Sunday, September 20, 2020

 The Talk and the Red Shirt

We were at the club house bar, after hitting a couple of buckets of balls at the driving range.  Or maybe we had hit some balls and now were on a couple of buckets of beer.  Nonetheless, it was at about the same time that Freddie Gray died while in police custody.

I asked my friend, what his thoughts were about that.  Basically they were the same as mine – senseless, shameful and disgusting.  Our thoughts were the same – no disagreement.  Then he asked me, how old I was when I got “the Talk”.  Thinking he was talking about the “birds and the bees”, I said, “I dunno know, probably 12 or so”.  After all, I believed in Santa until junior high.  What can I say, I’m a little slow. 

Anyway, he started to laugh, “No, when did your Dad tell you how to act when you deal with the police.”


 “Well, when did you have the talk with your son “?

 “Never – why”?

My Dad was in the military, so we moved around allot but every summer he’d send us back to rural Indiana to stay with my Grandparents who lived on a dirt road.  I kind of feel like that’s home to me.  So I feel like I’m a small town boy.  My friend came from one of those small dirt road towns too; his was just outside of New Orleans.  But our similarities didn’t end there.  We both “grew up” in the ‘50s and 60s, He picked bales of cotton.  I drove a tractor while stacking bales of hay. How we were treated by the police was because of the color of our skin. He black me white.  That’s where the similarities ended.

 “You mean, no one told you that when you deal with the police, if you don’t act right you could get arrested or shot or worse”. 

 “No, why would my Dad have to tell me that?  If I get confronted by the police, I would just explain and unless, I’ve actually committed a crime, they’d let me go”.

 “Well, it doesn’t work like that for Black people.  Even if you didn’t do anything, there’s an assumption that you did, and if you didn’t this time, at some time in your past you probably did but just didn’t get caught, so now you’re under arrest”. 

And that was about the end of the conversation – our wives showed up and we went to lunch.

It wasn’t until, last week that I fully understood what my friend had meant. 

After seeing what happened in Minneapolis, I understood that conversation.  In fact, I was part of what he was talking about. 

Back in the mid-80s, while in the Air Force in Germany, I was a cop and took a report from a lady who had been assaulted by a guy at the NCO Club.  She described him as wearing a red shirt.  So I went to the Club and grabbed a guy wearing a red shirt, placed him in handcuffs and took him to the station.  As soon as we entered the building she said, “That’s not him.  The guy who assaulted me was white”.  She then held out a gold chain and said, “I took this from him as I was fighting to get away”.  I un-cuffed the guy, quickly apologized, and took him back to the Club.  I started asking around if anyone had lost a gold chain and the right guy with the red shirt and a significant scratch on his neck showed up.

I had never even considered asking about her attacker’s race, I had assumed.  I can with certainty say this, had the Black guy resisted, I would have used force to subdue him and I would have ruined his military career or possibly worse.   I’ll admit they were different times back then, but it was wrong then and it’s wrong now.

Thank goodness for both of us, he apparently, he had had The Talk.


Sunday, August 16, 2020

 The New Centurions

New Concepts for Policing


When I first started to outline this article, I was thinking about big bold steps to be taken in order to re-direct police services.  I got the idea from a tweet by Sen Harris, in which she said, “We need to demilitarize the police”.  Well, I couldn’t disagree more.  The reason police departments have military equipment is so that they can deal with the most serious violent crimes and criminals.  Police departments need armored vehicles and high caliber weapons, so that they can deal with gangs and organized criminal enterprises which are using those tactics, but they don’t need to bring them every time they engage the public (we’ll talk about that as a separate issue next time).  Those enterprises have no regard for human life, if they did they wouldn’t be kidnapping kids or young adults and forcing them into slavery, they wouldn’t be selling drugs to the most vulnerable within our society, just so they can make money.  So, to fight in this war the police have to have military style weaponry and they should be using them with efficiency and effectiveness.  You wouldn’t throw rocks at someone with a bazooka, so why would we expect the police to fight without the right tools.

But for the purpose of this article I’ll leave the strategic planning up to those responsible for administration of police departments whether at the local, State or federal level. 

Great interview about the changes needed in policing here:

Instead I want to concentrate on a more tactical or operational approach with simple solutions that will most probably be unpopular, especially with the rank and file, but I believe will go a long way in changing the culture within departments, assist in avoiding corruption or unwanted police behaviors and change the way the public views and interacts with the police.  The good news is, these ideas for change don’t need the rule of law.  They just need to be implemented as a new way of thinking and conducting business.  This will take real leadership; change is driven from the top.  While the need for change may be driven from the masses, change actually comes about because those in-charge decide to make the changes being requested. 

