Securing a Window into the Past.

Every day since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, people have been coming to the site of the tragedy - Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Many also visit the former Texas School Book Depository, which faces the plaza.

Securing a Window into the Past. 1

It is from one of the textbook distribution facility's sixth floor windows that Lee Harvey Oswald is believed to have fired at Kennedy. Some visitors come to grieve, others to question, but a small number are drawn to the site because of the violence it represents. These are the people who worry security personnel at what is now The Sixth Floor Museum.

"I never realized the impact of Kennedy's death worldwide until I came here," says Bob Porter, director of public relations for the museum. "People come from all over the world." Many of those people record their feelings in one of the memory books provided by the museum.

"Writing their feelings seems to provides a real emotional outlet for our visitors," says Porter. But some of those visitors have more than emotion to express, causing security to work closely with the FBI and the Secret Service. For example, some patrons write out their frustrations with the government and others make overt threats to the current administration.

Signed comments such as "why doesn't Clinton drive by the grassy knoll" are taken seriously and immediately reported to government authorities. The fears that such outbursts create were realized when Francisco Duran fired a gun at the White House in October 1994, Later charged with attempted assassination of the president, Duran admitted that his act was partly inspired by a recent trip to the Sixth Floor Museum. Though no memory book entry was found for Duran, the emotional link his comments revealed evidences the need for the museum's security team to remain diligent in looking for similar signs of future trouble.

Securing a Window into the Past. 2

Coming to terms. Soon after the assassination, county officials realized that there was a need to commemorate the tragedy, but it took the citizens of Dallas time to come to terms with what had happened in Dealey Plaza. Some people even advocated destroying the building, but a more vocal contingent insisted that something be done to preserve the historically significant site.

In 1977, the citizens of Dallas County purchased the school book depository building to protect it. County officials began converting the space (other than the sixth floor) for county business use, and the building was renamed the Dallas County Administration Building in 1981. Eventually, supporters coalesced into a movement that led to the establishment of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in 1989.

Four years later, the building became part of the Dealey Plaza Historic Landmark District, as designated by the National Park Service. Special concerns. Security has been a top priority since the planning stages of the 9,000-square-foot museum and 1,200-square-foot bookstore, partly due to two fires in the building that occurred before the museum was established.

The first, an arson attempt in July 1972, caused $5,000 in damage to the building. The second fire, also presumed to be the work of an arsonist, caused minimal damage in 1984, but alerted the Dallas County Historical Foundation, the group charged with establishing the museum, that security would be a vital component of its operation. The high number of visitors drawn to the museum presents security with numerous challenges.

Dealey Plaza is a prime tourist destination in the state - second only to the Alamo. The museum has attracted more than 3.2 million people since its opening not quite a decade ago, approximately 440,000 in 1997 alone.

However, despite arson attempts, heavy visitor traffic, and some extraordinary events - such as the on-site filming of Oliver Stone's movie JFK - there have been no security breaches since the museum opened. According to Security Manager Tim Talezaar, the design of the museum, physical security measures, a security officer rome, a strict firearms policy, and a strong partnership with the Dallas County government all help keep the museum incident-free. Design.

Most of the former book depository, a seven-story structure that dates back to 1901, is still operated as an office building for Dallas County government officials. In early 1988, the county built an additional structure - a separate building running along the north side of the old book depository, but separated from it by a fifteen-foot enclosed breezeway. That new structure houses the museum's lobby, or visitor's center, where tickets for the tours are sold.

It also houses a bookstore and two elevators. The addition was built so that people could visit the museum without disrupting county business. One of the elevators is designated for the tours and goes only to the sixth floor, where all the museum exhibits are located.

The second elevator, operated through a keypad, goes from the first floor to the basement, which houses offices for the museum's thirty-six staff members and a new research center (not fully open to the public yet) where interested parties can conduct their own JFK studies using the museum's historic document collection. The museum currently controls three distinct areas within the facility: the first floor, the sixth floor, and the basement. When patrons enter the museum lobby via a single entrance on the ground floor, they file past the security office through a metal detector and an x-ray machine.

At this point, customers can either pay at the ticket window and take the elevator to the sixth floor to begin the tour or spend time in the bookstore, which is also on the first floor. When finished viewing the exhibits, guests return to the first floor via the same elevator. There is no way for patrons to wander into office space controlled by Dallas County.

Due to fire code regulations, a maximum of 300 people are allowed on the sixth floor at one time. During peak tourist season, security must often hold patrons back at the entrance to allow the crowd to clear. Though the wait is usually brief, the line has been known to snake out the door and across the street.

To help keep customers happy, the museum enlarged the lobby. Patrons can also wait in the enclosed breezeway, which has several benches. To control the traffic flow and stay within fire code restrictions, officers taking the numbered ticket stubs as visitors go up to the sixth floor coordinate with the officers on the sixth floor, who also keep a head count of the number of patrons entering and leaving.

