Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Parking training program

The following link highlights a new training program designed to help teach parking lot attendants and others how to respond to a national security threat involving transportation vehicles and or locations where cars/vehicles might stop/park. Here is the link:

First Observers become versed in the concise,
accurate and simple ITALK format of reporting
situations to the First Observer Call Center:
1. I= You IDENTIFY yourself and provide
your First Observer ID number if you
have it handy. Also provide a callback
number; in case the call is dropped, the
Call Center can make efforts to reach
back to you and look out for your safety.
2. T= Provide the Call Center with the exact
TIME of your incident observation. This
is critical as it allows the Call Center to
know if the event is happening right now
or happened two days ago.
3. A= Provide the Call Center with a
concise and accurate description of your
observation(s), the ACTIVITY you are
seeing. Give as accurate a description as
you can…make, model, color of vehicles,
tag number … size, shape, approximate
age of people, what they were wearing,
etc. … nature of the activity — unloading
hazardous materials, hooking up trailers
in a vacant lot, breaking into truck cabs or
buildings, etc.
4. L= Provide the Call Center with the
location of the suspicious activity and
also with your physical LOCATION
5. K= Attempt to KEEP observation
without endangering your personal safety
or anybody else’s.
Even when calling 911, the ITALK format
can be useful in effectively describing what
was observed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soccer Fan Behaving Badly

UVa soccer fans warned to behave
By Whitelaw Reid
Published: September 22, 2010

The atmosphere at last Saturday’s men’s soccer game between Virginia and Wake Forest seemed like most ACC games. Crowd members, who received free “rally flags” upon entering Klockner Stadium, were energetic and loud throughout.

Some students, however, were apparently a little too rambunctious during UVa’s 1-0 loss.

On Wednesday, Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage sent an e-mail to a group of UVa students, admonishing them for their behavior. According to the e-mail, a copy of which was obtained by The Daily Progress, the students used vulgar language, which included negative references to members of the Wake Forest team.

“The language was so offensive that fans around them chose to leave the game early and they are reconsidering whether they will return for future contests at UVa,” Littlepage wrote in the e-mail to those students registered in SHOTS, an online ticketing system that gives priority access to athletic events at the university. “This behavior cannot and will not be tolerated.”

In the e-mail, Littlepage also reminded the students about the school’s sportsmanship policy, which is announced prior to every home game.

“Our students have to remind themselves to be on their best behavior with regards to language and that kind of stuff,” said Virginia coach George Gelnovatch, whose team plays at Clemson on Saturday, “and not let something slip out.”

On the field, the game in question was an extremely physical one. At one point, there was pushing from both sides after a whistle and a fracas nearly ensued. The game was a rematch of last season’s College Cup game won by Virginia.

While he wasn’t exactly studying the crowd, Gelnovatch said he didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary during the contest.

Typically, the crowd for a game is comprised of two groups of people, according to Gelnovatch.

“We have the community, which is young families and soccer players, including my family, which is part of that group,” Gelnovatch said. “I have a 12- and 13-year-old who are at every game with my wife. Then there’s our students, who have been great supporters of us...

“I don’t know the details that Craig [Littlepage] is referring to, but in our sport — and I would say it’s the same for the lacrosses of the world and some of the other Olympic sports — this is not a stadium where there’s 60,000 people...

“Anything that a fan lets slip out of his mouth is going to be heard by obviously his fellow students, but also by families, whereas in some other venues, like in basketball and football, because of the size and loudness and isolatedness of the students, it’s not as much of an issue...I’m not making excuses, but people have to understand that, and our students have to understand that.”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

discrimination claim for security guards
Security Firm Allegedly Fired Muslim Guard For Wearing Religious Head Scarf, And Threatened Others For Wearing Religious Garments

A Philadelphia-area security company violated federal law when it terminated a security officer for wearing a religious head scarf and threatened to terminate other Muslim employees if they wore religious garments while on duty, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.

According to the EEOC's suit against Imperial Security, Inc., Julie Holloway-Russell, who is Muslim, wore a religious head covering when the company interviewed and hired her for a part-time security officer position. Imperial Security provides security services for many area companies, including for large shows and events at the Philadelphia convention center. Imperial Security's uniform policy requires employees to wear a white shirt, tie, black pants, a black belt, black socks, and black shoes, and specifically forbids additions to the uniform ". . . for any reason, including religion."

When Holloway reported to her first job assignment at the Philadelphia convention center, in addition to her uniform, she wore a religious head covering, called a khimar, which covered her hair, ears, and neck, as required by her religious beliefs. The EEOC charges that at the end of the shift, the supervisor told Holloway that she was not permitted to wear her khimar while on duty. When she questioned the policy, she was told to remove the khimar. Holloway-Russell declined to remove it and left for the day.

The EEOC alleges that when Holloway-Russell called Imperial Security the next day for her work assignment and discussed her need to wear the religious head scarf, she was advised that she could wear a company-approved baseball cap, but that company policy prohibited her from wearing a khimar. Holloway-Russell was forced to decline because her religious beliefs require wearing the khimar.

