Top Security Guarding Companies Report 2014
Better Guarding Programs with a Team Approach: A Security Program for a Major University
What does it take to build a solid security program for a major university? For Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, it’s a neighborhood initiative program that looks beyond traditional campus security and that integrates university special police officers with AlliedBarton security officers. The result: recognition in the Higher Education sector in the 2013 Security 500 report.
For Land O’Lakes, it means scalable security protocols, as the Fortune 200 global agri-business employs 10,000 people while needing to simultaneously ensure that they meet Food Defense requirements and safety regulations from all appropriate government agencies. Don Taussig, CPP, global security director for Land O’Lakes, Inc., focuses less on logistics – meaning how many G4S security officers sit where – and instead, to enterprise-wide philosophies about safety and security.
“As we continue to grow in agri-business and food production, and expand our global presence, we need a comprehensive strategy to improve security,” Taussig says. “A company of our size simply cannot rely on a piecemeal approach; we require an integrated program that keeps our plants as safe as our front offices.”
That type of integrated approach, a team approach of sorts, which works for both Johns Hopkins and for Land O’Lakes, is not only common, but necessary, in order to have a solid security program that effectively mitigates risk and protects the brand.
Protecting the Brand
Just as justification of security technology is a business decision, so is the use of security officers. And the future is bright for well-trained, highly capable security officers who work with the business, instead of alongside of it. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be about 1.3 million people employed in the private security officer arena by 2018, a growth rate of 14 percent from today to then. As of May 2013, there were 1.04 million security officers employed in the U.S., with the majority of them employed in investigative and security services, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. California led employment of security officers, according to BLS, followed by New York, Texas, Florida and Illinois. More specific information can be found at www.bls.gov/oes.com
Johns Hopkins University is a world leader in both teaching and research, with nine academic divisions that attract more than 5,000 undergraduates from all 50 states and 71 nations. The University is located in a diverse and urban neighborhood that brings unique policing challenges on and around campus. Therefore, efforts to strengthen the surrounding neighborhoods and to educate faculty and students are critical to create a safe learning environment and contribute to the University’s highly regarded brand.
Campus Safety and Security, under the direction of Executive Director Edmund G. Skrodzki, is a partnership of the Johns Hopkins University Campus Safety and Security, AlliedBarton Security Services and the Baltimore Police Department. The program has 55 full-time and four part-time Special Police Officers commissioned by the State with full arrest powers on all Johns Hopkins University property throughout the State of Maryland. The campus police officers are highly trained professionals, most having graduated from accredited law enforcement academies. While they do not carry firearms, they do receive on-campus training that includes: cultural diversity, sexual harassment, hate crimes, AED/first aid, community policing and crime prevention.
Security officers from AlliedBarton are integrated into the security program and patrol on and off campus on foot, bicycles, Segways, club cars and in security vehicles. They are also assigned to the main entrances at the student housing facilities. During the school year, students are employed as security monitors, bringing the total number of security officers and supporting staff to more than 200.
In addition, the deployment of 315 security video cameras on and off the campus allows Skrodzki to monitor areas of the campus community that have been subject to criminal activity and general safety issues. The majority of these cameras have behavioral recognition software capabilities that allow them to monitor the actions of people, vehicles and objects. Monitored behavior and actions alert security systems specialists in the Communication Center who then dispatch campus security resources.
Last year, Skrodzki installed a new digital radio system that has greatly enhanced radio transmission clarity and distance both on and off campus. The digital radios have been integrated with a new call-taking system that has improved efficiency in the department’s communications center and have a direct connection with the Baltimore City police. A new computer-aided dispatch system that replaced a legacy system simplifies the call-taking process, along with providing a report-writing system that fully integrates with a new records management system. On his wish list for this year is a GPS system to more effectively manage resources and provide additional safety for security personnel in the field, he says.
Crime Watchers and Walkers
The goals of the partnership between Skrodzki and his team, AlliedBarton and the Baltimore Police are to use the students, faculty, staff and community to assist in deterring crime; educating students and local residents on safety in an urban environment; and strengthening community relations. Skrodzki, who retired from the Secret Service after a long career, sought to ensure that the University was a haven where students can study, live and work safely. “I joined Johns Hopkins University in 2005 and understood from my Secret Service background that security is a shared responsibility, and that it is vital to establish strong public and private partnerships with local government, law enforcement and the community,” he says.
At the beginning of the school year, Skrodzki and his team walk freshmen through the neighborhoods around the campus and educate them on security and safety issues.
“About 80 percent of incoming freshmen sign up for a safety walk,” says Skrodzki. “It is not mandatory, but students learn that the walks and presentations provide an understanding of living in an urban environment, and this fosters productive and valuable relationships with campus security and local law enforcement.”
In addition security alert emails are sent to students, faculty and the staff, which are well received, says Skrodzki. “Parents also have the option to receive these emails. We have received numerous compliments from students, staff, employees and local residents stating support for the security alert emails they receive from us. They generally state that the alerts are informative and assist them in taking precautions in their daily life.”
