Manufacturing

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Changing-Course-for-Success.aspxChanging Course for Corporate SuccessGP0|#28ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997;L0|#028ae3eb9-d865-484b-ac9f-3dfacb4ce997|Strategic Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a43444652017-07-10T04:00:00ZSharad Shekhar<p>​Conventional wisdom suggests that businesses have a natural life cycle wherein new solutions, evolving markets, and misguided management play a significant role in the probable failure of the company. According to this model, every firm—from family businesses to the largest multinationals—falls into decline. Even those businesses that come back after one downturn may not prevail in the next one. These organizations are replaced by new companies that are born to meet evolving market needs, new technology voids, or changing business environments, and the cycle repeats. But some notable companies—IBM and Apple, for example—have overcome periods of decline and have emerged with a new focus, strong core values, and a powerful new leadership position. </p><p>There are many possible paths to this success, but for a large technology company, regaining its leadership position after a major decline requires several critical ingredients, including: </p><ol><li>A clear target-market focus with in-depth understanding of the customer</li><li>A strong, complete offering that cannot be easily duplicated</li><li>A clear market position and message</li><li>Strong organizational alignment with outstanding team commitment</li><li>A financial foundation that will support the necessary actions<br> </li></ol><p>While these elements may seem obvious to any start-up entrepreneur, they may be harder for an established, enterprise-level company to achieve. Here's a look at how these five key initiatives can be applied.</p><p><strong>1. Clear Target Market<br></strong>A statement of mission, vision, and values can help an organization create a roadmap of where it wants to go and how it will get there. A basic underlying tenet of the statement is that the organization, regardless of its nature (i.e., school, auto dealership, technology company, etc.) will provide a high-quality product or solution that the market needs. Organizations must also identify the right way to communicate to the defined market that their product or service has value and is the best choice. They must support that communication with a solid foundation in marketing, sales, and infrastructure. It's a broad "pull" rather than "push" approach that benefits not only the organization but the market as well. </p><p><strong>2. Strong, Complete Offering<br></strong>Businesses that have grown and prospered offer a strong, quality product line designed specifically for the defined market. Maintaining that portfolio is an ongoing process that requires both a commitment and a product roadmap that will position the organization not only as a product leader but also as a technology leader. </p><p>Crystal balls aside, listening and responding to a changing industry is necessary to ensure that the portfolio offers solutions as well as products. Offerings today must feature greater intelligence and performance capabilities that will make a difference to the industry. In the physical security market, for instance, some of these solutions include products with increased connectivity, cybersecurity features, and an understanding of the Internet of Things (IoT). The offerings should be positioned to work in combination with the expertise of select technology partners to deliver an integrated system that solves customer problems through meaningful innovation. </p><p><strong>3. Clear Market Message<br></strong>Successful companies have an aggressive integrated marketing program that combines the best of traditional marketing with new social media and digital techniques to get their message to the market. These companies have implemented and will continue to refine consistent and aggressive public relations, new print and digital advertising campaigns, and advanced inbound marketing. This is all in addition to updated websites that include significant support tools and search engine optimization. <strong> </strong><strong> </strong><strong><br></strong></p><p><strong>4. Organizational Alignment<br></strong>The successful business operation must fit the needs of the market as it exists today. Many companies start the restructuring with the sales organization to create a closer, more-direct line to the reseller and customer. This approach serves customers by ensuring more direct contact, feedback, and intervention. By listening carefully, understanding what the market needs, and giving value, the company, in return, will receive value.  </p><p>Along with a restructured sales organization, an updated marketing organization can better engage in highly strategic and integrated marketing efforts that are designed to reshape the company's image and drive new business opportunities. Populating the department with internal and external teams of experienced industry professionals who have proficiency in both traditional and digital marketing further helps in achieving company goals. </p><p>Finally, in any technology-based organization, the restructuring of the engineering organization is critical to meet the continual challenge of developing and delivering mainstream solutions with meaningful innovation. Ultimately, it is the close collaboration and alignment of these three primary functions—sales, marketing, and engineering—that will eventually drive the organization towards its new goals.