Orlando: The City of Security
- By Sydny Shepard
- Sep 12, 2016
(CLICK HERE TO FOLLOW #ASIS16) Today marks the first day of ASIS 2016. Security companies have flocked to Orlando, Fla. from near and far to showcase their most innovative and creative security solutions on the show floor of Orange County Convention Center, making it quite possibly the most secure tradeshow the convention center has seen. But that doesn’t mean Orlando wasn’t already on the cutting edge of security before we all showed up.
In May, I was fortunate enough to tour several establishments in Orlando with the sole purpose of finding out about their security measures - or what they could disclose at least. Not only did I get the security scoop on the convention center where ASIS will be held, but I also was able to sit down with security officials at a hotel near the convention center and even got to talk about security at the University of Central Florida, Florida Hospital, The Mall at Millennia and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
There were so many things to take in, but the most pronounced lesson learned at each interview was how much time and effort goes into planning, implementing and executing the perfect security solution for each venue toured.
For example, the University of Central Florida has a very different approach to security than other establishments in Orlando because they are an educational setting where it is necessary to secure 63,000 students, staff and faculty every day and perform plans with the highest amount of security for things like on campus sporting events or rallies.
UCF has a unique way to combat emergency events on campus with their Emergency Operations Center. The EOC is powered up and used during large scale events on campus. Often, it is used to secure football games or at the beginning of the year, it was used to oversee a rally held by Donald Trump.
When the EOC is operating, there are so many things happening at the same time. Some security officials are monitoring the video surveillance footage of the event, while others are evaluating “SnapTrend” analytics which allows officials to analyze social media for keywords in order to be prepared for a planned attack promoted on the internet. The EOC allows FCU police to easily partner with Orlando police and Florida State Troopers for faster response time in the event of an emergency.
Speaking of security for large events, the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center has that down pat. The PAC is comprised of several theatres and event rooms that make up a beautiful but challenging space to secure.
When asked, PAC security says their biggest challenge is getting theatre-goers to submit to the security process. In New York City where Broadway was born, little to no security is implemented before a show starts. At the PAC, visitors are asked to hand their bags over to be checked and be wanded down to ensure no weapons enter the theaters. Surprisingly, the PAC has a rather large box full of pocket knives and pepper spray that they’ve had to confiscate from viewers before a show starts. More often than not, the owner does not come back to reclaim their device.
FCU and the PAC aren’t the only ones that have nailed down security at large scale events. The Orange County Convention Center where ASIS 2016 will be held also has every procedure put in place to ensure convention-goers are as safe as possible.
The OCCC works with each company that is interested in hosting an event at the convention center and goes from their determining the amount of security needed at the show. Some shows require more security than others, depending on the nature of the show’s subject, history of the event or at the host’s request. No matter what show there is, there are always some security basics that never change.
The OCCC on its own has two squad deputies that are permanently stationed at the convention center, this helps with traffic and crowd control at the center during their biggest events. These deputies and others, mostly guards hired from security companies, survey constantly before, during and after an event. The security officials of the OCCC teach the security guards to be aware of visitors’ body language and their clothing. (Dressed in an all-black ski suit during Florida summer? Something is definitely wrong.)
ASIS picked Orlando to be its host for the 2016 show and seminar because the city is on an elevated playing field when it comes to security. No matter where you end up in Orlando, chances are the security is state-of-the-art.