Guest Editorial by Patrick V. Fiel, Sr., Former Executive Director of Security for D.C. Public Schools
April has become one of the deadliest months for campus massacres and homegrown terrorist activities in the United States.
We’ve seen it before with tragic events that seared the names of campuses into our minds
April 2, 2012: Oikos University: Seven deaths and three injured;
April 16, 2007: Virginia Tech: 33 deaths and 23 injured and
April 20, 1999: Columbine High School: 15 deaths and 21 injured.
(Kenji Okuma, the Crisis Center director for the Sandy Hook Promise national Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, was recognized for Excellence in Public Safety in the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program. Learn More and Make the promise to protect kids. Learn more at https://www.sandyhookpromise.org. Courtesy of Sandy Hook Promise and YouTube.)
Unfortunately, there is a concern over potential lone wolves or copycats who will try to make history at the expense of others during the month of April.
Past shooters have had a fixation with the Columbine shooting for the past 24 years. A big change from the Columbine shooting is that today we have social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other sites to allow easy access to research past shootings and post about potential future shootings.
Remember, an anonymous tip line or website can allow students, teachers, and parents to report rumors and threats before they become a reality. “If you see something, say something.”
(School is different this year. But your safety is still a priority. If you are concerned about depression, cyberbullying, or anything affecting your mental health, Nevada youth have access to SafeVoice. Offered by the Nevada Department of Education and Department of Public Safety, SafeVoice is a free app available to you 24/7 to access trained, professional help, anonymously. Courtesy of the Nevada Department of Education and YouTube.)
School administrators, staff, students, and parents need to be extra vigilant during this month. While attacks on campuses have garnered the most attention, we have to be ready to protect students and employees.
We have already had thirteen school shootings this school year. It has to stop!
Before taking any action or spending money on security, one of the most important steps school administrators can take is to request a campus security review from a qualified school security expert who can help design a full security plan for securing the entire campus.
The review will identify the security strengths, as well as any security weaknesses. The entire process is designed to reduce incidents and try to anticipate any emergencies that might occur at their school or campus.
The results of these assessments serve as the initial phase to develop a course of action, a strategic plan. The review will help reduce incidents and possibly prevent potential liabilities.
School Superintendents should take immediate action, implement a closed-campus policy and review their emergency/crisis plans and lockdown procedures.
Schools need to hold appropriate safety/security drills, partner with local emergency responders, and practice responses to differing emergencies, e.g., active shooter, medical emergencies, etc.
All schools need to have a permanent School Resource Officer (SRO) assigned and additional SROs as needed.
All schools, especially elementary schools, should be secured at all times. The main campus entrance should be controlled using security glazing film on all first-floor doors and window glass.
Start with door glass first and continue until all first-floor glass is secure. All entry, exit, and classroom doors should be locked throughout the day.
(See how it takes more than 90 seconds to break through the glass door with the 3M™ Safety & Security Window Film Safety Series S140 installed on the glass. This product is intended to deter break-ins by impeding unwanted entry. Courtesy of 3M Films and YouTube.)
Allow access only to those who belong on campus.
Once a visitor is approved to enter the building, he or she must be directed or escorted to the main office. Before a temporary badge is printed for the person to wear at all times while on campus, he or she must show government-issued identification.
Any plan will undoubtedly include security technology, but no single security implementation will protect a school; true protection comes from many layers of security protocols and processes.
It is imperative to frequently test your communication and fire systems: PA system, phones, radios, duress buttons, fire alarms, and other devices.
(Learn about InformaCast mass notification software by Singlewire Software, a comprehensive emergency mass communication solution. InformaCast allows it’s users to leverage on site devices to IP phones, monitors, overhead paging systems, panic buttons and others to reach on premises employees, while also leverage mobile devices, Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams to remote remote workers. Courtesy of Singlewire Software and YouTube.)
Video cameras in and around schools have proven to be a strong deterrent and very effective in helping to ensure policies and procedures are being followed, as well as in assessing incidents after the fact.
They also provide critical real-time situational insight and live views for first responders during an emergency.
