Construction

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Shooing-off-Copper-Crime-Waves.aspxShooing off Copper Crime WavesGP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652018-11-01T04:00:00Zhttps://adminsm.asisonline.org/pages/holly-gilbert-stowell.aspx, Holly Gilbert Stowell<p>​Copper theft can be dangerous—even deadly. The metal is attractive for thieves, who often find the cover of night and the remoteness of a construction or utilities site the perfect scene for their crimes.  </p><p>The value of copper is driven by the classic supply-and-demand scenario—the world's copper mining industry can't produce enough to keep up with the demand, says Ross Johnson, CPP, senior manager, security and contingency planning at Capital Power in Alberta, Canada.</p><p>"Since you cannot mine copper fast enough to keep up with the demand, the shortfall is made up from the recycling industry, and that's what drives up the value of copper," he notes. "Generally, when the price per pound on the scrap market goes up, what happens is the theft goes up as well."  </p><p>In Canada, where there is little regulation in the recycling industry, thieves can more easily trade stolen materials for cash. "There's always a level of background theft around construction, especially in the electricity sector because there's so much copper that's used," Johnson explains. </p><p>There have been at least 15 deaths in the last five years related to metal theft in Canada, according to data from the Canadian Electricity Association. Thieves are often either unaware or unconcerned about the high-powered voltage running through copper and can be badly burned, or worse. </p><p>"Copper is used to ground electrical equipment," Johnson explains. "When people break into our facilities to steal copper, it renders the equipment unsafe because it isn't grounded anymore, and it could kill the thieves or utility workers that are going in to work on it."</p><p>Even when the bad actors manage to escape unscathed, there is a ripple effect in the surrounding community. For example, in October 2013 in Surrey, British Columbia, thieves cut through a utility pole in the province and waited for the BC Hydro and Power authority to respond by shutting off the power. </p><p>Once the power was cut off, the thieves removed five meters of braided copper wire. A nearby clinic was left without power for two days, affecting its ability to treat more than 200 patients. ​</p><h4>PEPS Alberta</h4><p>There has been a concerted effort by the sectors most affected by copper and other metal theft to fight back. </p><p>One such coalition is Provincial Electricity Physical Security (PEPS) Alberta, a working group made up of stakeholders from the electricity, metal, and telecommunications industries. </p><p>PEPS was formed about a decade ago to fight industrial crime in rural areas through legislative and educational efforts. The group works alongside the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and other law enforcement entities to reduce and prevent crime. </p><p><strong>Scrap metal theft.</strong> PEPS is working with the recycling industry and the provincial government to find ways to reduce metal theft. These methods include developing training material for the construction industry on safeguarding assets and for law enforcement to help identify stolen material, sharing of information related to incidents to help police resolve crime, and studying potential legislation to make it more difficult to sell stolen material.   </p><p>"When thieves steal metal from us, they can take it to a recycler, and then the recycler buys it—that's where the trail goes cold," Johnson notes. "And the police can't investigate it because they need to be able to identify who sold that material to the recycler."</p><p>"We've been working with Alberta Justice, and a senior-level official and her staff," Johnson says. "The Alberta Justice officials we work with are actually members of PEPS, too, so they attend the meetings and communicate regularly with members." </p><p><strong>Calgary bylaw. </strong>There is a precedent for such regulat­ion in the Alberta recycling industry. Calgary, a city within the Province of Alberta, passed a bylaw making it more difficult for thieves to trade in scrap metal without being traced. </p><p>"The Calgary Police Service initiated an investigative strategy named Operation Metallica, and it involved a team of police officers who focused on metal theft using the Calgary bylaw," Johnson notes. </p><p>One recycler he spoke to in the city said that she noticed an improvement in customers when the bylaw was passed; crooks were no longer coming to trade in stolen scrap metal. </p><p>"They were so successful in stomping out metal theft in Calgary that after a two-year period, Operation Metallica was terminated because the officers had accomplished their objectives," Johnson adds. "Calgary was a great example that this could work."​</p><h4>Worksites​</h4><p>While metal and other valuable materials make substations and other utilities sites attractive to thieves, Johnson says sites are weakest during the construction phase. </p><p>"It's usually because fences aren't permanent—if there are any—and there are often excavations and other things exposing wire and conduit," he adds. </p><p>As the potential for theft goes up, so does the potential for danger, Johnson says, explaining that stealing copper is literally playing with fire. </p><p>"Most people's experience with electricity is the wall outlets in your home in the wall where you get 115 volts," he says. "When you're dealing with electricity at the transmission and distribution levels, it is phen­omenally dangerous."