The EEOC further charged that Imperial Security has forced a class of Muslim employees to compromise their religious beliefs by removing their khimars while on duty or risk termination. According to the EEOC's suit, Muslim employees have sought modifications to the uniform policy on religious grounds, but Imperial Security refused to reasonably accommodate their religious beliefs.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion and requires an employer to reasonably accommodate an employee's religious beliefs unless doing so would pose an undue hardship. The EEOC first attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement before filing suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania, Civil Action No. 10-04733. The EEOC is seeking back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages and injunctive relief to prevent future discrimination.

"We filed this suit to protect the rights of all employees and applicants to earn a living without being forced to violate their religious tenets," said Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence of the EEOC's Philadelphia District Office. "Making reasonable accommodations to employees' religious beliefs is not just reasonable – it's required by federal law."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wall to stop field rushers

New wall at Arizona Stadium aims to corral Zona Zoo fans
Posted: Sep 13, 2010 10:51 AM EDT
By David Gonzalez

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - University of Arizona students sitting in the Zona Zoo section at Arizona Stadium will face a new obstacle if they try to rush the field.

A massive concrete wall runs the full length of the field on the eastside of the stadium.

It is 140 yards and seven feet tall.

The wall was built after last year's heart-breaking lost to the Oregon Ducks where Zona Zoo fans prematurely rushed the field in celebration.

Suzy Mason, Associate Athletic Director for Events and Operations, says the new barrier is meant to enhance the safety and security of the stadium.

"I hope it's a deterrent to the field rushes," Mason says. "I hope those are a thing of the past because it was really getting unsafe.

"When you have that many students crushing towards the field, it's difficult to manage," she adds.

The wall will cost Arizona Athletics $140,000.

Students like Drew Jennison say rushing the field after an exciting game is part of being a student.

"It's going to slow them down but if they really want to rush the field, they're going to rush the field," Jennison says. "I mean if that means vaulting over it and dropping seven feet so be it."

Katherine West, a student who was at last year's lost Oregon game says, "it's kind of disappointing because rushing the field is so fun after a big win.

She did learn one lesson from last lost against the Ducks, "the game's not over until the clock hits zero."

Jennison agrees, "once the final whistle is blown, then rush the field, tear down the goal post but not until the final whistle."

New CCTV camera

EU researchers develop camera with human eye ability
[Date: 2010-09-21]

You and another 59,000 people are watching a tense football match in a crowded, rowdy stadium. Your safety depends on a group of people responsible for ensuring your security. But what happens when things get out of control and security guards can't pinpoint the problem? Enter 'Smart Eyes', an EU-funded state-of-the-art camera system with the potential to boost security in public buildings and areas. This special surveillance system acts like a human eye by analysing the recorded data in real time and identifying out of control events and offering key solutions.

The camera is an outcome of the EU-funded SEARISE ('Smart eyes: attending and recognising instances of salient events') project, which has received EUR 2.15 million under the 'Information and communication technologies' (ICT) Theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). According to the SEARISE partners, led by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT) in Germany, the automatic camera system can detect, track and categorise salient events and actions.

The Smart Eye system is so similar to the human eye that it can distinguish objects when looking at a scene regardless of the activity around these objects. Video data is assessed in real time, and the camera 'points out salient features', the partners say.

'That is invaluable for video surveillance of public buildings or places,' explains Dr Martina Kolesnik from FIT. 'In certain circumstances the capabilities of a human observer are limited. Ask someone to keep any eye on a certain stand in a football stadium and they are bound to miss many details. That same person can only carefully monitor certain sections of the whole area and will quickly get tired. That's where the Smart Eyes clearly comes into its own.'

The system hardware developed by the SEARISE partners encompasses a fixed surveillance camera capable of covering a specific area and two ultra-active stereo cameras. Just as human eyes fix on and track objects and points quickly and pointedly, the Smart Eyes system can as well.

Launched in 2008, the three-year SEARISE project has built a software system with a hierarchical, modular structure (a computational model of visual processing in the brain) that automatically analyses the image sequence. Identifying each pixel movement, the software helps the system pinpoint particularly active areas in the scene.

According to the team, the system learns motion patterns and stores them as typical models, and then uses the models to identify and classify events. A case in point is that the software can differentiate between active and passive spectators. While the program identifies image patterns like steps or empty seats, it also filters out various objects including flags.

'Our image analysis software is compatible with camera systems produced by all vendors,' Dr Kolesnik says. 'It can be installed easily. The user doesn't have to make any adjustments.'

The Smart Eyes system will be on show for the public at the Security Essen 2010 exhibition from 5 to 8 October. The SEARISE partners are from Germany, France, Italy and the UK.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chicago bomb plot near stadium
Chicago man arrested in bomb plot
By Jeremy Gorner

Andy Grimm / Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO &- A Chicago man has been charged with plotting to bomb a strip of crowded night spots around the time people were leaving a Dave Matthews concert at Wrigley Field over the weekend.

