On a typical July day in Las Vegas County, there was a music festival, a visit from the Vice President of the United States and a U.S. Mayors Conference. That’s in addition to the “regular” happenings in the Las Vegas metro area, which houses 18 of the largest 23 hotels in the world, 39.7 million visitors a year, 21,615 conventions and gaming revenue that totals more than $15 billion.

Las Vegas city and Clark County Sheriff Douglas C. Gillespie relies heavily on one public-private partnership in particular – the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center (SNCTC) – on days such as this one. Founded after the events of 9/11, the center collects raw intelligence that resides at the state and local level and passes to the National Intelligence Community (IC) for analysis. Without SNCTC acting as conduit for transferring critical information, the nation’s ability to “connect the dots” and prevent a catastrophic attack from occurring is greatly inhibited. 

Sheriff Gillespie, who has been a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since 1980, says “After 9/11 there were a number of discussions regarding how to exchange information. How do we get local law enforcement more active? As a result, this fusion process of national databases grew, which incorporates day-to-day databases with national information platforms as well, with a fusion center that operates 24/7, 364, with professionals who monitor events occurring in Clark County, the state and the international level. We have 17 separate agencies represented.” In addition to monitoring real-time events, the professionals at the fusion center monitor social media.

The SNCTC feeds directly into the National Information Sharing Network that all Fusion Centers are a part of to further enhance situational awareness. It generates and shares raw intelligence reports with DEA, FBI, ATF, TSA. ICE and local agencies that have resulted in federal prosecutions, and some of which have been briefed to the highest levels of DHS. It also has a School Violence Initiative that is considered a best practice by DHS. Since the program’s inception, there have been no school shootings at Clark County high schools. 

Clearly, the partnership is helping Sheriff Gillespie to be prepared for any security related incident. “It provides us the ability to be more preventative,” he says. “There’s no doubt that the events of 9/11 as well as other events, including the events at the Boston marathon, have been continued reminders that we have to enhance our situational awareness, and we can’t do that alone in law enforcement. We only have so many eyes and ears. The community and the private sector provide a lot more eyes and ears. What the fusion centers have provided local jurisdictions is a more appropriate level for the exchange of information.”


Back to Business

The concept of public and private security entities sharing information and other resources is not new. The desirability of successful arrangements is widely recognized by many. They can often be a win-win situation for both parties. They can result in better quality services and lower cost services. For DreamWorks Animation, it equals business efficiencies.

Matt Bogaard is head of Corporate Security for DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, Calif., the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the 22nd largest city in the state of California.

Bogaard’s role is 50 percent head of global security with the other half in charge of facility operations at the company’s headquarters. “The link between those two is a great efficiency of that process because one of my big initiatives is business continuity planning, including what policies we can implement to reduce downtime and be better prepared for emergencies. I have the operational role at our headquarters, and the business continuity plan applies to all of our locations around the world, including Bangalore, India and a studio in Shanghai,” he says.

Modeling a public-private partnership already in place in San Francisco, Bogaard has created a partnership with the city of Glendale and Structural Focus, an engineering firm in nearby Gardena, called the “Back to Business” Program, to ensure that DreamWorks has a minimal amount of downtime after an earthquake. Immediately following an earthquake, buildings often get “red tagged” if a city inspector believes that structural damage has taken place, which prevents people from entering them until the damage is fixed. “But they don’t necessarily need to be red tagged,” Bogaard says. “Almost all buildings show some signs of damage after an earthquake, and some damage may be aesthetic, but city inspectors tend to be overly cautious and they will ‘red tag’ due to liability and insurance issues. The key driver is that no city has enough inspectors, so a company can have significant downtime until an inspection takes place. In the city of Glendale, with a population of just under 200,000 and covering 32 square miles, a limited number of city inspectors are stretched thin. So if we had a major earthquake, it could take months to approve the building and authorize people to go back in,” he explains.

To expedite the process to get DreamWorks operational after an earthquake, Bogaard has employed staff at the engineering firm that have the same training and certification. Glendale has pre-qualified them to act on behalf of the city to perform the same work.

“If there were an earthquake tomorrow, my engineering firm would immediately come to the DreamWorks Animation campus and do inspections of the buildings. They have certified tags in an official capacity to tag the buildings. There is no negative to this; the city loves it because it lessens the burden on their inspectors. Some businesses could close down and be out of business for a few months. We have eliminated that with this program,” he says.