</p><p><strong>Safety concerns. </strong>Johnson used to work as security director at EPCOR Utilities Inc., formerly the Edmonton Power Corporation, a distribution and transmission company. "We had a construction arm as well that did a lot of work, and we were constantly getting hit by copper thieves," he says. </p><p>On one occasion, a thief trespassed on one of EPCOR's properties to steal copper. He entered an area of the substation that was fenced off from the rest of the substation and touched a piece of equipment.  </p><p>The resulting arc flash flowed around him—not through him—and his clothing from the waist up caught fire. The substation engineers later said that there were about 7,000 amps of electricity in that plasma cloud (one-tenth of an amp can kill a person), and it would have been hotter than the surface of the sun.  </p><p>EPCOR officials were greatly concerned after the incident about safety—not just of their workers, but of any potential bad actors who could be killed or injured. An executive of the company asked if an extra layer of fencing around all substations in the city would help, but Johnson said that would merely push the security concerns out further—not eliminate them. </p><p><strong>Construction guideline.</strong> "After a copper theft at a construction site or substation, the workers would tell us that they weren't concerned with the value of the copper stolen—they were only worried that someone would get hurt," Johnson says. </p><p>In one incident, someone used a pair of pruning shears to cut an energized 14.4-kilovolt line at a construction site. </p><p>"The damaged shears were found the next morning, and the worried electrical workers searched the area to see if the would-be thief was dead or injured," Johnson says. Not finding him, they even called local hospitals to see if they had a recent admission with severe burns.  </p><p>With more than three years of experience as a safety and security supervisor in Houston's offshore oil industry, Johnson says he understood that metal theft was not primarily a security concern, but a safety issue that would best be addressed through safety management planning.</p><p>Few construction workers have security plans, but they all have safe work plans. The plan was simple: no copper left above ground after they cease work at the end of the day, and nothing—no scrap, no bulk wire, etc.—left in containers or anywhere else on site overnight. It was all removed and returned to the service center each evening. This new approach to combating metal theft paid immediate dividends—metal theft from construction sites almost disappeared.</p><p>The lessons learned at EPCOR eventually became part of a document from PEPS, the Construction Security Practices Guideline, which iterates that taking simple precautions throughout and at the end of the work day can help prevent crime and increase worker safety.</p><p>And one of the best ways to deter thieves mentioned in the guide? Don't use copper at all. </p><p>"One of the most effective crime-reducing measures is to not use attractive metals in the first place," according to the guideline. "Avoid using solid copper grounding straps and components wherever possible: use copper-clad steel (such as Copperweld) instead, because it has no commercial value." </p><p>Copperweld works similarly to copper, though it must be installed differently and doesn't have the same resistance as copper. </p><p>"It's steel or zinc coated with copper and it has no commercial value. You can take it to a recycler and they just don't want it," Johnson explains. "We tell people, 'If you have copper stolen, do not replace it with copper—because then they'll just come back and steal the replacement stuff, and you've become an automated teller machine,'" he says. </p><p><strong>Wind farms. </strong>As a wave of new construction is being planned for wind farms in Alberta, PEPS is aiming to introduce physical security measures to help reduce crime.</p><p>Pick any point in central Alberta, and there is a good chance a thick seam of coal lies deep beneath the ground. Traditionally, a majority of the province's energy was generated by coal plants. But Canada, a member of the Paris Agreement on climate change, is making strides as a nation to be less dependent on nonrenewable energy sources. </p><p>The New Democratic Party, which won the election in 2015, launched a billion dollar initiative last year to have renewable power make up 30 percent of the province's energy demands by 2030. With an aggressive timeline of constructing 5,000 megawatts of wind and solar farms, the government began taking bids from the private sector. </p><p>Johnson's company, Capital Power, had one of the first winning bids. </p><p>"There are all these wind farms being built in southern Alberta—and we do not want to feed crime," he says. </p><p>PEPS Alberta is working on several physical security measures that can be employed at the wind farms that will help deter and detect bad actors who, as previously discussed, tend to be attracted to construction sites. </p><p>Thankfully, Johnson says there are several simple ways that the private companies constructing the wind and solar farms can cut down on crime, as noted in the Construction Safety Guideline. One tool of choice for thieves is a disc grinder, which can cut through metal locks. </p><p>However, Johnson says heavy-duty locks that are immune to the disc grinder are available. Johnson is also working with Capital Power employee Ian Sustrik to create a small Internet of Things sensor that would be able to pick up any vibrations caused by a disc grinder being operated at a wind turbine—a thief has already tried his hand at cutting through one, Johnson says.