Tonawanda News

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September 29, 2013

K-9s to headline at tech forum

Tonawanda News — Attendees at the 13th annual Technology & Homeland Security Forum are already up on languages like Java, SQL, Python and ASP.NET. 

But this year, the only languages that some of their presenters are familiar with are Alpo and Milk Bone.

That’s because this year, the Niagara Falls-based Technology & Homeland Security Forum — long a fall staple in Western New York and the Greater Toronto Area — is going to the dogs. The police dogs.

Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour confirmed that three of his K9 officers, Sarge, Taz and Vedder, will be on hand at the Oct. 24 confab, along with their human handlers, Sgt. James Hildreth and deputies Craig Beiter and Sean Furey.

“Our working dogs may seem low-tech at first, but they are trained to be the most effective tools available for narcotics detection, tracking, building and area searches, explosive detection and criminal apprehension,” Voutour said. 

“The Technology & Homeland Security Forum has always stressed a number of security issues, and we welcome the opportunity to demonstrate some of our leading-edge systems we utilize to keep the public safe. And no systems are more important than the flesh-and-blood ones.”

As in past years, the forum will be heavy with technology, with speakers from the FBI focusing in on “Cyber Threat Awareness” to kick off a day of morning and afternoon class sessions at Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. 

More than 60 top industry vendors offering hardware, software, training and various other services will be on hand. Industry giant Microsoft will close out the day with a detailed class on Windows Server 2012 R2.

“This is our 13th year sponsoring an event that is focused on protecting systems and people against vulnerabilities and threats in an increasingly interconnected world,” said forum organizer Larry Helwig, Niagara County information technology director. “Like the sheriff, we’re focused on safety and security. We’re also trying to help colleagues in IT and related fields meet their continuing education requirements.”

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