Smile! Your face is changing how you move through the airport

After years of using passports and boarding passes to check bags or board a flight, travelers in Boston and Minneapolis are trying something new: facial recognition identification systems.

This week, Delta is launching a pilot program in Minneapolis-St. Paul where some passengers will check their bags automatically through kiosks that use facial recognition software to identify ticketed passengers.

Meanwhile, JetBlue is boarding some flights in Boston with the passenger identities being confirmed by a facial recognition system before they board the plane.

“We see a future where your face is your passport for travel. Where you can show up in an airport and your face checks you in, your face allows you to drop a bag, and your face allows you to go through the TSA checkpoint and ultimately board a flight,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue executive vice president, customer experience.

The goal is an admirable one: move passengers through airports quicker and with less hassle. For the airlines there is the extra benefit of freeing up gate workers and those staffing ticket counters to focus on passengers who need more attention.

“It frees up the personnel that we have, to be able to deal with customers when they really need that human heart to empathize and understand,” said Gareth Joyce, senior vice president of airport customer service at Delta.

How do the new facial recognition systems work?

At Delta’s hub in the Twin Cities, passengers use self-serve kiosks to check in, get a luggage tag and tag their bag. After that, they take it to a self bag check terminal, scan their boarding pass and look into the camera screen to confirm their identity. If everything matches, they put their bag on the carousel and it will head on its way to the plane, while passengers walk to the security checkpoint.

JetBlue’s facial recognition system is used at the gate where passengers board a flight to Aruba.

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Spare change you forget at TSA checkpoints

All the nickels, dimes and quarters travelers leave behind at airport security checkpoints adds up to big bucks — enough that next time you forget your change after emptying your pockets, you might want to go back for it.

In fiscal year 2016, travelers left behind a record $867,812.39, according to a report from the Transportation Security Administration. That’s over $100,000 more than went unclaimed the previous year. Of that amount, nearly $80,000 was in foreign currency.

“TSA makes every effort to reunite passengers with items left at the checkpoint, however there are instances where loose change or other items are left behind and unclaimed,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. “Unclaimed money, typically consisting of loose coins passengers remove from their pockets, is documented and turned into the TSA financial office.”

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport ranked the highest for unclaimed money with $70,615. That was followed by Los Angeles International at $44,811.82. Among D.C. area airports, only Dulles International made the top 10 in unclaimed funds with $20,801.25.

National Airport travelers, however, weren’t far behind Dulles, leaving $18,753.31. And despite being the region’s busiest airport, travelers left only $5,946.50 at checkpoints at Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport.

So where does all that spare change go? In 2005, Congress gave the TSA the authority to spend the money on security operations.

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Modesto security officer rescues puppy left in a bag

“A sergeant with Rank Investigation & Protection who was on patrol early Wednesday in downtown Modesto saw movement in a plastic bag on the ground and looked inside to find a roughly month-old puppy.

About 1 a.m. Wednesday, Sgt. Dre Castano was at a commercial property on the 1100 block of 12th Street that Rank does security for, said Lt. Brian Rank. He was checking on a homeless encampment that had been vacated, with belongings left behind.

Castano was picking up trash, Rank said, when he found the puppy. It appears someone put the dog in the bag, rather than it having crawled inside, because it was loosely tied closed and the pup couldn’t get out, he said.

The puppy probably wouldn’t have suffocated, he said, but could have died from exposure or starvation. But it still “was in good condition, healthwise,” when found, Rank said.
Castano took the tiny animal to the Rank office, where a dispatcher looked after it until the sergeant finished his shift and took it home. The dog, which looks to be a Chihuahua mix, Rank said, was started on puppy formula and is doing well.

The sergeant intends to adopt the puppy, Rank said. He didn’t know the gender of the dog or if Castano had yet named it.
That wasn’t the only dog rescue in the area on Tuesday. Because no animal-control unit was available, a Modesto Fire Department truck crew was dispatched to a call for a dog with its head trapped in a dollhouse.

The small dog was in distress and having trouble breathing , according to the daily incident summary by Battalion Chief Jesse Nicasio. Firefighters were able to extricate the dog without injuring it.”

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Church security law passes in Texas

“The Texas Legislature has passed the Church Security Protection Act aimed at allowing churches to provide their own security through members of their congregations.

In a special report, Angel San Juan found that Texas is one of just three states — Oklahoma and Florida are the other two — that restricts church members from providing their own security.