It is impossible to predict where the next active school shooting will occur, yet all schools must be prepared to take preventative measures to mitigate damages from an active shooter.
Let’s all work together to provide a safe, secure school environment for our students and teachers.
About the Author
Patrick V. Fiel Sr. is a national security expert specializing in providing schools with a holistic security approach that creates a solid foundation for establishing or improving security policies, practices, and procedures.
Patrick is a recognized campus security expert interviewed and quoted by numerous news outlets, newspapers, television, and radio stations.
Patrick has over 35 years of experience in law enforcement and security. A former executive director of security for the D.C. Public School System in Washington, D.C., he also served as the public safety advisor for ADT Security Services, one the largest security company in the U.S. and Canada.
Patrick is retired from the United States Army Military Police Corps. He travels extensively, presenting briefings and presentations on security trends, campus shootings, funding, risk assessments, emergency/crisis preparedness, gangs, bullying, workplace violence, and current technology solutions.
American Security Today’s Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards is the preeminent U.S. Homeland Security Awards Program, and now entering its Eighth Year, continues to recognize industry leaders of Physical and Border Security, Cybersecurity, Emergency Preparedness – Management and Response, Law Enforcement, First Responders, as well as federal, state and municipal government agencies in the acknowledgment of their outstanding efforts to Keep our Nation Secure.
Singlewire Software (First of Three)
InformaCast Incident Management is a centralized location where users can group certain notifications under the umbrella of an emergency scenario.
This takes every step of the alerting process, including initial alert, follow-up messages, and “All Clear” messages and puts them in one place. Organizations no longer need to search through all of their created messages to find the right ones to address a particular type of incident, and notifications can be ordered to follow the steps of their emergency response plan.
Organizations are also able to upload relevant resources into the incident hub to help give safety team members all the information and assistance they require to easily manage the situation, and can include safety checklists, building floor plans, and links to external resources like security camera feeds, reducing the need to navigate long lists or complex menus.
When the incident is over, a report is created that allows users to review how the event was managed and inform future adjustments to ensure the most effective response possible. Scenarios are surfaced within the homepage of the InformaCast interface and can be customized with colors and icons to make them instantly recognizable to whoever needs to launch a scenario.
Customizable text also allows organizations to prepare for any situation they might encounter, whether it’s an active shooter, severe weather, medical emergency or some other type of incident that impacts safety and operations.
Scenarios created using InformaCast Incident Management are part of InformaCast’s full mass notification capabilities, and messages can be sent with text, audio and visual cues to a wide range of devices and systems, including desk phone, IP speakers, mobile devices, desktop computers, and digital signage, offering organizations the best chance for reaching all their intended audience with critical information.
Organizations can also utilize InformaCast’s virtual collaboration capabilities to invite people to join video meetings via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Webex, which helps gather people quickly who can share information in real-time, assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
(InformaCast Incident Management is a mass notification and critical event management solution that offers organizations the tools they need to prepare for and manage any emergency. This includes all the alerts and resources they need to handle an event as well as reporting features to assess how well they responded to an event.. Courtesy of Singlwire Software and YouTube.)
Singlewire Software (Second of Three)
Best Mass Notification Software – Application
InformaCast Fusion is a hybrid-cloud based mass notification and critical event management platform, and one of the only mass notification systems that offers the ability to reach all of an organizations on-site and mobile devices with critical messages in a variety of ways. Live and recorded audio, SMS text, email, visual alerts and more can be sent to mobile devices, desk phones, speakers, overhead paging systems, desktop computers, digital signage and more.
Customer messages can be built to provide clear instructions and groups can be defined so the right people receive the right messages, and messages can include to links to join virtual collaboration spaces like Webex, Microsoft Teams and Zoom so key stakeholders can quickly gather, assess a situation and deploy a response.
InformaCast Fusion also offers one of the widest arrays of triggering options so mass notifications can be sent the instant something goes wrong. Panic buttons available as hardware devices, virtually programmed on phones and computers, and mobile apps offer one-touch solutions for sending out alerts. Monitored RSS and CAP feeds can be configured to automatically trigger alerts when certain criteria are met, and IoT devices with contact closures can be integrated so when the contact closure is tripped messages are activated. This helps organizations leverage every channel available, so notifications get sent out quickly and the widest possible audience receives the message.
