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  • Special Event Security

    Some questions that I have to ask because of the fact that I am going to be working on setting up the security for a fundraising concert.

    First, I know that staffing levels of security depends on the risk assessment and that a good one with proper intelligence and consideration of several different factors needs to be done. I do have one question on staffing though that I am running into issues with. We will be using Security as ticket takers and searchers at one station. The table will be set-up in similar fashion (with equipment that is provided) to the DHS Check It! videos. My question is how many tables should report to one team leader or lead officer? ICS tells us that a crew should be 3 to 7 with the optimal number being 5. Does that mean that for every 5 ticket taker/search stations I have I need to have a lead officer supporting them?

    My second question is if the venue has their own security staff, can we require that we only our security staff or those who go through a training and background investigation process that we approve of be used? I guess the question is does the venue have the right to force us to use their security staff?
    Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

    The cleanliness of our hearts, The strength of our limbs, and commitment to our promise.

    My military contract is up and over. However, I never needed to affirm that I would defend the constitution, our freedoms, our way of life from enemies both domestic and foreign. Do not think that since I am no longer in the military, I will not pick up a weapon to defend my family, my home or my country. - Me!

  • #2
    Originally posted by FireRanger View Post
    Some questions that I have to ask because of the fact that I am going to be working on setting up the security for a fundraising concert.

    First, I know that staffing levels of security depends on the risk assessment and that a good one with proper intelligence and consideration of several different factors needs to be done. I do have one question on staffing though that I am running into issues with. We will be using Security as ticket takers and searchers at one station. The table will be set-up in similar fashion (with equipment that is provided) to the DHS Check It! videos. My question is how many tables should report to one team leader or lead officer? ICS tells us that a crew should be 3 to 7 with the optimal number being 5. Does that mean that for every 5 ticket taker/search stations I have I need to have a lead officer supporting them?

    My second question is if the venue has their own security staff, can we require that we only our security staff or those who go through a training and background investigation process that we approve of be used? I guess the question is does the venue have the right to force us to use their security staff?
    I'm not familiar with the answer to your first question.

    As per your second, it depends on a few things. If the venue's security is contract, it depends on whether or not they have an exclusive contract with the venue, in which case yes, they may be able to approve using your staff for the event. If this is the case, these staff are often integrated into your security staff and work with you.

    If the venue's security staff is proprietary (in-house), it would be an issue to bring up to their security manager. I've consulted for venues that have security staff that are more host staff, and I used them as minor access control and used my own people for rovers and eviction staff. Other venues employ security staff that are responsible for the property, and are expected to be at the event to monitor that you do not breach your liquor license and to ensure that you uphold the terms of your side of the contract. They work for the client, not for you, but they work within the same security program.

    You may be able to just not use them at all, but if they work for the venue, there is usually a clause that ensures that they work events there that keeps their staff employed, etc.

    Comment


    • #3
      ICS "span-of-control" numbers are merely recommendations, but few ICS operations have the luxury or the need to adhere to them rigidly. They're taken from the "common wisdom" in management science that one supervisor can best handle up to five reporting employees or units, but it depends much more on how much supervising activity you can expect one reporting unit to generate.

      You might find a winter storm ICS, for instance, where one supervisor is effectively overseeing seven or eight dispatchers, while there's another supervisor handling 20 road-clearing crews. You are permitted to use your best judgment regarding "effective span of control" based on practical considerations of what amount of "supervising" is required. I have effectively supervised teams as large as 60 individuals because there was little "per-person" supervising burden involved in overseeing their work.

      Regarding your second question, the best answer is "Yes - the contract can require that their security staff be used" during the event. In other words, this would not be an illegal contractual term, so there is nothing to prevent it. A contract can require anything that isn't illegal or impossible. It could require all of your staff to wear red rubber clown noses if that's what the client wanted for some reason. On the other hand, a contractual term requiring all of your staff to be under the age of 40 would probably run afoul of age-discrimination laws, so it would not be a legal requirement.