Under Texas law, a church would have to establish itself as a security company and be licensed by the state or hire a company that is licensed by the state, which can be an expensive undertaking.

But violating the law can also be costly with fines up to thousands of dollars.

That’s what led a group here in Southeast Texas lead the charge to change the law.”

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Texas school police to use drones to keep campuses safe

“School district police officers here completed a months-long drone training program at Sanchez Elementary on Friday.

This spring, Drone Pilot Inc., a Central Texas training firm, taught four officers from the McAllen Independent School District Police Department on the usage of drones. The 100-hour training, which began in February, went through various real-life scenarios.

Friday, the officers had their final exam on completing would-be scenarios of search and rescue. Their drone skills were tested on finding a missing child/endangered adult and identifying an unknown object, a skill that could help diffuse a bomb scare. Another mission was going through hazardous materials like an ammonia leak from a car.
Gene Robinson, vice president, co-founder and flight team director of Drone Pilot, said the officers learned to problem solve and jointly worked together in their missions.

“They (officers) will use the skills that we taught them, go out and try to solve,” Robinson said.
The drones will be used for faster response times and be used for investigative purposes to hold aerial views of parking lots, reconstruct collisions, look for evidence/crime scenes, and assess structural damage to buildings after a natural disaster or arson and most commonly, locate intruders in and around campuses.

“This training will be good for the public to keep them safe,” McAllen ISD Police Sgt. Charles Eric Treviño said. “When you look at it at ground level, it doesn’t look the same when you take it at aerial photographs. It’s different.”

“It’ll take minutes versus possible hours bringing an agency to check it out,” Treviño added about response times.

The drone training was divided into three phases. The introductory section covered legal issues and copyright information. Section two, covered the proper usage of equipment and regulations with recording and documenting the missions on logbooks. The final section was team cooperation and following proper procedures before beginning a mission.
Government use of aerial drones became much easier when the Federal Aviation Administration flipped the switch on new regulations last year, prompting some law enforcement agencies to adopt the technology.

The San Marcos Police Department has purchased a drone that will be used for investigations into vehicle crashes involving serious injury or death.

Before the FAA created new regulations last summer, the Austin Fire Department had already been operating drones to monitor and respond to wildfires for more than a year under a rare exemption that made it one of the first public safety agencies in the country allowed to use drones.”

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Shopping center security guards emerge as heroes following Chelmsley fire

“A pair of quick-thinking security guards at a Solihull shopping centre helped to evacuate terrified residents after a fire tore through the roof of a nearby tower block.

The fearless guards at Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre were on patrol when they spotted the flames and smoke coming from the top of the building in nearby Moorend Avenue.

As shoppers watched the drama in horror, the brave duo sprinted across to the block, which is managed by Solihull Community Housing (SCH) and alerted the concierge to the danger.

The plucky twosome, who would not be named, swiftly took to the stairs and banged on the doors of the flats in the 10 storey building.

Residents told the Birmingham Mail they had been unaware of the blaze which could be seen for miles away after the fire took hold at around 1.45pm.

Twenty-five firefighters tackled the incident and gave oxygen therapy to one man who was injured.

Residents from the top two floors were evacuated.

One of the security guards said: “There didn’t seem to be a fire alarm in the block.
“We tried to find one so that we could actually hit a panic button.
“My colleague went to the top floor and I started on the fifth so we worked it between us.
“We were there for about five to 10 minutes but it seemed longer.
“We didn’t think about it, we just went in to help. Then the fire brigade took over.”
Liberty Chester, who has a four year old daughter Lacie, said she didn’t feel safe.
“I’m just glad Lacie wasn’t there,” she said.
“If she had been she would not have gone back into the flat.
The 24-year-old added: “It was the security guards from the shopping centre who saw the smoke and ran over to tell us.
“They tried to find the fire alarm but couldn’t.
“Then they began banging on all the doors to tell us.
“We were waiting outside for maybe half an hour to 45 minutes.
“We weren’t told anything. Nobody knew what was going on.”

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Security and police make several arrests at Livingston Mall

“Police assisted security officers and made several arrests with various charges on May 13 and May 14 at the Livingston Mall.

The first call from the Livingston Mall was about person being held in the parking lot by security for potentially being in possession of stolen property, according to police.

Upon police arrival, it was revealed that the individual possessed multiple items stolen from six different stores at the Livingston Mall. Subsequent to investigation, Robert Braswell, 33, of East Orange was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property and was released on his own recognizance pending court action.