Sami Samir Hassoun, 22, was arrested as he placed a backpack containing what he thought were high-explosives in a trash can in front of Sluggers, about a block south of Wrigley Field, according to the FBI.

Houssoun had also discussed other violent plots in Chicago, including a biological attack on the city, poisoning Lake Michigan, attacking police officers, bombing the Willis Tower and assassinating Mayor Richard Daley, the FBI said.

But he is so far charged only with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device in connection with the attempted bombing near Wrigley Field. The FBI said there was no indication any foreign or domestic terror group was connected to the plot.

Hassoun, who is a Lebanese citizen and a permanent resident alien, told an associate in June that he wanted to commit acts of violence to make money and cause political transformation in Chicago, the FBI said.

Unknown to Hassoun, his associate was secretly cooperating with the FBI, the agency said.

Throughout the summer, he allegedly discussed with the associate the violent plots, but eventually selected the Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago as his target, utilizing an explosive device which he would detonate on a weekend night to inflict maximum damage, the FBI stated.

In July, the associate introduced Hassoun to an undercover federal agent who claimed he was from California and had access to explosives. While meeting with the agent, Hassoun discussed several plots and scenarios that would make a dramatic impact on Chicago and force Daley to resign, the FBI stated.

Hassoun eventually settled on a bombing outside a strip of Wrigleyville bars and nightclubs, the FBI said.

On Saturday night, Hassoun met with the agent, who provided him with a backpack that Hassoun thought contained high-powered explosives, according to the FBI. The agent showed Hassoun how it worked, though it reality it was made of inert materials and unable to explode, the agency said.

Early Sunday morning, Hassoun and the agent went in a rented vehicle toward Wrigleyville as crowds were leaving Wrigley Field after a concert by the Dave Matthews Band, the FBI said.

As agents watched, Hassoun placed the fake explosive into a trash container, the FBI said. He was arrested and the fake device was recovered.

At no time was the public in danger during this investigation, the FBI said. There was no indication that any foreign or domestic terror groups were in any way connected to this plot.

Hassoun faces five years to life in prison.

Bleacher Collapse in Brazil

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Brazil bleacher collapse at car race injures 111 people, 22 in critical state
By: The Associated Press

20/09/2010 11:34 AM

BRASILIA, Brazil - Brazilian authorities say more than 100 people have been injured after a section of bleachers collapsed at a car race.

Firefighters say Monday at least 111 people were hurt — 22 critically. They have been taken to hospitals after the accident in Brazil's southern Parana state.

At least 500 people were sitting in the section of bleachers that collapsed Sunday.

Authorities say they think the bleachers had structural faults that caused the collapse. But a police investigation must end before a definite cause can be determined.

Here is a Youtube video of the event:

Another fan field rush

Matt Diaz does Philly fan a favor with safe, but effective trip
By 'Duk

Big League Stew ShareretweetEmailTue Sep 21 06:02am PDT

Matt Diaz does Philly fan a favor with safe, but effective trip
By 'Duk

Atlanta Braves left fielder Matt Diaz(notes) may have looked like a cold-blooded UFC champ when he expertly swept the leg of this trespassing Philadelphia Phillies fan on Monday night.

But Diaz said he actually had the best interests of the generic Spider-man in mind when doing the only stopping by a Brave in the seventh inning of a key 3-1 loss to the Phillies.

From the Associated Press:

"I saw this idiot coming right at me," Diaz said. "I figured he'd be better off getting tripped than Tased."

It sounds like the reputation of Citizens Bank Ballpark security may have preceded itself with Diaz. There was the highly-publicized Taser incident with a young fan earlier this season and then that dude in the funny pants who was apprehended a day or so later.

It's worth noting that this romp probably wouldn't have gone high-voltage now that it's the sole responsibility of ballpark security — and not the packing Philadelphia police — to catch wayward fans and then hand them over.

But given that security looked like the Eagles defense, it's a good thing that Diaz decided to intervene. Otherwise Red-Man might've run on and on like that one Orioles fan.

Broken bat injury

Cubs' Tyler Colvin hospitalized after broken bat punctures chest
By David Brown

Check out the flying object heading toward the chest of Chicago Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin(notes) on Sunday afternoon. As the frightening screen capture provided by Keith Olbermann (of all people) shows, Colvin's upper left chest was punctured by a flying piece of Welington Castillo's(notes) bat as Colvin came home from third to score on a double.

If the term "impaled" doesn't do the job by itself, the aftermath makes for one of the scariest baseball injuries in recent memory. Colvin needed to be hospitalized because of a wound described as "fairly deep." Sutures helped to close the wound and a tube was inserted into Colvin's lung to prevent it from collapsing.

The good news is that Colvin is going to be fine, but the bad news is that his promising rookie season is over. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Colvin will remain in the hospital for a few days for observation and won't play for the next two weeks.

As 'Duk writes in another Big League Stew post, this incident is sure to intensify the debate over baseball's use of maple bats. They're the villain du jour in the sport — with plenty of reason — and though Castillo's bat looks like ash, it's actually made of Canadian maple.
Imagine if the bat went into the stands and hit a patron who was not paying attention?