4-19-2013 3-57-25 PMThere was a recent story sent out regarding the three Rs in the NY school system. It says that approximately 80% of High School students need to take remedial courses in order to attend Jr. College. That in my opinion is troublesome. It is hard to believe that these children/young people have trouble reading, when in fact they are texting and tweeting their little fingers off constantly. Ah, but there is the rub, these texts and tweets are in code, and you don’t need to spell out a word, you just abbreviate it. So in fact there is a completely different language going on and if you were born before 1980, you wouldn’t have a clue unless you took lessons on texting and tweeting. (I thought a bird tweets.)

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In fairness, the world today revolves around computers/Tablets/IPhones etc. With that comes a whole set of new problems such as ID theft, cyber terrorism, electronic bullying and on and on.

It’s so bad that we need to have a class in soft skills so that people can be able to talk with one another up close and personal, and learn how to make eye contact. How sad.

I myself have fallen prey to the computer; I have lost some of my memory power and the ability to recall phone numbers. I rely on my phone for that. And when I do text someone, my phone corrects any spelling errors made by me.

4-19-2013 3-57-32 PMMaybe I am being cynical, but let us look at this logically. Computers are doing all our basic jobs such as math, spelling, grammar, making appointments, just about driving our cars. And they are putting the over 40 crowd out of work. Not all has been bad, computers help in the medical field, Armed Services, and police work, as well as making other contributions. But again, we expose ourselves to hackers, and with one hit of a computer button we could have a tragedy. We have fire walls, but someone programmed this safety net in the first place, so again someone can break it down. I am not against progress, but at what cost? Students do not really have to think too hard, and if they know their way around a computer key board, they are set. What ever happened to research, the old Encyclopedias, etc? Libraries seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur, and they are more like museums than research facilities.

We now hear on the news that we could be subject to a cyber-attack that could cripple our water supply, our electric grids, which would shut down our computers. The reason I bring that tidbit up is because I went to make an appointment with a Dr. and the nurse receptionist informed me that their computer system was down so they were closing the office. I asked if they could give me an appointment manually. Nope. So this is the way of the world today.

Now many people are banking on line using their I-phone and, to me that’s dancing with the Devil. You read about hackers getting into these systems on a regular basis, and I wonder why we are making it easy for them. I constantly am amazed how we all realize the potential dangers of putting personal information out there on the Web, yet we continue. My wife calls me a knuckle dragger (cave man,) but I cannot get over watching our lives become absorbed into a little 4” X 6” screen called the Internet.
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group

4-19-2013 3-57-59 PM 4-19-2013 3-58-08 PM

4-7-2013 5-30-37 PMIn a previous article we talked about ways to protect your home. One layer of protection mentioned was to have a monitored security system. There are many reasons for having one, and we will mention just a few in this article.

One is what is known as Life Safety. We all know the basic uses of a security system are to monitor for burglary and fire. While these two items are important, we don’t want to limit their effectiveness to protection of property. “Things” can be replaced. However, with burglary protection, you are discouraging home invasion, which could put your family in danger. With fire protection, you will hopefully have enough warning to get your family to safety in case of a fire. There are other features that security systems offer, and even if these features cost a little more, they are worth it. You can get sensors that monitor for CO2 and heat. If you want to go big, you can have “nanny cams” placed throughout the house to look in on your family while you are at work. With technology continually increasing, the possibilities are limited only to your imagination.

4-7-2013 5-30-55 PM

On the same thought, a service not widely discussed is emergency medical response. Most monitored security systems are equipped to call for emergency medical responders with the simple touch of a panic button on the key pad, or on a pendant which is worn. This is especially beneficial for the sick and/or elderly that may be home alone. Depending on the specific features of the system, there may be two way communications between the person having the problem and the monitoring system’s dispatch center. This will help prevent the “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” moment from being a tragedy.

4-7-2013 5-30-44 PMOne aspect that is rarely mentioned is the deterrent factor of a monitored security system. Much like having Security Officers on site deter criminal activity, placing the security sign in your yard and on your doors and windows will deter a would-be criminal from entering your home. But please do not try and just go buy signs and stickers. It’s a neat trick, but you are playing with the lives of your loved ones. It’s not worth it. Just get the system.