</p><p>"The sensor sits on the inside of the door, and it's tuned for the vibration that you would get from a disc grinder," he notes. "If the sensor picks up that vibration, it sends a signal out and informs security."  </p><p>The solution is low-cost due to the way the sensor communicates back to the security operations center. Rather than using cellular communication, which would require a more intricate network to be built, the sensor passes on the message to the sensor closest to it, then that sensor sends it to its neighbor, and so on—like a game of telephone. </p><p>"The message is passed down until it's got the one that has the cellular system on it, and that's the sensor that sends it to security," Johnson says. </p><p>As Capital Power works to develop similar security solutions, the company will disseminate them with the help of PEPS Alberta so other companies can take advantage. </p><p>"What we're doing here at Capital Power is trying to solve problems, and then sharing the solutions as widely as we can," Johnson says. "Ian will create sensors and then send out the instructions on how to build them, for whoever is interested."  ​</p><h4>Awareness</h4><p>While PEPS Alberta is working with private sector and government officials to reduce crime, it is also focused on one of its primary audiences it says can help prevent theft—the public.</p><p>As part of this effort, Dan Blacklock, a former communications advisor to energy company AltaLink and former public relations lead for PEPS Alberta, says the group has developed several materials targeted at rural communities where crime is highest. </p><p>"These thieves come from rural communities, so it's about inspiring those communities to take action and work with local law enforcement, or to report suspicious activity that they see in their communities at rural substations," Blacklock says. "That's our number one lead to arrests, information that's brought to [Canada] Crime Stoppers and law enforcement from these rural communities of seeing suspicious activity knowing someone who has done something."</p><p><strong>Ad campaign. </strong>PEPS Alberta plans to launch a public awareness campaign soon that includes a series of advertisements with statistics about the number of people affected by metal theft, and case study examples of how the crime impacts the community. </p><p>Each ad contains the tagline, "When equipment theft happens, we all get left in the dark," along with a number to call to report suspicious activity. </p><p>Besides warnings about the danger of trying one's hand at metal theft, the ads also describe the increased physical security measures and law enforcement activity at substations to further deter thieves. </p><p>"Part of this awareness campaign is spreading the message that substations aren't easy targets, and that industries, law enforcement, and the government have come together to prevent it," Blacklock says.</p><p>The RCMP provided PEPS with a map of hotspot communities that have experienced the most substation crime in the past five years, and the ads are running in local newspapers in those communities. Facebook ads were also purchased to target specific communities, and posters will be placed in recreational centers and hockey arenas. </p><p>"Information and education around the impacts of crimes like this, it's really a preemptive crime prevention tool," Blacklock says of the campaign. "So, it shouldn't be overlooked for its impact." </p><p>Construction materials guide. While the ad campaign primarily targets the public, PEPS Alberta has also come up with a guide for law enforcement to help them better identify types of metal and materials stolen from construction sites. </p><p>Johnson recalls at an ASIS Seminar and Exhibits in Houston, members from Texas had produced similar materials for law enforcement. </p><p>"At an ASIS Houston lunch, there was a guy there saying a state trooper didn't know what oil field equipment looked like," he says. "Consequently, when they pulled over a pickup truck that had a bed full of stolen oilfield equipment, they didn't recognize it immediately as stolen—they just thought it was scrap." </p><p>PEPS solicited photographs and descriptions of items most stolen from the different sectors, resulting in the Critical Infrastructure Stolen Materials Recognition Guide, which acts as a look-book for law enforcement should they come across suspicious looking goods.</p><p>"It doesn't cost anything to share," Johnson says. "I can create a PDF document on my computer and I can send it out to the world, and it doesn't cost anything." </p><p><strong>Outlook. </strong>PEPS Alberta is continuing to work with its partners in critical infrastructure, law enforcement, the recycling industry, and the provincial and federal governments to find ways to reduce crime, increase reliability, and keep communities safe. </p><p>In the meantime, PEPS believes that through its Construction Safety Guideline, the advertising campaign targeted at the public, and other awareness materials, crime can be reduced or even eliminated at construction and substation sites throughout the province. </p><p>"Someone can look at those crimes and think, 'It's just an industrial crime and there aren't any victims,'" Blacklock says. "But when you actually take a step back, you can see how serious and impactful those crimes are—people's lives are at risk."