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Homeland Security Professionals Meet for Annual Security Conference

  • Deborah Block

Homeland security professionals met recently in Washington for the fourth annual U.S. Government Security Conference. The subject is enormous and covers all kinds of things: physical security, identity theft, and wireless communications.

The conference showcased technology used to protect people, ranging from firearms and security locks to protective suits and evacuation equipment.

Scott Milburn is with Reality Response in Seatttle, in the western state of Washington, which creates computer simulations of possible terrorist attacks. They're used to teach emergency personnel and government agencies how to respond to an attack in a coordinated manner.

"They don't practice communicating among the agencies. This gives them the ability to train together in a virtual environment and work on those communication issues so that when they have a real event they've already resolved those in their training," says Mr. Milburn.

Advanced Interactive Systems in Virginia uses training videos with actors in life-like situations, showing them causing possible harm to someone. A camera records the response of law enforcement officers as they watch the video.

John Wills, who trains some of the officers, analyzes their actions. "This is a tool that the officers use to test their judgment as to whether or not they should use deadly force or even less than lethal force."

Smiths Detection in New Jersey has developed a screening machine that detects any kind of explosives people may try to hide as they go through security screening systems.

Brouck Miller, the company's vice president, explains how it works. He says, "It puffs air on them dislodging particles of explosives."

The particles are analyzed for traces of explosives within seconds.

The number of security products has skyrocked since the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. And with terrorist attacks a continuing threat around the world, it looks like a growth market for the security industry.