In ancient Rome, the Centurions were the professional officers of the Roman Army.  They commanded the troops, which sometimes meant that from time to time they enforced Roman law outside of the military legions they commanded.  Unfortunately in those times they also administered punishment by cutting or burning people’s hand off for stealing or other petty crimes or used a vine staff, with which they disciplined even Roman citizens who were protected from other forms of beatings by the Porcian and Valerian Laws (what punishments Roman citizen could be subjected to; they were not allowed to be humiliated or demeaned with degrading or shameful forms of punishment; such as, whipping, scourging or crucifixion.  Non-citizens and slaves had a different set of rules).  Hopefully, we’re way beyond that.  

At least, I like to think we are, but we can create new Centurions by:

First, stop appointing police chiefs based on political affiliation.  Currently, for the most part chiefs are either appointed by the city/county board, mayor or other elected officials or are elected themselves. Both methods are political.  Since laws are apolitical and should be enforced apolitically, so should the appointment of the police charged with enforcing those laws equally and justly.

Second, first and second-line supervisors should take a test that includes police administration, social – emotional, non-escalating skillsets, leadership skills, human rights and the protection of personal dignity training.  Allot more time needs to be spent of developing social skills needed in conflict resolution, at least at the same level that they spend on equipment usage techniques.

Thirdly, patrolman should be assigned “beats” randomly but with purpose and clarity.  The most troublesome neighborhoods should be assigned to those officers with the most experience.  There should always be a senior and a junior officer together whenever possible.  We should get rid of the notion of “Partners”, whereby, the same two people are assigned a specific sector each and every shift, so that they always work together.  Sure, there is an advantage to having “partners” as the patrolmen become familiar with each other and the neighborhoods they serve.  But conversely, they also become “too friendly” with each other or the residents, and worse, by becoming either complacent or tolerant of bad behaviors.   Additionally, the argument will be made that the patrolman needs to be able to trust his/her partner with their life.  That’s true, but if you can’t do that with everyone in the department, then there’s a problem.  The public also demands the same expectation. 

Over the years we got away from two man patrols due to budget cuts and other factors.  I think we should go back to them.  No more single patrols.  I’m not saying just to double everyone up by consolidating patrol zones.  No, this will only lead to longer response times.  Instead, I’m saying double force sizes by bringing on new officers.  Many will say, “We don’t have the money”.  To me that’s just another way of saying, I’m too lazy to do the hard work to figure out how this can be done.  So, I don’t buy the argument that it will be too costly.  Think about this, we just spent several trillion dollars on corporate and public welfare for COVID relief and didn’t bat an eye.  Not to mention the 10’s of trillions we’ve spent and are spending on the bank bailout of 2008.  It’s not about money, it’s about deciding.

Fourth, everyone in an administrative position, who is physically capable, should work “the road” once a week or a couple days a month – maybe a weekend or night shift.  Even those will mobility issues could have a role.  This gives fresh eyes and reminds everyone why they are there – to serve and protect.

And finally, move personnel around within departments, within organizations.  The military does this with regularity and at tremendous costs.  But the benefits far outweigh the costs.  Each move brings “new life”.  Getting a fresh set of eyes on things is invaluable.  It brings with it; fresh and innovative ideas, opportunities for personal growth, problem solving, and deters complacency and stagnation.  It also roots out those who have a history of misconduct.  New supervisors usually don’t tolerate bad behaviors that old supervisors allowed to go unaddressed. 

A recent study of police training revealed, that on average policeman in the US receive less than a thousand hours of training, whereas their European counterparts receive thousands of hours.  Most police chiefs in Europe are also lawyers or have law degrees, as do many mid-level supervisors.  I don’t believe this requirement exist within the US.  Maybe it should?  

Calls for defunding the police are just wrong.  Police departments need more resources not less.  That said, so do social programs that address the root causes of criminality and unwanted behaviors.  We need to add funding that teaches non-aggressive tactics and de-escalation techniques, social – emotional learning skills, and coping tools that deal with attitudes and behaviors.

I worked for ten years with the Carabinieri, the Italian National Police.  In those ten years I never once saw them man-handle anyone.  Sure they put people in handcuffs and took them to jail but I never witnessed any aggressive tactics on their behalf.  They always talked the guy into getting handcuffed. 

