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Security Enterprise Services

Today's Officers: Above and Beyond

February 1, 2011
KEYWORDS police / services / success
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Dazzled by analytics, video, smart card, biometrics? For many enterprises, the best security systems turn out to be people, multi-tasking, open system, interoperable, scalable male and female security officers who are first responders, ambassadors, system operators, security eyes and ears. And, when it comes to their metrics, the bottom line is continuing value for the enterprises that employ officers or contract their service.

“You have to have quality people and give them the advantages of appropriate technology,” says Chauncey Bowers, executive director, security and emergency management for North Carolina’s Central Piedmont Community College.

“Our security provider is an important part of our security formula. They also help manage our access control technology and other systems,” adds Dan Buchanan, the security and emergency preparedness supervisor at Marathon Petroleum’s Texas City, Tex., refinery operation. 

Whatever the assignment, the relationship of the contract firm with the enterprise security executive and complementary use of technology all add up to successful security programs for many. When measuring a program’s effectiveness, officers turn out to be a force multiplier.

For instance, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in North Carolina has relatively low rates of campus crime, thanks in part to the patrol activities and visibility of contract security officers from G4S Secure Solutions, USA. It provides a full range of security personnel, including unarmed security officers and armed law enforcement officers, to Central Piedmont’s six campuses in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

The contract encompasses 45 to 50 officers working in three daily shifts in three categories – unarmed security officers, armed law enforcement officers, and contract personnel operating a 24-hour dispatch center. North Carolina law provides for “company police officers,” which are fully trained officers authorized to make arrests, collect evidence, process cases and do anything that a municipal officer can do. Check this month’s Zalud Report for more on company police officers.

Covering Dispatch

At Piedmont, the dispatch center allows campus law enforcement officers to search for open warrants or complete other database checks on campus. The center also includes video surveillance – with feeds from some 400 video cameras – and emergency and non-emergency phone lines. Video provides images any time someone presses an emergency call button on campus. The new contract replaced a previous arrangement that involved employing police officers from local jurisdictions to work part-time on campus, and a separate contract covering unarmed security officers. As a business decision, “we brought both sides into one contract,” says Bowers.

Central Piedmont Community College includes six campuses spread throughout Mecklenberg County, the most populous county in North Carolina with Charlotte as the largest city and county seat. There are 47 campus buildings in all, covering 250 acres, and serving more than 70,000 students annually. The largest central campus and other locations each have specific missions and security needs. Various campuses focus on transportation, culinary arts, or professional careers, and security staff has to be flexible and responsive to the needs of those campuses.

In addition, officers often interact with the public on city streets. Major city streets run right through the central campus, which makes it critical that Central Piedmont maintain a close working relationship with municipal police authorities to sort out jurisdictional issues related to events near campus.

There are tremendous staffing and management advantages of using one company to provide the whole range of security services, notes Bowers. He also sees scheduling advantages of using full-time police officers instead of part-time local police officers, who are restricted in how many hours they can work. Greater flexibility in how staff is managed provides more coverage with fewer officers, as well as cost savings, although Bowers said it is too soon to discuss specific numbers.

Greater Role for Technology

Bowers expects technology to play a major role in conjunction with qualified security personnel. “They go hand in hand,” he says. “Then you have a synergistic impact. One person will equate to more than one person in terms of productivity. Technology boosts manpower effectiveness.” For instance, Bowers is implementing a SecureTrax PLUS system in a pilot program on the central campus, with the expectation of expanding it later. Security officers carry software-enabled PDAs, which are linked to a command center module, used to capture incidents and send pictures, record time-and-attendance of officers, guard tours, etc. The accumulated data is a useful tool to provide trending analysis. “The addition of technology is a valuable component and a very big bonus,” says Bowers. “There are daily opportunities for the security staff to be exposed to various issues,” adds Bowers. “For example, they can report maintenance-related issues to enable faster repairs.”

The link between security officers and technology is strong and growing; so is the emphasis on a diversity of customer services, which many security leaders use as a metric to measure the effectiveness of their officers.

That increased spotlight on customer service has created what some in the contract security officer business call ambassadors. At Chicago’s Willis Tower, what used to be the Sears Tower and one of the world’s tallest buildings, security officers provide valet services as well as constantly answering questions from tourists. In Philadelphia, the 58-story Comcast Center, the tallest building in the city, uses officers from AlliedBarton Security Services and who are specially trained as ambassadors.

