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Mall Security - Part I

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Christopherstjo
    Our industry has no standards of practice....
    Just curious: What form do you envision such standards would take, how would we ever reach agreement on them, and who do you think should develop them?

    Here's one possible alternative: Voluntary accreditation of security agencies of the same sort that there is for LE agencies (CALEA). Having had the opportunity to observe the process of CALEA accreditation, its benefits just in terms of forcing the agency to examine its own operations themselves in more detail than they might otherwise were very obvious as you watched it going on, even aside from the final scrutiny by the CALEA reviewers. Every aspect of the agency's operations are reviewed, and compared to the published requirements for accreditation. This is very eye-opening to administrators, believe me.

    As noted, this would be voluntary on the part of the agencies (like CALEA accreditation is voluntary). However, "voluntary" is a funny word. If such accreditation were available, and if CLIENTS were informed about its benefits, they might well include the requirement for accreditation in their bid specs, for instance, or might at least be more inclined to select an "accredited security agency" over another that wasn't. This would have the desired economic effect (you yourself acknowledge that the "bottom line" drives everything in security) to create a "de facto enforcement" of accreditation as a marketing tool, and in some cases as a bidding requirement, so that agencies would have a powerful incentive to seek accreditation. Suddenly, accreditation would not be quite so "voluntary".

    As an afterthought, it might even be that insurers would jump into this, either by granting lower premiums to accredited security companies, or lowering the GL premiums of clients that use accredited companies. Of course, this would only happen if the accreditation requirements are tough (not frivolous) so that they result in a lower loss exposure to the insurer.

    There are many obvious logistical problems that I have not solved, but which are probably not insurmountable. The accrediting organization itself would need to be established, and then the accreditation standards themselves would have to be developed. Reviewers would have to be trained in the standards. It would probably be instructive to see how other accrediting agencies solved these problems, starting with CALEA itself, of course, but perhaps also JCAHO, which accredits hospitals, and the regional accrediting bodies for colleges and universities might also offer some insight about how accreditation is established. The only suggestion I would offer is that the accrediting agency might start off by setting standards only for the three or four main operational issues, such as hiring standards, training standards, supervision standards and management standards. Other areas could be added to the process as time goes on. And, of course, it is always typical with such agencies that standards are continually in a state of flux and review themselves, but that's part of their value.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 04-19-2007, 09:55 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


    • #17
      I've heard talk of accreditation before, its a good idea, but the biggest problem is getting owners on board as well as clients. That, and ensuring that "accreditation" doesn't turn into someone's money mill, or worse, a way to ensure that things are done one way, say, the G4S way.
      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


      • #18
        I think accreditation is a great idea, and I think the industry would benefit from it greatly. Unfortunately, as it was mentioned earlier, some people could really care less. I think this is probably more prominent in the contract side of the industry. Many clients just want an extra set of eyes and ears to reduce liability (and for the least amount of money). Many years ago when I worked contract security for a very, very short time, I really did not see any standardization amongst the officers as far as skill sets. Some were educated, and some appeared that they could not speak or write a complete sentence. Since I’ve worked in proprietary security as an officer and director, I tend to see more individuals who would be interested in bettering themselves and have a genuine interest for the profession.

        When the I.F.P.O. first introduced the Certified Protection Officer program, I was really excited! I had visions of many people in the industry going through the program and having the credibility of our profession uplifted. Unfortunately, I have yet to meet someone in my area who has utilized the program (although I know they exist). Perhaps the pricing is a bit high? Maybe it is another one of those money mills? Who knows. It is a great idea, but it might do better as a non-profit. Also having an organization that lobbies state representatives for better training requirements and authority would be well received. I doubt that A.S.I.S. would venture off into certifying at the officer level, but there might be hope considering that they have branched out from the C.P.P. program.

        Comment


        • #19
          I'll be honest. Outside the industry, why would anyone care if their security guard is CPO certified or not? Hell, inside the industry, why would anyone care? Same goes for any program we take.
          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


          • #20
            Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
            I'll be honest. Outside the industry, why would anyone care if their security guard is CPO certified or not? Hell, inside the industry, why would anyone care? Same goes for any program we take.
            Well, first of all, I think that *we* should care about developing a good standard training program, and then we will have to work to educate others (clients and insurers, in particular) on the benefits of certification so that they will care enough to demand that officers be certified.

            I think about ambulance personnel, for instance. It wasn't that long ago that just about any goon could drive an ambulance...and many did. Now, I don't know of anywhere in the US that you don't have to be an EMT-B at least, and you have to be a paramedic to man an ALS unit. These changes came about from within the emergency medical community itself, and then went on to be codified into the laws and regulations pertaining to emergency services.