      Note that "used" is different from "employed". You cannot be required to hire these employees, even temporarily, and if the client seems to be insisting on this idea of "use" (employment by you) as a condition of getting the contract you need to run away from that contract as fast as you can. I would be amazed if your insurance carrier would permit it (or would honor your coverage later if there were a lawsuit involving actions by those employees).

      However, there are both practical and liability concerns that would have to be addressed by both you and the client in order for a "use" clause to be implemented. For liability reasons, there is still a "dual-employer" situation that must be avoided. "Dual-employer" situations arise from a reasonable confusion about who is "really" (or "constructively") the employer. You would want written stipulation that the client's employees:

      * Are, and shall remain, the direct employees of the client for purposes of direction, compensation and employer liability...
      * Shall act according to and only under the client's direct supervision and control during the event...
      * That YourCompany assumes no responsibility for their actions...
      * That YourCompany makes no representations regarding the suitability of the client's employees for their assigned tasks.

      You can request a "hold-harmless" provision with respect to your liability for actions performed by the client's employees be incorporated into the contract, whereby ClientCompany agrees to hold YourCompany harmless for, and to defend YourCompany against, any and all legal claims against you arising from actions of the ClientCompany employees, etc.

      Then, for practical reasons, you would request the client to appoint a supervisor for these employees and would ONLY interface directly with that individual. You would not directly supervise, assign or direct the activities of those employees individually.

      Under such an arrangement, it obviously would not be practical to mix your employees and the client's employees in performing a particular function (e.g., ticket-taking/searching). Use the client's employees in a specific, limited, exclusive role or set of roles (e.g., parking lot security) - and do not use your employees in those roles.

      Contractual requirements are subject to negotiation and clarification between the parties. Be sure any changes are reduced to writing - either as modifications of the contract terms themselves or as signed memoranda of understanding. Also, be sure to make any contract price adjustments that these arrangements might involve - for instance, if you will be using fewer people of your own. This, too, must be represented as a formal modification to the contract.

      UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU COMPENSATE ANY CLIENT EMPLOYEES DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY (THROUGH YOUR CONTRACT). Mere compensation is sufficient to establish that you are their employer despite other clauses to the contrary.

      Often, when you approach a situation like this in the legal and businesslike manner suggested above, ClientCompany will drop the requirement to use their employees altogether. For one thing, it would probably involve paying their own employees overtime because they don't become "your" employees for the event. For another thing, they probably have never thought about any of these issues before. They probably also will not wish to incur the legal expenses that alterations to the contract, etc. might involve...or because they can see that their effort to shift liability for their own employees' actions to you (if that's their motivation), avoid paying their employees overtime (if that's their motivation), etc. isn't going to fly.
      Last edited by SecTrainer; 11-01-2010, 11:24 AM.
      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
        ICS "span-of-control" numbers are merely recommendations, but few ICS operations have the luxury or the need to adhere to them rigidly. They're taken from the "common wisdom" in management science that one supervisor can best handle up to five reporting employees or units, but it depends much more on how much supervising activity you can expect one reporting unit to generate.
        FireRanger, you probably already know all this, but:

        Just to be sure you're absolutely clear on this point: ICS incident organizations are built from the bottom-up, on an as-needed basis. In other words, yes, strictly adhering to ICS guidelines would mean that for every five individuals working at a given level of command, there would be another person directly supervising those five.

        Note I said "directly". When contemplating adding another wage (person) to the organization, ask yourself how many people will be directly reporting to the next level of supervision; if many over five, you probably need to add another level of assistance (supervision) in between labor and supervision.

        Think of it this way: Five patrollmen are dispatched to an emergency scene; a sergeant will also be dispatched to maintain overall command and control (posted at his vehicle and running the checklists and radios). He requests additionals; as they begin streaming in, another sergeant is sent to maintain oversight of the additionals, with a lieutenant to oversee the two "divisions", each made up of five officers and one sergeant. There's where you arrive at the ICS nomenclature of DIVS (Division Supervisor) and Branch Director (Ops, Plans, Logistics, etc - in our example, the BD would be Incident Operations Branch).

