and ask directions to the Inner Harbor Aquarium or one of the
other attractions in the area.”
5) Access Control
Originally, building security at Harbor East employed conventional card access control. Thomas wanted to tighten that, so he
has been installing waist-high turnstiles with physical barriers
to control access in newer buildings. Older buildings receive
upgrades to turnstiles as existing card access systems reach the
end of their useful life.
A security director must choose from several kinds of turnstiles.
Full-height models completely wall off restricted areas with bars.
Waist-height turnstiles with retracting panels may provide less
security – an intruder might be able to hop over them – but they
will at least slow an intruder and enable nearby security officers
to react and contain the situation. Other kinds of turnstiles use
laser beams instead of hard physical barriers.
the beginning and end of the day? Where will the security
Finally, the security director must monitor and manage all
of these tasks.
Security officers must move around the property, when on
patrol as well as when responding to incidents. Depending on the
size and layout of the property, officers will travel on foot, in cars
or SUVs, or on bicycles or Segways – motorized scooters that officers ride standing up.
“Our officers are on foot and on three-wheel Segways,”
Thomas says. “They move about for two reasons. First, their presence and the fact that they can move from place to place quickly
deters crime. Second, it enables them to find tourists and visitors
to the building that might need help. We view our officers not
solely as security guards but also as ambassadors that provide
Active shooters have become so worrisome that many high-rise building security directors have made active shooter education
and drills standard components of their
“We’ve always believed that our physi-
Active Shooter Security
cal security is strong, but we have tried to
educate our tenants and staff about active
shooters,” says Richard Henneberry, Jr., CPM,
a property manager with a large national
property management firm. “We periodically
bring in a national security firm for a lunch
and learn presentation with tenants.”
Henneberry has trained his staff and ten-
ants in what has become the gold standard
response to an active shooter: If you hear
shots, run. If you can’t run, hide. If you can’t
In this context, running means running
away from the sound of gunfire. Keep running. Get out of the building and run until
you find a place of certain safety.
Where can you hide? In today’s open
offices, that is a fair question. Find rooms
with doors: restrooms, closets, storage
rooms – any place with a door and hopefully
a lock. Once in another room, hide again
behind boxes or shelving.
Then wait for the response team to come
and find you. Don’t come out just because
the noise has stopped. The response team
has been trained to find those that have hid-
den. The goal of the response team will be to
account for everyone.
If you can’t run or hide, stand and fight.
This last piece of advice might seem foolish.
How can someone fight a person firing a
gun? It is a last resort, professionals note. If
you are about to be shot, fight back – throw
something or dive at the person. It might
startle the shooter and give others nearby a
chance to help.
The first responsibility of a security director is to
commission an assessment and use the results
to tailor a security program to the needs of the
tenants and the building.