Great article about Carabinieri tactics, here:

To illustrate my point, a few years ago, my son was travelling from Italy to the US.  He had been visiting his aunt and grandma.  At the airport in Rome, he placed his backpack on the conveyor belt at the x-ray machine.  After it was scanned, a Policeman approached him and asked my son to accompany him.  They went to a room, and the policeman pulled an apple, sandwich and serrated kitchen knife from his backpack.  The Policeman said, “Young man, we have one question, who packed your lunch your Mom or your Grandma?”  The Policeman knew, my son being in his thirties was old enough to know better than to bring a knife through the checkpoint.  He also knew that Moms being Moms in Italy meant, someone else had packed his lunch; Mom or Grandma had packed the knife so he could peel the apple, it was just logical. Clearly my son wasn’t a threat.  The Policeman kept the knife and my son boarded his plane.  I believe that had a similar incident occurred here in the States my son, would most probably have gotten arrested for possession of a deadly weapon, would subsequently have a criminal record, which could have an impact on his employment possibilities. 

We have a saying in the military that, “soldiers will be soldiers”.  In other words without supervision they will do stupid stuff.  Good behaviors AND bad behaviors are learned.  Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to make sure good behaviors are nurtured, if so it’s about leadership?

Change comes from big and bold thinking.  Look at, putting a man on the moon.  Pretty big stuff there!  We didn’t know how we would do it but we decided we would.  Then it came down to many, and I mean many, small steps to get us there.  Well, if we are to truly reform the police, policing and the interactions they have with the public, we’ll need to take many small steps to get there.  NASA had many failures along the way, but eventually they figured it out.  I believe we can too, after all this is America – this is who we are.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Everything I know about security I learned in kindergarten and I've been updating ever since

I know many of you remember that in kindergarten we learned to play fair, share tools, put things back in “the cubbie” where they came from, put your name on your stuff, be quiet during nap time and in general to be good neighbors.  Well, I learned something else, too.  LESSON LEARNED: HE WHO HAS THE TOYS GETS TO CONTROL THE GAME AND IS THE BOSS OF THE OTHER KIDS.

Fast forward to the third grade, I learned that if someone was bullying me,  I had to fight them to get them to stop or get someone else who would do that for me.  I know, can you believe that this beautiful face was getting bullied in the third grade.  Well, it’s true and all because I kissed a girl who was a fifth grader.  So I did what every skinny, respectable guy would do – I got her to beat him up. LESSON LEARNED: GET SOMEONE ELSE TO DO YOUR DIRTY WORK!

When I was in the fifth or sixth grade, my criminal career started and ended in a span of a few minutes.  You see, there was a pack of rubber bands on the shelf at the Ben Franklin store and I really wanted them but I didn’t have the money.  I put some in my jacket pocket and left the store.  As soon, as I was walking out a county sheriff car pulled into the parking spot directly in from of the store.  The store had a revolving door, which allowed me to reenter the store without ever really exiting.  I put the rubber bands back on the shelf and waited for the sheriff to leave the store before I went home, scared to death.  I have to admit, every time I’d see a police car while growing up I always wondered if “they knew about that” incident. LESSON LEARNED: ONCE YOU’VE DONE IT YOU’VE DONE IT FOR LIFE.

And then upon entering the military, I became an Air Policeman.  God works in crazy ways.  Since I was mostly stationed in Europe from the time I was twenty until I retired in 1993, my biggest security lesson was tracking terrorist activities and fighting the “the Communist, the bastards”.  LESSON LEARNED: THERE ARE BAD PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO WISH ME (US) HARM.

Later in my career, I thought and was taught to think this way, that all you had to do was put a camera on it to watch or post a guard and crime would stop.  Your stuff would be protected. Neither a camera or a guard will prevent, they may deter, and unless the response force is within a reasonable distance to respond they probably won’t deter either.  I’ve always wondered why organizations spend thousands and still get “ripped off”.  Upon analysis it usually comes down to them using the wrong mitigation strategy for the wrong threat or the security is “so tight”  it becomes a burden or tax and people don’t want to pay the tax, even those who are authorized to do so.  They’ll find a way around it so that life is convenient. So, unless your security system is specifically designed to deter and prevent unwanted behaviors, it won’t do that. Sure there is always some deterrence but a dedicated aggressor will not be detoured.  They will bring the tools they need.  Also, if there isn’t a dedicated response force, all you’ll be doing with your fancy system is taking pictures of what happened. LESSON LEARNED: SECURITY IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT DETERRENCE/PREVENTION AND INSTEAD IT’S ABOUT CONVENIENCE.

