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  • Thinking Outside the Box

    I just ran across an incident that will strike a chord of recognition with many members, I'm sure.

    An individual went into an office building near the New York Stock Exchange, having a legitimate appointment with someone in the building. The security officer correctly detained him while the occupant was called to verify the appointment. However, the occupant did not answer the phone.

    The individual said, "Wait a minute...I know someone else in the building and was going to see them later. I'll call them on my cell phone to see if they can see me now." He made the call and handed the phone to the security officer, who heard a voice saying "Oh, yes, that's fine. I'm on the 7th floor. Send him on up."

    It happened that both the initial and the second visits were perfectly legitimate. However, the security officer had no way of knowing who was really on the other end of the cell phone call or even that the person he was talking to was even in the building...it could have been Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, for all he knew.

    It's too easy to take an "acquiescent" attitude toward our jobs. We do not want to be unreasonable, and it's always the path of least resistance to comply with someone's request, especially if they've handed us a "reasonable basis" for our decision to comply.

    Clients do not want security to be "obstructive" to their business operations, either. It's a real paradox that clients will pay for security and then apply pressure to keep security from providing security if it "gets in the way" even the slightest bit! This is something that security management must deal with by confronting executives with the simple fact that security and an attitude of unthinking acquiescence simply do not go together.

    One thing that security management must do, however, in a time when the bad guys are forever thinking up new ways to defeat security, is to empower and encourage officers to think outside the box. The old attitude that every situation the officer will encounter is covered in the post orders is a dog that just doesn't hunt anymore (if it ever did).

    If management does want everything to be covered in post orders, it can be done very simply. Simply create a "fail-safe" order that empowers the officer to override all other normal access procedures by REFUSING ENTRY when he has reason to think that he is dealing with an unusual situation or a previously unknown method of unauthorized entry is being attempted. If he isn't confident in the individual's credentials, etc., for any reason, he is empowered to refuse entry as the "fail-safe" decision.

    There should then also be an emergency means of accessing a supervisor IMMEDIATELY, at least by telephone, 24 x 7 and the company should see to it that a supervisor IS TRULY AVAILABLE to any officer 24 x 7. The supervisor would then assess the situation and take responsibility for the final disposition as to whether access is granted or not.

    Also (and this is very important), officers who DO recognize such potential situations and react properly to them by denying access when they become suspicious of someone seeking access (even if the actual situation turns out not to be a genuine attack) SHOULD BE REWARDED for being cautious, instead of being second-guessed with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, scolded or ridiculed as "nervous Nellies" or even disciplined, as sometimes happens when officers show the slightest bit of initiative and intelligence.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 03-09-2007, 02:59 PM.
    "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

  • #2
    My boss or I are on call 24/7 not because we necesessarily know more than the Officers working at the hotels, but because soemtimes 2 heads are better than 1. Unfortunately in our business sometimes you do not have the time to consult, you have to make a decision first & consult later. This is where training comes in. But you can not train for every possible incident that can occur. You have to train your staff so they know what the policies are of your company. They can then make their decisions taking these policies into consideration.
    I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
    Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

    Comment


    • #3
      When I was the boss, I asked to staff to bring me problems after they have thought about it and most perferably with a solution, (almost) ready for implimation. I am still in a similar envoirnment.

      I have seen guys try to pull "they make the call for authorization" crap. It is even worse now with cell phones everywhere. I really enjoy " I know so & so who said to just go up"
      Using my phone, my researched number, I ask the questions, does help me to feel better about actually performing building security.
      Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
      Groucho Marx

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by SecTrainer
        I just ran across an incident that will strike a chord of recognition with many members, I'm sure.

        An individual went into an office building near the New York Stock Exchange, having a legitimate appointment with someone in the building. The security officer correctly detained him while the occupant was called to verify the appointment. However, the occupant did not answer the phone.

        The individual said, "Wait a minute...I know someone else in the building and was going to see them later. I'll call them on my cell phone to see if they can see me now." He made the call and handed the phone to the security officer, who heard a voice saying "Oh, yes, that's fine. I'm on the 7th floor. Send him on up."

        It happened that both the initial and the second visits were perfectly legitimate. However, the security officer had no way of knowing who was really on the other end of the cell phone call or even that the person he was talking to was even in the building...it could have been Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, for all he knew.

        It's too easy to take an "acquiescent" attitude toward our jobs. We do not want to be unreasonable, and it's always the path of least resistance to comply with someone's request, especially if they've handed us a "reasonable basis" for our decision to comply.

        Clients do not want security to be "obstructive" to their business operations, either. It's a real paradox that clients will pay for security and then apply pressure to keep security from providing security if it "gets in the way" even the slightest bit! This is something that security management must deal with by confronting executives with the simple fact that security and an attitude of unthinking acquiescence simply do not go together.

        One thing that security management must do, however, in a time when the bad guys are forever thinking up new ways to defeat security, is to empower and encourage officers to think outside the box. The old attitude that every situation the officer will encounter is covered in the post orders is a dog that just doesn't hunt anymore (if it ever did).

        If management does want everything to be covered in post orders, it can be done very simply. Simply create a "fail-safe" order that empowers the officer to override all other normal access procedures by REFUSING ENTRY when he has reason to think that he is dealing with an unusual situation or a previously unknown method of unauthorized entry is being attempted. If he isn't confident in the individual's credentials, etc., for any reason, he is empowered to refuse entry as the "fail-safe" decision.

