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November 3, 2022

Keeping public spaces open by keeping them safe


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In light of the events in Colleyville many of us are engaging in conversations about how we enhance security while maintaining welcoming open access to public spaces such as places of worship and other critical support service providers including hospitals and government offices.

I know this can be a challenge. There is a fear among some that public spaces risk losing themselves when we add security measures. They view security as a barrier to inclusiveness or dismiss enhancements as “building fortresses”.

I believe in these cases, it is helpful to take care to explain security’s fundamental role and purpose – which is to facilitate the delivery of an organization’s core functions, safely for all involved.

We have a duty of care to provide safe spaces for patrons who are often at their most vulnerable as well as the staff and volunteers that have dedicated themselves to treat, care and support at-risk communities.

The conversations should be robust. Security it’s an ongoing process to find the right combination and balance of policies, processes and tools that work effectively together to protect, detect, and respond to threats, while maintaining operations and managing an accepted residual risk. There are choices and trade-offs such as investments in security tools (cameras, parking gates, guards) and the intrusiveness of processes (bag and i.d. checks). Not everyone will always agree, which is why it’s important to be clear about what the objectives are.

When I conduct security assessments one message that I leave with a skeptical audience is that security is not here to watch you – it is watching out for you.

Stay safe everyone

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