The engineering staff all have DreamWorks ID badges as if they were DreamWorks employees, and the necessary tools are set aside in a secure room and ready to be deployed.

The other benefits of the partnership, says Bogaard, is that the engineers visit the DreamWorks Animation campus to do regular inspections on the building’s infrastructure and recommend improvements to make the workplace safer for DreamWorks employees. They also have done a training presentation to DreamWorks internal facilities teams about key vulnerabilities and ways to fix them.  “It’s a win-win situation,” Bogaard says. “The city loves it, we keep our employees safe and reduce downtime, which is especially important during key production times for the company.”

Partnerships That Work

The same can be said for the public- private partnerships that Barry Gentry at Agilent, Kevin Kendrick at Dow Corning and Joe Giulietti of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority have developed at their enterprises.

As Director of Security for Agilent Technologies, Barry Gentry is responsible for protecting the company’s people, property and physical assets that are located throughout the world. He’s also responsible for the company’s crisis management and travel security programs. Gentry says that one of the challenges that large corporations often face is ensuring a smooth emergency response within large campus settings around the world. Most of the security operations are outsourced, he says, and Agilent does have these resources in place within most of its large sites. “Campus environments often include multiple entry points across many buildings,” he says. “Aside from the maze-like layout of our buildings, some of our operations also involve chemical processes and other safety hazards that are somewhat unique to our environment.”

What helps, he says, are partnerships with local police and first responders. “We encourage police and first responders to visit our facilities, talk about our issues, look at traffic patterns in and out of our sites, bring police to the facility, have a tour, and learn about some of our more hazardous operations and processes. We have offered our facilities to the local EMS and HAZMAT to do their drills. That way both parties know what to expect during an actual event.”

Gentry also cites Agilent’s relationship with the U.S. Customs authorities as a good example of a productive public/private partnership. “Following the events of 9/11, U.S. Customs established the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program, which includes specific protocols for the packaging and handling of international shipments.” Although these expectations are presented by the U.S. Government as ‘voluntary,’ compliance with the protocols guarantees expedited movement of goods through ports of entry.  “We work closely with the Customs authorities to ensure that we meet or exceed the expectations of this important program, and we welcome the inspectors into our facilities around the world so that they can periodically validate our compliance.” This level of partnership gives Agilent tremendous leverage in the supply chain to move their products more efficiently – which impacts their bottom line as a company.

At Dow Corning Corporation, Kevin Kendrick is VP of Global Security after a 25-year career with the FBI.

The global security function was new at Dow Corning when he began, he says, so he was able to build it from the ground up. “We don’t have a large organization, so I realized quickly that we needed to make sure to foster partnerships and relationships,” he explains. “As a global company, it’s so important to have them. One of the first things we did was to become members of the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC). The primary benefit is getting timely information,” he says. Kendrick currently chairs an OSAC committee on risk and information sharing.

In addition, he says, “Workplace violence is a big focus for us, so we have an aggressive prevention program and have engaged an external consultant for training about how to proceed and intervene before a situation occurs.”

Another area of concern is intellectual property, he says. “Innovation is the lifeblood for our company. We expect all of our employees around the world to help us to protect our IP. We benchmark with other companies through the International Security Management Association (ISMA), and this is where the relationships help as well.”

Last, Kendrick worked with a hotel safety and security group to develop a comprehensive checklist that helps him assess risk levels for the company’s traveling employees. “We require any hotels on our preferred list to self-assess against the checklist that we have prepared,” Kendrick says. “This provides our traveling employees a list of the safest places to stay from a personal- and fire-safety perspective. We assess things such as lights, exits, security cameras and security officers. We don’t mandate that people stay at those hotels, but we recommend it. These types of partnerships are invaluable in enhancing our security efforts.”

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority also contracts out security. The trains that make up the Authority serve 72 miles in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach, Fl. counties and also connects with three airports.

“As a small agency we cannot afford to put some type of security at every location,” says Executive Director Joe Giulietti. “It’s also a question of what is appropriate for our customers. So in addition to security systems in place, we have looked to partnerships.” One of those partnerships, he says, is with G4S, which gives them 85 security officers that enforce fares, provide security on the trains and coordinate efforts with law enforcement and TSA at the airports that the trains service.