<strong> </strong></p><p><strong>5. Firm Financial Foundation<br></strong>Although a company may have been profitable throughout its history, change is costly. Strong financial backing allows an organization to move forward with its redevelopment in a manner that better ensures success. As an example, the capability of sustained restructure has been a key component in the success of Pelco's reinvention. </p><p>Even when these five critical elements are implemented, success is still not a sure thing. Economic uncertainty, fast-moving markets, and competition from nontraditional sources can take a toll. Companies with entrenched or outdated business models are particularly susceptible to business failure. As it becomes harder to hit performance targets, virtually all organizations need to consider some type of strategic restructuring if they want to avoid the end-of-life paradigm. </p><p>If this sounds radical, it's likely due to the negative connotations associated with restructuring. For many, restructuring conjures up images of court-supervised negotiations with different classes of creditors trying to reach consensus. But when viewed more broadly, restructuring represents an opportunity for companies to examine their operating models with the ultimate goal of optimizing their business for the long term. Companies that follow this process can remain a dominant force for many years to come.​</p><p><em>Sharad Shekhar is CEO of Pelco by Schneider Electric.</em>​​<br></p>

Manufacturing

 

 

https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Changing-Course-for-Success.aspx2017-07-10T04:00:00ZChanging Course for Corporate Success
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Industry-News-May-2017.aspx2017-05-01T04:00:00ZIndustry News May 2017
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Maturity--Model-101.aspx2016-12-01T05:00:00ZMaturity Model 101
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Bottleneck-at-the-Border.aspx2016-03-01T05:00:00ZBottleneck at the Border
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Book-Review---Port-Security-Management.aspx2015-08-01T04:00:00ZBook Review: Port Security Management
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/June-2015-Industry-News.aspx2015-06-01T04:00:00ZJune 2015 Industry News
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Watching-The-Port.aspx2014-09-01T04:00:00ZIndustry News September 2014
https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/A-Diverting-Practice.aspx2005-08-01T04:00:00ZA Diverting Practice

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https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Surveillance-and-Stereotypes.aspxSurveillance and Stereotypes<p>​Juveniles make up 40 percent of the shoplifters in the United States. Shoplifters, in total, contribute to billions of dollars of loss each year, according to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention’s 2014 report <em>Shop­lifting Statistics.</em></p><p>To combat adolescent shoplifting, according to the report, retailers depend on private security officers combined with other security measures, including security cameras, observation mirrors, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags. </p><p>The key to apprehending juveniles during or after shoplifting, however, is to correctly determine whom to surveil. Security personnel often rely on a combination of common underlying physical characteristics—race, gender, and age—and behavioral indices—glancing at clerks nervously, assessing security measures, and loitering—to distinguish shoppers from potential shoplifters. </p><p>Are these surveillance decisions a result of bias? To find out, the authors conducted original academic research funded by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York on how stereotypes play into who is suspected of shoplifting, how that suspect is dealt with, and what private security can do to limit discriminatory practices.​</p><h4>Existing Data</h4><p>A 2003 Journal of Experimental Psychology article, “The Influence of Schemas, Stimulus Ambiguity, and Interview Schedule on Eyewitness Memory Over Time,” which discussed research findings and lawsuits against retailers, concluded that stereotypes of juvenile shoplifters may unduly influence security officers to target juveniles on the basis of their physical characteristics, rather than their behaviors.</p><p>Over the past 20 years, the media has reported on cases in which the retail industry engaged in discriminatory practices. This is known as consumer racial profiling (CRP), “the use of race and or ethnicity to profile customers.” According to a 2011 study in the Criminal Justice Review, “Public Opinion on the Use of Consumer Racial Profiling to Identify Shoplifters: An Exploratory Study,” officers sometimes use CRP to determine which juvenile shoppers are potential or actual thieves. </p><p>Most people develop negative stereotypes about juvenile thieves through exposure to various types of media, particularly when they reside in areas that contain few minorities. The media has the unique ability to both shape and perpetuate society’s beliefs about which juveniles typically commit offenses through its selective coverage of crimes. </p><p>It is also common for the media to portray adolescents—particularly boys—as criminals. Biases are then used, whether consciously or unconsciously, in the private sector by retailers and security officers to target shoppers, and in the public sector by those in the legal system, including law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and even legislators, to arrest and prosecute thieves.