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Emergency Management 14


Recommendation

Texas should initiate a series of measures to improve security in state facilities.


Summary

The terrorist attacks on September 11 targeted both public and private facilities. Since disrupting state government operations may be a potential terrorist goal in the future, state government should take a long-range look at the security of state facilities. State government can take several steps immediately to reduce risks from terrorist attack.

The Department of Public Safety, and state agencies should jointly conduct an immediate assessment of the security risks at state facilities, including access to state buildings for customer services purposes. State agencies may be able to restrict access to certain floors of multi-story buildings and provide limited access to parking alongside state facilities. Where necessary, agencies could also institute a badge system for employees, contractors or visitors. Access to building plans also should be restricted.

Furthermore, training could improve the ability of state employees to identify or respond to terrorist attacks. Simple measures like providing instructions on addressing security risks and responding to attacks could be circulated or could be included in more extensive training as part of the curricula applicable to state employees’ continuing education requirements. A designated phone number could be made known to all state employees for identifying and reporting their concerns and recommendations to improve building security.

Finally, each state agency should initiate an assessment of long-range security needs for its legislative appropriations request. State agencies should identify security risks on state facilities that can be addressed in the regular budget process. These could include issues such as installing security devices (e.g., metal detectors, video cameras in hallways, magnetic card enabled doors), having fewer entries but adding a guard at doorways and armed guards for critical building sections. This could also include the expenditure for the logistics of permanently moving state employees around to reduce access to specific parts of the agency, such as moving all customer services to the ground floor of multi-story building.


Fiscal Impact

State agencies should be able to conduct the immediate assessment within their current budgets. The fiscal impact of measures to improve security cannot be estimated since the measures would be determined on an agency-by-agency basis. For example, the Comptroller’s office has decided to install seven additional video cameras in the LBJ state office building and also issue badges for all its employees. The cameras will cost an estimated $15,000 and badges will cost $1,500.