Security Leadership and Management / Zalud Report

Influential? Everybody Can Be

August 1, 2011
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Bill Cunningham

Everyone has the ability to influence. Bill Cunningham, previously spotlighted by Security magazine for his accomplishments, has helped better define the need for private-public partnerships. “The combination of increased demands and stagnant or declining police resources makes it clear that, now more than ever, law enforcement agencies must pursue all avenues for collaboration with the security industry, as well as with each other.”

This issue of Security magazine features the most influential people in security. An annual spotlight, the list boasts the best and brightest.

But anyone can be influential, one way or another. Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another, said Napoleon Hill, the author of many success books. A Time magazine poll of the most influential people recently found Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao on top. If you know him from the boxing ring, his influence spread wider last year when he won a seat in his country’s Congress — and won it by a landslide.

Who knows what efforts impact others?

I don’t always but, after three decades in this business, my guess is that Bill Cunningham has, overtly and covertly, done an awful lot, in a very good way. I know and honor those people identified in this issue, and Cunningham was a Most Influential in a previous issue.


A Matter of Numbers

But, when it comes to the evolution of enterprise security leaders and the importance and impact of this group, this leader and his accomplishments mark three important security industry realizations. In sheer numbers, ability, and training, private security – whether within enterprise or contracted – is often the first responder as compared to law enforcement, fire fighters and EMTs. In sheer dollars, enterprise security and its government colleagues purchase billions of dollars of technology and services. And, third, partnerships between public and private are ongoing and contributing to the protection of society.

There was a time, some of you might remember, when security directors often came from the ranks of retired law enforcement. That may still be the case with some organizations. But there and elsewhere, the bar has been set higher, thanks in great measure to folks such as ASIS International and the Security Executive Council.

The founder of Hallcrest Systems, Cunningham authored two of the most influential books to impact the security profession. For the first time in a definitive manner, he drew a detailed picture of private security operations, technology, trends and comparison to law enforcement.

“Security is a force multiplier,” said Cunningham, when he was picked as a Most Influential. “The 9/11 Commission confirmed just how dependent the nation is on the security industry. More than two million persons are believed to be employed in private security in the U.S. This is roughly three times the number of state and local law enforcement officers. Viewing private security – technology and human resources – as a force multiplier does not ignore differences between police and private security in legal authority or accountability.


Critical Role

“Rather, this viewpoint acknowledges that security works in certain critical areas that police simply cannot cover because of a lack of human resources, a mandate and/or technology; and security is a growth industry, since local and state law enforcement is not projected to grow significantly in the future,” he said.

That still is the case.

As dollars continue to tighten on the federal, state and local levels, agencies are not growing their first responder ranks and in some cases cutting back. In some cases, local city police departments have disappeared as county sheriff forces take over. Uniquely, technology, especially security cameras, has proved a way for public-private partnerships. Cities as varied as New York, Chicago and Lancaster, Pa., are blending private and public cameras into a bigger, more powerful network for situational awareness and forensics. In Lancaster, for instance, the business community established and helps monitor cameras on the street.

Influence is relative, of course.

Still there are numerous people who have touched others and moved this profession forward, including those noted in this issue. In their own way, everyone can influence. Remember: let no man or woman imagine that he or she has no influence. Whoever he may be, and wherever he may be placed, the person who thinks becomes a light and a power.    

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