The next afternoon, police received a call from both Lord & Taylor security and Livingston Mall security, whom were attempting to take an individual into custody who may have previously passed bad checks. Upon arrival, the female was fighting with security officers, according to police.

Ultimately, Latesha Shavers, 35, of Perth Amboy, was charged with assault and resisting arrest. Police said she had also been under investigation by Lord & Taylor security the previous week for passing bad checks.

Shavers was subsequently charged by Livingston police for passing bad checks and theft by deception on an incident that occurred on May 7. Following these charges, she was remanded to the Essex County Jail.”

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Barona Casino Security Points Deputies to International Counterfeiting Ring

“Barona Resort and Casino security guards alerted San Diego County Sheriff’s Department deputies to an international counterfeiting operation.
Deputies arrested Lien Do, Hao Nguyen, and Ben Ven Pham on Christmas Day last year.
They found $300,000 worth of counterfeit chips in the suspects’ car.
“It appears that what they were seeking to do was convert those chips into cash and to walk out the casino with the cash,” said Prosecutor Daniel Shim.
The defendants were charged with multiple felonies, including grand theft, burglary, forgery and possession of counterfeit marks.
“When the sheriff’s department searched their home in Garden Grove, they found about $2 million in casino labels,” Shim said. “During Mr. Pham’s interview, he indicated he received those chips from Vietnam.”
Two of the defendants plead guilty to lesser charges and are serving one-year jail terms. Charges against a third defendant were dropped and he returned to Vietnam.
“The Sheriff’s department did a great job in investigating this case. They did a very thorough investigation,” Shim said.
The criminal investigation expanded to at least six other casinos in Southern California, several of which are located in San Diego.
It remains unclear if any of the fake chips were actually used in any of those casinos.
“It is still unknown if the operation had any ties to organized crimes,” Shim said.”

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Teach NYS Encourages Jewish Schools To Apply For NYC Security Guard Program

“New York City NY May 15 2017 Teach NYS, a project of the Orthodox Union, encourages yeshivas to apply for New York City Local Law 2, the nonpublic school security guard program. The deadline is May 15, 2017.
To qualify for the program, a nonpublic school must have 300 or more pre-K-12 students in the 2017-2018 school year. The applications are complete on the NYC HHS Accelerator System and every school with the qualifying criteria gets accepted into the program.
Local Law 2, which was sponsored by Councilman David Greenfield, provides at least one private security officer for nonpublic schools with 300 or more students. With additional guards added for more students, yeshivas and day schools have found this program to provide a critical enhancement to security in these times of need.
Teach NYS led the fight for this program in 2015 and 2016 and continues to work to help schools take advantage of the opportunity. To date, there are nearly 80 yeshivas taking advantage of this program. Currently enrolled yeshivas don’t have to reapply by May 15th.”

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Facebook post leads to arrest of alleged Macy’s shoplifter

PARAMUS – An alert security guard who spotted a Facebook user selling designer watches told police the man resembled a shoplifter who stole merchandise from Macy’s, authorities said Thursday.

The man, Alfredo “Freddy Vega,” 49, was arrested Wednesday and now faces shoplifting and other charges, according to Paramus Police Chief Kenneth R. Ehrenberg.

The theft of several Tommy Hilfiger watches occurred April 7 at the Westfiled Garden State Plaza, Ehrenberg said in a statement.

“The security manager at Macy’s found an Internet posting that the stolen watches were being sold online by a male with a Facebook profile identified as ‘Freddy Vega,’” Ehrenberg said.

“The Facebook picture resembled the suspect in the theft,” the chief said.

Paramus Police Det. Mark sent out an all-points bulletin that included surveillance photos and the Facebook photo of Vega, Ehrenberg said.

After receiving the bulletin, Lt. Michael Cumiskey of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office recognized Vega from previous times Vega had been jailed, Ehrenberg said.

“Based upon this information a warrant was issued for Mr. Vega,” Ehrenberg said.

About 6 p.m. on April 27, a suspect later identified as Vega shoplifted several pairs of men’s shoes from J. Crew in the Bergen Towne Center, police said.

The suspect ran from the scene before police arrived.

On May 3, Paramus Police Officer David Betancourt was flagged down by a security officer at Westfield Garden State Plaza. The security officer told Betancourt that a man who had shoplifted from Sunglasses Hut the day before was again at the mall.

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