There have been a lot of stories lately about dozing air traffic controllers. I think it’s the case that the number of incidents has risen vs. there’s just more reporting of typical occurrences. Given the safety issues that would affect people in the planes and on the ground, it’s clear why this is an area of concern. Apparently our southern border with Mexico is a bit more sleepy than it used to be. More than “a bit” in some areas: near Yuma, AZ, border crossings declined by 95% in the five years ending in 2010, from over 130,000 to just over 7,100. That is awesome progress, but this has led to sleeping border agents, which can create not just regional but national security issues.
Security Management writes in its April issue about fatigue in the security officer industry and suggests it’s not a new issue and that it’s one that’s about to be pulled out from under the rug. While it’s particularly challenging for night-shift officers, sleeping anytime creates a very local and real security threat to your business or organization. As businesses seek to continuously improve, this does seem to be an area where progress can be made, because any weak link can be exploited.
The optical turnstiles we sell are one way to combat sleeping officers deployed in building lobby applications. The turnstiles run 24 hours a day and don’t need naps. They are just as vigilant at 4am as at 4pm. Many customers choose to replace security officers with turnstiles and part of the reason is that the turnstiles don’t miss anyone. A sleeping building lobby security officer would be unusual during the day but sleep is simply an extreme form of inattention. A sometimes inattentive security officer is pretty common and when lobbies rely on officers alone to keep track of who enters, they are going to miss some things.
Turnstiles don’t completely replace security officers – you still need a person to chase down an intruder – but they do improve the security process and security quality substantially. If we’re going to start paying attention to sleeping officers, we’ll also need to acknowledge the officer’s more general weakness in attention. Especially in environments where they may be distracted, as in a lobby where tens or hundreds of people will be passing by in a short amount of time. Turnstiles also don’t play favorites or need bathroom breaks so they improve on other human frailties as well.
Will sleeping security officers begin to make the news? I don’t know, but I hope not. Will businesses continue to improve their security operations? Yes, they will. No matter which situation develops, we have a solution that helps.