            I believe that positive changes like that can happen in our field as well, but I think they have to begin with us. If we wait for anyone else to "care" or to "demand" that we become better trained, or that our agencies meet accreditation standards (if such existed), it won't happen.
            Last edited by SecTrainer; 04-21-2007, 12:24 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


            • #21
              Originally posted by SecTrainer
              Just curious: What form do you envision such standards would take, how would we ever reach agreement on them, and who do you think should develop them?
              In 2001, ASIS attempted to create a national standards of practice in the training and selection of security officers. I have posted the link,elesewhere, to their manual depicting such.

              I am not a fan of ASIS, yet, in practical terms, their manual is very good. However, even though employersdeveloped this manual, it was never put into effect.

              Implementing a POST certification for security officers would also be another way to create a standards of practice, which is what I have been avocating for, here in Missouri. Yet, to no surprise neither politicians nor police are willing to take actions to support such, even though these two entities are a primary source of criticism against security officers because of their lack of training and proper selection.

              I am very much against the concept of "volunteer" decisisons to have security officers trained properly. This is the current system being used and employers are "volunteering" to opt out. Hence, as I said, you have one employer who does this, another who does that and another who does nothing, and security / public / clients are suffering in the process.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
                I'll be honest. Outside the industry, why would anyone care if their security guard is CPO certified or not? Hell, inside the industry, why would anyone care? Same goes for any program we take.
                You are correct in your assessment. My experiences have been that the only good these certifications have is getting you hired; after that, nobody seems to care, let alone, remember that they even exist.

                One of the biggest problems I see is that the security industry attracts some of the most complacent and lazy individuals around, not to mention those who got fed up working McDonalds and figured doing security would suffice for awhile. Likewise, I have run into many a former cop who argues that he "did his time" and is entitled to just sit and give us "wannabe" rent a cops (sic), orders even though he has no rank.

                The majority of employers are simply and only focused on making money and it will hire just about anyone to make sure this happens no matter how inappropriate.

                Too many clients are simply and only interested in having window dressing as a means to lower their insurance rates and make the client "look good" in the eyes of the public. But the truth is, the majority of clients are an equal thorn in the industry who neither care about nor want to know what certification programs exist.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Christopherstjo
                  In 2001, ASIS attempted to create a national standards of practice in the training and selection of security officers. I have posted the link,elesewhere, to their manual depicting such.

                  I am not a fan of ASIS, yet, in practical terms, their manual is very good. However, even though employersdeveloped this manual, it was never put into effect.

                  Implementing a POST certification for security officers would also be another way to create a standards of practice, which is what I have been avocating for, here in Missouri. Yet, to no surprise neither politicians nor police are willing to take actions to support such, even though these two entities are a primary source of criticism against security officers because of their lack of training and proper selection.

                  I am very much against the concept of "volunteer" decisisons to have security officers trained properly. This is the current system being used and employers are "volunteering" to opt out. Hence, as I said, you have one employer who does this, another who does that and another who does nothing, and security / public / clients are suffering in the process.
                  Your points are well taken; however, "Protection of Assets Manual," published by Merritt sets many goals as does ASIS, having been a member of ASIS for 25 years.
                  I have seen guard companies change due to a rebid contract in which the winner was 1/8 cents lower per hour for guard coverage than the current provider. Nobody wants to be a continual loser in these contracts.
                  Since as you point out, money will continue to be the bottom line until the Federal government steps in and mandates higher standards across the board.
                  A review of nuclear weapons facilities mandated higher physical standards and look at the labor unrest that has caused, a strike of existing guards. The unions and guards will not prevail because we now have the federal government putting its weight behind the change for, I might add, the protection of very sensitive assets.
                  ASIS depends for the most part on corporations to fund its operation and articles published by them is meant to "break no china" or offend any advertiser as I found out much to my discomfort in an article I submitted concerning power conditioning.
                  Insurance companies are looking out for their bottom line in that investors are a fickle breed.
                  Enjoy the day,
                  Bill

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Bill Warnock

                    It occurs to me, and perhaps I am wrong, but if we had a standards of practice whether by indidual states or nationally, employers would still be playing on the same even field.

                    It is elementary that if you deliberately keep someone stupid by not giving them the necessary information / training then they will assurdedly carry out the intended forced stupidity.

                    It is elementary that if you deliberately set someone up to fail by refusing to properly train him or her, then you guarantee that failure is the end result achieved.

                    And

                    It is elementary that in keeping someone stupid and setting them up for repeated failures, you effectively and efficiently create the All American prize winning sap - sucker - fall guy - nimrod or whatever name you want to put to it. The person who takes the fall for the employer and for the client when the crap hits the fan and everything goes wrong.

