Thursday, April 12, 2007

Private Sector Information Sharing in El Paso

The El Paso Times recently ran a short article about a new system that El Paso's downtown businesses have installed to share security information:

Downtown businesses are expected to be the first in El Paso to use a new Internet-based security message and information-sharing system that will allow businesses to share information on security issues or be instantly warned about emergencies.

"It will give us the ability at a moment's notice to send out an emergency notice from the Police Department or Fire Department," said Michael Breitinger, executive director of the Central Business Association and Downtown Management District, which has signed up more than 70 businesses so far to be part of the system.

The system will be used citywide when fully implemented. It will include public law enforcement and public safety agencies, private security firms, school districts, colleges and interested businesses.

El Paso Deputy Police Chief Ken Adcox, a member of the Law Enforce ment and Private Security, or LEAPS, group in El Paso, which is helping to implement the CityWorkSite system, said it will allow police to put out information, including photos and video, to a large number of people.

That could help in the search for a criminal or in finding a lost child, he said. Private security agencies and others also can send information to law enforcement agencies or to each other, he said.
I wonder if this system will mostly be used in a reactive mode, though. So far it sounds like it - they're planning to share information about crimes that have occurred or threats that have already manifested themselves. (And the anticipated flow of information seems to be mostly from the police and fire departments to the businesses, rather than the other way around or between the businesses.)

It will be good if they find ways to use the system - or at least exploit the improved communications that the system will promote - in a proactive mode as well. It sounds like an excellent conduit for sharing information about mutual security concerns and potential threats - before problems actually arise.

Hopefully, the installation of this system helps build bridges among El Paso businesses, as well as between police and private security.

No comments: