a high-consequence natural or man-made disaster, as well as develops guidelines to best alleviate the effects of such an event.

The Center of Excellence for Awareness & Location of Explosives-Related Threats, led by Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I, will develop new means and methods to protect the nation from explosives-related threats.

The National Center for Border Security and Immigration, led by the University of Arizona in Tucson and the University of Texas at El Paso, are developing technologies, tools and advanced methods to balance immigration and commerce with effective border security, as well as assess threats and vulnerabilities, improve surveillance and screening, analyze immigration trends and enhance policy and law enforcement efforts.

The Center for Maritime, Island and Port Security, led by the University of Hawaii in Honolulu for maritime and island security and Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., for port security, for maritime domain awareness and to safeguard populations and properties unique to U.S. islands, ports and remote and extreme environments.

The Center for Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management, led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., enhances the nation’s ability to safeguard populations, properties and economies with regards to natural disasters.

The National Transportation Security Center of Excellence (NTSCOE) comprises seven institutions: 
Connecticut Transportation Institute at the University of Connecticut, Tougaloo College, Texas Southern University, National Transit Institute at Rutgers - the State University of New Jersey, Homeland Security Management Institute at Long Island University, Mack Blackwell National Rural Transportation Study Center at the University of Arkansas and Mineta Transportation Institute at San José State University. The NTSCOE develops new technologies, tools and advanced methods to defend protect and increase the resilience of the nation’s multi-modal transportation infrastructure and education and training base lines for transportation security geared towards transit employees and professionals.
The Center of Excellence in Command, Control and Interoperability, led by Purdue University (visualization sciences co-lead) and Rutgers University (data sciences co-lead) creates technologies to analyze massive amounts of information from multiple sources to detect security threats.

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