FROM THE BLOG
Another School Tragedy: Commit to Security Fundamentals- 15 February 2018
By: Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PSP, PCI
A shooting at a Florida high school has left 17 people dead, and officials say the toll could continue to rise. The 19-year-old assailant opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, about an hour northwest of Miami, on Wednesday around 2:40 p.m. Eastern, shortly before students were dismissed for the day. The suspect, a former student at the school who had been expelled, is in custody after a brief hospitalization, and currently faces charges of 17 counts of premeditated murder.
Once again, many school officials, parents, and security experts are wondering what could have been done to prevent this tragedy from occurring. While the images of fleeing school children and Law Enforcement entering are unfortunately not new in recent months, we are once again reminded that this truly can happen anywhere at any time. So, what are we as security professionals left to ponder in the wake of another serious incident that prompts questions from those honestly seeking answers to this problem?
The Newtown shooting in 2012 forever altered the way American schools approach safety and assess risk, ushering in an era in which schools feel particularly vulnerable to the threat of shootings and students must know what to do in case one happens. Because of the shift in thinking, there have been some success stories since that tragic event.
In November of 2017 inside a rural California classroom, more than a dozen 5- and 6-year-olds huddled in the corner as a gunman sprayed bullets at the school and tried to break his way in. But the doors were locked and all of the children were inside, part of a school plan the staff and students had practiced in drills and knew by heart. They barricaded the school in just 47 seconds probably saving the lives of countless people at Rancho Tehama Elementary School.
While it appears that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had a response plan, and no doubt the actions of law enforcement, teachers and other school officials saved countless lives, we must not lose sight of the importance of improving our processes in the wake of these events. More comprehensive training is needed to educate on the importance of reacting to warning signs and responding to known threats. This can be a complex endeavor, but it is an effective tool. Just this month a High School in Everett, Washington was likely spared from an attack simply because a student’s grandmother reported threats she found in her grandson’s journal. We will never know, but what if the warnings signs exhibited by the latest shooter had been properly addressed?
So, the answer to what to do has to continue to be: Assess the risks, plan, train (and Repeat). Unfortunately, this is not an issue that can be solved in one meeting or a lengthy written policy. It must become a part of the School’s DNA and addressed at all levels- Physical Security, Policies and Procedures, and on-Going Training.
When I was in school, we trained on how to save ourselves from bad weather. Now our kids are training on how to survive a mass homicidal attack. Yes, times have changed, but we must not lose sight of fundamental security principles that must be followed to allow us the best chance to prevent or mitigate future occurrences. I am encouraged by what I have seen from my fellow security professionals in the wake of this latest tragedy. Things such as the free resources from leading security organizations like ASIS International, and commentary from many well-respected security experts in local and national media lending a healthy dose of practical advice, give me hope that this problem can be effectively addressed in the future. We just have to continue to emphasize that there is no magic formula, plan, or substitute for following the fundamentals, and vowing to never waver in our commitment to the safety and security of our most vulnerable environment.
DSI Security Services Selected as National Provider for BMW- 09 February 2018
DSI Security Services is pleased to announce that it has been selected as the contract security provider for BMW in the United States. BMW is known around the globe as the premiere luxury vehicle for its commitment to uncompromising quality and delivering to the customer the “Ultimate Driving Machine.” BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) was founded in 1916 as an aircraft engine company that expanded production to motorcycles and eventually cars. Today BMW also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce.
BMW’s North America Corporate Headquarters is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. The BMW U.S. Manufacturing Company, also known as BMW Plant Spartanburg, is a vehicle assembly facility located in Greer, SC; it is BMW‘s only assembly plant in the U.S. The BMW Manufacturing Company employs more than 9,000 people in South Carolina to produce the X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and the X4 and X6 Sports Activity Coupe at its 1,150-acre, 6-million-plus square-foot campus. In addition to these locations, DSI will also be providing security services to other BMW non-production facilities across the United States. The new project will involve over 200 DSI security officers across the country.
DSI Chairman of the Board Alan Clark announced this historic partnership by emphasizing the value that BMW adds to the DSI Security customer base. Mr. Clark stated, “We are very proud of our association with BMW, and we are extremely blessed to have this opportunity to provide our services to such a prestigious brand. We look forward to continuing to earn their trust and confidence each day as we strive to deliver the most effective security solutions possible.”
DSI was started in Dothan, AL in 1969 by then Sheriff A.B. Clark. The company is still family-owned and operated by Alan Clark (A.B.’s son) and his wife Marsha Clark. Today, with more than 3,000 Security personnel spread throughout the United States, DSI continues its long history of providing uniformed officers, technology solutions, and consulting services to manufacturing facilities and a wide range of other industries.
