Building Better Resort Security Systems
Casinos, hotels, and resorts—and all of the events held on their property—must be run in a way that protects the safety and security of all guests and patrons while still providing them with world class entertainment convenience and comfort. This cannot be achieved while we continue to ignore perimeter security and available threat detection technology, whether it be through environmental design to combat VBIED’s (Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Devices), hostile acts through the use of vehicles as instruments of death & destruction against pedestrians, or facing the challenge of body-worn explosives and weapons detection. Our approach to securing our casinos, events, and resorts needs to be a proactive one.
The International Terrorism Epidemic
We all know there is a current terrorism epidemic both domestic and internationally. Irrespective of which country or continent you call home, this threat will always be present. World events and even local politics and grievances will simmer and present opportunities for those with evil or ideological agendas. Public spaces where our children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, grandparents, and friends gather for fun and entertainment have been attacked and will continue to be attacked as they are deemed soft targets. They will continue to be deemed soft-targets as long as layered security approaches have gaping capability gaps.
Aesthetics Don’t Cut It When Faced With Security Threats
Half-hearted measures are great from an aesthetic perspective. For example, the use of jersey barriers—which are not designed to absorb head-on collisions and are not rated against any international standard for head-on impact—may ultimately cause more damage than they prevent through the spreading of flying concrete and metal debris in the event of an attack by a vehicle.
Traditional bomb dogs are great and have an important role to play in the prevention and detection of explosive devices abandoned or hidden on site in garbage bins, suitcases, in vehicles, or in other locations. Person-borne screening dogs are also great for intrusive searches of slow-moving lines of people who are lining up in an orderly fashion in airports or at security checkpoints. However, to screen mass numbers of pedestrians moving in a disorderly fashion through resorts, hotel lobbies and plazas, or casinos and concerts, you need a Vapor Detection® dog.
Looking to the UK for Guidance
The United Kingdom has had its fair share of terrorism ever since the lesser known Official Irish Republican Army (IRA) bombing campaigns of the 1940’s through to the Provisional IRA campaign and atrocities of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s to the now more recent attacks by radical Islamists. When it comes to looking to a group of countries with an expert knowledge (both private and public sector) of combating terrorism, the UK and Ireland is where most security professionals should look. They are already leaps and bounds ahead of North America from an internationally rated hostile vehicle mitigation perspective, using technology like that shown in the accompanying photo. However, the United States leads the way in canine counter-terrorism strategy and mitigation, but we can do better. If you are not using the best threat detection and mitigation technology available, you are doing your guests, patrons, and staff a disservice and potentially risking their safety and security.
It’s to the United Kingdom that the US State Department and US Defence Department looked when they found (VWK9 president) Paul Hammond. He spent seven years in Iraq & Afghanistan directing 150+ canine teams for said organizations while also working on research and defense projects. Paul is a former British Army K9 handler with over 22 years of operational experience in hostile environments. 15 of those years were spent in Northern Ireland where he and his K9 partners completed 2,342 recorded operational detection tasks against live viable explosive devices. There is no one more qualified to manage our K9 programs.
The Current Body-Worn Explosives Threat
The current threat to casinos, hotels and resorts is recognized globally and not least by Paul Hammond and the VWK9 team. The threat of body-worn explosives and weapons either in transit to a point of strategic abandonment or carried by a suicide bomber or active shooter has been borne out in numerous terrorist attacks including the Mandalay Bay atrocity, the Easter Sunday Hotel and Church bombings in Sri Lanka, the Bataclan Theatre attack in Paris, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Manchester Arena attack. While magnetometers are a vitally important access control security component, they alone should not and cannot be relied upon to screen your patrons if you want a truly secure event. Perhaps you don’t want the visual uneasiness of implementing stringent security measures in your venue. If that’s the case, then dogs—especially ones that screen unobtrusively—are part of your security solution.
Canine Team Mitigation
Just like rated developments in HVM and VBIED attack mitigation, Canine teams are force multipliers and a huge asset to your layered security approach. They are crucial for your guests and patrons’ security and customer service experience.
Dynamic Canine Services
Every casino and resort has differing security requirements. Whether you need to heighten measures around a few specific events a year, have seasonal demands, or the busy season is all year round, there’s a canine solution for you.Given your security needs, it may make sense to purchase canines and retain handlers on staff. Alternatively, if your property is looking for a canine team for ad-hoc events, part-time or full-time services, there are contract handler teams available at hourly rates. Be aware that smaller providers may not have the liability and insurance coverage appropriate to your venue. Also ensure your chosen provider carries terrorism perils on their policy.
Strengthening Casino Security Systems
What truly constitutes a world-class resort, hotel, or casino? As professionals we know the risks. Our guests & patrons shouldn’t have to concern themselves with those risks and expect us to ensure every conceivable measure is taken to protect them. We are the guardians of their safety and security. Let’s embrace that responsibility by:
- Enhancing guest safety with the latest threat detection technology available
- Adopting an all inclusive, pro-active security approach
- Elevating the customer experience