Two other initiatives with AlliedBarton and the Baltimore Police Department that have contributed to the overall decline in violent crime on campus and the adjacent Charles Village neighborhood are the Hopkins Crime Watch and the Hopkins Neighborhood Walkers on Patrol.
In collaboration with the already existing Baltimore Police Department’s Block Watchers Program, the Hopkins Crime Watch asks students to be on alert and report suspicious activity to campus police. Students are provided with a briefing by Campus Safety and Security on “street smarts safety” and how to recognize suspicious or criminal behavior that would warrant reporting. Recruitment into the program is key: “Throughout the year as campus safety and security officers host or are invited to events, our officers use these opportunities to recruit students into our Hopkins Crime watch program and offer them a street smarts briefing,” says Skrodzki.
Each crime watcher is given a business card assigned with a unique Baltimore Police seven-digit crime watch number. If a crime watch participant reports a crime and is subsequently summoned to appear in court, Campus Safety and Security will transport the crime watch participant witness to and from the judicial proceeding and follow the case with the student until its conclusion.
The Hopkins Neighborhood Walkers on Patrol initiative was established to increase the safety of the neighborhoods surrounding the University. The initiative involves the use of foot patrols through the local neighborhood with groups composed of students, staff, campus police officers, a Baltimore police officer, AlliedBarton security, local residents and occasionally special guests, i.e., City Council members, Baltimore City State’s Attorney, University Administration and more.
Compared to other Citizens on Patrol programs, the uniqueness of this initiative is a three-pronged approach:
Visible Presence – By walking in groups in the neighborhood, there is a deterrent effect for potential criminals who might be in the area.
Education – Participants learn about vulnerable aspects of their urban environment such as parked vehicles with valuables in plain sight, open or unlocked windows in homes, and concealed areas that criminals could use to prey on unsuspecting passers-by, as well as what to do if one is a victim of a crime. The participants are briefed on how and when to use any one of the 114 blue light emergency phones on and off-campus and use of bike patrol security officers for escorts. During the walk, Campus Safety and Security representatives provide specific examples of crimes that have been committed in the area in the past and offer suggestions on prevention.
University/Community Engagement – This provides the opportunity for the University community and local neighbors to interact with each other as well as to meet Baltimore Police, Campus Police Officers and AlliedBarton security personnel. This engagement strengthens the ties between the University community and the local neighbors.
“Last year on a neighborhood safety walk, as the campus police officer was explaining how the walkers should be sure to survey rooftops and lower floor apartments for potential burglars, a sharp-eyed student saw a man on the roof of a residence,” says Skrodzki. “The campus police officer called it in, and the man on the roof had a warrant for burglary and was arrested.”
Each year, the volunteer enrollment has steadily increased, and overall crime has reduced since this program started. By increasing public participation in the neighborhood walk, the program operates as a deterrent effect on crime in the local community by providing a visible presence in the neighborhood and educating participants in crime prevention. The program is ever evolving to help mitigate risk and reduce crime.
In addition, the Johns Hopkins University Campus Safety and Security department was recognized for its efforts with the 2011 IACP Mike Shanahan Award for Public and Private Partnerships as well as for the sixth consecutive year the Maryland Governor’s Crime Prevention Award for making outstanding contributions to furtherance of crime prevention in the community.
One Risk at a Time
With business operations in 60 countries, the diversity and scale of Land O’Lakes makes strategic security planning a critical part of Taussig’s daily work. His work focuses on protecting the Land O’Lakes products and brands while also protecting the safety of global employees, customers and consumers.
“My top priority is ensuring the security of our employees and plants,” Taussig says. “But I’m also mindful of maintaining cost efficiencies that deliver return on investments.”
Founded in 1921, Land O’Lakes is a member-owned agricultural cooperative with annual sales exceeding $14 billion. As a company, Land O’Lakes operates some of the most respected and trusted brands in the agriculture and food production industries, including Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition and WinField Solutions. The company also develops technology to sustainably increase agricultural production, and partners with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help empower farmers in developing countries to sustainably feed their communities.
With the enterprise-wide philosophy of security comes security partners that have to meet the diverse needs of Land O’Lakes, Inc. headquarters as well as any production facility with full-time staff. At the same time, the global security plan has to be flexible enough to quickly respond to changes in government regulation related to food production and biosecurity.
Because pending compliance mandates and the Food Defense Act require agri-business companies to identify any vulnerability in their supply chains and production security, preparing for such identification becomes increasingly important.
Taussig works with G4S security officers to not only physically secure facilities and employees, but also to help collaborate on improvements to the business that demonstrate security’s value. Recently, Taussig and G4S collaborated to identify a better way to route trucks into facilities, improving both security and efficiency. This, says Taussig, is a perfect example of how improved security benefits the entire enterprise and why those changes needed to be customized to each plant.
“Our partnership with G4S gives us a single security vendor across our enterprise, which in turn delivers additional benefits,” Taussig adds. ”We know changes can be done and we need the help of all our employees to make security a top priority. Working with G4S we are able to assess the enterprise one facility, one risk at a time.”
