Social Sentinel Blog

Build a Bridge to Ensure Safety

Posted by Dr. Gary J. Margolis on Apr 1, 2016 2:02:51 PM

I am encouraging everyone who serves in the safety and security field to read this article from Campus Safety Magazine. It doesn’t matter if you don’t work on a university or college campus, the message resonates across all industries: DO NOT let politics or personal grudges get in the way of adopting a cohesive, multi-disciplinary approach to threat assessment.

As an industry subject matter expert, retired university police chief, and now the CEO of a safety and security-focused software company, I have seen every aspect of this problem in motion. In this article, my friend and colleague Robin Hattersley Gray makes one very important, simple point that I encourage everyone to consider throughout each day: engage in behavior that builds bridges rather than barriers and you will keep your community safe. Avoid “silos of excellence” and be a skilled facilitator. Look to mediate. Find solutions that bring your teams together, sharing information and systems. It’s in the best interest of your community – and it just might save lives.


When developing the Social Sentinel® service, we tackle this issue head-on. Because our team is staffed with safety and security veterans, we recognized early on that there would be multiple departments within organizations that needed us. In many instances, legally and in deference to people’s privacy, those departments' use of the service required independent management. For instance, it might not be appropriate for the police department to have access to the same content as the counseling department.

Does it make sense to force those two departments, or teams, to buy separate systems? NO! There is no need to double the expense or force multiple departments to expend the time, energy and hard costs associated with researching and procuring the same service. We knew that there would be times when it would be appropriate for teams to share information, so we created a method to facilitate this. Further, we created a very simple method for our clients to share information with stakeholders outside of their respective institution when appropriate and in-line with their standard operating procedures.

Like you, I get frustrated when I hear about barriers that other providers in the safety and security tech industry introduce. Frequently, I find that it is simply a matter of those companies not understanding the safety and security space – what the people on the front lines encounter on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, it’s because they value revenue over providing a comprehensive solution that meets the needs of their stakeholders AND their clients.

Social media threat alert service providers need to support our clients' bridges, looking for ways to enable interoperability while working in concert with clients' operating procedures and policies to support the instances when independent system management and oversight are appropriate. Make sure you work with a company that understands the safety and security industry rather than one that tries to be something to everyone!

For more on this topic, I recommend reading our Questions to Ask paper.


If you want to learn more about who we are, what we do, and how you can improve the safety and security of your community through social media threat alerts – join me for a demo!

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