Front Desk Transcript

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[Music plays, video fly through of Las Vegas strip at night]

[Video of Terry Fator performing at his show]

Terry Fator: Hi, I'm Terry Fator, winner of America's Got Talent 2007. The world looks to the Silver State as a refuge away from the burdens and uncertainties of daily life, and it is my special privilege to work with you in making that experience a lifelong memory for those who visit our home.  Your hard work has helped build the reputation of our state as a welcoming, exciting, safe and secure sanctuary.  We need to preserve and protect our hard-earned reputation and, in today’s world of extremes, it has never been more important to understand the threats to our livelihood.   That is why I am pleased to share with you the important information that follows, providing you with the knowledge and tools that will protect our home and our extraordinary position as the finest and friendliest tourist destination on Earth.

[Enhanced Awareness for Prevention: Front Desk]

Dave Courvoisier, News Anchor: This message builds on a fundamental understanding of the Seven Signs of Terrorism and is designed to assist you, the front desk agent, in more effectively supporting hotel and resort safety.

The learning objectives are to help you:

  • Know the Seven Signs of Terrorism
  • Know what is suspicious in your working environment
  • Pay attention to what doesn’t look, sound, smell or feel right.
  • Know how and to whom to report suspicious activity

Several of the Seven Signs are uniquely seen in Front Desk Agent workplacES:

  • Surveillance
  • Testing Security (or Probing)
  • Suspicious behavior

Vital pieces of the puzzle could be any of the following:

  • Not providing proper identification, such as U.S. driver's license or valid passport during hotel registration.
  • Extending departure dates one day at a time for prolonged periods.
  • Extended stays with little or no baggage.
  • Unusual interest in hotel access points, including main and alternate entrances, emergency exits.
  • Requests for Alternate Routes to Room
  • Use of entrances and exits that avoid the lobby or areas with cameras and hotel personnel.
  • Unusual interest in hotel staff operating procedures, shift changes, closed circuit tv systems, fire alarms or security systems.
  • Interest in using internet cafes, despite hotel internet availability.
  • Use of cash for large transactions or use of a credit card in someone else’s name.
  • Requests for specific rooms, higher floors or frequent requests to change their room several times during their stay use of a third party to register.

[SURVEILANCE]

Dave Courvoisier: Terrorists and criminals will often conduct surveillance on a possible target.  This is done to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their target including responses to situations, perceived training and ease of entry to secure areas.

[Enactment: A Front Desk Agent observes an individual who appears to be conducting surveillance on various areas within the front lobby.

The individual looks around quite frequently and appears nervous.

The individual is alone and is carrying one small bag.

The individual watches very closely all employees who enter an employee entrance and how they open the door.

The individual follows a hotel executive from a safe distance.

The individual stops when the executive stops. The individual walks only when the executive walks and never takes his eyes off the executive. 

The guest pulls out a camera and takes a picture of the ceiling and the employee entrance.

The Front Desk Agent calls Security on the phone and describes the guest, the events, and why they aroused suspicion.]

Examples of surveillance include someone paying close attention to employee entrances, security procedures to enter these areas, observing the number of employees in each area, shift changes, or taking pictures of security features or employee entrances.

It is important when reporting any perceived surveillance activity that a complete description of the person be provided, such as type and color of clothing, hair color, whether it was a male or female, and the approximate age of the suspect.

[Testing Security]

[Enactment: A Front Desk Agent interacts with a guest, in what appears to be a typical, cordial exchange, but then observes the guest testing security.

The individual looks at several areas of the ceiling, apparently looking for surveillance cameras.

The individual places his bag on the floor then walks off, only to stop a short distance away to look back at his bag.

The individual looks at employees to see who is paying attention.

The individual removes his bag and places the bag in another area, a short distance away.

Front Desk Agent contacts security from desk phone.

Security Officer responds to the Front Desk Agent’s call.

The suspicious individual continues to watch the bag as Security Officers approach.

When a Security Officer visually inspects the bag, the individual approaches. He touches his head as if he wasn’t thinking, smiles at the officers, shakes their hands and walks off into the hotel. ]

Dave Courvoisier: Testing the security of the property is another way for terrorists to gather information. These tests are usually constructed by setting up a situation to observe employee or security response. The terrorist might try to enter into a known, sensitive area or place suspicious items in key locations to test security or law enforcement response. Specific interest of terrorists would be how long it takes employees or security officers to notice a suspicious item and respond. They may also be checking the number of responding personnel and their equipment, and the route taken to a specific location.

[Suspicious Behavior]

[A Front Desk Agent is standing at his/her station as an individual walks up to the counter.

A guest walks up to the Front Desk and attempts to check-in with a Front Desk Agent.

The guest is typical in appearance and manner of clothing.

The guest is not nervous, doesn’t look around, isn’t acting suspiciously, and doesn’t do anything to draw attention through actions or gestures.

The guest is seen carrying one small bag.

The guest is seen communicating with the Front Desk Agent.

The Front Desk Agent uses hand gestures because the guest doesn’t appear to be cooperating in the check-in process.

Both the Front Desk Agent and the guest are seen shaking their heads no during the conversation.

The Front Desk Agent is seen calling for assistance from a supervisor.]

Dave Courvoisier: This is someone who appears suspicious because of their behavior or actions, the unusual questions they ask, or the statements they make. Follow your company’s procedures when a guest doesn’t produce proper identification, Only wants to pay cash, brings one bag for an extended stay, or requests a room in a less desirable location of the property. Although there may be good reasons for such behavior, it could also indicate more sinister intentions, so we should listen to our instincts when it simply doesn’t feel right, look right or sound right.

The goal is simple:  “If you see something, say something.”  It’s about protecting our guests, our co-workers, ourselves, and our communities.

[Montage of images from the enactments. Puzzle pieces form a stop sign. Report anything suspicious to a supervisor, security, or the Police.]

Every observation you make of suspicious behavior or suspicious items could be part of a bigger puzzle that, when known by the right people in a timely manner, will help save lives and stop something bad from happening.

[Univesity of Las Vegas Nevada Institute for Security Studies]