        There should then also be an emergency means of accessing a supervisor IMMEDIATELY, at least by telephone, 24 x 7 and the company should see to it that a supervisor IS TRULY AVAILABLE to any officer 24 x 7. The supervisor would then assess the situation and take responsibility for the final disposition as to whether access is granted or not.

        Also (and this is very important), officers who DO recognize such potential situations and react properly to them by denying access when they become suspicious of someone seeking access (even if the actual situation turns out not to be a genuine attack) SHOULD BE REWARDED for being cautious, instead of being second-guessed with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, scolded or ridiculed as "nervous Nellies" or even disciplined, as sometimes happens when officers show the slightest bit of initiative and intelligence.
        I totally agree. I love it when I'm on my way to meet a new client in a building for which they provide lobby coverage.

        Sometimes the officer is great. Other times I have to ask questions like "Are you sure I'm really seeing so and so?" Are you going to ask for my ID? What do your post orders require you to do?

        The fact that I mention the owner of their company by name throws them off guard. Immediately, they are concerned about offending one of the "Boss's friends".

        You can never let your guard down!
        Richard Dickinson
        Dickinson Security Management Group, LLC
        DSMG Provides a Variety of Software Products and Consulting Services to the Contract Security Industry
        www.hrdickinson.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by hrdickinson
          I totally agree. I love it when I'm on my way to meet a new client in a building for which they provide lobby coverage.

          Sometimes the officer is great. Other times I have to ask questions like "Are you sure I'm really seeing so and so?" Are you going to ask for my ID? What do your post orders require you to do?

          The fact that I mention the owner of their company by name throws them off guard. Immediately, they are concerned about offending one of the "Boss's friends".

          You can never let your guard down!
          Some clients want post orders on paper, but really don't want the guard to enforce them. They only need to look good on paper for insurance reasons. If the guard starts enforcing the orders, he is taken aside by the site supervisor and admonished to avoid making visitors feel uncomfortable with security measures. That may explain why some places are not as proactive as others. This actually happened to me. You either go with the flow or expect to be reassigned.
          Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mr. Security
            Some clients want post orders on paper, but really don't want the guard to enforce them. They only need to look good on paper for insurance reasons. If the guard starts enforcing the orders, he is taken aside by the site supervisor and admonished to avoid making visitors feel uncomfortable with security measures. That may explain why some places are not as proactive as others. This actually happened to me. You either go with the flow or expect to be reassigned.
            That Mr. Security is a law suit waiting to happen; non compliance with an existing security requirement. If upon disclosure, the security company does not have written directives to the contrary, the security company. Most of this is verbal and it winds up "he said-you said." If the security officer or guard does not have a good notebook or made entries into the "official" log or sequence of events, the lone man takes it in the shorts.
            Enjoy the day,
            Bill

            Comment


            • #7
              You're right Bill. Unfortunately, some clients and security companies don't care.
              Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SecTrainer
                Also (and this is very important), officers who DO recognize such potential situations and react properly to them by denying access when they become suspicious of someone seeking access (even if the actual situation turns out not to be a genuine attack) SHOULD BE REWARDED for being cautious, instead of being second-guessed with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, scolded or ridiculed as "nervous Nellies" or even disciplined, as sometimes happens when officers show the slightest bit of initiative and intelligence.
                This is true. Its also why its so important to have a good business relationship with your client. This is where attitude comes into play; its what you bring to the table everyday. If your client sees that your honest and have their best interests in mind...then they are likely to allow these inconveniences to slide. Its better to be known as Mr. Play it Safe instead of Mr. play it Loose.

                IF your client does not recognize this...and second guesses you for being safe..then its time to move on.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Although I do not own my own company I believe integrity, Even on the S/O level, is the best policy in regards to client relations.
                  Todd

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The other thing that I've seen time and time again is an individual who comes to the counter, claims that they do not know the name of the person they are there to see or even phone number but claims to have legitamite business.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SecTrainer
                      Clients do not want security to be "obstructive" to their business operations, either. It's a real paradox that clients will pay for security and then apply pressure to keep security from providing security if it "gets in the way" even the slightest bit! This is something that security management must deal with by confronting executives with the simple fact that security and an attitude of unthinking acquiescence simply do not go together.
                      It is likely that had the security officer asked to call the second party directly and therein verify his actual existence and capacity in the building. The security officer could have and may have been accused of being overly agressive, non-custormer friendly and obstructing the business operations of the client. When in fact, no such wrongdoing would exist.

                      Therefore, I agree with your assessment about clients obstructing security operations. In this respect, I believe that clients can and do sometimes engage in a breach of contract by their obstructing security officers from doing their jobs properly.

                      Unfortunately, the common motto applied is that "No matter the facts existing, its' never the fault of the client or the employer." Hence, I have found no evidence showing that security management cares let alone takes any active stand with clients to ensure security officers are not being placed in damned if you do and damned if you do not situations and being obstructed in doing their jobs.

                      This is why I prefer graveyard shifts - less B.S. to put up with involving enforcing the clients' rules and reg's with the general public.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This fail safe option of yours is the very reason that in my Emergency Section I give my staff the ability to make "Command Decisions" when responding to an emergency. This allows them to adjust fire as needed to make the situation work. I get it, the Post Orders and instructions and guides that I write M-F 8a to 4p in my nice climate controlled office may not work in the field when it's -20 below out and the hvac system and power just went down with 5' of snow outside and more on the way. As they say no plan ever survives first contact and no field ready unit ever passes inspection, just as no inspection ready unit passes the field.
                        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!

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