There is one other consideration regarding having a monitored security system, if you are worried about the cost. Depending on your insurance company and policy, you can receive a discount on your Home Owners policy of 10 – 15% or more. Again, don’t be cheap; don’t get a system and not get the monitoring. Without the monitoring part, all you have is just a loud noise maker. Monitoring is the key to these discounts.

Let me state at this point, NO security system is infallible. It is only a tool. It is a very useful tool, but none the less, it is only a tool. It is up to you to use it as such.

I hope this helps. Look for the next part in this series on Protecting Your Home.
By: Brian Black of Madison Security Group

4-7-2013 5-31-10 PM

Jim DoyleI just received an update on the latest credit card fraud; I want to share it with the Athens Now readers.

Here we go– this is a good one.

This fraud is happening in the Midwest area, but working its way across all states.

This is slick, since you provide the information needed and do not realize it. You do not give them your credit card number. They already have it.

3-16-2013 11-00-47 AM

A person calling says, “This is (some name,) and I’m calling from the Security and Fraud Department at VISA/MC. My badge number is XXXXXX. Your card has been flagged for an unusual purchase pattern and I am calling to verify. This purchase would be on your Visa/MC, which was issued by (Bank). Did you purchase an Anti-Telemarketing devise for $497.99 from a marketing company in Arizona?” When you reply “NO,” the caller continues with, “Then we will issue a credit to your account. This is a company we have been watching and the charges range anywhere from $300 to just under $500. A $500 purchase would flag most cards. A credit will be sent to you before your next statement to (they give the correct address), is that correct?” You reply, “YES.” The caller continues-“I’ll be starting a Fraud Investigation. If you have any questions, you should call the 1-800 number listed on the back of your card and ask for Security. You will to refer to this control number.” The caller will give you a 6 digit number and asks if you need him/her to read it again.

Security SavvyHere is when the fraud really starts. The caller will ask you to verify that you are in possession of the credit card; they will ask you to turn the card over and read the last three numbers of the card. They will not ask for the seven numbers on the card, just the security code, which is the set of numbers you need to make most Internet purchases. After you give them those numbers, they would say, “That is correct.” They wanted to “verify” you actually have the card, and that it had not been stolen. You will be asked if there are any questions. You will most likely respond, “No.” The caller will thank you and tell you to call if you have questions. He/she will hang up. You really said very little, and you never gave out your CARD NUMBER. We called Visa about 20 minutes later, and were told by the real Visa security department it was a SCAM, and a purchase of $497.99 was charged to the card. You need to make a real fraud report and close the card. Visa will issue a new card and number. Don’t ever give out any card numbers to anyone asking for it from your credit card company. They already have them if they are legit.

Please, if any one calls saying they are from your credit card company, do not answer any questions. Call back to your credit card company using the phone number listed on your card, and ask for security.
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group

3-16-2013 11-01-07 AM 3-16-2013 11-01-19 AM 3-16-2013 11-01-30 AM

Fore – Secruity Savvy

This is frequently the cry of the duffer of the sport called golf. I have been golfing since 2009, and sometimes I find that it can be anything but relaxing.

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It is considered the sport of gentlemen and woman. It is a sport that can be very rewarding and humbling. Here are some tips to keep you safe while chasing the elusive white ball.