“We have regular customers who are not afraid to voice their concerns, and they don’t have a problem with the officers on the trains,” Giulietti says. “It’s very rare that are our customers call us over a security issue because they feel that the security is around them, all of the time.”


ASIS 2013 Spotlights Public and Private Sector Collaboration


The ASIS 59th Annual Seminar and Exhibits to be held in Chicago, September 24-27, will feature sessions that reveal how partnerships between the private and public sectors can more effectively prevent, respond to, recover from and mitigate disasters. During Wednesday’s session, “The Private and Public Sectors Collaborate for Loss Mitigation,” the experiences at Chicago’s NATO Summit reveal how collaborative planning and operations from government and private industry partnerships can significantly reduce the risk of loss from large public gatherings and natural or man-made disasters. Thursday’s session, “Online Collaboration Bridges the Gap Between Law Enforcement and Private Security,” explores how online collaboration can enhance communication and fill intelligence gaps by sharing real-time intelligence. Visit www.asis2013.org to preview these and more than 200 other educational programs.


Cooperating in Foggy Bottom


A few years ago, several teenagers hanging out in Foggy Bottom, a neighborhood of Washington DC, set off a can of pepper spray. The spray entered a ventilation system of a mall inside the larger building, sending the fumes through much of the area.

Within minutes, panic ensued. Dispatchers and firefighters reported that people were emerging from an office building, complaining of uncontrollable coughing and stinging eyes, which can be symptoms of being exposed to a nerve agent.

The mall and larger building are only two blocks from two international financial institutions that had been mentioned as potential terror targets, so who knew what the potential loss of life could be? Foggy Bottom and its immediate surroundings are also home to the White House, Department of State, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury, Pan-American Health Organization, American Red Cross national headquarters,

George Washington University, the Organization of American States, Navy Bureau of Medicine, Kennedy Center, several embassies, and numerous national and international business, legal and financial tenants.

Within minutes, news agencies were reporting the event as a “mass casualty” incident.

The news reverberated through the financial and media communities, sending the stock market into a 70-point plunge.

After about 30 minutes, Washington, DC police called the scene clear and reported that the incident was merely some teenagers playing with pepper spray.

“We knew that the situation was not serious but we didn’t have the tools to tell people that,” says Charlie Gleichenhaus of the International Monetary Fund. “We didn’t have good communications between the private sector and the public sector. The fire department knew quickly once they arrived what had happened. And we knew even faster, but we didn’t have a way to communicate to other buildings around us.”

Shortly after the incident, Gleichenhaus, along with John Petrie and George Nuñez  of George Washington University, formed a Foggy Bottom Neighborhood Planning Committee (NPC) to strengthen informal private-private and public-private partnerships among entities in the Foggy Bottom Neighborhood. The group’s main goal is to foster relationships among private-sector members and their public-sector counterparts. They collaborate on special projects, improve communication between the sectors, coordinate with utilities and first responders, work with DHS, host tabletop exercises, develop strategies in working with the media during an incident and more.

One of the first items on their agenda was to create an e-mail listserv of their membership which includes security and facility managers. “With the list serv, if something like that pepper spray incident happened again we can send out unofficial information to all involved,” Gleichenhaus explains. 

The membership also includes AlliedBarton, such as Steve Somers, Vice President Operations and Assistant Regional Vice President for ASIS. AlliedBarton’s involvement is that of a concerned citizen; it supports and sponsors some of the meetings and is involved in sharing information between its facilities to make sure the message of the NPC is shared.  “My team is actively involved in sharing information between our facilities to make sure the message of the NPC is shared,” Somers says. “Being a responsible business partner means being involved in the local community.”

The NPC also remains on top of current events and develop strategies in addressing them at the local level. One gathering included briefings by representatives on recent terror threats, updates on avian flu reports and planning, and suggested proactive measures for the private sector.

“Although acutely aware of our limitations and how much can really be accomplished, definite progress can be claimed,” Gleichenhaus says. “The emergency and security managers of this neighborhood now know each other; have a forum for discussion and sharing information before, during and after an incident; and know their public sector counterparts and their capabilities and limitations.”