The New Universal Services of America Integrated Service Solutions
Late last year, Universal Services of America in Santa Ana, Calif., acquired IPC International, an industry leader in mall security staffing across the country. With more than 15 acquisitions over the last two years, the acquisition of IPC and recent purchase of Thrive Intelligence, a remote video monitoring center with edge-based analytics cameras, Universal is changing the landscape of end-to-end security solutions with integrated services and products.
“It’s just one way the company has expanded recently, in addition to our equally impressive organic growth rate,” says Steve Jones, Universal’s Chief Executive Officer. “Fundamentally, what has taken place within our company organically and via acquisitions is the evolution and integration of four core service areas: the Universal Protection Service uniformed security platform; integrated physical security systems; security workforce and information management technology (CyCop) and risk mitigation, monitoring and response. That fourth area – risk mitigation, monitoring and response – is driven by Thrive Intelligence, based in the Dallas Metroplex. Delivering these core integrated services across different vertical markets and geographical areas provides a comprehensive offering that scales well and addresses client asset protection needs.”
Heading security systems and technology and national accounts for Universal is Ty Richmond, a former CSO with several large end users and Chief Operating Officer of a national security services firm.
“Our four core service areas function cohesively as an integrated solution ensures that Universal is working within its client’s environment to deliver efficiencies and more effective security operations. The goal is to provide technology as an augmentation to uniformed security to deliver intelligence and information that mitigates the risk factors impacting the customer; and if necessary, reducing the CSO’s security total cost of ownership,” Richmond says. “The ultimate objective is to be more efficient, effective and focused on how we deploy our security assets on behalf of our clients. The engagement is different: we have become a solutions provider versus a provider of stand-alone security services and products – basically, an officer or a piece of security hardware that doesn’t take the holistic view of the client’s needs. It’s a different mindset of engagement that requires a solutions and consultative mentality versus the somewhat traditional approach,” he says.
Richmond’s experience on the end user side gives him a perspective that sees the benefit of having a security partner that can provide services and give different solutions, options and considerations. “In the market there is a continuous push of increased cost factors that are impacting service providers and end users both,” he says. “Even with that challenge, there is still an expectation that asset protection, compliance, control and risk mitigation are all paramount deliverables for security organizations across every sector. You still have to provide a comprehensive security operation as a CSO. From a positive standpoint, though, is the advancement of technology, such as IP, mobile devices, data transmission speed, analytics and more that are all progressing very quickly. You now have tools that allow you to evaluate and assess your security program from a very different perspective, and with an expectation to have more meaningful outcomes.”
“We have to understand customer needs and problems, and see the opportunities in a more comprehensive manner also,” Richmond notes. “The process of listening is more meaningful and when you do that well, I think you close gaps that have existed for a long time in an industry seeking solutions providers and partners.”
Universal’s go-to-market strategy is now a comprehensive security offering with security officers, electronic security systems, technology and state-of-the-art, remote-based video monitoring. “We feel strongly that this is the future of security and Universal is at the forefront of the exciting changes taking place in the industry,” says Jones.
For many veterans, getting a job after a military career can be a tough battle. Nationally, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans – 9.9 percent for November 2013 – has been higher than that of other veterans and the rest of the population. Experts don’t point to any one factor that’s a roadblock to employment for post-9/11 veterans but say that the prospect of repeated deployments – reservists being called up for duty while on the job – can discourage employers from hiring them. Many companies are recognized for their efforts to hire veterans in their organizations, including in security positions.
The 2014 Top 100 Military Friendly Employer® list by G.I. Jobsmagazine lists the top 100 employers who are actively hiring military employees. The list is developed from an estimated 5,000 companies. Criteria for the survey included a benchmark score across key programs and policies such as the strength of company military recruiting efforts, the percentage of new hires with prior military service, retention programs and company policies on National Guard and Reserve service. Companies that made the 2014 list include: AlliedBarton Security Services, AT&T, Baker Hughes, Booz Allen, CACI International, Comcast, Exelon, G4S, GE, Johnson Controls, JP Morgan Chase, Merck & Co., SAIC, Schneider International, Southwest Airlines, The Home Depot, Verizon, Wellpoint and more. The full list can be found at www.militaryfriendly.com.
In addition, the fifth-annual Military Friendly Schools® list lists the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the U.S. that are doing the most to embrace military students and ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation, including those students seeking a career in security.
“The 2014 Military Friendly Employers represent the preeminent tier of companies with strong military recruitment programs and meaningful job opportunities for transitioning service members and spouses seeking civilian employment,” says Sean Collins, Vice President for Victory Media and a nine-year Navy veteran. “Our Military Friendly Employers constitute the group of companies actually moving the needle and hiring from the military community. The 2014 Military Friendly Employers reported hiring over 117,000 service members and spouses over the last 12 months, representing an average of 14 percent of total new hires.”
Other veterans and business organizations with similar programs include:
- American GI Forum
- Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes
- Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve
- Hero 2 Hired
- Hiring Our Heroes
- National Guard
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Wounded Warrior Project