Counterterrorism Expert Elsa Lee says security needs to be stronger at consulates and embassies, it should include training for guards, employees, and anyone who frequents the facility i.e, vendors, visitors, and the local community.
Los Angeles, CA November 12, 2004 -- Counterterrorism Expert Elsa Lee to present terrorism awareness, terrorist methodology, and ways to guard against terrorism in the U.S. and Internationally
Security needs to be very strong at any consulate or place where public services are provided. It should include training for guards, employees, and anyone who frequents the facility i.e, vendors, visitors, and the local community.
That word from Counterterrorism Expert and CEO Elsa Lee, Advantage SCI, El Segundo, CA. Advantage SCI provides affordable security consulting and training services to government, law enforcement, educational institutions, and businesses spanning a variety of industries from Transportation to Financial. Advantage SCI will be providing tips for people who work in high risk facilities globally on its website www.advantagesci.com during the upcoming month.
"Everyone needs to know how they would respond under different situations," explained Lee. "This week was presumably a disgruntled visitor, tomorrow it could be a terrorist or another disgruntled person."
Lee was referring to Tuesday's hostage drama when a man dressed in black and wearing placards ran into the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, grabbed a pregnant woman, and took her as a hostage before a police officer shot him.
"Training programs need to include a variety of scenarios that can help guards and employees not get too accustomed to regular routines that they become surprisingly challenged and immobile when faced with incidents like Tuesday's hostage drama," said Lee.
When asked how a man with a gun could get past security or bypass security and metal detectors to make it all the way to the 4th floor and take a hostage at gunpoint, she responded this way:
"In my 24 years of investigating and analyzing terrorist and white collar crimes, I have noted that security measures have been bypassed in similar ways by the perpetrators. In Tuesday's incident, there are a number of things the gunman could've done prior to the incident. He could've been familiar with security procedures and knew which weak practices to exploit. He may have had insider details or perhaps spent time conducting surveillance prior to Tuesday's incident.
If there was a special entrance for Consulate employees not available for public use, he could've walked in right behind another employee and worked his way to the fourth floor in the same manner. He may have been in the facility on more than one occasion and identified ways to bypass security. Having functional and well placed surveillance cameras or a CCTV system can aid in identifying how the perpetrator bypassed metal detectors."
Should people be worried and stop going to the Consulate? Lee believes that people should not be paranoid and should not stop going to the Consulate, but they should be alert at all times and they should be prepared to respond to any situation that arises. She contends that it is possible to deter such events or effectively manage them but only through good procedures, effectively communicating procedures to all employees, periodic exercising emergency procedures, and continuously updating security plans.
"Last month I received a call from Warsaw, Poland concerning a terrorist attack at one of their consulates whereby there were fatalities," said Lee. "They wanted to know what advice I could provide for effectively responding to the attack. Consulates and embassies have often been a target of terrorists and disgruntled people and it is critical that extraordinary steps be taken to schedule effective security training specifically tailored to these types of public facilities."
Editors: For more information about Advantage SCI or Counterterrorism Expert Elsa Lee and first time responder information visit Advantage SCI website at: www.advantagesci.com or visit: www.MayoCommunications.com and click on Elsa Lee's photo and bio.