Letters to the Editor: Security, Law Enforcement Needs Must Be Met in F.C.


Letters to the Editor: June 1 – 7, 2017


Security, Law Enforcement Needs Must Be Met in F.C.


As a former military police officer with over 30 years experience in security and law enforcement operations, I was set back some on the news of the renovation at City Hall being downsized. The article itself, although well-written, doesn’t fully explain “why” the project was over budget and no word from the Assistant City Manager, Cindy Mester.

My hat goes off to Chief Gavin for her professionalism and comments concerning the “revised” plan. I’ve conducted numerous security assessments, to include “build-outs” of new facilities. I’ve worked with military leaders, contractors, crews, etc., on projects that required enhanced security features. One thing I’ve learned is that my assessments, based on a “risk assessment/risk avoidance” model, all came down to the resource owner and the acceptance of my reports and associated risks.

In my mind I struggled with some of the decisions my leaders made, knowing that their thinking wasn’t always the best, but always “nodded” my head and continued on like a good soldier. Chief Gavin may be feeling the same way. Security, it appears, as it did during my military time, got “downsized” when it came to budgeting. As with all facilities, the safety of its occupants, are paramount. I’d like to know the “fundamentally” aspect Chief Gavin explained in the article.

It is my personal experience, that only when a major occurrence happens, do leaders ask security/law enforcement officials “how did this happen” and “how can we fix this.” When 9/11 occurred, the military poured in billions of dollars into security, as did critical infrastructure owners and large private sector companies. As time passed, the importance of security once again came down to “cost efficiency,” complacency set in, and security operation, once again, took a backseat to other aspects of operational needs.

If Falls Church and its emergency responders are to properly protect its people and facilities, then proper budgeting and high importance should be given to address all, not most, security and law enforcement needs, and not just on this project.

Michael Ness

U.S. Air Force (Ret.)


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