</p><p>The consequences of applying discriminatory practices can be seen in the private sector through lawsuits against retailers. Ethnic minority shoppers purport that they were targeted through excessive surveillance—and even through false arrests. </p><p>Researchers have shown that this automated bias occurs even when observers were trained to focus on behavioral cues, and it persists despite findings that shoplifting occurs across racial and ethnic groups, according to the 2004 Justice Quarterly article “Who Actually Steals? A Study of Covertly Observed Shoplifters.”</p><p>Stereotypes also affect retailers’ decisions on how to handle shoplifters, either formally by involving the police, or informally. The results of accumulated discrimination, accrued during each step in the legal process—initial involvement of police, decision to prosecute, conviction, and sentencing—continue in the legal system. This is evidenced by the disproportionate number of African- and Latin-American boys shown in the apprehension and arrest statistics of juvenile thieves, compared to their representation in the population, according to Our Children, Their Children: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Differences in American Juvenile Justice, a book published by the Chicago University Press. ​</p><h4>Current Research</h4><p>To test the premise that there is a widespread stereotype of the typical juvenile thief and shoplifter, our research team obtained information from young adults in two diverse areas:  97 psychology-major college students in a small city in the U.S. state of Kansas, and 156 security and emergency management majors at a college in a large city in New York state. </p><p><strong>Shoplifter profile. </strong>The psychology-major students were 83 percent European American. The rest of the students were represented as follows: 5 percent African American, 2 percent Asian American, 1 percent Latin American, and 9 percent of mixed or unknown descent.</p><p>The security and emergency management major students—72 percent of whom were male—came from a variety of backgrounds: 31 percent European American, 37 percent Latin American, 19 percent African American, 9 percent Asian American, and 2 percent Middle Eastern American.</p><p>Participants in both locations were asked to guess the common physical characteristics of a typical juvenile shoplifter—age, gender, ethnicity or race, and socioeconomic status. </p><p>The stereotypical juvenile shoplifters described by both the Kansas and New York respondents were remarkably similar: male, aged 14 to 17, and from lower- to middle-class families of African-American, Latin-American, or European-American descent. The two samples also indicated that the stereotypical thief was likely to have short or medium length brown or black hair and an identifying mark—such as a piercing. </p><p>These findings show commonality in the prevalence of certain physical characteristics, despite the diversity of the two groups of respondents, and demonstrate that American society has a well-developed juvenile shoplifter stereotype.</p><p><strong>Decision processes. </strong>After determining the stereotype, the research team considered whether juvenile shoplifter stereotypes affected respondents’ decisions. The goal was to determine the degree to which the respondents believed that physical characteristics influenced the security guards’ decisions regarding whom to surveil, and what consequences to apply when a youth was caught stealing.</p><p>The New York respondents read a brief scenario describing a juvenile shoplifter as either male or female and from one of five backgrounds: European American, African American, Asian American, Latin American, or Middle Eastern American. However, the description of the overt behaviors by the juvenile was the same for every scenario—selecting and returning shirts in a rack, glancing around the store, and stuffing a shirt into a backpack.</p><p>Respondents provided their opinions about the degree to which the security officer in the scenario relied on physical characteristics in surveilling a juvenile, and whether the retail manager and security officer should impose informal or formal sanctions on the shoplifter. Researchers reasoned that respondents should draw identical conclusions for surveillance and sanctions if they were simply evaluating the juvenile shoplifters’ behaviors, but that students would have different recommendations for these choices if their racial or ethnic stereotypes were activated.</p><p>Respondents who indicated a preference for applying informal sanctions did so more frequently for girls of African-American and Middle Eastern-American descent. These respondents also assessed that the officer described in the scenario based his or her surveillance decisions on physical characteristics. No other gender differences for race or ethnicity were notable when considering reliance on physical characteristics.</p><p>Stereotypes also affected decisions on how to sanction the shoplifter. Respondents were given the option of implementing one of four informal sanctions: speak to the juvenile, call parents to pick up the juvenile, get restitution, or ban the youth from the store. Their selection of the least severe sanction—talk to the juvenile—was doled out at a higher rate for boys than for girls of each ethnicity except European Americans, which did not differ.</p><p>The moderate level sanction—call the youth’s parents—was selected more for girls than for boys of African and Latin descent. The most severe level sanction—ban the youth from the store—was selected more for boys than for girls of African descent. However, it was selected more for girls than for boys of Asian, European, and Middle Eastern descent.