</p><p>Johnson reiterates that by stopping crime at a rural substation or a remote construction site, the ripple effects that devastate communities can be eliminated.  </p><p>"The aim here is to stop people from stealing our stuff because it brings in thieves. If thieves are successful, they'll come back. If they come back, they're stealing not only our stuff, but they're stealing from the local farmers, the local communities," he says. "And that's bad for everybody."  </p><p><br></p><h4>Sidebar: Metal Theft Impacts Communities</h4><p>Copper isn't the only type of metal that thieves are after, says Ross Johnson, CPP, senior manager, security and contingency planning at Capital Power.  </p><p>Any type of nonferrous metal—not containing iron—is potentially valuable to crim-­inals, including lead, zinc, brass, and aluminum. For example, cell phone tower batteries are often targeted for the lead they contain.</p><p>And the value the criminals get for the stolen material versus the cost to replace and repair the damage is virtually nothing. "You have a $400 battery that is stolen and destroyed for $3 worth of lead," he notes. </p><p>Brass theft has also been a major problem in Alberta and has had a devastating effect on the history of local communities. Not only do thieves steal brass urns from cemeteries—in some cases, brass plaques memorializing war veterans have been destroyed. </p><p>"Thieves are removing the brass plaques and destroying them, and then taking them in for the brass metal value," Johnson says. "The problem with that is that nobody knows what the plaque said, unless you have a photograph of it." </p><p>In 2018, an Edmonton man was arrested for stealing 18 memorial plaques, receiving $525 for the scrap metal, reported Radio Canada International. </p><p>"Literally the history of small towns is disappearing, especially around war memorials," Johnson says. "To me, that's a compelling reason to try to stop this."​</p><h4>What is PEPS Alberta?</h4><p>PEPS (Provincial Electricity Physical Security) Alberta is a team of men and women from the electricity, oil and gas, telecommunications, energy pipelines, and water industries; the National Energy Security Professionals (NESP) group; trade associations; recyclers; law enforcement; the metal forging industry; the National Energy Board; and governments at the Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal levels. </p><p>The PEPS coalition promotes public safety, the resilience of critical infrastructure, and crime prevention.​</p>

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https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/21st-century-security-and-cpted-designing-critical-infrastructure-protection-and-crime-prev-0.aspx21st Century Security and CPTED: Designing for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Crime Prevention, Second Edition.<div class="body"> <p> <em> <span style="font-size:small;"> <span style="font-family:arial;">CRC Press. Available from ASIS, item #2078; 954 pages; $120 (ASIS member), $132 (nonmember). Also available as e-book.</span> </span> </em> </p> <p> <span style="font-size:small;"> <span style="font-family:arial;">As good as the first edition of 21st Century Security and CPTED was, this second edition surpasses it. Atlas, known in security circles as a consummate professional, has done an outstanding job in creating this second edition, which has twice as much material as the original edition. It also includes voluminous references and hundreds of outstanding clarifying photos in both color and black-and-white. Using humor and candid insight he incorporates all the concepts of CPTED, including design, construction, security countermeasures, and risk management strategies, and merges them into a highly informative reference manual for security practitioners at every level.</span> </span> </p> <p> <span style="font-size:small;"> <span style="font-family:arial;">There is a logical flow to the book. It lays a solid foundation by discussing architecture and its intent, as well as environmental crime control theories and premises liability. There is something here for everyone as it also discusses terrorism and critical infrastructure from differing perspectives. Several chapters on problem solving provide guidance on conducting threat, risk, and vulnerability assessments.</span> </span> </p> <p> <span style="font-size:small;"> <span style="font-family:arial;">Throughout, Atlas provides a roadmap for merging security and CPTED into management principles and practices in a wide variety of facility settings, including healthcare facilities, critical infrastructure, ATMs, office buildings, parking lots and structures, and parks and green spaces. The latter portion of the book is reserved for concepts including lighting, LEED and GREEN certification, workplace violence, signage, data capture and analysis, and conducting CPTED surveys.