Lab Launches New Key Handling Procedures

July 15, 2003

Lab Launches New Key Handling Procedures

Special clips, standard dress and routine verification now part of process


New procedures to improve the security of Laboratory keys by protective force officers was instituted over the weekend, following the temporary loss of a set of keys.

David Leary, director of Safeguards and Security at the Laboratory, directed the implementation of three major changes in the way keys are handled at the Laboratory. They are:

1. Officers will physically check for their assigned set of keys and acknowledge possession as part of their regular periodic radio call-ins to the protective force communications center. These "possession checks" began Saturday, July 12.

2. Special key "lanyards" designed to physically "clip" the keys to a secure necklace have been distributed to all officers for immediate implementation. These lanyards will augment the current "key keepers" that officers wear on their belts.

3. All officers will now follow standard procedures for wearing the lanyards and key set. The keys must be adhered above the waist and visible from the front.

On Friday, July 11, 2003, at approximately 9:45 p.m., an LLNL protective force officer noticed that his keys were missing from the key keeper on his belt. The last known use of the keys occurred at approximately 5:15 p.m. in the LLNL squad room.

Crews retraced the steps of the officer over the next 36 hours and the keys were located - within the boundaries of the Laboratory gates - on Sunday morning, July 13.

"Due to the redundant security systems in place such as TESA access panels, alarm systems and the need for passwords, having the keys alone would not have allowed for undetected access," said Leary. "Aggressive search tactics, including the use of metal detectors and special crews, proved beneficial in successfully locating this set of keys," said Leary. "However, the temporary loss this weekend clearly indicates the need to change our procedures."

In addition to the immediate steps taken by Leary, LLNL Director Michael Anastasio has directed that the process of implementing longer-term enhanced physical security (locks, keys, etc.) and related security technologies at the Laboratory be accelerated. A special team, led by Leary, has been aggressively developing best practices and searching for state-of-the-art security for use at the Laboratory. This could include such items as radio transmission technologies or easily identifiable locators for key rings. The long-term timeline for this project has now been fast-tracked.

"The immediate notification by the officer and the quick response by our employees was the key to success in this situation," said LLNL Director Michael Anastasio. "I applaud the managers in Safeguards and Security for their identification and implementation of these new key-handling procedures. We must continue to aggressively identify and implement best practices in addition to our long-term plans for physical security enhancements," he said.


Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory, with a mission to ensure national security and apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

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