Axis' Steve Surfaro to chair SIA's new Public Safety Working Group

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05/24/2017

The Security Industry Association (SIA) recently announced its establishment of the SIA Public Safety Working Group, which will be chaired by Steve Surfaro, industry liaison, Axis Communications.

“This working group has been in the works for quite some time,” Surfaro told Security Systems News. “SIA began working on public safety through some work with the Homeland Security Science and Technology group, and it was thought that one of the best ways to really serve the security industry and public safety industry was to come up with a very agile and focused working group.”

According to SIA CEO Don Erickson, the goal with standing up the SIA Public Safety Working Group is to develop recommendations to improve the safety, security, and sustainability of cities and communities using technology, as well as provide advocacy of public policies in support of the group’s mission.

"As new and developing technologies undergo trial and testing or enter the field in use by public safety agencies, it is critical that the security industry maintain its voice in the appropriate adoption and deployment of these technologies," Erickson said in the announcement. "SIA members are uniquely qualified to provide council alongside active practitioners in police, fire, emergency medical services and other disciplines to maintain the safety and security of our cities and communities."

Erickson is excited to have Surfaro as the inaugural chairperson for the SIA Public Safety Working Group. “His connections throughout the security industry are exemplified by his achievements, for example, as chair of the Security Applied Sciences Council for ASIS International," he said.

The working group will involve a number of different key entities within the security and public safety spaces, including practitioners, solution providers, systems integrators and specialty manufacturers.

“The most important thing to realize is the PSWG is going to have equal representation across all interested parties, by both practitioners and solution providers, especially SIA members,” said Surfaro. “The mission is to provide guidance through education and publications, including special education sessions and events at ISC West and ISC East, for example, as well as a centralized repository of subject matter experts who have already had success overcoming public safety security challenges.”

In addition to looking at emerging technologies, such as autonomous systems and unmanned vehicles, the working group is creating a Tactical Solutions Handbook, a working document that will be the working group’s “first deliverable,” said Surfaro.

“A while ago with Homeland Security Science and Technology we had some great success together with SIA in publishing a Video Quality handbook,” he explained. “But now things are not just about video—they are about access control, acoustic sensing and signal detection, thermal imaging, screening techniques, body worn cameras, license plate technology, explosives detection—to name just a few.”

He continued, “Everything that we are going to put into this handbook is going to be equally used by both public safety and corporations with high risk, which will be able to get guidance for hardening their facilities as well.”

The working group should have four- to five chapters of the handbook ready by the fall, said Surfaro. “Each chapter will have a structure where a SME leads each chapter, and then has contributors,” he explained. “And then each of the contributors for the other chapters are going to be reviewers on the chapters they did not write, which will add to the collaborative nature of the handbook.”

Surfaro said the handbook will benefit greatly from having so many different perspectives. “We need to be agile enough to be able to work with multiple practitioner groups and leverage the SIA membership, which is very far-reaching with a lot of solution providers, and they will have a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the working group and to this handbook.”

Another goal with the handbook is to provide a guide for matching the different types of emerging threats today with an appropriate tactical solution. “So it will be a nice use-case method where the security industry will learn more about what is happening in public safety and public safety will learn about how many of the solutions that they need to defend against these emerging threats already exist,” said Surfaro.

Since the announcement, SIA and Surfaro have already gotten a great response from those interested in contributing. “In the past week alone, there are many who have reached out to SIA and myself pledging interest in the working group,” said Surfaro. “And it has been a wide variety of folks—systems integrators, solution providers, as well as those who are involved in law enforcement and fire. Working within a consensus-driven environment is vitally important with a group like this.”

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