<img src="/ASIS%20SM%20Callout%20Images/0417%20Feature%202%20Chart%201.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:510px;" /></p><p>Respondents who indicated a preference for applying formal sanctions attributed physical characteristics to the guards’ surveillance decision for girls more than for boys of Latin descent; gender differences were not apparent for the other ethnicities. </p><p>Respondents were also given five formal sanctions for the youths: involve the police, prosecute the theft as larceny, impose a fine, give the youth diversion or community service, or put the incident on the youth’s criminal record. Their selection of the least severe sanction—involve the police—was endorsed more for boys than for girls of Asian, European, and Latin descent, but more for girls than for boys of African descent. No gender difference was apparent for youths of Middle Eastern descent.</p><p>The most severe sanction—diversion or community service—was preferred more for boys than for girls of African descent. A small percentage of respondents endorsed a criminal record for the theft of a shirt, but only for girls of African and European descent and for boys of Middle Eastern descent.</p><p>Finally, a comparison of our data revealed that respondents believed informal—rather than formal—consequences should be imposed for girls rather than for boys of Asian and European descent, and for boys rather than for girls of Latin descent. ​<img src="/ASIS%20SM%20Callout%20Images/0417%20Feature%202%20Chart%202.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:519px;" /></p><h4>Lessons Learned</h4><p>Our findings clearly demonstrate that people have stereotypes about juvenile shoplifters. They also showed that people unconsciously use the typical physical characteristics of gender and race or ethnicity associated with their criminal stereotypes to make decisions and recommendations, such as whom to surveil and how to handle a shoplifting incident. Otherwise, there would not have been a difference in how the juvenile shoplifter was processed or punished, because the behaviors exhibited by all of the juveniles were identical across scenarios.</p><p>Consumer racial profiling is a defective filtering system that may direct private security officers’ attention to characteristics that are not reflective of actual shoplifting conduct. Our data suggests that CRP not only hurts retail businesses by discouraging minority consumers from shopping in their stores, but also simultaneously prevents security officers from apprehending shoplifters.</p><p>Other research, such as from “Juvenile Shoplifting Delinquency: Findings from an Austrian Study” published in the 2014 Journal for Police Science and Practice, shows that only 10 percent of juveniles are caught shoplifting. Even more disconcerting, the typical shoplifter steals on average 48 to 150 times before being apprehended. Clearly, retailers need a better strategy if they are to reduce loss due to shoplifting.</p><p>Another issue that was addressed was the decision to involve the legal system. Many businesses, despite having posted prosecution warnings, reported only about half of the adolescent shoplifters they caught to the police. </p><p>Retailers instead focus on minimizing loss and negative publicity, and may rationalize against reporting the offense to the police because they do not want to stigmatize the adolescent or because they consider it a one-time incident, particularly when the juvenile admits to the theft and then pays for or returns the items, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services.</p><p>These beliefs, however, may be misguided. Though current research is scarce, a 1992 study—The Sociology of Shoplifting: Boosters and Snitches Today—indicated that 40 to 50 percent of apprehended adolescent shoplifters reported that they continued shoplifting. </p><p>There are benefits for retailers who involve the legal system, especially for informal police sanctions. </p><p>First, criminal justice diversion programs and psychological treatment and educational programs treatment may reduce recidivism. For example, shoplifters who attended and completed a diversion program had significantly fewer re-arrests compared to those who failed to complete or did not attend, a DOJ study found.</p><p>Second, the private sector needs the support of the public sector to reduce shoplifting. Shoplifters can be given an opportunity to participate in first offender programs and, upon completion of classes on the effects of shoplifting, have their charges dismissed or even erased. ​</p><h4>Recommendations</h4><p>Retailers and private security officers need training to make them aware of their own biases and how their stereotypes affect their choices. They also need training to learn which behavioral indices are most effective in distinguishing shoppers from shoplifters. </p><p>If retailers do not make significant changes in guiding their employees—particularly security officers—towards objective measures of vigilance to prevent shoplifting, their financial loss will continue to be in the billions of dollars. </p><p>Private security officers must be taught how to treat all potential shoplifters, regardless of their gender, in the same way to prevent making mistakes and subjecting retailers to lawsuits for discriminatory security practices.