Tuesday, December 18, 2001
Delgadillo, RAND to Prepare Private Sector for Terrorism
By a MetNews Staff Writer
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo yesterday announced the commission of a study to evaluate the private sector’s security systems, emergency response strategies and abilities to recover in the event of a terrorist attack.
The $70,000 study was funded entirely by the private sector and no taxpayer money will be used, Delgadillo said.
The six-to-eight week study to be conducted by the RAND organization will examine security and emergency measures currently in place in densely-occupied high-rise office buildings throughout the country.
To determine the level of preparation of local businesses, high-rises in Century City, downtown Los Angeles, New York City and Oklahoma City, among other cities, will be examined and state-of-the-art security firms will be consulted, Jack Riley, director of the RAND Criminal Justice division, said.
The study was commissioned by a public-private partnership between the City Attorney’s Office, the Building Owners and Managers Association , the Staples Center, and the National Electrical Contractors Association.
Delgadillo said he first met with RAND and BOMA on Sept. 19 and has since helped the private sector raise the necessary funds.
“Although logic would tell us that our government and military buildings are primary targets, the attack on the World Trade Center brought into stark relief that the threat to our private buildings is very real,” Delgadillo said.
The study won’t be ready until February, but members of the private sector spoke on possible anti-terrorist measures.
Mike Richards of NECA suggested that citywide ID cards containing background information about contractors and workers would help deter terrorists from gaining access to construction sites. Filing computerized draft plans of buildings with the city would help firefighters in the event of a terrorist attack, he added.
The conference was held at the Staples Center, which recently spent $1.5 million upgrading its security after Sept. 11, Tim Leiweke, president of the center, said.
All mail and deliveries to the building are now received outside the arena and then screened through metal detectors and x-ray machines before being sent inside. Video-security cameras monitor areas inside and outside the arena—including zooms-ins of cash registers, seats, parking lots and sidewalks.
On the tour of the Staples Center video-monitoring room, Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks said that the video surveillance in the arena was “security-wise, a necessary first-step” and did not signal a growing police state.
Parks said he hopes the RAND-study and security measures in place at the Staples Center will be used as a standard measure across the city for increasing the safety of residents and visitors.
County Sheriff Lee Baca said that homeland security was now the top priority of the county.
“Terrorists need to know now, L.A. county is not the place to be,” Baca said.
Councilman Jack Weiss said that a bridge between the government and public sector was an important step in combating terrorism.
“Today we’re indicating that government cannot do it alone. We need a partnership between the government and private sector, similar to the relationship between the neighborhood watch groups and the police,” Jack Weiss said.
As to why the City Attorney’s Office and not the Mayor’s Office was involved with the study, Delgadillo simply said the number one job of the city attorney is ensuring public safety and that the mayor will be involved with this issue once this study is passed.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company