Well, after my heart attack a couple years ago, my cardiologist said I’d probably live another 30 years.  I’ve used three so far, so who knows what I’ll learn in the next 27?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

4 Spring Cleaning Tips for Keeping Criminals from Acting Criminal

I’m sitting here in my office writing this Blog post, while wearing a surgical mask.  My wife says, “I don’t have to wear it because I’m not out in public”.  I answered, “Well, I’ve heard my computer can get a virus, and I don’t want it to come from me, lady”. Touché

Like every good spring cleaning job, you have to set some goals.  My wife’s  - windows.  Mine - not falling off the ladder.

When it comes to security spring cleaning though, our first goal needs to be keeping criminals from acting criminal around my property.  Here are 4 tips:

Understanding that your property has a number of layers that you can use to you advantage is essential.  Those layers, if you have them are: property line, internal fence-line (if present), building facade and special spaces within the house.  For instance, I don’t have a fence in the front of my house but I do on the sides and back of the property, so my property line and fence-line are one in the same.  So for that reason, I look at every layer I do have and determine if I can deter, delay, detect and defend against a would-be aggressor breaking in and stealing my stuff.

Deterrence is kind of hard to define.  Mainly, because if the deterrent is perceived to be too tough, then it will get circumvented by those who are actually authorized, and then what’s the purpose of having it in the first place.  Besides, a dedicated threat will not be deterred.  He/she will bring the tools necessary to defeat whatever the deterrence is designed to do. Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not a defeatist.  I do believe you have to do whatever it is you can and evaluate what you’ve done honestly.  If there is still pain, do it some more.

Secondly, my goal is to slow a person down if they have ill-intent enough so that I can detect them.  So instead of a straight sidewalk up to my door, I have a sidewalk that meanders or crosses my front lawn, so while standing inside my living room or office I can see them as they approach.  If someone doesn’t follow the path of the sidewalk and traipses across my lawn then that is an indicator to me that something’s not quite right.  Now, it could be that the person is just lazy or too tired or it could mean something far worse.

Next remove all possibilities of hiding.  So bushes and shrubs that are within 10 feet of windows and doors should be removed.  If you simply must have them for aesthetic purposes, then they should be located away from the building so that as a person approaches they can see around them.  Bushes should be trimmed to a height of three/four feet above ground level and trees down to seven/eight.  Anything higher or lower causes opportunities.

And finally, check windows and doors, to make sure they close properly.  And, while cleaning the windows and gutters, check the outside lights, especially those on a sensor.   

Another thing, stand at your property line at dusk and see if someone can see inside your house while the lights are on and can see that you’re at home.  If they can, then even if you leave lights on to give the appearance that someone’s home they can see that you’re not.  We draw our curtains at dusk so that you can’t see through.

When I said, defend above I didn’t mean confront the bad guy and whip out a gun.  Trust me your stuff is not worth someone’s life.  On the other hand, if they are physically harming or threating harm to my family I can guarantee you that they’d wish that I only had a gun. 

Send me an email and I’ll send you a 28 question checklist you can follow.  FREE.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

I Became a Meth Head, Won an Award and Am Now Recruiting Others

“Mom, tell him to stop”, I would hear that all the time from my son as he would tell his Mom I was obsessing over work.  I don’t hear that nearly as often now-a-days, not because I’ve stopped but because he doesn’t live with us anymore.  He’s in New York and we’re in California.  The other evening, while I was drying dishes, my wife said to me.  “You know you’re obsessed.  It’s like a drug for you”.  Perplexed, I said, “What do you mean?”  

“I’m telling you that the cat used the litter box and you’re telling me about bollards in Las Vegas”. 

OMG, she was right!  I can’t get it out of my system.  My every thought is about physical security design – both good and bad.  I’m always analyzing and comparing and thinking; does that work, is it effective, could they have done it cheaper or better?  My mind is on overdrive,  I had become a METHodology addict. 