</p><p>Overcoming unconscious biases is difficult. Prior to specialized training in bias identification and behavioral profiling, it is important to determine the biases of security officers. Self-assessment measures similar to the ones the researchers used in their study can be administered. </p><p>The officers should also keep records that specify each incident of shoplifting, what behaviors drew their attention to warrant surveillance, what act occurred to provoke them to approach the juvenile shoplifter, the items that were taken, the method used, the shoplifter’s demographics, how the situation was handled, who made the decision, and reasons for the decision. The officers should then review these records with their retail managers.</p><p>Retailers should also implement a mandatory training program to provide private security officers with the tools needed to identify shoplifting behaviors to increase detection and reduce shrink. </p><p>The incident records could be introduced and used to help identify the impact biases have on private security professionals’ decisionmaking about juvenile shoplifters. It would also help security guards learn the various types of suspicious behaviors that shoplifters exhibit, such as juveniles who make quick glances at staff, examine items in remote aisles, monitor security cameras and mirrors, and purposefully draw employees’ attention away from others.</p><p>Additionally, a practical component would be to show surveillance videos of the behaviors exhibited by juvenile shoplifters of different gender and race or ethnicity. In this way, the findings of past studies showing the insignificance of race, ethnicity, or gender can be learned through real-world examples.  </p><p>--<br></p><p><em><strong>Dr. Lauren R. Shapiro </strong>is an associate professor in the Department of Security, Fire, and Emergency Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has published several journal articles and chapters on the role of stereotypes in perception and memory for crime and criminals. <strong>Dr. Marie-Helen (Maria) Maras</strong> is an associate professor at the Department of Security, Fire, and Emergency Management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She is the author of several books, including Cybercriminology; Computer Forensics: Cybercriminals, Laws, and Evidence; Counterterrorism; and Transnational Security.   ​</em></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/Maturity--Model-101.aspxMaturity Model 101<div><p>​</p><p><img src="/ASIS%20SM%20Documents/1216%20Sidebar%20Graphic%202a.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:356px;" /><br></p><p>Maturity models are a tool used a range of business sectors, including​ manufacturing, software engineering, operations, and logistics. The model is often used to help set process improvement objectives and priorities, and it can provide a method for appraising the state of an organization’s current practices. </p></div><p>Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have been developing early maturity model prototypes since the 1980s. In 2002, CMU released the first version of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) tool, which was developed by a group of experts from industry, govern­ment, and CMU’s Software Engineering Institute. Updated versions of the tool were released in 2006 and 2010. </p><p>The Ernst & Young (EY) physical security maturity model developed with Caterpillar is based on this CMMI tool, and also on EY’s cybersecurity maturity model.</p><p>This tool uses a level 1 through 5 rating scale to define maturity levels: (1) Initial, (2) Repeatable, (3) Defined, (4) Managed, and (5) Optimized. For a hypothetical example, take the compliance component of a security department. In the Initial stage of a maturity model, processes are unpredictable, poorly controlled, and reactive. Thus, in that initial stage, the security department is conducting its compliance activities in a haphazard way—putting out fires when they flare, with no real established process for doing so. ​</p><p>When compliance reaches level 3, Defined, the compliance process is established and proactive—perhaps with guidelines enforced by a compliance officer. At level 5, Optimized, the process is so well-established, managed, and defined, that the focus is now on process improvements.  </p><p>​​</p>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/Security-Beyond-Sunday.aspxSecurity Beyond Sunday<p>​<span style="line-height:1.5em;">Christ Com</span><span style="line-height:1.5em;">munity Church (CCC) in St. Charles, Illinois, about 45 miles west of Chicago, doesn’t just open its doors in time for Sunday morning services. Thousands of people traverse its campus each week to participate in a variety of activities. “There’s always something going on here,” says Bryan Ferguson, safety and security manager at CCC.</span></p><p>That open environment makes pro­­viding security a challenge, says Ferguson. On any given Sunday, anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 people may be in attendance at CCC services. In addition, Ferguson heads up security at three other campuses where live video streams of the CCC service are broadcast. An additional 4,000 to 5,000 congregants attend those simulcast services. </p><p>Recently, during a ladies’ group meeting at church, some of the women noticed a stranger wandering around the building. After that incident, the church made the decision to seal off some of the external doors on the main campus. Of the church’s approximately 22 doors, about one-third of them are open during church services on Sunday. Only two remain open during regular business hours. If there is a special meeting, someone from the facilities department goes into the church’s software that controls the locking mechanisms on the doors and remotely sets the schedule for more doors to be open.