“These days, security firms play an even greater role in the client’s business,” says Steve Claton, president, Universal Protection Service, a division of Universal Services of America. “It’s a matter of customer service, constant communications with clients, and providing them with a steady flow of relevant information.

“Often, a security officer is the first impression a tenant or visitor gets of the property. Our officers interact with the public now more than ever,” adds Claton, who points out that about 60 percent of his client base is in the commercial office sector.

“The business continues to get more complex,” says Claton, “We’re in an incredibly challenging economy, which puts tremendous pressure on our clients to cut costs. However, with today’s political uncertainties, increased threats of terrorism, workplace violence, and uncontrollable cost increases, the pressure is ultimately on security firms to leverage internal efficiencies and economies of scale to maintain costs without adversely affecting the quality of the security program or service levels to our clients.”

No doubt, when it comes to metrics, the bottom line is adding value to the end user organization through the use of security officers and their use of technology. Malcolm Burchett, Jr., regional vice president, mid-Atlantic region, G4S Secure Solutions, USA, points out that the use of private police officers can help organizations deal with budget shortfalls by reducing costs while increasing security effectiveness. “It also provides a lot of value to a client and the community,” says Burchett.

Bowers agrees. He says that private security professionals are more focused on the property and provide more personalized programs to meet specific objectives. “We want to turn the corner from responding to incidents to preventing them,” he observes. “You can do a lot more in terms of prevention, education, identifying risk and exposures when you have a group of people focused on a daily basis. They get to know the institution, and what areas experience more incidents.”

 

Part of the Community

At Piedmont, security officers work closely with campus groups in a way that is similar to the “community policing” concept at work in many cities. The interaction involves asking various constituencies about their concerns and then responding to those concerns. Working closely with campus deans, faculty and staff and even with the student government helps to provide officers an overall perspective of what the customer needs. “It keeps us from being locked in to only seeing things from a security perspective,” says Bowers.

“When evaluating the needs of any institution, it’s important to look at the range of services a provider can offer,” says Bowers. “The private security industry is continuing to grow. People may think they know what services are available, but they may be working with an old paradigm. The level of service is growing.”

Security officers can also protect critical infrastructure which mixes security and
life safety.

Dan Buchanan, the security and emergency preparedness supervisor at Marathon Petroleum’s Texas City, Tex., refinery operation, points out that “among our core values are health and safety and environmental stewardship.” The company and its numerous refinery operations in the U.S. conduct business with high regard for the health and safety of employees, contractors, and neighboring communities.

Much of Buchanan’s Texas City refinery facility, built in the 1930s, is located on Galveston Bay, off the entrance to the Texas City Ship Channel. “It’s about 150 acres with about 270 employees with a complement of site contractors as well,” he adds.

He has his own staff; works with an onsite staff as provided through G4S, as well as with local, state, federal law enforcement and homeland security agencies.

 With the refinery’s location on the Bay and Channel, the United States Coast Guard also plays a critical role under the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, often through a maritime safety and security team.

“Concerning physical security, the investment in time, effort and funding has accrued over the years at the refinery,” says Buchanan. “We continue to upgrade the perimeter with security video, intrusion detection, vehicle barriers, electronic access controls, hardened security centers and hardened fencing.” There are other initiatives, of course, including workforce screening and background checks.

The future will hold more in the application of technologies, no doubt. Buchanan suggests that there will be “expanded use of cameras, more robust and capable access control systems, all enhanced through use of advanced intrusion detection.”

Buchanan also sees the need to “continue our attention to mitigate and respond to workplace violence incidents.” Protection measures will also need to be bolstered across all types of critical infrastructure when it comes to cyber threats, too.

“In my personal view, the very best defense mechanism we have is the ability to get all our site workers involved in security and safety. They are a force multiplier.”  