My addiction was simple - use a proven assessment method to look at criticality, threats, vulnerabilities and subsequent risks of high occupancy buildings and their supporting energy systems.  I guess, that’s why I’m so fond of the Asset Based Risk Analysis (ABRA) and Critical Asset and Infrastructure Risk Analysis (CAIRA) methodologies (both Platinum Award winners; ABRA a GOVIE in 2017 and CAIRA an ASTOR in 2018).  Not because they won awards after having been recognized by teams of experts but because they take allot of the thinking out of the analysis process.  It’s pretty basic math and not allot of calculating.  It’s all already done with macros.  But, the final result answers the questions cited before, will the implemented security measure be truly effective in reducing risk, is there an alternative that can be just as effective and will it bring costs down to a reasonable price.



Over the years, I’ve noticed that the best thing when it comes to thinking is not to start.  Once you get a thought, it seems to get out of control rather quickly.  “Kind of hard to put the genie back in the bottle”, as they say.  The thoughts just keep coming, no matter what I try to do.  So sorry, Honey, I can't turn it off.  

P.S.  I cleaned the litter box.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Security - It Really is a T or F Question

I know many of you when you read the title thought, “Yep, security is a true or false question.  You’ve either got it or you don’t.  Well, purposefully I didn’t spell out what the T and F stood for. It isn’t true or false.

As many of you know, for some time now I’ve been advocating for a softer approach to security, especially when it comes to the design and layout of high-occupancy spaces.  And during my years of advocacy I’m come across some, who will agree, and others that play lip service and say, “Oh yea, that’s what we should do.”  And when they have their next opportunity to make the change they go back to their olds ways with the bigger, better, faster, stronger, in your face approach.
Recently, while collaborating with a local school district we took a softer approach.  After an active shooter threat (fortunately stopped prior to being carried out due to social media monitoring), parents wanted the District to heighten security by adding guards and cameras, and constructing fences on the perimeter.  They wanted this because that’s what they’ve been seeing on TV.  After every school shooting, there’s a rush to install more cameras, higher fences, and to hire more guards.  I don’t blame the parents; I blame the security companies who are selling their products with the idea that if one is good, two must be better – the more products sold the better for the bottom-line.  Some may argue that adding visible, in your face, deterrence works.  I’ll admit, there is some benefit; however, a dedicated threat will not be deterred – they will bring the tools necessary to circumvent whatever is in place. That said, we can argue until the cows come home about the benefits.  From my point of view, it’s not about effectiveness.  It’s about the psychological impact it has on our youth.  Recently, a local school board approved a bond for security upgrades.  The newspaper ran a picture of a ten foot metal fence gate to allow campus entry and mentioned that everyone would go through a metal detector.  I showed the article to a Latino friend of mine and he said, “They’re always looking at us like we’re all criminals.  The guys are in gangs and the girls are ‘ho’s.”  Is this the intended message?

Additionally, research shows us that “hardening” causes anxiety and even affects performance.

Our approach is to add security features that are “hidden in plain sight”.  For example, instead of a fence to keep out trespasser we suggest a buried co-axial cable sensor system.  It provides a warning that someone has breached the perimeter, yet is unseen.  Another example, to keep unauthorized folks off of the roof we suggest placing large flower pots with bougainvillea near drainage pipes or next to other features that a person could climb to get to the roof.   Again, a solution that is unseen.

My article published in American Security Today magazine January 2020

So which message do we want to send?  The message that we don’t trust you and we think there will be an incident or the message that we trust you, we expect you to act trustworthy and you can expect the same of others?

My book, The Solutions Matrix: a  Practical Guide to Soft Security Engineering for Architects, Engineers, Facility Managers, Planner and Security Professionals has a Quick Glance Checklist that will allow you to list your current security solutions and then list your ideas on how to take a softer approach.  Order your copy today via the CONTACT US link at

Sunday, December 15, 2019

What Message Does Your Security Send – Fear or Trust?

In order to have proper physical security, mitigation strategist and those responsible must understand the types of aggressor groups, what motivates them and the tools they need in order to be successful.

Aggressors fall into four main categories: criminals (sophisticated/unsophisticated, organized/unorganized), protesters (organized/unorganized), terrorist (domestic/transnational/State sponsored) and subversives (intelligence agents [State/non-State sponsored]).

And, there are four main aggressor objectives; to inflict injury or death on people, to destroy or damage equipment, facilities or other resources, to steal equipment, material or information, and to create adverse publicity.

Tools on the other hand, don’t fall into any category and are virtually unlimited.

Unfortunately, the security industry has been approaching school security from the wrong angle.  We keep thinking, if one is good two must be better and we can harden our way to a perfect world.  We can’t.  School shootings and worse will continue, I’m sad to say, until we start eliminating the causes that promote this behavior. 

