Opinion

Surveillance detection in Federal Way

I just completed three days in a surveillance detection training class.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides some very valuable training in many areas related to protecting your home, community and critical infrastructure such as utilities and industrial facilities.

The class was primarily attended by folks that supervise security personnel. You may wonder why a firearms lawyer participated in surveillance exercises with professional operators responsible for guarding some of the most critical resources all over our state.

One of the more enjoyable features of practicing employment law as well as the law of armed self-defense is that I occasionally have the opportunity to advise security professionals and law enforcement in my law practice.

Many Federal Way residents are small business owners and probably cannot afford the time off to attend a surveillance detection class or to employ any security, let alone armed security. I have been politely told that if I publish my class notes, I could be aiding and abetting the enemy. Nevertheless, by identifying a few issues, you may be able to recognize the need to be aware of how important it is to be aware.

Every facility has a potential red zone. The red zone is the area that hostile people watch in order to size up security procedures and determine vulnerabilities that maybe exploited.

If initial surveillance activity informs the hostiles that your facility is well guarded, then it is very likely that no attack will be attempted.

Thus, the time to interrupt the cycle is prior to the point at which a terrorist attack occurs. At this point, you may be wondering why a terrorist would target your small business, church or other facility. We know that the high value targets are found in dams, bridges, national icons (like the World Trade Center), etc. Keep in mind that in Iraq, Israel and many Asian, South American and other countries, schools, daycares, apartment buildings and churches are routinely targeted. We have not seen this in the U.S., but did we ever see jets fly into buildings before Sept. 11?

By getting into the mindset of a professional “operator,” now you can be prepared in the event that we are headed for change in the future.

Incidentally, many of the security professionals I talk to indicate that they would like to employ at least some armed personnel, but risk-management and the legal department think there is too much liability. It is not the lawyer who advises management that may confront the Manchurian candidate as he puts riacin the water you and I use for our coffee tomorrow morning. The loss of a human asset or two is cost-effective compared to all the money that it costs to employ armed guards.

The surveillance detection class was a joint production between Federal Way Emergency Management, Department of Homeland Security and Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division.

Students spent much of all three days in the field and, if employees at The Crossings wonder why so many people in “cover” spent so much time taking notes and talking on cell phones, it is because we were busy developing plans for detecting surveillance.

But if you detected us, we need to improve.

Federal Way resident Mark Knapp: knapp.m@comcast.net or http://firearmslawyer.net/.

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