</span> </span> </p> <p> <span style="font-size:small;"> <span style="font-family:arial;">Atlas has created the definitive book on CPTED and security. Despite the magnitude and complexity of the science and art of security management, he has done an outstanding job of merging these and other disciplines and concepts together into a cogent display of information that the reader should be able to apply in a wide variety of locations and situations. If you are only going to buy one book this year, it is strongly suggested you purchase this one. </span> </span> </p> <hr /> <p> <span style="color:#800000;"> <strong> <span style="font-size:small;"> <span style="font-family:arial;">Reviewer:</span> </span> </strong> </span> <span style="font-size:small;"> <span style="font-family:arial;"> Glen Kitteringham, CPP, has worked in the security industry since 1990. He holds a master’s degree in security and crime risk management. He is president of Kitteringham Security Group Inc., which consults with companies around the globe. </span> </span> </p> </div>GP0|#28ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997;L0|#028ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997|Strategic Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Uniform-Color-Theory.aspxUniform Color Theory<p><strong>1. Perception. </strong>Color theory isn’t an exact science, but we do know a few things about how colors change the way people are perceived. Color changes how people see others and how people see themselves. In American culture, the darker the color, the more authoritative a person appears. It is unsurprising then that the colors most often associated with security and law enforcement uniforms are blue, gray, and black.</p><p><strong>2. Emotion.</strong> Psychological tests have found that individuals associate colors with specific moods. For example, people generally associate red with excitement and stimulation, which explains why red is often used for flashing emergency vehicle lights but not for uniforms. According to a study done at the University of Georgia, the color blue subconsciously evokes feelings of comfort and security in most people, making it a good choice for people in a position of authority. Tests also have found that individuals associate the color black with power and strength. But black can also elicit anger, hostility, dominance, and aggression. A dark security uniform may subconsciously encourage citizens to see officers as aggressive or corrupt. The color gray is an unemotional color. It is detached, neutral, impartial, and indecisive. From a color psychology perspective, gray is the color of compromise—being neither black nor white. Gray conforms. For a security officer uniform, gray is conventional, dependable, and practical. </p><p><strong>3. Authority. </strong>When combined with a uniform, color can establish a sense of authority. In 1829, the London Metropolitan Police developed the first standard police apparel. These first police officers were issued a dark blue, paramilitary-style uniform. The color blue was chosen to distinguish the police from the British military officers who wore red and white uniforms at the time. The first official police force in the United States was established in the city of New York in 1845. Based on the London police, the New York City Police Department adopted the dark blue uniform in 1853. Cities such as Boston, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia quickly followed by establishing police departments based on the London model, including the adoption of the dark blue, paramilitary-style uniform. Most police uniforms in the United States continue to have a paramilitary appearance and are generally a dark color. However, dark colors are preferred not only for the emotions they convey, but because they keep the officer from being easily spotted by lawbreakers, especially at night.</p><p><em>Dan Mendelson is President of Unitex Direct. He serves on the ASIS Security Services Council.​​</em><br></p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/hard-lessons-0010123.aspxHard Lessons<p>On April 2, 2012, One Goh, a former student at Oikos University, in Oakland, California, opened fire on the campus, killing seven people and wounding three others. That incident happened nearly five years to the day after the April 16, 2007, mass shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), in Blacksburg, Virginia. It was a sad reminder that, though rare, shootings are a threat to universities large and small, and school authorities must be prepared to handle them.</p><p>In the Virginia Tech tragedy, a current student first shot two students in a dormitory; a few hours later, he entered an academic building and opened fire in several classrooms before turning the gun on himself. Thirty-three people were killed in the massacre, including the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho. The Virginia Tech community has been through much since that day. 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According to Mark Owczarski, Virginia Tech’s director of news and information, while there was no clear definition of what constituted a “timely” warning at the time, precedent and DOE guidelines had those warnings coming out within 48 hours of the incident. An hour seemed reasonable in that context. Moreover, the Virginia Tech warnings were not more immediate because universities were expected to first determine the facts and then put as much information into the warning as possible, asserted Virginia Tech in its defense.</p><p>The reason for the delay was not accepted initially, and the school was fined $55,000. But in March 2012, the school got some vindication when the DOE’s chief administrative judge overturned the DOE fine. However, also in March, a civil trial jury awarded $4 million to two families of Virginia Tech victims who accused the school of negligence.</p><p>The fuzziness around the definition of what would be considered “timely” with regard to a warning prompted a legislative change in 2008, when the Clery Act was amended to include an additional responsibility for a more instantaneous emergency notification whenever a school has reason to believe that there is any imminent threat to the health and safety of students on campus. Situations meriting a notification might include chemical spills or even concerns about an infectious disease, in addition to crimes and active shooters.