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  • Security Mag Article - Comments

    I wonder how many have read the article "compiled" by Bill Zalud in the November issue of Security Magazine entitled "Security Officers as a Business Strategy" (pp 79-83). I have no previous experience of "compilation" as a means of creating a magazine article (as opposed to a monograph), but I suppose the fact that the article was "compiled", rather than "written by" by Mr. Zalud, is supposed to immunize him from criticism for publishing something that isn't worth the paper it's written on. I certainly don't blame him for what appears to be a certain reluctance to take full credit for this piece of...whatever.

    The article purports to examine, among other questions, the pros and cons of "contract" versus "in-house" security. Turning immediately to the last page to note the "sources" from which the article was "compiled", we might be excused for objecting that the sources were all representatives of contract security firms - AlliedBarton (King of Prussia, PA), Day & Zimmerman (Philadelphia, PA), and Vigilos (Seattle, WA). Also quoted in the article but not listed at the end is a representative from Garda. I don't know why he's not a "source", but apparently he hasn't risen to those dizzying heights.

    Being "compiled" does not mean that Mr. Zalud did not write any part of the article - presumably he wrote the text that "glues together" the comments of the "contributors". Nevertheless, as the piece is written in a format that only loosely attributes text to contributors, it is indeed very difficult to know who says what. Mr. Zalud seems to be the conductor who keeps the Bias Express on schedule, hitting all of the "stations" right on time.

    The article is so slanted toward contracting, and so rife with unsupported and questionable assertions about the benefits of contracting, that it is not worthy of this or any periodical except those published by Marvel Comics. Indeed, it is nothing but an advertisement for contract services overlaid by a paper-thin veneer of "objectivity" in the form of raising, and then promptly knocking down, some of the very real problems and legitimate objections that many professionals in our industry have regarding contract security services. The "sources" apparently knew very well that they couldn't simply ignore these problems in the article, so they did the next best thing and trivialized them. For his part, Mr. Zalud simply stands by in silence while the truth is being mugged.

    Example: "In addition, switching to contract security does not mean losing your well-established security force. Contract companies generally retain as many of the qualified existing staff members as the client desires."

    Really? Who knew? If I had a $thousand lying around looking for something to do, I'd hold a contest and solicit essays from members of this forum in reply to everything that is wrong with the above-noted nonsense (I considered using an earthier term, derived from the equine community, rather than "nonsense" but thought better of it).

    For starters, there is no evidence of the baseline truth of this statement, and I suspect there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Second, there is no mention made of the fact that in most cases the new vendor will usually attempt to "absorb" your proprietary officers at lower pay and with fewer benefits than they have been receiving (if any at all), and because of this the vendor will often fail to absorb them. Your officers will simply move on to other comparable positions if available, and in some cases they will leave the industry altogether. Those who DO accept the vendor's terms for want of a better alternative are often bitter and resentful at finding themselves in reduced financial circumstances while being asked to perform the same work they had performed previously.

    Example: "In most cases, the cost of an outsourced security program is comparable to a company's in-house budget. However, the expertise, training resources and experience a contract security firm provides is an invaluable benefit."

    <Cough!>....Unfortunately, I don't have the second $thousand to host this contest for member essays, either, which is too bad because it would be a doozy.

    ...and it gets worse as the article goes on to "examine" the "armed versus unarmed question". At some point, it just becomes too much. Well before reaching the final line of the article, the reader will find that reference to excrement - either equine or bovine - becomes virtually unavoidable. We are only human after all, Mr. Zalud, and faithful readers of your magazine deserve better than this. Much better.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 11-22-2007, 02:11 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
    SecTrainer,

    Please don't beat around the bush; candidly tell us how you really feel....

    Seriously though, your critique of this article is very valid. The whole thing is just a "puff piece" for the contract security industry. An objective article would have included input from one or more end-users who have decided to stay with a proprietary security force after having considered the use of contract, and explained the reasons why. I have conducted several contract-vs-proprietary studies and would always love to learn more about why someone else chose one over the other.

    I became generally disillusioned with many of the security trade publications when I realized that most are just vehicles for selling advertisements. Articles and editorial content are provided just so long as they support the publication's primary purpose - the selling of advertising. When was the last time you read an article that was even mildly critical of any security product or service? I read a number of computer and professional sound magazines and regularly see articles slamming products that don't work as advertised or are complete junk. In my 35 or so years in the security business, I don't recall seeing such an article in any of the popular security publications.
    Last edited by Silva Consultants; 11-22-2007, 03:40 AM.
    Michael A. Silva
    Silva Consultants

    Comment


    • #3
      I get alot of US and international, Security, Risk, LP and Investigation e-mags and hard copy mags from around the world and most are there to sell me new gadgets. Silva Cons. summed it up when he compared about faulty products to fault security service providers.

