NAIAS...a secured area?
By Kevin "Crash" Corrigan.
7th October 2008
Share This Article
Even having been sent our ID badges in the mail, we were still required to show photo ID before we were given our plastic wrist bands, which would gain us access to the show floor.
Of course, I'm not a security professional or anything like it, but as our passes had no photograph attached, I couldn't see any reason some unscrupulous person couldn't simply slip off the wristband and together with their press pass, hand them to Bin Laden's brother outside!!
Of course, if they had a setup to make picture ID press cards, like they do at the Toronto show, that wouldn't have been an issue, would it?
As I lined up to enter the show area, I saw the "sniffer" dogs smelling the journalists' bags and I started to worry. No, it wasn't because I was scared of dogs. Heck, I have one of those at home! My problem was my other pet. As some of you know, I have a pet pot-bellied pig that lives with me (Patrick, or Paddy for short) and dogs are known to go a little hog wild when they encounter the scent of a pig. I had visions of being spread-eagled on the floor, with a police issue Magnum poked in my ear and the cold wet nose of a dog stuck up my butt! Or visa-versa!
Luckily for me, the dog passed my bag without so much as a sniff, but I was somewhat surprised that they didn't check my camera equipment. I guess it's common knowledge that bombs are bigger than cameras!!
Once inside, I was free to roam where I liked. After all, I was one of "the media" and we were there to cover the show and then go away and tell everyone just how wonderful it was. We were treated like VIP's by everyone, especially the manufacturers.
That was, until we had to go outside to the bathroom or whatever...then anyone who had a pink media pass had to enter by a specific entrance. At first, we started out with a few choices, and then one by one security closed them down to us until there was just one entrance left. If you had any other type of pass, say an employee pass from one of the manufacturers, a manufacturers' invite pass, or even a car cleaner's pass, you were allowed to enter at any gate.
What this meant for us poor second-rate citizens (journalists) was miles and miles of extra walking. At one point, I was six feet from an escalator that I wanted to use to descend to the Michigan Hall, but oh no! I had to walk all the way back to the media entrance and then trek all the way back to the corner where I started out from! I could understand this if I had a bag with me. After all, you couldn't expect them to have sniffer dogs at every entrance, but I wasn't carrying anything at all!
Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but from a common sense point of view, I'd say that there was just as much chance of a car cleaner being an undercover terrorist as there was any of my fellow automotive journalists being card carrying members of the Al Qaeda fan club.
I pointed this out to one of the organizers who seemed a little shocked to learn about these security measures. He asked the security guard, who told him "I'm just doing what I've been told".
It struck me a little as "one hand not knowing what the other is doing". Not only was it uninspiring where security was concerned, but it also tarnished the image for me of what was otherwise a great event.
Hopefully by next year, they will have reorganized their security procedures, and purchased one of those Photo ID card making machines. Then we can get back to true "freedom of the press"!!
Now apart from that, I really enjoyed the event. Detroit is a wonderful city and its people are truly friendly and welcoming. Yes, you read that right! Forget what you've heard about "Big Bad Detroit". I can tell you, strangers on the street come up and say "good morning" to you. It happened to me several times during my stay. The Detroit Police Force should also to be praised. They are friendly and approachable, they give great directions, and they all seem to have smiles on their faces.
On a final note, if you were caught up in that huge backlog of traffic crossing back into Canada, it wasn't my fault! I only told the customs guy the truth! I was a journalist returning from the NAIAS. How was I to know that he was a car nut and would keep me there forever asking me about every new model that I'd seen at the show?
October 2008 News Archive
2009 AJAC COTY Awards
29 October 2008Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON - After five days of intense testing, the…
Dodge Challenger, first impressions.
8 October 2008New York City, New York Well, I finally made it,…
Challengers roll off the line
8 October 2008Brampton, Ontario Are you on the waiting list? If you're…
You are reading…
NAIAS...a secured area? .
7 October 2008We all know that the U.S. is on a constant…
Enter your name and email address to sign up to the Car Keys email newsletter