Using messages that include text, audio, and visual cues also help make messages intrusive so no matter where someone is or what they are doing they see or hear the message, stop what they are doing, and take action to stay safe.
These alerting features form the core of InformaCast, which is also adding incident management capabilities that do more than just send out messages because while alerting people is important, it’s only one part of a safety plan.
(InformaCast Fusion is one of the only mass notification systems that allows organizations to reach all of their on-premises and mobile devices with critical messages, in addition to offering critical event management features that help handle an incident from start to finish. Courtesy of Singlwire Software and YouTube.)
Singlewire Software (Third of Three)
The InformaCast Mobile Panic Button is the latest addition to the InformaCast Mobile app, giving organizations an easy way to provide personalized protection for all their people.
End users that download the InformaCast app will have access to a mobile panic button they can activate if they find themselves on their own in a dangerous situation, and once the button has been pressed, the app will provide the user with instructions on what they should do to remain safe as well as offer the ability to connect directly with the security team via a phone call to receive further assistance.
InformaCast sends a notification to the security team with information about who pressed the button and where they are located on a map, and even if the user moves, the security team will be able to track their new location.
The security team also has the ability to send follow messages or connect directly with the sender, and knowing users’ locations during an emergency can aid in assisting them to safety, as first responders will know where to send assistance, how many people are involved, and what kind of situation they’re walking into.
This functionality is ideal at college and university campuses for students walking home alone at night, in manufacturing for lone workers, and in federal and healthcare industries that might have workers walking alone to their cars late at night. The mobile panic button is just one of the many useful features available within the InformaCast app that makes triggering notifications and managing incidents easy no matter where a person is.
Messages can be sent in multiple formats including SMS text messages, push notifications, emails and audio messages, and the more formats used the more likely it is that someone sees the message quickly and takes appropriate action.
Notifications can also be sent with the option for recipients to respond to the message, to give system administrators and safety team members real-time insight into ongoing incidents.
InformaCast Mobile also offers geofencing capabilities to alert everyone within a certain area and even trigger alerts when users enter or leave a designated location.
(InformaCast Mobile mass notification software is a great solution for navigating reopening and a return from the coronavirus pandemic shut down. Courtesy of Singlwire Software and YouTube.)
*Singlewire Software has now been recognized with Multiple Awards in its Fifth Consecutive Year in the Annual ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program.
The continually evolving ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program will highlight the trail of Accomplished Women in Leadership in 2023 and the Significance and Positive Impact of Advancing Diversity and Inclusion in our Next Generation of Government and Industry Leaders. #MentorshipMatters
So be on the lookout for exciting upcoming announcements of Speakers, Presenters, Book Signing Opportunities, and Attendees at the 2023 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Presentation Luncheon in November of 2023 in New York City!
Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2023 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards at https://americansecuritytoday.com/ast-awards/.
|Access Control/ Identification||Personal/Protective Equipment||Law Enforcement Counter Terrorism|
|Perimeter Barrier/ Deterrent System||Interagency Interdiction Operation||Cloud Computing/Storage Solution|
|Facial/IRIS Recognition||Body Worn Video Product||Cyber Security|
|Video Surveillance/VMS||Mobile Technology||Anti-Malware|
|Audio Analytics||Disaster Preparedness||ID Management|
|Thermal/Infrared Camera||Mass Notification System||Fire & Safety|
|Metal/Weapon Detection||Rescue Operations||Critical Infrastructure|
|License Plate Recognition||Detection Products||COVID Innovations|
|Workforce Management||Government Security Programs||And Many Others to Choose From!|
Don’t see a Direct Hit for your Product, Agency or Organization?
Submit your category recommendation for consideration to Michael Madsen, AST Publisher, at: email@example.com.
Homeland Security remains at the forefront of our national conversation as we experience an immigration crisis along our southern border and crime rates that are dramatically higher than before the Pandemic across the United States.
