What can we learn from the Boston Marathon bombings? How can we be better prepared? Ed Nichols, VP of Public Safety & Security Events at Cygnus Business Media, talks about the motivation behind Secured Cities, a conference opportunity where those in emergency government, municipal movement and security can gather to discuss new technology, best practices and lessons learned in the ongoing fight against crime and terror.

LET: What is Secured Cities? Who attends?

EN: Secured Cities is fundamentally a municipal surveillance event for law enforcement and city government. It cuts through the sales rhetoric and provides law enforcement and first responders with the unfiltered truth about technology and systems, their capabilities, their limitations and lessons learned.

We talk about analytics and patterning, where to staff and when, why an effective surveillance system should be staffed—and staffed by those with law enforcement experience, as your system is only as good as the operator using it. We also cover funding sources, Department of Homeland Security UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) grant funding, as well as the partnerships that public agencies can develop with private business to realize the benefits of a citywide surveillance system.

Attendees have been law enforcement leadership, local and regional government IT specialists. We’ve also had transit agencies attending with the addition of our Secured Transit education and campus law enforcement and administrators with Secured Campus. Colocated events like these let us discuss the interoperability and video sharing happening between the agencies within municipalities.

LET: Why Baltimore?

EN: In 2011 we were in Atlanta and Baltimore, in 2012 we went to Chicago and Philadelphia. Each venue provides its own unique audience. This year we are very excited to be working with Lt. Sam Hood, Director of Baltimore’s CitiWatch video surveillance system, and the regional host committee of UASI Region 3 members, as well as local and federal government officials.

Baltimore is also where the funding is. Better than 60 percent of the regions eligible for the DHS UASI funding are within 50 miles of Baltimore.

LET: What new technology, specifically, stands out as currently changing the way we manage risk?  

EN: It’s really a combination of technology and practice. 

Video technology, camera, analytics, integration software that have long been standards in the private sector are now becoming more prevalent in major metropolitan areas, particularly with UASI funds available to pre-determined metro areas by DHS annually. Systems like this—with the appropriate staffing and analysis—allow agencies to better staff and patrol in real-time and virtually. They also greatly contribute to officer safety as we now know what has happened—in addition to what is happening—when we roll up.

In practice, the partnerships that municipalities and agencies are developing with private business in communities to share resources for mutual benefits are becoming more prevalent. 

LET: In your opinion, how can law enforcement best leverage available solutions on a shoestring budget?

EN: Come to the show to find out!

LET: What type of education is being offered? What is the cost to attend?

EN: We cover system funding and design, which are crucial when you are talking about a capital expense like these systems are with tax payers’ money. We cover lessons learned—what really works and what doesn’t—as well as how we continue to show the justification and effectiveness of these systems once they are installed.

We’ve introduced Secured Transit, Secured Campus and Secured Healthcare verticals to this year’s event, so we’ll have specific topics covering those areas and common challenges like active shooter and privacy issues with public use of video, etc.

For agencies the cost to attend is $229, but readers can register for $175 and enjoy a $54 discount by registering using the code LET.

Secured Cities takes place November 14-15 in Baltimore. For more information visit SecuredCities.com

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