Security Robots at the Federal Protective Service

May 24, 2022

The Federal Protective Service (FPS) is the primary law enforcement agency charged with protecting over 9,000 federal buildings and providing a safe environment for 1.4 million employees working in those buildings and the millions of people who visit them each day.  FPS’s 15,000 contract security guards, called Protective Security Officers (PSOs) have probably never faced more threats across the country than they are facing today.  PSOs use a multitude of tools, technology and countermeasures, including magnetometers, x-ray machines, video surveillance, and other technologies, to ensure no one enters a building with prohibited items, such as guns, knives, or other weapons.  Ensuring security within and around federal buildings and the government employees and visitors in them is a massive challenge that absolutely must modernize and take advantage of proven technology solutions to keep up with the increased security threats, workforce challenges and ongoing budget constraints.

As part of their mission, FPS also conducts Facility Security Assessments (FSAs) that evaluate security and safety at federal facilities.  FSA reports recommend the technical countermeasures needed to improve security at federal buildings and bring them into compliance with federal security standards.  However, the agencies housed in these federal buildings weigh their competing priorities with limited budgets and often reject the suggested technical countermeasures recommended in the FSAs.

Security robots are the perfect cost-effective tool for FPS and federal agencies to use to augment the PSOs and the countermeasures they rely on to improve security at federal facilities and address security vulnerabilities that are not being addressed.  Security robots are in use today in the US and are effective deterrents and are providing more safety and security awareness in airports, hospitals, parking lots, neighborhoods, campuses and beyond.

Security robots can…

  • Provide FPS and federal agencies a cost-effective countermeasure to augment contract PSO staff to provide more expanded and less expensive security coverage.
  • Provide high quality 365/24/7 360-degree 4K video as they patrol the interior and exterior of federal buildings and parking structures.
  • Provide pre-recorded instructions to the people waiting in line to enter federal buildings as to what items are not permitted in the buildings.
  • Recognize and alert FPS of individuals banned from the federal buildings based on prior documented illegal or threatening
  • Identify and alert FPS to suspicious vehicles based on license plate recognition.
  • Gather the video feeds from Security Robots installed at federal facilities and display them in real time in agency Command Centers and on the desktops of federal security officials.

What needs to be done?
Congress and the current Administration need to hold themselves accountable for providing adequate funding for cost effective technologies to ensure the safety and security of the millions of people that enter federal facilities every day across the U.S.  Members of Congress must demand that the federal employees and the public that visit these federal buildings in their states and districts are fully protected and know they are going to be safe when they enter those buildings.  After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, and again in response to the 9/11 attack, the federal government focused on the security postures of federal buildings… and rightly so.  After almost 30 years on, however, the security of these federal buildings is not where they should or could be.  Security Robots could be a critical tool to help get them there.

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