        If the incident appears to warrant the added level of supervision (based on incident complexity and expected duration of the incident), at some point another manager would be dispatched and assigned as Incident Commander (IC).

        Each officer would report directly to his assigned DIVS; each DIVS would report directly to Ops Branch. Ops Branch reports to the IC; the IC reports directly to the responsible agency.

        ICS was designed specifically for interagency incidents (I won't bore you here with the history, but suffice it to say that ICS originated in CA, with interagency wildland fires). The original purpose was to standardize the language and management practices. It works wonderfully well for its intended purpose.

        Since the Shuttle Recovery, 9-11, and Katrina Incidents, FEMA has adopted a variant of ICS (I-700) as a template for major incident response, with varying degrees of success. Most of those variations hinge on the agencies involved, how experienced they are with ICS, and how well they understand the system. I've worked with ICS since its inception, and have seen it used for many major incidents outside its originally intended purpose - earthquakes, active shooters, train derailments with accompanying haz-mat spills, gang wars, conflagrations, floods, landslides (which destroyed towns), multi-casualty medicals, and hurricanes); if everyone understands it, and sticks with the system, it works well.

        On the other hand, for the purposes of this event, if you're not required to absorb (or pass on) the cost of the additional levels of supervision, and everything remains peaceful, and/or if your personnel (or the client's in-house staff) don't fully understand their ICS positions, it could become anything from an unneeded expense to an unneccesary factor of confusion.

        Just something to consider...
        "I'll defend with my life your right to disagree with me" - anonymous

        Comment


        • #5
          I do know that ICS is nothing more then a guideline, best practice what have you. I was using that as an example. I also know that ICS is modular and customizable to meet the needs of the event.

          First of all, I am not doing this planning as a contractor. I am part of the promotor's planning staff for the concert and my tasks are planning the security needs of our fundraiser. That is why I was asking about the whole cost of Security, some of the venues we have looked at want to charge for providing their own staff to do security for our event. The prices they are asking while fair (assuming that it is or close to the payrate the guard is getting) are a little high and knowing the market in the area I can find vendors who would charge half that for a bill rate. We have also discussed using a combination volunteer/paid security staffing. The volunteers would have smaller less proactive roles like standing in a spot and directing traffic while the paid staff would be charged with medical response, ejecting people who get out of hand, etc. Since it is a fundraiser for a non-profit I am simply looking at all ways to have an effective security program in place but at a reasonable price.
          Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. - 1 Corinthians 16:13

          The cleanliness of our hearts, The strength of our limbs, and commitment to our promise.

          My military contract is up and over. However, I never needed to affirm that I would defend the constitution, our freedoms, our way of life from enemies both domestic and foreign. Do not think that since I am no longer in the military, I will not pick up a weapon to defend my family, my home or my country. - Me!

          Comment


          • #6
            To clarify how the two security teams may work together (in Canada, at least), either you are subcontracted to them, they may be subcontracted to you (though unlikely), or different parts of the event are separately contracted to each team.

            I was often hired as the security consultant and director of special events, and I've run into this problem often. Because my company usually have a much higher standard of staff than most other contract (or in most case, in-house) companies in the area, we refused to be grouped in with them. We wouldn't wear the same uniforms, etc.

            What we did was contract access control positions to the other company (usually at a lower rate) and all other jobs (searching, eviction staff, etc) would be contracted to us at a negotiated rate. As I was hired as the security director, I would develop the program that both teams of security staff would abide by, and I would oversee and manage the operation during the event.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi,
              The discussion is very healthy and helpful. I wanted to thank all the above members for sharing the information. I have been looking for it from so long. Thanks again.

              Comment


              • #8
                Our In-House lawyer has told us that any security working in the common areas of the hotel must be employees of the hotel or under the supervision of the hotel security staff.

                This past weekend I had 3 of my staff on duty to deal with 1000 university students & 10 contract agents. The contracted staff do prevention alone but must call my staff if an intervention is necessary.

                Now if someone rents a banquet hall & wants to put their own security inside or at the entrance to the hall this is allowed.
                I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                Comment

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