</p><p>Despite the incident with the stranger, CCC has never experienced any major security events. “We’ve had some troubled people who have caused incidents, and we’ve had the normal domestic type incidents, husband and wife arguing, stuff like that–but fortunately nothing to the extent of an active shooter,” Ferguson notes. </p><p>Still, Ferguson is always looking for ways to better protect the church and its people, especially from an active shooter threat. Ferguson, who recently retired after two decades in law enforcement, says the active shooter threat is a bigger reality than ever for churches. “Obviously [the active shooter threat] has become the forefront of everyone’s attention,” notes Ferguson, who adds that all the church’s employees have undergone active shooter training. </p><p>​Ferguson saw an opportunity to address this threat when he was approached by John McNutt, founder of BluePoint Alert Technologies, in January 2015 about its alert system at CCC. The BluePoint system operates like a fire alarm and notifies law enforcement of emergencies.</p><p>BluePoint was so appealing, Ferguson says, because it cuts down on the time it takes to inform law enforcement if an active shooter is in the building.  </p><p>The pull stations are small blue boxes mounted on the wall that look like fire alarms with a clear hard plastic covering. Anyone can lift the casing to pull the lever. In the event a station is pulled, a call automatically goes to law enforcement dispatch. The system communicates over commercial-grade wireless communication technology and equipment to ensure the call doesn’t fail. </p><p>CCC put in 16 pull stations, strategically locating them throughout the church. “We tried to put them wherever the largest congregation of people were going to be, and then general throughways, intersections of hallways, especially by main doors,” Ferguson notes.  </p><p>Ferguson made the decision to use BluePoint only in the event of an active shooter. “If you pull the pull station, there’s an [automated voice] alarm that goes off on campus that says we’re in a lockdown situation,” Ferguson explains. The message goes out over the public address system and informs everyone of lockdown procedures. “If they hear that, I want everyone to know it is…an active shooter.” </p><p> Ferguson says he piggybacked on what the local schools had done, which was input the e-mails and cell phone numbers of the first line supervisors from the sheriff’s office into to the system so that law enforcement automatically receives updates when an incident occurs. “They’ll get all of it first, and that will also improve the response time,” he adds. Ferguson says he keeps in close contact with the sheriff’s office, with updates on a weekly basis.</p><p>CCC’s security strategy stretches beyond the BluePoint technology. Ferguson heads up the church’s volunteer safety team, which is made up of approximately 30 people. Between six and eight of those members normally canvass the church on Sunday mornings. Because these volunteers typically receive their only security training from the church, “they’re supposed to be the eyes and ears,” says Ferguson, “not really react if something happens.” That job is left to Ferguson and a few others who have law enforcement training. While on duty, team members wear headsets and have portable radios for ease of communication.</p><p>The church also has a pastor protection team made up of either off-duty or retired law enforcement that guards the lead pastor on Sundays, says Ferguson. That team is also available to travel with a pastor if there are any safety concerns about a trip itself, though he says deploying that team has not been necessary in recent years. </p><p>The safety team is signed up for text message and e-mail alerts generated by BluePoint. Ferguson controls this through his administrative account on the BluePoint Web portal. Ferguson decided not to reserve the text and e-mail alerts only for active shooter events, electing to send them out during other incidents including severe weather, medical emergencies, or a missing child. Signing in with a username and password, Ferguson can clear alarms in the system, add more people to the mass notification list, and customize incident automated messages. </p><p>The church wants to allow everyone in the congregation to sign up for the mass notification alerts. “We would put up a link or a spot on our website, or our church’s mobile app, to allow them to sign up themselves, but that’s not implemented yet,” says Ferguson. He says he hopes the sign-up process will be underway by the summer of 2016. </p><p>The congregation has been informed about the technology through various announcements and word of mouth, and attendees have responded positively. “Everyone’s been extremely happy that we’re taking proactive measures to keep them safe,” says Ferguson. </p><p>He adds that events like the shooting in Charleston only highlighted the difficulties of protecting a church, making BluePoint an obvious choice for them. “Unfortunately security is one of those things that people really don’t put a lot of emphasis on until after the fact,” he says. “Everybody is vulnerable to active shooters, and if you can cut down the response time by even a minute, that’s countless lives that you could be saving.”    </p><p><em>For more information: BluePoint Alert Solutions, johnmcnutt@bluepointalert.com, www.bluepointalert.com; 888.258.3706 x701.</em><br></p>GP0|#cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8;L0|#0cd529cb2-129a-4422-a2d3-73680b0014d8|Physical Security;GTSet|#8accba12-4830-47cd-9299-2b34a4344465