</p><p>Emergency notifications must be issued immediately even if all of the facts of the case are not yet gathered. The objective is to let people in and around the campus know that they may be in danger. “Immediate” is defined as meaning “as soon as law enforcement officers can confirm the threat,” says Owczarski.</p><p>The notification should be made by the police department as soon as possible after it responds to a call and confirms that there is a potentially threatening situation. When both an emergency notification and a timely warning would apply (Clery-reportable crimes, for example), the DOE has stated that a redundant timely warning is not necessary in addition to the emergency notification.</p><p>Conversely, when emergency notifications are not needed, the subsequent “timely warning” is still required under the law and should be issued after the school or police gather basic information. Schools have up to 48 hours to do that, but Owczarski says few, if any, institutions would wait that long today. </p><p>“The landscape has changed,” says Owczarski. “[I]n light of what happened five years ago, colleges and universities are far more likely to communicate first, think and respond second.”</p><p>Virginia Tech’s VT Alert system has about 10 mechanisms for disseminating information (more on these ahead). Each has its application. For example, outdoor sirens might be used for tornado warnings, but they would not likely be used in a timely-warning situation.</p><p>Communication is the most important aspect of security, says Paul Timm, PSP, president of RETA Security. Virginia Tech did have mass notification capabilities when the 2007 tragedy occurred, and it did use such mechanisms as e-mail to send out information about the shootings, but technology has made instant mass communications far easier since then.</p><p>For example, many notification systems in effect before the shooting did not use text messages. That was because it was complicated. “[Y]ou had to buy Sprint’s [service] or Verizon, or what have you, and you then had to carry their particular device,” explains Bob Lang, CPP, assistant vice president of safety and security at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.</p><p>A 2008 report called <em>The Ripple Effect of Virginia Tech</em> from the Midwestern Higher Education Compact found that nearly three-quarters of respondents whose schools did not previously possess the ability to send notification via text had since implemented a system capable of doing that or planned on implementing such a system.</p><p>Helping to facilitate this change is the fact that today’s notification systems can generally be used with all carriers, and most every student has a smartphone. Thus, it’s not just that mass notification systems are more widespread, says Timm, it’s that they are easier to implement and, therefore, end up being more useful.</p><p>Schools are also getting more students to sign up for notifications. That’s because “schools are speaking to other schools, and we’re learning from each other,” says Timm. “So we’re not just going to leave it up to the student to walk in and sign up. We’re saying ‘here, if you’re going to register for classes, the screen that you get before you’re allowed to register is the sign-up for mass notification.”</p><p>It is best practice to have numerous ways to reach members of the campus with pertinent information. In the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) blueprint for safer campuses, “one of the things that we focused on was to have redundant systems so that if cell phones didn’t work because they were jammed, you had other ways of getting the word out to the campus if there was an imminent danger,” says Christopher G. Blake, IACLEA’s associate director and campus preparedness project director.</p><p>Virginia Tech’s current alert system includes text messaging, e-mail, message boards, sirens, and desktop alerts, among other mechanisms. “The bottom line to a lot of this is coming up with a layered approach to notifications,” says Lang.<br> Virginia Tech added digital message boards in classrooms and laboratories to its system after the 2007 tragedy. “Those are immediate; they literally will send a message within a second of deployment. Text messaging can take up to 20 minutes depending on cell phone service, the number of people, the number of subscribers, says Owczarski.</p><p>Owczarski says the university prioritized which classrooms would have the signs first, and the installation process is ongoing as opportunity and funding becomes available. For example, large lecture halls and the most widely used spaces received the signs initially. There are about 700 signs currently. University policy states that the boards must be included in new construction projects and renovations.</p><p>The notification process is ever-developing based upon technology improvements. For example, Virginia Tech has also added Twitter and Facebook to its cadre of notification media.</p><p>Content and context. Another issue universities have to wrangle with is exactly what the content of the message will be for any given situation.</p><p>Owczarski says that in these situations it is important to keep information updated, “because of the world in which we live in; people tweet, people Facebook, rumors go rampant.” He says that if 30 minutes goes by with no news, he will repeat what has been said or confirm that police are continuing to investigate.