These challenges have become a national priority with an influx of investments in innovative new technologies and systems.
Enter American Security Today, the #1 publication and media platform in the Government Security and Homeland Security fields, with a circulation of over 75,000 readers and many tens of thousands more who visit our AST website at www.americansecuritytoday.com each month.
The pinnacle of the Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program is the Annual ‘ASTORS’ Awards Ceremony Luncheon Banquet, an exclusive, full-course plated meal event, in the heart of New York City.
The 2022 exclusive sold-out ‘ASTORS’ luncheon featured representatives of law enforcement, public safety, and industry leaders who came together to honor the selfless service of those who stand on the front lines and those who stand beside them – providing the capabilities and technologies to create a safer world for generations to come.
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which came out in force to discuss comprehensive collaborations between private and public sectors that have led to the development of intelligence and technologies which serve to protect our nation.
The keynote address was provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner (DEAC) Diane Sabatino, who described the changes to CBP through the tragedy of 9/11 and the relentless commitment to its mission and ongoing investment in the latest technologies and innovations to protect our borders and Homeland.
The resounding theme of the DEAC’s remarks was her pride in the women and men of the CBP and their families who support them.
AST was also joined by Legendary Police Commissioner William Bratton, who spoke about his love for the City of New York, the Profession of law enforcement to which he has dedicated his life, and for which he continues to drive thought leadership and innovation.
New York City Police Department (NYPD) Chief of Department Kenneth Corey, came out to address Luncheon attendees and shared some of his experiences and the changes in policing he’s witnessed over his more than three decades of service.
FDNY Chief Joseph Jardin honored the men and women of the FDNY, not only those who currently serve but all of those who have selflessly served, with special recognition of those lost on 9/11.
Chief Jardin spoke about the continuing health battle of many following 9/11 with cancer and respiratory disease, yet now knowing the full consequences, would not have made a different decision to respond.
As Chief Jardin noted, mission-driven service is the lifeblood of every firefighter, volunteer, and sworn member, and has been so throughout the history of the Fire Service.
Former head of the FBI’s active shooter program, Katherine Schweit joined AST to sign complimentary copies of her book, ‘STOP THE KILLING: How to End the Mass Shooting Crisis,’ thanks to the generosity of our 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Sponsors.
The 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program was Proudly Sponsored by NEC National Security Systems (NSS), ATI Systems, Automatic Systems of America, guardDog AI, Fortior Solutions, IPVideo Corporation, Rajant Corporation, RX Global, and SIMS Software!
We were pleased to welcome the esteemed New York City Fire Department (FDNY); the New York City Police Department (NYPD); and the NYC Hospital Police, as well as Executive Management from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and many other DHS agencies, Federal law enforcement agencies, and private/public partnerships such as the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE), the 30×30 Initiative, a coalition of professionals advancing the representation of women in policing; and Operation Lifesaver, Inc. (OLI) (rail safety advocates).
The prestigious Annual ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program highlights the most cutting-edge and forward-thinking security solutions coming onto the market today, to ensure our readers have the information they need to stay ahead of the competition and keep our Nation safe – one facility, street, and city at a time.
In 2022 over 240 distinguished guests representing Federal, State, and Local Governments, and Industry Leading Corporate Firms gathered from across North America, Europe, and the Middle East to be honored among their peers in their respective fields.
Each year, to keep our communities safe and secure, security dealers, installers, integrators, and consultants, along with corporate, government, and law enforcement/first responder practitioners, convene in New York City to network, learn and evaluate the latest technologies and solutions from premier exhibiting brands at ISC East, the Natural Disaster & Emergency Management Expo (NDEM EXPO), and the ASIS NYC Expo.
ISC East is the Northeast’s leading security & public safety event, hosted in collaboration with sponsor Security Industry Association (SIA) and in partnership with ASIS NYC.