      About 10 years our state security industry went through a major overhaul - everyone needed to be re-assessed, were finger printed and were fun through the federal criminal D/B (again). It created issues 2 companies were just charging $200.00 to fill in some forms for an assessment and the staff could barely speak English so they were struck off the register of security companies. It went through the industry and being a company licence holder, I was partial to the outcome.
      "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

      Comment


      • #4
        Alright, do we have an online copy of this, or do I have to go buy it? I figured this would be one of two things:

        1. A hit piece on human security personnel (GO BUY CAMERAS)
        2. Please buy security guards from a NASCO member.

        It seems that they interviewed top-tier NASCO providers, of course. I don't think Garda is a NASCO member, so that may be why they aren't a source.
        Some Kind of Commando Leader

        "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

        Comment


        • #5
          Link to article

          Here's a link: http://www.securitymagazine.com/CDA/...00000000191784
          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
          Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

          Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm not managemet but please allow me to ask something. Security Magazine really doesn't seem to have much for me, a contract security officer working an anarmed account in an industrial facility. There are losts of articles about the latest wizbang IP camera and sotware. That's fine but nothing for those of us "in the trenches".
            My dad is a retired Cop and I grew up reading Police magaizine. Articles written for patrol officers and deputies about things that they would find useful in thier regular workdays. This months' Police has articles about SWAT use of nonlethal weapons. An article about boots and a Shots Fired article about a response to a sucidal person becoming an officer involved shooting are there. Every month there's something to appeal to the "cop on the beat".
            Security Magazine doesn't offer us anything like that.
            So I ask,
            Is there any magazine out there for Security Officers which addresses our duties and what we see daily?

            Steve,
            Hospital Security Officer

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by EMTGuard View Post
              I'm not managemet but please allow me to ask something. Security Magazine really doesn't seem to have much for me, a contract security officer working an anarmed account in an industrial facility. There are losts of articles about the latest wizbang IP camera and sotware. That's fine but nothing for those of us "in the trenches".
              My dad is a retired Cop and I grew up reading Police magaizine. Articles written for patrol officers and deputies about things that they would find useful in thier regular workdays. This months' Police has articles about SWAT use of nonlethal weapons. An article about boots and a Shots Fired article about a response to a sucidal person becoming an officer involved shooting are there. Every month there's something to appeal to the "cop on the beat".
              Security Magazine doesn't offer us anything like that.
              So I ask,
              Is there any magazine out there for Security Officers which addresses our duties and what we see daily?

              Steve,
              I used to receive a hotel security newsletter that was very good & geared to guards working down in the trenches. It was very very expensive - why? no advertizing. It's the big shots at the top that make the big purchases. There are only so many Quartermasters & Galls that sell to the usually lower paid trench worker
              I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
              Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
                Alright, do we have an online copy of this, or do I have to go buy it? I figured this would be one of two things:

                1. A hit piece on human security personnel (GO BUY CAMERAS)
                2. Please buy security guards from a NASCO member.

                It seems that they interviewed top-tier NASCO providers, of course. I don't think Garda is a NASCO member, so that may be why they aren't a source.
                I receive my copies of Security & Canadian Security free
                I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                Comment


                • #9
                  In all honesty, from what I have observed and experienced first hand, I absolutely have no faith or trust in contract companies over in-house. My Hotel company hires in-house officers for each location and only uses "Temps" if we are short staffed. We have had so many issues with every contract company we hire out.

                  When we do hire temps, we give them the easiest job on property for the most part, monitoring and checking in vehicles at the security gate. Even then they can never seem to handle that much. We have had incidents where a temp doesn't pay attention (and they have worked our property multiple times and still don't do what they are told), vehicle runs the gate, and he fails to report it, doesn't make note of it, and goes back to relaxing. Next thing you know, I come back from my days off to find out there was a Strong Arm to a guest and that vehicle was responsible all because the temp failed to say anything to the in-house officers on patrol.

                  So in my opinion, the contract companies may hire "Licensed" S/O's, but they don't seem to hang on to their training. Some of the people just seem to be there for the paycheck and nothing else.

