Security in All Forms

We have learned via the news recently that security comes in many forms and fashions; included are risk management and contingency planning.

Ebola. The first that comes to mind is the recent scare of an Ebola outbreak on American soil. I live in the Dallas area, and the news of Ebola has been in all the headlines. Thomas Eric Duncan contracted the disease in West Africa and brought it with him to Dallas, even though reports are that Duncan went through a health screening before leaving the country. At 42 years old, Duncan came to the United States to visit and marry his girlfriend, and be a father to their child, who has since grown up and is making his way through college.

It seems that proper security measures were in place and taken prior to his departure from West Africa. However, I believe that not enough was done in Dallas to ensure he received proper treatment. Duncan arrived in Dallas on Sept. 20, and within five days sought medical care at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital, only to be sent home with antibiotics. He returned three days later with those unmistakable symptoms of Ebola. In fact, two days after being admitted to the hospital, his medical diagnosis was confirmed.

In my opinion, security of a different form should have been taken. Medical staff should have taken into consideration that Duncan had just flown to Dallas from West Africa. This is the first red flag. Security should have come in the form of attacking the virus inside the patient days earlier; however, hospital staff has assured Dallas residents they will stop the Ebola virus in its tracks.

After laying in isolation for 10 days at the hospital, Duncan, a Liberian national, died on Oct. 8, after showing some improvement in his health. His ordeal showed Americans the reality of a plague that was once considered a far-away problem. Nearly 4,000 people have died in what was once just a West African epidemic. I feel bad for Mr. Duncan, his family and those affected by this situation. New medical security measures should be put in place to ensure this never happens again.

No more football. I really love this story pulled from the news in New Jersey. The Sayreville High School football team in Parlin had its season cancelled in early October because there were allegations of bullying, intimidation and harassment among players.

From my youth, I thought this was what high school football was all about, but school officials now see it differently. They already canceled and forfeited a game prior to the announcement of the season’s suspension.

The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office is investigating these allegations, which have been said to be enough to prove incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level and at a level that players knew, tolerated and generally accepted.

With this knowledge, school superintendent Richard Labbe said that what has been substantiated to have occurred, “We have canceled the remainder of the football season.” (Where was this guy when I was a high school freshman and sophomore football player?)

The school would not discuss the case any further, nor would the prosecutor’s office, but there is credible evidence to back up the allegations.

As schools today act to add security to district facilities, some of the biggest security problems reside within the halls of the school, or in this case, the locker room.

Riots in Ferguson. Talk about security…Missouri authorities had to draw up contingency plans, fearing that if the grand jury no billed a white police officer for killing a black teen, a riotous battle might ensue. State officials even sought information from other U.S. police departments on out-of-state agitators.

Riots have been commonplace since Aug. 9 when police officer Darren Wilson shot teenager Michael Brown, sparking days of protests in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. Security and safety have been absent in this city for a couple of months now, and Missouri law enforcement officials have been so concerned that they have been in contact with police chiefs from Los Angeles, New York, Florida and Cincinnati. Police fear an outbreak of violence not only in Ferguson, but also in numerous metropolitan cities.

Protesters, most from outside of Missouri, including New York and California, and civil rights groups say that the shooting is part of a national epidemic of young black men being shot by white police officers. What alarms me more than anything is that it seems civil rights protestors can bully law enforcement and the courts into getting what they think is fair.

The grand jury’s decision will affect members of the black community as well as those in the white community. The city is fraught with racial tension and simmering anger from Brown’s death. Any death in this type of situation should not be taken lightly, but mixing in racial tensions does not help calm the storm.

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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