Corporate firms, the majority of which return year to year to build upon their Legacy of Wins, include:
Advanced Detection Technologies, AMAROK, ATI Systems, Axis Communications, Automatic Systems, BriefCam, Canon U.S.A., Cellbusters, CornellCookson, CyberArk Fortior Solutions, guardDog.ai, Hanwha Techwin of America, High Rise Escape Systems, IPVideo Corporation, Konica Minolta Business Solutions, NEC National Security Systems, NICE Public Safety, OnSolve, PureTech Systems, Quantum Corporation, Rave Mobile Safety, Regroup Mass Notification, Robotic Assistance Devices, Rajant Corporation, SafeLogic, Select Engineering Services LLC, Singlewire Software, SolarWinds Worldwide, Teledyne FLIR, Valor Systems, and West Virginia American Access Control Systems, just to name a few!
Why American Security Today?
The traditional security marketplace has long been covered by a host of publications putting forward the old-school basics to what is Today – a fast-changing security landscape.
American Security Today is uniquely focused on the broader Homeland Security & Public Safety marketplace with over 75,000 readers at the Federal, State, and local levels of government as well as firms allied to the government.
American Security Today brings forward a fresh compelling look and read with our customized digital publications that hold readers’ eyes throughout the story with cutting-edge editorial that provides solutions to their challenges.
Harness the Power of the Web – with our 100% Mobile Friendly Publications
AST Digital Publications are distributed to over 75,000 qualified government and homeland security professionals, in federal, state, local, and private security sectors.
‘PROTECTING OUR NATION, ONE CITY AT A TIME’
AST Reaches both Private & Public Experts, essential to meeting these new challenges.
Today’s new generation of public safety and security experts need real-time knowledge to deal with domestic and international terrorism, lone wolf attacks, unprecedented urban violence, shifts in society, culture, and media bias – making it increasingly difficult for Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Military and Private Security Professionals to implement coordinated security measures to ensure national security and improve public safety.
These experts are from Government at the federal, state, and local levels as well as from private firms allied to the government.
AST provides a full plate of topics in our AST Monthly Magazine Editions, AST Website, and AST Daily News Alerts, covering 23 Vital Sectors such as Access Control, Perimeter Protection, Video Surveillance/Analytics, Airport Security, Border Security, CBRNE Detection, Border Security, Ports, Cybersecurity, Networking Security, Encryption, Law Enforcement, First Responders, Campus Security, Security Services, Corporate Facilities, and Emergency Response among others.
AST has Expanded readership into integral Critical Infrastructure audiences such as Protection of Nuclear Facilities, Water Plants & Dams, Bridges & Tunnels, and other potential targets of terrorism.
Other areas of concern include Transportation Hubs, Public Assemblies, Government Facilities, Sporting & Concert Stadiums, our Nation’s Schools & Universities, and Commercial Business Destinations – all enticing targets due to the large number of persons and resources clustered together.
To learn more, please see the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS Edition Fully Interactive Magazine – the Best Products of 2022 ‘A Year in Review.’
The Annual CHAMPIONS edition reviews ‘ASTORS’ Award Winning products and programs, highlighting key details on many of the winning firm’s products and services, including video interviews and more.
The 2022 CHAMPIONS serves as your Go-To Source through the year for ‘The Best of 2022 Products and Services‘ endorsed by American Security Today – and can satisfy your agency’s and/or organization’s most pressing Homeland Security and Public Safety needs.
From Physical Security (Access Control, Critical Infrastructure, Perimeter Protection, and Video Surveillance Cameras and Video Management Systems), to IT Security (Cybersecurity, Encryption, Data Storage, Anti-Malware, and Networking Security – to name a few), the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ CHAMPIONS EDITION has what you need to Detect, Delay, Respond to, and Mitigate today’s real-time threats in our constantly evolving security landscape.
It also features guest editorial pieces from some of the security industry’s most respected leaders and recognized firms in the 2022 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program.
For more information on All Things American Security Today, as well as the 2023 ‘ASTORS’ Awards Program, please contact Michael Madsen, AST Publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AST strives to meet a 3 STAR trustworthiness rating, based on the following criteria:
- Provides named sources
- Reported by more than one notable outlet
- Includes supporting video, direct statements, or photos