FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JUNE 13, 2016
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
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HARNESSING THE FUTURE OF EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS
Security Professionals Discuss Power, Risks of Social Media at Berkeley College 3rd Annual National Security Forum
Enhancing public-private partnerships and leveraging social media in emergency communications were the topics of focus at the 3rd Annual National Security Forum, held Friday at Berkeley College in Woodland Park, NJ.
Retired and active professionals from the New York City Police Department, New Jersey State Police, and New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, as well as communications officials from private security companies, shared real-world examples with an audience of 90 law enforcement officers, community influencers, educators and students.
“National Security and Social Media: The Power of Information and Knowledge” was the third in a series of annual security forums hosted by Berkeley College, which previously focused on healthcare and infrastructure.
A Shift in Crisis Communications
Panelists acknowledged that the greatest obstacle to effective communications is fear and misunderstanding of social media.
Steven Milligan, Vice President, Product Management – Law Enforcement and Emergency Management, Signal Corporation, said it is important to serve the community where it lives, adding that sometimes residents will send a Tweet rather than dial 9-1-1.
“As events have unfolded over the years, organizations have realized there is something valid in social media that we need to understand,” he said. “If these agencies won’t listen to what people and their thumbs have to say, they’re missing out on critical information.”
Michael Fronimos, Vice President, National Information Officers Association, said that with appropriate guidelines, emergency personnel should be empowered to build relationships with the communities they serve through social media.
“Not only can social media be used to build our communities, but it can also be used to protect our communities,” he said.
Edward Dickson, President, MSA Investigations and Former Director, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, spoke about the ways social media has been used to identify threats, such as during the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 and 2012.
“Social media has become an unofficial spoke on the wheel of intelligence,” he said.
Photo Caption: Keynote speaker Michael Fronimos, Vice President, National Information Officers Association, speaks about building relationships through social media.
Bridging the Gap
The professionals spoke about the challenges of facing groups like terrorists or child predators, who truly know how to harness the power of social media. One way agencies are working to combat these challenges is by breaking silos through partnerships that increase the flow of information, they said.
“There has been an explosion of public/private partnerships since 9/11 because it exposed so many gaps,” Mr. Dickson said.
Lt. Jeremy Russ, Intelligence and Analysis Threat Unit Head, New Jersey State Police, said that agencies successfully partnered to provide security during the Papal visit in September 2015.
“New Jersey is bridging the gap,” he said. “We’re not just talking the talk. We’re now starting to walk the walk.”
Laura Connolly, Public Information Officer, Office of Emergency Management, New Jersey State Police, spoke about the ways New Jersey communicated with its residents via social media to help them prepare for Superstorm Sandy.
“The day to start using social media is not the day of a disaster,” she said.
Mr. Milligan, who has worked in law enforcement in both the United Kingdom and New Zealand, said it is important to consider issues of national security abroad.
Beyond terrorism, this could include security at international sporting events, natural disasters, health threats, and infrastructure collapses, he said.
“There are no geographic boundaries on a post or a tweet,” he added.
Careers of the Future
Berkeley College Honors students questioned the panelists about the future of social media and whether millennials have an edge when applying for technology positions in the criminal justice field.
Alina Williams, Compliance Specialist, Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States, said that 80 percent of jobs in the justice field lie in the private sector.
Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College, said the potential for students is unlimited.
“The impact of technology on us is extraordinary,” he said. “It’s incomprehensible to think where we’ll be tomorrow.”
Photo Caption: Berkeley College Honors students listen to the panelists.
Join the Conversation: @BerkeleyCollege #BerkeleyNSF2016
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls approximately 8,300 students – including more than 700 international students – in its Baccalaureate and Associate degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers a Master of Business Administration degree in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.
Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are five campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. In 2016, U.S. News & World Report named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans, both for the third consecutive year. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.
Panel One: Building Public/Private Partnerships in National Security: (L to R) Steven Milligan, Vice President, Product Management – Law Enforcement and Emergency Management, Signal Corporation; Alina Williams, Compliance Specialist, Wakefern Food Corp; Gary Krulish, Professor, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies; Izabela Pelszynska, Founder and President, The Breacher Group; Edward Dickson, President, MSA Investigations and Former Director, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness; and Charlane Brown-Wyands, JD, Associate Chair, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies and Deputy Inspector, New York City Police Department (Ret.).
Panel Two: Using Social Media to Address National Security Threats: (L to R) Josh Liss, New Jersey Office of Homeland Security; Allen Sondej, DSc, JD, Professor, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies and Captain, South Brunswick Police Department (Ret.); Laura Connolly, Public Information Officer, Office of Emergency Management, New Jersey State Police; Lt. Jeremy Russ, Intelligence and Analysis Threat Unit Head, New Jersey State Police; David Chong, Commissioner, City of White Plains Police Department and Professor, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies; and Charlane Brown-Wyands, JD, Associate Chair, Justice Studies, Berkeley College School of Professional Studies and Deputy Inspector, New York City Police Department (Ret.). Not pictured is Donna Roman Hernandez, Captain, Caldwell Police Department (Ret.).
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