</p><p>For example, in December 2011, a campus police officer was shot on the Virginia Tech campus following a routine traffic stop. The police sent out the initial emergency notification when the shooting was confirmed and then quickly updated it when they knew the shooter had been spotted in a parking lot, says Owczarski. He says he then took over the communications to flesh out the warnings and information being delivered to the community. The emergency response plan was implemented, and the school was in a state of emergency response until police could confirm that the gunman was no longer a threat to the community.</p><p>Every situation will require different directives. In a potential or actual active-shooter situation, for example, the message might be to shelter in place, which simply means not to leave the building you are in. That was the case after the December shooting, though some media called it a “lockdown.”</p><p>Owczarski says that “lockdown” is a word that his school does not use, because it’s probably impossible to accomplish on a campus the size of a small municipality.</p><p>By contrast, it is feasible to advise anyone on campus to shelter in place, though that has its limitations as well. “It is not enforceable, and it might even be counterproductive if the people are in the same building as the shooter when they receive the warning,” says Owczarski.</p><p>Communicating is challenging when you have maybe a minute or two to make a decision about what to say, he says. And part of the challenge is that things are reported over Twitter and rumors and facts are often confused in the heat of a moment. “Yet what litigation and lawsuits will often say is you’re better off saying something, anything, and then reacting second. And that’s one of the great challenges that all of higher education in all municipalities face,” he says.</p><p>Virginia Tech has developed a Web portal with emergency messages for authorized individuals to send. The portal walks the user through a series of steps. The person would first put in information such as which campus the message is for and the delivery mechanisms to use (in an emergency, the default is to use them all).</p><p>There are about 30 templates of scenarios to provide a starting point for the notification. The template provides language appropriate to each type of incident and delivery mechanism; for example, e-mails might be longer and more conversational than text messages. The messages go out simultaneously. The language for the templates has been refined, and new templates have been created as drills and real-life emergencies have yielded lessons.<br><strong><span style="font-size:medium;"><br> Threat Assessment Teams</span></strong></p><p>Virginia Tech shooter Cho had behavioral issues that professors and mental health professionals knew about. After the fact, there were discussions about whether he should have been monitored more closely or removed from campus before the tragedy. It is impossible to know whether anything might have prevented that situation, but schools are trying to do what they can to focus on potentially risky situations—or people in need of assistance on or outside of their campuses—and to spot red flags that might signal trouble ahead.</p><p>The Virginia Tech incident led to a state law that requires colleges to have threat assessment teams for just that purpose. When that law came about, Virginia Tech was already putting together its behavioral threat assessment program.</p><p>Dewey Cornell, clinical psychologist and professor of education at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, thinks colleges traditionally have spent more resources on dealing with a tragedy than preventing it, so he sees the rise of threat assessment teams as a positive change. “I really think more emphasis should be given to prevention than just to crisis response,” he says.</p><p>Virginia Tech has spent a lot of time on refining its behavioral threat assessment team. The team consists of various individuals from different departments and disciplines.</p><p>Gene Deisinger joined Virginia Tech as threat management director in 2009. He says the school threat management team evaluates a few hundred cases a year, most of which are closed if no threat is perceived.</p><p>There are numerous ways a case can be opened, including reports from an individual on campus. When a case is reported, the team must examine the risks and the behavior in the context of whatever the individual is going through. The team will talk to the individual directly to assess and address any problems. The team also gathers information from various resources. One of the first orders of business is to determine whether the person is already being helped by other counseling or campus services. If that help is deemed to be adequate or the team determines that the person poses no threat, the case is closed.</p><p>Cornell points out that revisions to Virginia law and clarifications by the DOE have been made to facilitate information sharing with law enforcement and other groups, such as those in the medical professions. For example, a DOE clarification of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) states that school officials are not prohibited from sharing information obtained through school officials’ observation and personal knowledge, such as threatening remarks.</p><p>That is not considered part of student educational records, which makes it easier for the information to be shared.</p><p>The threat assessment team is separate from the CARE Team, which is a student aid team that was in existence prior to the 2007 shootings. The CARE Team will focus on student assistance issues, but some cases may go back and forth between CARE and threat assessment. For example, a financial-aid issue might start with CARE and then go to threat assessment if the student’s behavior becomes inflammatory. But both teams will not be working on the same case at once.