The exhibits. The museum's contents are designed to provide visitors with insight into the events surrounding President Kennedy's trip to Dallas, the assassination, and the aftermath. Moveable panels placed throughout the sixth floor offer a time line of that weekend, accompanied by eyewitness comments.

Other exhibits include the FBI's model of Dealey Plaza, built for the 1960s Warren Commission investigation, along with some of the commission's evidence. Museum curators have attempted to give a straightforward account of the assassination and the events leading up to it. But the museum also displays information about some of the conspiracy theories - which numbered seventy-five at last count.

In keeping with a philosophy of historical accuracy, the museum is designed to preserve as much of the era as possible. For example, the freight elevators and the interior of the sixth floor are maintained as they were on the day of the assassination. "If you took out the information panels that make up the displays, you would be on the sixth floor of the book depository in 1963," says Porter.

This Spartan approach evokes a strong emotional response from visitors. The open spaces also help the museum security force maintain tight physical security. Physical security.

When the museum opened, physical security consisted of an x-ray machine and a metal detector. The security arsenal has since been expanded to include a CCTV system, motion detectors, and alarms, which are monitored from a central station located on the first floor. CCTV.

During a 1997 upgrade, security replaced its old cameras and added seven new ones, bringing the total to twenty-two. The CCTV system contains all color cameras. The old system, which recorded in black and white, was replaced because of the increased clarity offered by the color cameras.

All CCTV feeds are recorded. Most are not monitored in real time, though some - such as the ones in the bookstore and the box office, where money is handled - are continuously watched. Camera feeds are organized through a multiplexer with freeze frame, enlargement, and remote viewing capabilities, located in the first floor security control room.

Talezaar plans to purchase another multiplexer in the future so that the security system will be able to handle more cameras. One of the CCTV monitors is placed in the employee break room - located in a separate area on the sixth floor - so that workers can see when the museum is getting busy. If crowds accumulate, officers come back on duty.

Motion detectors. Motion detectors have been installed throughout the sixth floor to keep people from disturbing the exhibits or entering unauthorized areas, and to help monitor traffic flow. For example, security can tell where people are moving about in the exhibit space, signaling a potential problem if too much activity is clustered in one area.

The motion detectors are monitored continuously from the security control room. Alarms. The alarm system comprises fire, intrusion, glass-break, and panic alarms.

All alarms (except for fire alarms) are monitored on-site during the museum's regular hours. After hours, those alarms are monitored by an off-site contract agency. Fire alarms are monitored off-site around the clock.

There are four glass-break alarms on the sixth floor and three on the first floor. The sixth Floor window used by Oswald, for example, is protected by bulletproof glass and glass-break sensors. The enclosed area near the window, reconstructed from police photographs, contains boxes that police believe were placed there to conceal the shooter, books on the windowsill believed to have been used to brace the rifle, and three shell casings found on the floor.

On the first floor, a glass-break alarm protects bookstore merchandise. Two other glass-break alarms protect areas that are more heavily secured than the rest of the museum. One is the outdoor kiosk, located in the adjacent parking area, where patrons can pay for parking and purchase memorabilia such as books and t-shirts.

Because cash is handled there, the kiosk is further secured with panic alarms, a CCTV camera, motion detection, and bulletproof glass. Similarly, the box office on the first floor is enclosed in bulletproof glass and contains a panic alarm. Access to the box office can only be gained through the security station, which is protected by a lock and buzzer system.

Security officers. The security officer force plays a major role in securing museum property, protecting patrons and staff, and boosting customer relations. Each officer carries a radio and now wears a police-style uniform - a more severe look than the blazers officers wore when the museum first opened.

But, in spite of the no-nonsense look, security officers are trained to be as polite as they are protective. The museum has twelve security officers - eleven full-time and one part-time. Two officers are stationed at the x-ray machine and metal detector at all times.

Those officers are rotated every hour with other officers on duty to ensure that whoever is at the machines maintains a sharp eye. Two to three of the officers patrol the sixth floor exhibits. In addition, one officer is always on duty in the parking lot, and another officer is stationed in the security office.

Training. All officers have extensive training in fire protection, theft prevention, and first aid. They receive annual refresher training in first aid (including CPR), fire and disaster preparedness, the use of metal detectors and x-ray machines, and report writing.

Security also holds regular six-month reviews of evacuation techniques as well as quarterly meetings on procedures and technology updates. In addition, officers attend periodic in-house training classes on public relations and customer service. At these classes, officers are given updates on the museum's contents and exhibits so that they can answer basic questions and point patrons in the right direction.