Hardening Soft Targets- 17 October 2017
by Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PSP, PCI, Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel- DSI Security Services • Oct 16, 2017
We saw recently with the tragedy in Las Vegas that certain environments such as hotels and outdoor music venues are especially vulnerable to attack. Technology and security methods continue to evolve, but there are some basic steps that can be taken to make these environments more safe and secure.
A Soft Target is often defined as “a person or thing that is relatively unprotected or vulnerable, especially to military or terrorist attack.”
Examples of Hard Targets include airports, government buildings, military installations, foreign embassies, and nuclear power plants.
Tips for “Hardening” Soft Targets
• Develop a plan of action based upon on a thorough site survey and risk assessment.
• Physical site hardening takes time and proper planning. Hire a security expert to develop a plan based on your unique environment.
• Do ensure that the physical security measures you currently have in place are working and in good condition—locks, doors, gates, bollards, access control, fencing, CCTV.
• Internal: Utilize emails, staff newsletters, staff meetings, training manuals, and training sessions to make sure your employees are aware, informed, and prepared.
• External: Let local law enforcement and your security provider know your concerns and see how they might be able to assist you with an increased presence at your facility.
• Implement a heightened alert plan when threat levels increase. Create a plan with action items that can quickly be implemented in order to raise organization wide security awareness and respond to counter and reduce the threat.
• Move security posts to forward positions and provide security officers with specific post orders designed to counter/ reduce the threat.
• Invest in new technology such as emergency notification apps as a way to receive reports of suspicious activity and notify employees of potential threats.
Protecting perimeters of soft target facilities is no small responsibility. Knowing you’ve got the right equipment in place to secure the facility and to prevent human tragedy brings a peace of mind that no amount of money can buy. Carefully researching available options and consulting with experts will ultimately lead to the right solution.
For more information on how DSI Security can protect your business, employees, and property, visit our website at
Another Active Shooter: How Should We Respond?- 03 October 2017
BY: Eddie Sorrells, CPP, PSP, PCI
Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel- DSI Security Services
After having spent a productive few days in Dallas Texas last week exploring the latest in security innovation, technology, and education at the ASIS International Conference, most security practitioners awoke this morning to the horrible news of a new record-setting active shooter event in Las Vegas. Similar to several events that have occurred in Europe and other locations around the world, the shooter in this case chose to attack a large public gathering of thousands innocently enjoying an outdoor music festival. The fact that the perpetrator chose a hotel room 32 floors up, recalled memories of the Texas tower shooting in 1966, an event that most recognize as the first active shooter tragedy in modern American History. Many businesses, members of the public, and even security experts, are left wondering today what more can be done to guard against these types of attacks. There is no easy answer, and the fact that this was by its very definition a soft target environment, makes it even more difficult to plan for. However, I believe that one positive outcome of such tragedies can be a re-focus on planning for active assailant situations.
I have done numerous active shooter training sessions in the last year, and I begin each by recommending to each attendee that they not only focus on adhering to their company policy, but strive to have a mentally prepared response plan as an individual, regardless of what circumstances they find themselves in. The reality in 2017 is that you can encounter an active shooter in the workplace, on vacation, and at a large public gathering. Whether the attack comes from a vehicle, explosive device, sword or knife, or in this case automatic weapon fire, being prepared is the best weapon we have to survive such attacks.
What do gunshots sound like, what are my options for survival, and what could or should I do in the event I find myself in such a horrific situation, are questions that should be asked- not just by industries and organizations-but by each citizen. I know that many professionals in the security industry stand ready to educate our customers and the public on what a response plan should look like. Unfortunately, there is no perfect plan or absolute guarantee of safety in these situations, but preparation has been proven time and time again to minimize loss when tragedy strikes. There are already stories of heroic acts performed by law enforcement and private citizens that undoubtedly minimized further loss of life.
Also, there is a wealth of resources produced by knowledgeable experts on how to plan for such attacks. By way of example, one of my go-to references when advising customers on hardening soft targets is Soft Target Hardening: Protecting People from Attack by Jennifer Hesterman. This book and many others written by learned experts in the field can provide an excellent baseline for training and plan development. In addition, emerging technology such as gunshot detectors and emergency notification apps can prove invaluable in the mist of chaos when locating an active shooter is difficult. Lastly, organizations such as ASIS International are doing great work with making resources available and creating initiatives such as Security Cares designed to educate managers of small/medium-size businesses and cultural/community institutions—places that traditionally have not considered themselves targets—about the fundamentals of security prevention and preparedness.
Going forward many highly visible potential targets will debate new levels of screening, more stringent security protocols, and other methods to stop the next attack, but above all, let’s take this opportunity to really focus on planning and education so that when, or if, the next tragedy strikes, those involved are ready to respond. I take comfort in knowing that our profession stands ready to educate and support.
600 West Adams St., Dothan, AL 36303