</p><p>The threat assessment team is charged with identifying dangerous behaviors not just from students or faculty members but anyone who might pose a danger.</p><p>The threat assessment team mostly acts after concerns are reported, but Virginia Tech also introduced a proactive threat assessment element to the admissions process. During admissions, various background questions are asked in the application, and behavior is assessed during interaction with admissions officers.</p><p>If it is determined that an applicant has a history of violent offenses or other potentially disruptive behavior, for example, he or she would be referred to the threat assessment team. The team will then assess whether it’s possible to have a support plan to help that person be successful at the school. If the team doesn’t believe that’s possible, the applicant will not be permitted to attend the school. But, says Deisinger, “We recommend denial of very few applications.”</p><p><strong>Red flags.</strong></p><p>The school also tries to provide some guidance to the campus community with regard to what red flags they should look for. These are listed on Virginia Tech’s Web site, but Deisinger emphasizes that there is no absolutely reliable list of behaviors, and all behavior must be taken in context. Just because a person was violent in the past doesn’t mean they will be in the future. Similarly, a person with no violent past might still pose a risk.</p><p>Deisinger says that simplistic ways of predicting who is going to be violent have not worked, and he doesn’t anticipate that changing. He adds that though most of the referrals to his team do not end up requiring long-term monitoring, they’re still helpful.</p><p>“One side of the equation is, is the subject of concern dangerous or significantly disruptive? Even if the answer is no, if they’re perceived that way, there’s still an issue, because others will continue to respond to them based on the perception. And so, for many of the cases, we’re not actively working the subject of concern so much as we are the persons who shared the concern,” Deisinger says. The objective is “to share to the extent it’s lawful and appropriate to do so, the information that would help mitigate their concerns.”</p><p>Deisinger adds that it’s the nature of the beast of dealing with potentially violent and disruptive behavior that it’s unlikely that any individual in the community would be in a position to know the whole story, “so we set up a process that we know will [yield] false positives, because that enables us to look at potential linkages across the institution.”</p><p>Awareness training. Schools also are seeking ways to make students comfortable with reporting any issues or concerns. At the University of Virginia, Cornell says, they hold a series of meetings with students to discuss such issues. The school also developed a Web site with videos that depict different kinds of situations where people might want to seek help.</p><p>Additionally, many universities have special Web sites or systems set up to receive information or concerns. Deisinger stresses how important it is to do community outreach, because the campus population is always changing. “The things we did for outreach or awareness last year do not mean that this year the community knows what resources are available to assist with concerns,” he says, adding “So that has to be a continual process.”<br><strong><span style="font-size:medium;"><br>Response Coordination</span></strong></p><p>Another key issue is how various authorities will work together in the event of a major incident where they all respond to the scene. Many schools had good relationships with local law enforcement prior to the Virginia Tech tragedy, but even with good relations, coordinating activity on the scene can be challenging.</p><p>The National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) lay out protocols for such situations. In recent years, more schools are adopting the NIMS and ICS approaches even when they are not required to follow them.</p><p>The basic ICS course is actually tailored for administrators in higher education, says Timm. “Now, not enough of them are taking advantage of that, but…we’re on a crusade to help them at least be aware and then get on board,” he says. He adds that it helps them become more familiar with first responders and gets everyone speaking the “same language.”</p><p>IACLEA’s Blake stresses the importance of mutual-aid agreements and working with local law enforcement. “You don’t want to be introducing yourself to these folks at the scene [of an incident]; you want to have working relationships with them in advance.”</p><p>Five years after the 2007 shooting, Virginia Tech received high marks for its reaction to the police officer shooting, says Blake. “They were really applauded by the media and others about what a fantastic job they did of getting the word out, almost immediately, to the community, and they had regular updates and so forth.”</p><p>That proficiency was the result of lessons learned the hard way after the 2007 tragedy. But at least they have been learned. “Virginia Tech sadly has a degree of experience that hopefully will serve us in the future for when those instances will happen again,” says Owczarski, adding, “And if we can help others prepare better for the instances that have yet to occur, [we are] glad to do that.”</p><p> </p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465