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Ready for the Showdown

All signs are pointing to Las Vegas for ISC West. Even though I’m writing this two months ahead of the show, it is pretty much all that is on my mind, as far as work is concerned.

I’ve had a couple of interesting security experiences that are worth noting. Not long ago, my wife’s company, a financial institution, bought a new building and planned for an upgrade. Not long after that purchase, I received a call from their IT guy. He wanted to know if taking out the old analog system from the previous location would be detrimental to use in the new building.

Of course they could use the old system, but why would you? My logic was that because they were moving into a new building, and there were crews inside refurbishing the facility, it seemed like their best decision was to switch to IP networked cameras so you can actually see what’s going on.

After their due diligence, the bank installed several IP cameras, and to their pleasant surprise, it took fewer cameras than they thought it might, and the images were better. Well, you could see what’s going on. The bank president was pleased because he could pull the system up on a mobile device and get a clear picture, day or night.

Another one of my security experiences includes my granddaughter. She attends a day school, and the first thing I looked for when shopping for a school was the security. As she turned two, she moved up to a new classroom, and that meant different cameras. As it turns out, the cameras are analog and it’s pretty tough to pick her out of the crowd.

I’m guessing when the cameras were installed a few years ago, it was not done with a qualified and/ or certified security integrator. It looks to me like the contracted electrician put the security system in place.

I complained, mightily.

It would seem that I’m the only person that accesses the video system during the school day. Maybe I’m an overprotective grandpa, but that’s my job. I protested the location of the cameras as one was pointed from the top shelf of a bookcase and the other was placed in a spot that looked upon a spot in which children never were seen.

I tried to explain to the day school that the system was archaic. If parents, or in my case, the grandpa, were paying for high-quality childcare, it should come with high-quality surveillance equipment. The school heard my cries for help and finally changed out the cameras, but to my surprise, the cameras were purchased at a local, or nearby Big Box home improvement store. The so-called improvement was not really a step in the right direction.

Again, I complained mightily, but to no avail. Part of the reason I’m excited about ISC West is a first-run view of today’s newest products. From those manufacturers that I’ve spoken with, there will be lots of new technology for the integrator and end user. These products are what stick in my mind when I am asked about the system at my wife’s place of business or the security systems in my granddaughter’s classroom. I know how good the security can be.

One important product that I’ve brushed aside, which I realize now I should not have, is the use and technology of body worn cameras for law enforcement.

The general public has recently coined the phrase, “Shoot first, ask questions later” when referring to the policies of law enforcement officers. There have been protests and riots to show the growing concern for those killed by police officers. The bottom line is, police have a difficult job, at best. I’m not saying everything that we’ve seen lately is justified, but it is the law enforcement official that is putting his/her life on the line. It is certainly not those who would protest.

My last and final security experience revolves around the body worn cameras on police officers.

In a recent story from Salt Lake City, a police officer responded to a reported car accident. The driver of the damaged car fled on foot and when the officer approached him, to determine if he needed medical help, he was gunned down. There were no protests over this unwarranted killing.

My nephew, a sheriff’s deputy, was first to respond to the officer down call. He certainly didn’t expect what he found, and could only hold the officer as he slipped from this life.

So, yes, body cameras are needed. The sooner the better, and hopefully police and sheriffs’ departments will start to provide this necessary technology. If not for the protection of the general public, then for the validation of what police actually go through on a daily basis.

I love ISC West and the opportunity to see the newest technology, as these new products play a very important role in my daily life. I hope to see you there.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Security Today.

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