    Jim Doyle
  • Make sure you lock your car after getting your clubs out. Drop your keys in the bag.
  • Before you tee off, be aware of the people around you as you take those practice swings so your afternoon of golf doesn’t turn into an afternoon at the emergency room.
  • Before you take your first fairway shot, give a quick look around to be sure that no one is in your line of sight. If someone walks into the line of fire after you take that shot, shout out a warning. “FORE” will usually make everyone duck!
  • Don’t ever hit a ball into a group in front of you because you think they are moving too slow. Keep in mind that a golf ball at that speed hitting someone in the head can be deadly. Be patient. If you have to, ask if you can play through.
  • If you hear “FORE” while you are golfing, don’t act like a Meerkat duck. Instead crouch behind your cart or a tree.
  • When using a golf cart please be careful. It is just like driving a car. Watch your speed and please don’t drink and drive. Wait until the nineteenth hole (clubhouse, lounge) to imbibe.
  • Don’t overload the golf cart. They are only designed for two people. You may think it’s harmless to let someone ride on the back, but they can be seriously injured or killed if you lose control.
  • Stay on the designated golf path. Golf carts are not made for four wheeling.
  • Watch your arms and legs if someone else is driving, and remain in the cart until it comes to a complete stop. EMTs probably won’t have time to grab your $400.00 driver and that could be lost too.
  • Most carts do not have safety belts. Be especially careful taking corners.
  • Remember children do not weigh as much as adults, so slow down. A little a dip in the golf path could be enough to send a child flying out of the cart.

Security SavvyIn closing, still being relatively new to Alabama, I am always looking for golf partners (you know how to reach me). Still being somewhat new to the game, you may want to bring protective gear! Stay safe, have fun and hit ‘em straight.
Jim Doyle is the owner of
Madison Security Group, located
at 203 US Highway 31,
Athens, AL 35611.
MSG’s phone is 256-232-7030, and Jim can be reached at jimdoyle@madisonsg
By: Jim Doyle

3-1-2013 3-42-52 PM 3-1-2013 3-53-52 PM

Security at Church?

Madison Securit GroupThat’s right! That is how wacky this world has become. There is a need to address the safety and security of church members during the worship services and anytime a group is gathering at the church building. But this is not new at all; we just haven’t seen it that much in our area; but it is a growing concern.Security personnel in churches go back to the 1600s, when the local parishes used security to protect property and the congregation.

You might say, “But this is the 21st Century; surely, we don’t need security at church? Church is a place of peace and love. We are perfectly safe here.”

Security SavvyYou may never have an issue while you are at church; and I pray you never do. But, let me remind you of this story from 2009 in Maryville, Illinois. Fred Winters, the pastor of the First Baptist Church, was shot and killed during the 8 a.m. service, and the attacker and two church members suffered knife wounds in the attack. The gunman entered during the service and walked up to the pulpit, exchanged words with the pastor and fired four shots, hitting the pastor’s Bible and then the pastor.

But there are other reasons for thinking about security at church. On March 27, 1994 in Piedmont, Alabama, the Goshen United Methodist Church was hit by a tornado during the worship service. Twenty church members lost their lives that day. With security in place, plans can be made to ensure that all possible efforts will be taken to help guide church members to safety.

Security at Church

There are also the possibilities of fire breaking out during the services, as what happened in December 2012 in Belton, Texas. On December 12, a fire broke out during a Vigil Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe service at Belton’s Christ the King Catholic Church. There were about 100 members of the congregation that were in attendance and were ushered out of the building. It appears that there may have been some plan in place to deal with such an emergency. And there are the occasional health related issues that happen during the church services. I have seen a few instances where a person may pass out, have seizures or someone fall and injure themselves at the church building.

There are so many things that can happen and like we have said before, you must be on the alert. There are things you can do to be prepared. First, you need to assess the potential problems you might have. Second, have a plan to deal with these issues. Come up with a fire evacuation plan; get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and have people trained to use it; get weather radios, and have them turned on; have a place to gather in case of bad weather. There are other needed items and actions that can be taken, but the most important step, is to take the first step and decide to not wait until something happens.

If you need help in accessing your church’s risk, give us a call here at Madison Security Group 256-232-7030, mention you read this article and we will give your church a FREE no obligation security assessment.
By: Brian Black of Madison Security Group

Little Texas
Security Savvy

I belong to an organization called PRIVATE OFFICER INTERNATIONAL, which focuses on security and security training.

I recently received a release of information from POI regarding injuries and deaths of security officers for the year 2012. It’s eye opening.