School systems have developed a variety of multi-disciplinary programs that address prevention and response to mental health issues if a student manifests behavior that might precipitate violence on a grand scale; i.e., bullying, addiction and interpersonal violence.  But this is still not enough.

Some security companies offer “social media behavioral monitoring” and are analyzing a person’s social media presence in “real time” and reporting actionable intelligence of patterns or suspicious behaviors to authorities, but this alone isn’t enough.  Using artificial intelligence, and deep learning are great but they’re just another tool.   And, just because a person manifests some type of anxiety or disruptive behavior it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll act out and it doesn’t mean that that person will become a school shooter.

I believe we need to get to the cause of the angst.  Why does a “perfectly normal kid” decide to go to a school and shoot it up?  Does the “prison look” of many schools contribute to this phenomenon?  Is it possible, that the chain-linked fence surrounding the school yard, the metal detector that everyone passes through and the roaming armed guard all contribute in some way?  Now, just because that has become the “new normal” it doesn’t mean every kid will grow up and commit a criminal act, but there is no doubt that they will carry this angst with them into adulthood.

You don’t have to look very far to see examples of the “big dog” in your face approach and the subliminal message of something bad is expected to happen.  

We can address behavior in the built environment in a non-traditional way as a substitute to the confrontational in your face kind of way.  The approach must be more subtle, in fact, the more transparent it is the more effective it will be.  

Normally, to deter crime, we put up signs that say, “Cameras in Use” and some folks get creative saying, “Smile you’re on camera”.  For access control, we usually mark our territory by placing a chain-linked fence or some other type of “barrier” on our boundary-line.  It has a limited effect because a dedicated threat will bring the tools needed to circumvent it.  Build a big fence; they’ll bring a bigger ladder.  Make it even higher and they’ll bring an even bigger ladder or tunnel under it.  Sure, there is somewhat of a deterrent, but the reality is, a dedicated “bad actor” will bring the tools needed in order to be successful.   

In the early “90’s, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design was introduced to connect these two worlds – unwanted behavior and a physical deterrent.  Research shows that the concepts of natural surveillance, natural access control, territorial reinforcement and maintenance contribute to the deterrence and reduction of criminal activity.  CPTED is not the sole reason, but it helps.

The basic concept of CPTED is if we can design the space so that it is almost always under observation “bad actors” won’t act bad.  I believe it needs to go further than that.  Not only do we need to design the space using these concepts, but we also must design the space so that “bad acting” can’t occur.  Additionally, in the off chance it does the built environment should help to reduce its effects and not contribute to its severity.  

A couple of years ago researchers in the European Union conducted a survey.  They asked elementary school kids who had emigrated from a country where there was war to draw what they considered safety or security to be.  The kids drew pictures of fencing with razor-wire and “gunships” overhead.  Then the researchers asked the same question to kids from Europe who had not be exposed to hostile environments and those kids drew houses with trees, stick families, a dog and sunshine.  Shouldn’t we be striving for the “sunshine” scenario?

The harder we make it for the “bad guy” to do things the more of a deterrent there is.  There is some truth to that but on the other hand, if security is a tax your people won’t pay it and they will figure out a way to circumvent it.  This in turn defeats its purpose.

Getting away from hardening schools after every incident by using “big dog” philosophies will take time, nonetheless, we can begin immediately.  I submit that beginning this school year, administrators should use the checklist provided by the Partner Alliance for School Safety (PASSK-12) to conduct a physical security risk assessment of their campus and whenever possible replace traditional mitigation solutions they would normally opt for with a hardscaping, landscaping or art strategy.  Creativity and student, staff and community involvement are essential.

Success in security is sloppy.  It’s entangled.  It’s very hard to distinguish where detection, assessment, policy and procedures, response and engagement begin and end.  Addressing behavior must be coupled with addressing the physical environment.  They require a different amount of time, effort and commitment to produce positive results but nonetheless are equally important.  In order for students, and later as adults, to thrive we must create environments, internal and external, that address the need for “well-being” in both the social and physical ecosystems, and if we can do that in a more aesthetically pleasing way, then why not?

More about a softer approach to security:

My Book The Solutions Matrix: A Practical Approach to Security Engineering for Architects, Engineers, Facility Managers, Planners and Security Professionals is on sale at  

Haines Security Solutions is a contributor to the Security Industry Association’s education platform, “Center of Excellence” at