Client’s Challenge: A Series of Unfortunate Events Highlights the Need for a Security Assessment

After encountering a series of security incidents – one of them involving a shooting fatality – the leaders of a state government decided to improve the security of the state’s central governing complex. “Look,” said the Architect of the Capitol, “one of the triggers here was a chronic inability on the part of our security guards to maintain a vigilant and professional commitment to security. But,” he continued, “we can’t just increase security without taking into account our mission as the seat of the state’s government.”

He asked that Hillard Heintze conduct an security assessment that addressed four objectives: (1) to improve the security and safety of the complex’s people, operations and assets; (2) to ensure the ability of the public to access the functions of government openly and easily; (3) to control security-related costs without increasing risk; and (4) to set the complex on a course towards becoming a best practice model for state government security within a few years.

Our Solution: Evaluating Security in Eight Specific Areas

Hillard Heintze examined a broad range of policies, procedures, practices and site-specific factors such as perimeter security, parking area security, vehicle access areas, access control credentialing, training and education, emergency management, video surveillance system and intrusion detection systems. The team also evaluated security personnel post assignments, salaries, benefits and overtime as well as merits and drawbacks of various efficiency issues with respect to the state capitol police department. The team also conducted penetration tests at critical access points. Finally, Hillard Heintze identified 26 actions in eight areas – from management, energy usage and process automation to outsourcing and training – that taken together could generate significant security-related savings over time, with no corresponding increase in risks.

Impact on the Client: Better Security – with No Negative Impacts on Public Access

Step by step, the Architect of the Capitol is implementing many, though not every single one, of the assessment recommendations. While state financial woes don’t make a proactive approach to security easy to enact, security has improved remarkably, the public’s easy access to the levers of government have been preserved and security-related cost efficiencies are demonstrably higher now than they’ve been for many years.

Unplugged: The Project Manager's Post-Engagement Perspective

“The security gaps we helped the Architect uncover and address here were quite serious. It’s hard to hit priorities like security when the state’s coffers are low and every item in the state’s budget is under pressure.

But when you cut corners on security – and emergency preparedness too, for that matter – the penalties can be measured in lives.”

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