Officers on Duty – 112 deaths
Workplace violence directed at Security-70,000 incidents
Injuries and assaults increased 17% from prior year
Breakdown of perpetrators by age and gender
Male – 103
Female – 9
Median Age – 46
Youngest – 19
Oldest – 88

Most dangerous places to work

Apartment complexes
Armored car companies
Retail stores (Convenience stores)
Hospital Emergency rooms

The above sites are where security is the first line of protection. In addition, they are exposed to assaults directed toward them personally.

Security Savvy

What this means is that security guards deserve the respect of the people they protect, and that security companies should be accountable for the training these guards receive. In addition, the establishments that utilize the services of security guard companies should do their due diligence in regards to the hiring process. They also should see to it that those hired to protect that specific organization are fully on board with the expectations of the firm, the layout of the building, have all needed equipment and human resource assistance, as well as anything else necessary for them to do their job well. In other words, if an organization is going to hire security guards, the in-house training process needs to thorough, and the outfit cannot be in the mindset of getting “cheap help.”

The stigma toward security guards needs to end, these people need to be treated as professionals, and paid as such.

I have been an advocate for state licensing, in which any person wanting to enter the security field would need to pass a state approved aptitude test, along with a state background check.

Each security company needs to have proof of training for each guard on file, and have a state run review at least yearly to make sure all employees are in compliance.

Some people might find this extreme, but would you want a possible felon or someone not trained, or even incapable of doing the job watching over your assets?

I am not suggesting that trained personnel will not make errors or not be injured while on duty, but with the proper training, it would narrow the margin greatly. I know that Alabama is making changes in the way security is addressed in this state, and these changes are for the good. We at Madison Security are licensing our security officers and there will be a training module that needs to be followed precisely. Now that the state is doing its job, let’s educate the clients hiring security guards, and help them understand that they need to look at these people as professionals, as well as be willing to compensate as such.

One more problem–I have seen security officers in their uniform looking like they just got out of bed, or their uniform does not fit. This again is the problem of the security firm they work for. This lack of respect for the image a security guard projects does not sit well in the public eye. It makes the public think that all this guard does is provide a way for the security company to make money. Not all, but quite a few treat their people this way, which adds to the stereotype.

There are two major problems that most security guards will complain about: their wages and that their check is wrong. They will say that the company they are protecting does not care. Again, this is the person protecting your assets, and they deserve better.

Changes are coming, not soon enough.

Madison Securit GroupWhen we in the security industry are faced with writing an incident report, we are taught to ask who, what, where, when and how. There is one more question that has to be asked, and that is, WHY? Why did it happen? This question is normally left up to the investigators and lawyers, but I think we need to ask the question. Why is there so much violence in schools?

Security Savvy

There have always been fights at schools. These fights happened for different reasons — over a girl, sports, or just to see who the toughest guy is. But times have changed. We now have reports of children fighting or killing children for all kinds of reasons, including gang initiations, for fun and no reason at all. So, why is this happening?

Security SavvyIn my opinion, I feel that the children that commit these acts are empty inside. They have been numbed to the reality that actions have consequences. I point the finger at Hollywood and the video game makers. Children nowadays play violent video games continually and watch violent movies. These video games have graphic scenes and encourage killing of both good and bad people. These video games are showing our children how to conquer the instinct of not killing. In some of these games, in order to win, I am told, you must kill yourself. Why would anybody allow their children to play these games?

Hollywood glamorizes the criminal and makes the police and other law enforcement to be the bad guys. Just look at the movies Fast and Furious and the classic, The Godfather. Also there is the hit show, The Sopranos. In these productions you will see that the “hero,” would be a bad guy in real life. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that any of these should be banned. I am saying this is part of the problem. We as a society need to make Hollywood and the video game producers know that, we want products that represent our standards.

Security SavvyUnfortunately, a large number of kids play and watch, and then get addicted to these games and movies just as surely as if they were doing drugs. And, like a drug user, eventually they need more and more, just to feel the way they did when they started. At some point, some of these children lose their grip on reality and think life is like the games and movies. So, in an attempt to “feel” something, they act out the scenes they have seen time and time again. Unfortunately, there is not a rest button for Life.