A security officer's public relations duties are not limited to pointing out museum facts, however. Security serves as the first line of contact with the customer. All museum employees are instructed to contact security, not management, if they have a problem or a concern with a patron.

This means that security also handles the visitor who is having a bad day, trying to cope with a fussy child, or experiencing problems with the audio equipment. Whatever the case, security personnel are trained to be as accommodating as possible. It is museum policy, for example, to give a visitor a ticket to come back another day or refund the admission fee - no questions asked.

Security is also trained to offer wheelchairs to elderly patrons. And because some people have a fear of elevators, a security officer is often required to walk a nervous visitor up the stairs. Such gestures by officers are a critical component of good public relations.

However, officers are also reminded that they are not to serve as tour guides. They are instructed to give brief answers to nonsecurity questions from visitors and not to become distracted from their security duties. VIP visits.

Security officers must also deal with celebrities in their midst. Movie stars and entertainers such as Billy Joel and Charlton Heston have visited the museum. When a VIP arrives unannounced, a security officer is instructed to inform management.

Several officers are then positioned ten to twenty feet away from the celebrity to protect him or her from fans. "We want everyone to be able to experience the museum," says Talezaar, "and that includes well-known personalities." Political officials, including government figures and international dignitaries, frequent the museum but are more likely to arrange the visit with security in advance.

Such VIPs are also protected from the intrusion of other patrons. Several dignitaries, including a United Nations ambassador, have sent letters to the museum praising security's efficiency and tact. Firearms.

Since the museum opened, the presence of guns at the facility has been considered a major security concern. Because of the symbolic nature of the site and the extreme emotions it engenders in those who visit, the security team has long been concerned that someone would use the museum as a place to make a political, and perhaps violent, statement. Because Texas law has historically allowed private citizens to carry firearms, security developed a handgun policy prohibiting weapons.

When the policy was first developed, one to two visitors a week were found with weapons. They were asked to relinquish them to the security officer on duty at the metal detector. The security officer gave the visitor a number so that the weapon could be returned as the patron exited.

The officer then placed the gun in a safe until the person completed the tour. During the interim, the security officer would call the Dallas Police Department, which would run a check on the gun to make sure that it was registered to the proper person and conduct a criminal records check on the individual carrying the firearm. Last year the museum slightly modified its approach in response to the state's new concealed handgun law, which took effect in 1997.

The law contains a clause allowing property owners to prohibit handguns by posting a notice outside. Museum managers have put up a sign stating that firearms are not allowed in the museum. Security officers have not had to confiscate a single weapon since the sign was posted.

Partnership. The same kind of unusual relationship between public officials and private citizens that combined to ensure that the book depository was preserved and the museum was established continues in the partnership between museum security and security forces for the rest of the facility. The two organizations share security responsibilities.

The museum has traditionally held jurisdiction over the sixth floor, portions of the first floor, and the basement where museum property or employees reside. The museum has recently been given responsibility for the seventh floor in anticipation of the museum's expansion. Dallas County security forces protect the rest of the building.

The clear delineation of responsibility was established in the original design of the museum as a larger part of the office building. Dallas County security has a separate physical security system that includes key locks and a magnetic stripe access control system, but the most crucial part of its security plan is its communication with museum security. The two groups are connected via radio and are, therefore, aware of what is happening in the building at all times.

All county officers are armed and certified by the state. This fact allows museum officials to feel more comfortable maintaining an unarmed security staff. The directors of both groups keep the other apprised of special events occurring in all parts of the facility.

The two forces also have regular meetings to discuss incidents and potential security problems. For example, museum security is contacted when the Dallas County Commissioner's Court is in session, because irate attendees have been known to cause disturbances. Similarly, security throughout the building is on alert when the museum sponsors a special President's Day celebration, because of the increased traffic around the entire facility.

During the last anniversary celebration, the two forces worked with Dallas City Police - replete with three police helicopters - to ensure crowd control within the museum and in Dealey Plaza itself. The future. In the future, museum officials plan to bring even more of the past into focus for those interested in John Kennedy's inspirational life and tragic death.

And as with all other aspects of the site, security will play a central role in the project. For the research center, recently opened on a limited basis, the plans are to install CCTV cameras and station at least one additional security officer to monitor those perusing the museum's documents. To further secure the area, the museum plans to install a proximity card access control system on the external doors leading to the basement; those doors are currently protected by standard locks.

Plans are also in the works for the newly acquired seventh floor. Exhibits will include one designed for a younger audience that will give more in-depth information on the state of the country and the world at the time of the assassination. Another, much-requested, exhibit on First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis is also in the works.

That area, like the sixth floor exhibits, will be safeguarded with CCTVs, motion detectors, glass-break alarms, and officers. Speaking to students at Rice University in 1962, President Kennedy said that if history "teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred." Americans in their quest for knowledge still struggle to grasp the lessons of that day in Dallas.