8thAnnual Top Guarding Firms Listing

Collected by Security Magazine, December 2010,
and in The Security Letter, June 2010

Company

Revenue (Millions)

Employees

Source

Securitas North America

3200

90,000

Security

G4S Wackenhut

2400

48,595

Letter

AlliedBarton

1700

52,500

Security

US Security Associates

700

27,500

Letter

Guardsmark

525

18,536

Letter

Transnation Security Group

513

18,122

Letter

Universal Protection Service

350

9,700

Security

ACSS

335

11,100

Letter

Andrews International

325

10,500

Letter

Covenant Services Worldwide

199

3,308

Letter

Day & Zimmermann

176

4,684

Letter

FJC Security Services

157

5,000

Letter

Tri-S Security Corp.

145

3,500

Letter

Command Security

142

6,200

Letter

Whelan Security

126

4,200

Security

SOS Security

105

3,000

Security

Valor Security (Mydatt)

104

4,800

Security

Walden Security

100

3,000

Security

Security Forces

100

3,400

Security

CPS Security Solutions

56

1,350

Letter

T&M Protection

56

1,125

Letter

American Security Programs

56

1,200

Letter

St. MoritzSecurity

48

1,500

Letter

A&R Security Services

48

N.A.

Letter

DSI Security

46

N.A.

Letter

Bowles Corporate Services

45

N.A.

Letter

Per Mar Security & Research

44

3,118

Letter

Apollo Security

44

1,522

Letter

McRoberts Protective Agency

42

2,010

Letter

SecurAmerica

39

1,966

Letter

APG Security

37

1,564

Letter

ISS Security

37

1,250

Letter

Shield Security

33

1,200

Letter

KentSecurity

26

1,200

Security

Titan Security Group

24

900

Letter

Diamond Detective Agency

24

1,000

Security

OSS

20

970

Security

Sunstates

14

600

Security

Monument Security

13

475

Letter

First Alarm

13

490

Security

Global Elite Group

12

550

Security

Black Knight

2.4

82

Security

This unofficial matrix, based in part on voluntary responses to SecurityMagazine, also includes data from other sources. SecurityMagazine does not purport data to be a complete list or one that is up to date relative to 2010 data provided or to reflect correct or changing conditions, actual revenue and employee staffing levels. SecurityMagazine thanks The Security Letter and Robert McCrie for his published data from his June 2010 issue. Subscriptions at The Security Letter, 166 East 96th Street, New York, NY 10128. If your firm wants to be listed or to update this listing, e-mail SecurityMagazine at ritcheyd@bnpmedia.com.

 

Security Officers as a Bottom Line Measurement

Visibility on Site, on Patrol

Perimeter Protection

Incident Investigation, Auditing

Synergy with Technologies

Duties Beyond Security

Customer, Visitor, Tenant Services

Mobility on Foot, Bike, Vehicle

Personal Understanding of a Client Culture

   Ongoing Training, Certification, Supervision

 

Automating Guards Through Unique Technology

There are some locations in which technology can provide guarding services more easily or economically. Take, for example, car lots. This was always tough in the best of times.  In the economic downturn, securing car lots is tough with tiny budgets. Todd Broyard, president of Black Lab Alarm in Boston, has deployed Videofied in car lots successfully, both for guard replacement and guard enhancement. The technology from RSI Video Technologies combines security video, a PIR detector and cellular communications to send and verify an intrusion in seconds. He works with some of the largest dealers in New England such as Boch, which handles Toyota and Honda, among other brands, to provide automated guarding on a budget. “I installed the system in one case and almost immediately it led to an arrest.”

 

 

The Proof is in the Metrics: Protecting Transit Services

Security officers now play a key role in protecting urban transit services. For example, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is the transit authority, transportation planning agency, and regional traffic management agency for southern Nevada.

   It selected AlliedBarton Security Services for armed and unarmed security services, access control, patrol services and vehicular patrols. In a transition, “we saw the challenge as getting all of their employees, both new and old, to understand what our perspective is as it relates to the security and safety of our customers, who are the people who depend on the RTC as their primary means of public transportation,” says Jerry Keating, assistant general manager for RTC. “That may sound easy, but it hadn’t been in the past. We found that it was fairly easy to express that objective to management, but getting it to the personnel on the front lines always seemed to be a little difficult.” Things are different and better now.

   Two other areas that presented an immediate challenge: providing aggressive and effective foot and mobile patrols at the Downtown Las Vegas Transfer Center terminal and strict enforcement to ensure that bus passengers were paying their fares. Now assertive, proactive security officers address instances of loitering at the Downtown Transfer Center.

 

 

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