These children no longer have the interaction with other children the way we did growing up. They no longer are allowed to play outside or play sports, because they “might get hurt.” We need to make sure that these kids are properly supervised, and that inappropriate games and movies are kept away from them until, at least until they are more mature. The best way to secure your children is to be active in their life.
By: Brian Black

Jim DoyleIn light of the tragic events in Connecticut, I have a few questions that I believe we should all ponder. How have we lost control of our schools? Why do we make school out to be primarily a social event? Why are our children not in school uniforms? Why do we not use trained armed school monitors in the hallways, lunchrooms, assembly areas and parking lots? Do the classroom doors have auto locks to prevent entrance into a class? Do we close down and lock down a school after a certain time in order to control who may enter? Are there panic buttons throughout the hallways and classrooms? Do we on a regular basis have informative awareness classes?

Maybe these questions are in my head because of my job, which is providing security, but it seems simple to me.

Security Savvy

It appears that the first thing experts say is going to help is to have more cameras. Well, cameras do help, and they can be very useful when monitored constantly. Moreover, a school monitor would be dispatched to a problem area if they were monitored. However, most of the time they are used to video tape and the tape is pulled when needed. Point is they (cameras) do not stop crime, they film it.

An armed security person can never be a replacement for all citizens being proactive when it comes to school safety. I wish that, as we all do, the tragedy in Connecticut never happened, and we need to address what happened, and what went wrong so that we can put preventive measures in place.

I would think that through a joint effort between the police departments, local security firms, and school administrators we could come up with a statewide system that could be a template for other school districts. We need to implement training programs focused wholly on active shooter events, school safety, child safety, and de-escalation procedures. We need to both train and work with teachers, so that when an incident does occur, everybody does their part to protect the children and themselves. We could have drills set up and involve the parents so that they know how to react to a serious situation at their school.

Security Savvy

Parents need classes so that they can learn the warning signs of a troubled child, and if possible, check their computer sites.

People are saying that we need tighter gun controls. I understand what they think that would stop, however, in reality it would not have changed what happened. The only alternative is education, awareness and getting involved. The most important focus in life is the protection of our children. It does indeed take a village to raise a child.

Now we are seeing Congress talk about gun control, but they should change their focus to our schools and what should be done on a physical basis to make them safer. Our government needs to concentrate on the problem at hand and stop appointing more committees that get nothing done.

I have heard much discussion about arming teachers, but I don’t think that’s the solution. Teachers should be with the children, not going after an active shooter, which in my opinion that would be the job of a school monitor and the police.

I hope that I have not offended anyone in regards to my thoughts. I had to express my feelings on this tragic event, and to try to be part of the solution, not the problem.

I welcome any response. Thanks, and I wish that we all take a moment in this New Year and reflect.
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group

Premier Structures Lindsey Rosson

Jim DoyleWell, it’s been 2 years now since my wife and I moved to the great state of Alabama, and we have found the people of Alabama to be warm and welcoming. We have met a lot of people that have become close, and hopefully lifelong friends. We look forward to a long and happy life here in Alabama with my adult children, and my adult and young grandchildren who reside here now too. The holiday season is a time to reflect and be thankful for the people you have in your life. Being here in Athens for the holidays makes it that much sweeter.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

Here are some suggestions to keep your family safe during this holiday season.

Security SavvyThe winter holidays are a time for celebration, which means decorations and more cooking.