                  Then again, I take my job very sriously, so this could be why I ahve such a poor opinion of the people we hire out from tiem to time.

                  The other issue is that quite a few companies here in FL seem to still be just O&R yet the companies hiring them are O&R and React. So when something happens, they don't bother to do anything even though they know we are an active security force for the property.

                  On top of that, it costs us more cash to hire temps than just use in-house.
                  "In most cases, the cost of an outsourced security program is comparable to a company's in-house budget. However, the expertise, training resources and experience a contract security firm provides is an invaluable benefit."
                  I definately don't agree with this statement.


                  Also, in terms of the "absorbing" of in-house to the contract company during a change over, is more than likely not true. And as SecTrainer said they will offer lower pay and benefits compared to what the in-house company was offering.
                  Example: "In addition, switching to contract security does not mean losing your well-established security force. Contract companies generally retain as many of the qualified existing staff members as the client desires."

                  Really? Who knew? If I had a $thousand lying around looking for something to do, I'd hold a contest and solicit essays from members of this forum in reply to everything that is wrong with the above-noted nonsense (I considered using an earthier term, derived from the equine community, rather than "nonsense" but thought better of it).

                  For starters, there is no evidence of the baseline truth of this statement, and I suspect there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Second, there is no mention made of the fact that in most cases the new vendor will usually attempt to "absorb" your proprietary officers at lower pay and with fewer benefits than they have been receiving (if any at all), and because of this the vendor will often fail to absorb them. Your officers will simply move on to other comparable positions if available, and in some cases they will leave the industry altogether. Those who DO accept the vendor's terms for want of a better alternative are often bitter and resentful at finding themselves in reduced financial circumstances while being asked to perform the same work they had performed previously.

                  Sorry If I went off topic at all or misunderstood something mentioned, I tend to rant a bit. lol
                  Last edited by Deputy Dawg; 03-04-2008, 01:16 PM.
                  "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    No DDawg you are right. I removed all contract security staff apart from some LPO Mums (they work school hours) as I was sick of the perverts who came looking like slobs to our stores. It looked like they scraped the bottom of the barrel for some of their staff who either could not speak English or refused to follow simple directions.

                    Worst though are the sub-sub contractors who will wear the same uniform as you but are so far below standard you want to take them up a side alley and knock sense into them. Again they just don't care because they will be on less money than you, could be bums during the week and happy to be paid something for their time.

                    During the 2000 games, about $140k US of broadcast gear walked out of a secured area at the Olympic Venues because of the idiots we hired to cover these shifts were just hired as bodies only. English was optional when I interviewed the 4 on shift and I wondered how did they pass their licences with out speaking English ?

                    Just some comparisons here:

                    1. Inhouse s/o under an award works 12 hours (with 4 hours o/t).
                    2. Contract s/o works 12 hours and is paid same rate at 12 hours.
                    3. Inhouse s/o calls in sick - need to find a replacement
                    4. Contract s/o calls in sick - company has to find a replacement
                    5. Inhouse s/o found unsuitable hard to terminate
                    6. Contract so found unsuitable - 1 phone call and they are replaced.

                    Also we have issues with insurance, company licences, training and new laws which could cost another $15k minimum a year - are you really going to save that much by remaining inhouse ?
                    "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      True, in terms of saving money, contracting in the long run can be a good idea. Luckily all training is paid for by our HR so we don't have to worry about it, it's just a company expense, not a department expense.

                      In terms of firing though, my location is very strict. Depending on what you screwed up on, you may or may not get a second or third chance.

                      I'd rather go for quality though over costs. I've even heard that the company owner himself would rather spend money on in-house than contract because he has seen how horrible of a job they can do.
                      "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Our inhouse concierge work under our company security licence - we need it for LP staff and we are already paying for it so we were able to pay above the contract rates to get the better staff. Often if someone is sick we split the shift into 3's to give everyone a bit of o/t if they want it but still give them time off. I would rather pay 150% in penalties than bring someone else in. $$$ wise I ran our numbers after my post and found we are about 9.7% better off in 2007/08 (to date) with an expected 12% saving overall and we are paying almost 17% above award wages too.

                        It was a matter of removing the supervisors role, increasing the wages to promote everyone and appointing a team leader role on every shift which was rotated between staff. In 2007, all of the team earned $20k more than what they would have with a contracted security service plus a further $4k in bonuses and now we are giving out coffee vouchers every month.
                        "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

                        Comment

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