As most people go about their daily lives, they are content to assume they are generally safe from harm or intrusion. People feel this way because they know professionals are working throughout the day and night to maintain public safety. What most people don’t realize is how much technology has had an impact on how public safety personnel go about their job. Let’s take a look at some of the gear the average security or police force might use for a large venue (concert, fair or other large gathering) to keep the public safe.
First, we have a perimeter. This is just a fancy word for the fence line that separates the event from the rest of the world. A perimeter can be many things from a simple portable fence, to large bollards blocking streets and walkways. One of the most recent developments in the field of public safety has been portable vehicle barriers. These barriers prevent cars and trucks from entering a perimeter without authorization. If you have been following the news, you likely have seen examples of terrorists using cars to drive into venues and cause tremendous carnage. Such acts have prompted the development and use of vehicle barriers.
Next, we have a point of entry where attendees can gain access to the inner perimeter. These public safety focused points are usually controlled and similar to an Airport TSA check point, but usually with a more fluid and smooth entry. These points may have an X-Ray scanner which will quickly and efficiently search bags, backpacks or other items to ensure no contraband or weapons are brought into the event. X-Ray scanners have evolved at a tremendous pace in the last few years. They are easily portable and can have a very high resolution that will enable the viewer to quickly identify contents without ever having to rummage through a purse, bag, or briefcase.
Of course, checking bags and packages without checking people for weapons can be a futile exercise. So, these same public safety entry points may use some type of metal detector. These can be either handheld or walkthrough style. The walk-through detector is considerably more efficient as the flow of entry can be maintained until such time that a person is detected with some concealed metal. That person can be moved off the entry line and more thoroughly searched prior to entry.
Ballistic Vests and Ballistic Panels
Often times we will see Security and Law Enforcement personnel wearing some type of ballistic vest for protection from gun fire. Large venues may also use portable ballistic panels near entry points to provide additional protection from small arms fire. Such panels can be highly mobile and will effectively stop both common pistol and rifle rounds. These public safety panels might not be recognized as such, as they come in a variety of colors and can even be clear for both protection and observation.
Seismic Intrusion Detection
Anyone who lives near our borders know that even large, well-protected perimeters can be breached. This is why many agencies use seismic intrusion detection devices. These ground based devices will alert to any small movements on the ground. A person running or walking creates tiny waves of earth movement which these detectors pick up. Personnel monitoring the devices will be notified of the movement and can get a very precise location from the intrusion detection devices. Additional personnel can be sent to that location to greet the intruder.
Finally, many large venues will employ explosive detection tools. These can be explosive detectors which work off of swabs taken from attendees’ hands or baggage, or devices that work to “sniff” the air for microscopic particles of various explosive. They work in much the same way bomb detection animals work, by sampling the air and responding to small amounts of explosives odors.
As we can see, technology has kept up with the threats to public safety and security. As a result, we can remain well protected despite attempts by others to harm or otherwise impact us.