  • Use caution with all holiday decorations. Whenever possible, choose flame-resistant, flame-retardant, non-combustible materials.
  • Inspect all previously used light strings; replace damaged items before plugging in the lights. Do not overload outlets or strips.
  • Keep children and pets away from light strings and electrical decorations.
  • Before decorating outdoors, make sure all electrical decorations and lights are designed for outdoor use.
  • Turn off all lights before bed.
  • In homes with small children, be aware of the decorations that you use. Be cautious with sharp or breakable items.
  • Be careful with food items on your tree. Children may not realize that they are not edible and several things could be dangerous to pets.
  • Be careful with candles, and if possible, use warmers instead. Never leave anything with an open flame that can be tipped over or that is too close to the tree or other flammable materials.
  • Poinsettias are beautiful but they are poisonous to humans and animals. Use care when decorating with real ones.
  • Cooking is one of the things that can be most enjoyable during the holiday season. If you are cooking and entertaining with children in the house, be sure that someone can keep an eye on them at all times. Burns are especially common around the holidays.
  • Be careful with spices and flavorings that you have out while cooking. Several smell really good, but taste awful and have a high alcohol content which can put children at risk of choking and poisoning.
  • Use caution while shopping. Unfortunately, the holidays are prime time for people to steal.
  • For men, transfer your wallet to your front pocket. It is almost impossible for a pickpocket to get at it.
  • Ladies, keep your purses closed while shopping. Try to keep at least the straps wrapped around your wrist while your purse is in a buggy.
  • Don’t lay your wallet out on a counter while you are checking out.
  • Avoid carrying too much cash. If you are carrying a lot of cash, separate it into small bundles.
  • When you get to your car, load your purchases, get in the car, lock the doors and leave the parking lot. Take care of the receipts when you get home. Sitting in a car sorting out receipts and your checkbook is a prime opportunity for a thief to strike or someone to stage a carjacking.
  • If you plan to travel during the holidays, make sure you tell only the people that have to know that you’ll be away from your house.
    Have someone check on your house, put timers on your lights, have the post office hold your mail, and temporarily stop newspaper delivery.

Merry ChristmasI wish one and all a joyous Holiday Season, and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
As always be safe, and have fun!
By Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group

Lindsey Rosson Premier Structures

Brian BlackOften times in our articles, we talk about how to protect you, your family and property. We have in the past talked about security officers and the role they have in the work place. For this article, we want to bring attention to those that never get mentioned when disaster strikes. We rightfully see the stories of policemen, fire fighters and military personnel, who have lost their lives in service to their community. We rarely read about the security officers that are injured or killed in the line of duty. Here are a couple of their stories.

In The Line of Duty

In New York City, two officers, Edwin Sawyer and Evans Jean-Jacques, were found dead in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in late October. Sawyer was guarding the building he had watched for more than twenty years. He was found the next day on the sidewalk. Jacques drowned while guarding his site on Fulton Street. There were also reports of three other security officers that were seriously injured during the storm in New York and New Jersey. These individuals stayed, knowing that they could be harmed, but they followed their directives and remained behind to protect their assigned sites. In Tampa, FL, security officer Michael Valentin was killed in mid-November. He was patrolling the Grand Oaks apartment complex. He was shot to death, and reports are that it was at point blank range.

On September 11, 2001, we don’t have to be reminded of the tragedy that happened in New York. Nearly 3000 people were killed, including policemen and firefighters. We honor those that ran into a building that was on fire and eventually collapsed around them. We know about the people that were saved by their efforts. But what you do not hear about is how many security officers, which stayed in the buildings directing people to the exits, helping the police and fire fighters get to the trapped victims; were also killed when the building collapsed. The Security Officers code says “we are the last to leave.”

In Salinas, CA, a female security officer guarding the Northridge Mall was trying to detain a person who was drunk in public. As she approached the man, the suspect got into his car and drove away; running over and critically injury the security officer.
Security SavvyIn Madison, WI, a security officer working at JC Penny was injured when two Black Friday shoppers attacked him after he accused them of shoplifting. The 24 year old was attacked by two females– 22 and 14 years of age. The officer witnessed them placing clothing beneath a baby in a stroller. The officer received a cut near the ear.

At this time of year we reflect on the past; what we have gained and what we have lost, we also look to the future, to brighter days. As you go to the malls and stores, when you see a security officer, please remember these officers are not there to put a damper on your holiday fun, unless you intend to be “naughty.” These officers are there to provide a safe environment for your shopping enjoyment. We hope you plan to be “nice” and be safe during this Holiday Season.
By: Brian Black of Madison Security Group

Dr. Carlota