And the museum's security team strives to ensure that nothing untoward will deter them from seeking whatever universal truths lie down that contemplative path. Teresa Anderson is a senior editor at Security Management.

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A portable X-ray imaging machine used to track stars millions of miles away could be developed for detecting early cancers.2D X-ray machines can often miss signs of cancer until the disease is advanced, but 3D scanners provide a much fuller picture and gives a higher accuracy in disease detection.Unlike large and expensive traditional 2D X-ray machines they are portable - allowing for an X-ray to be taken in a GP's office.This makes the scans and technology cheaper to operate than the hefty hospital based machines.Scroll down for videoCurrently, X-ray is the main imaging method used in healthcare diagnosis and provides a 2D picture of patient's body.But images made using 2D X-ray scanners not only fail to be detailed enough for accurate diagnosis, the hefty machines mean that additional trips to specialist units are often required.While CT scanner do offer 3D imaging, they are equally heavy and high cost, and imaging is often delayed as a result.The new 3D scanner, which the UK Space Agency is spending 1million to develop, will be based on the same technology as that used for studying stars and promises to be low cost.This is partly because the Adaptix 3D X-ray machine is a 'miniaturised machine' that allows patients get X-rays inside GP surgeries, reducing the demand for hospital scanners.The machine include field emitters used previously by spacecrafts belonging to the European Space Agency in the mapping of stars using X-ray fibres - a project known as XMM Newton in which the UK played a major role.They also emit less than 10 per cent of the radiation from low-dose CT scans and only one to two per cent of the more widely used, full-dose diagnostic CT.Professor Tony Young, NHS Englands national clinical director for innovation, said: 'Using stargazing technology to spot cancer is exactly the type of advanced innovation that could improve care for patients by speeding up diagnosis and helping to deliver our Long Term Plan which will save half a million lives.According to the UK government's website:'The demanding environment of space means that investments in the sector generate new knowledge and innovations that extend far beyond the space industry.
How to Travel on an Airplane with a Camera: Packing It Right, X-ray Machines, and Magnetic Scanners
How to Travel on an Airplane with a Camera: Packing It Right, X-ray Machines, and Magnetic Scanners
Pack RightYour first step to guaranteeing camera safety during airplane travel is to pack correctly. You should always bring your camera and any delicate equipment with you as carry-on because, no matter how careful airport personal might be, your check-in luggage will be jostled about a fair bit, risking shock damage to the camera. Additionally, the luggage hold can suffer extremes in temperature, which can potentially damage your camera, whether from condensation or from just frying the circuits. Most camera equipment will be fine as checked luggage, on the other hand, if packed with a reasonable amount of padding.Most airplanes have the policy of allowing one personal item and one piece of luggage as carry-on. Itd be a good idea to bring your camera case as that personal item. This will ensure that it is with you at all times so that you can make sure no damage will be dealt to it. A well-padded camera case is a good idea, not just for airplane travel, but also for travel in general. Placing it in the above-head compartments may result in some unwanted jostling, though placing it under the chair in front of you may result in a bit of nudging of the foot. Use your best judgement.Some people have expressed worry that the acceleration that one undergoes during take off can harm the camera. Dont. Even the most poorly made of cameras can undergo such forces just fine, as long as it wont aggravate something thats already broken. So, bring along your camera in peace.Will X-Rays Damage My Camera or Memory?Contrary to the fears of many photographers, standard x-ray equipment has an extraordinarily low risk of damaging your digital camera. Im fact, no digital media can really be affected by x-rays, so dont fret about your laptop either. Undeveloped film, on the other hand, may be wiped by the process, so if you have any then request an individual inspection free of x-rays and and magnetic devices. This is guaranteed by the US Federal Aviation Administration, and similar laws exist in other countries as well.However, if the bag holding your digital camera for whatever reason fails inspection by the x-ray machine, you may be in troublemaybe.Dangers of Magnetic Scanning DevicesThe next step in airport security is using magnetic devices, in particular, metal detecting wands. While these wont necessarily damage your digital equipment, the risk is there. If it comes to an individual inspection, then request to remove your camera and have that inspected without the use of a metal detecting device. So, its probably a good idea to take out your camera before it goes through the x-ray machine, just so that it doesnt get confused with anything that might result in the whole bag being magnetically scanned.CustomsWhile customs wont typically be bothered by possession of photography equipment, if youll be traveling through some of the less well regulated places in the world, consider carry some sort of proof of purchase with you to prove that you did indeed buy your equipment outside of the country, such as a copy of the receipt. Some countries may require that you declare photography equipment, or even search through the files and film, depending on the journalism and censorship laws within the country. Check out the laws of the country before you go so you dont run into any potential trouble.
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