                    We live in a day and age where its' all about "passing the buck of liability" and security officers have long since been used as the fall guy to keep the client and employer off the hook. After all, who is going to believe some security "guard" right who was just doing what they were supposed to do but was never given the training to do it right.

                    Employers don't give a hoot on whether or not their security officers' are properly trained in both armed and unarmed duties; all they do care about is their financial profits and let's face it - training costs money and this means less profits for the executives and management of security companies.

                    Likewise, clients also do not give a crap if a security officer is properly trained. How many of them bother to interview security officers before they are permitted to work the post? How many examine their certifications or at least put it into contracts that a specific level of education and certifications (beyond mere licensure) is required in order for the employer to have the contract? Very few except for those contracts issued and controlled by the government.

                    The absence of a unified of standards of practice, whether in individual states or nationally, is intentionally done, and it is the number one reason why we have no credibility in our own profession.
                    Last edited by Christopherstjo; 04-22-2007, 10:23 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I have some difficulty with the idea of "standards of practice" in practical terms, for three reasons.

                      First, there is an enormous range of security venues and it might even be said that each venue is sufficiently unique that the universe of venues is, for all practical purposes, infinite. Each of these venues has a unique risk profile, and each individual venue is controlled by a "governing entity" that has wide latitude in its decisions about how that risk profile will be addressed.

                      This is not nearly as true in the public domain, where one city's "public space" and the commonly-understood responsibilities of one city's police department are very much like those of another. There are, of course, differences, but the similarities are greater than the differences, so that "policing" is pretty much the same kind of activity everywhere it is performed. Also, the controlling entities - the governmental bodies are very similar from one jurisdiction to another and even from one state or region to another. So, you will find that most of the differences don't add up to distinctions.

                      I make note that some security venues have been "grouped" by type, such as hospitals and banks, and standard training programs have been developed for that type of venue (and a training standard at least implies a "standard of practice"). BUT, it must be also be noted that one of the things that seems to contribute to the success of these efforts is that these are industries where there are other outside forces that are operant in standardizing the "business operations" of all of the members of that group. When the business operations are fairly standard, the security operations are more easily standardized, and hence transferred (and one of the marks of a standard IS its transferrability) from one facility of the same type to another.

                      For instance, hospitals are all operationally very similar regardless of their different business structures because they must conform to the operational standards of JCAHO for certification, as well as a plethora of other agencies like the Medicare/Medicaid funding agency, laboratory certification agencies, etc. The same is true of banks, which are operationally closely regulated by the federal government/FDIC, etc. We would also find the same situation in the nuclear power, electrical power, gas, water and some other industries.

                      However, when you look at "retailers", for instance, and even if you use more granular groupings such as "clothing retailers", that's when the idea of security standards becomes more dicey. What, for instance, would be the "shoplifting response standard", or the "flood warning response" standard that would be both sufficiently specific to be actionable, and yet sufficiently general to be transferrable?

                      Second, there is the problem as to what body of recognized security experts exists today that has the gravitas, the willingness to be the "standards-making body" and the necessary "distance" (independence) from those who would be regulated or even guided by such standards? Please don't say ASIS, which fails on the latter two traits - their "guidelines" notwithstandarding. As Bill notes, ASIS is very motivated "not to break the china", and standards inevitably will break some china.

                      The third problem is that recognition of and compliance with the standards would obviously be voluntary, with few if any sanctions for nonrecognition and/or noncompliance. I think we can predict with a fair degree of confidence that even entities that recognize the standards would feel free, or would at least eventually yield to the temptation, to "adapt" the standards to suit their own organizational interests. "Adapt" here would undoubtedly include ignoring those standards that are "inconvenient" or "inapplicable" and modifying others, until the practical outcome is that you don't really have a standard at all, nor anything you can do about it.

                      The first two problems would have to be solved, period. It's pointless to talk about standards without a standards-making body that would be recognized as such, and "Job One" for such a body would be how to address the universe of security venues.

                      It might be possible to simply "ignore" the third problem, at least while the standards are being developed. Then, with standards in hand, it might be possible to "sell" them to those who have influence and/or control over those who would be impacted by the standards - for instance, to industry regulators, legislators, insurance companies, etc.
                      Last edited by SecTrainer; 04-23-2007, 05:16 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


                      • #26
                        I believe that you can take care of these problems by having a standards of practice regarding training that is divided into two categories, i.e. armed and unarmed. Armed security officers would receive training in the unarmed category plus training in the armed category.

                        Granted there are many different venues security is provided, this is irrelevant, however, in terms of a standards of practice, when the core components are the same from one venue to another, for example. How to deal with a disguntled person, a suspect, a person whom you are going to arrest or detain. How to conduct searches of business and personal property and of people themselves. Knowing what laws are applicable to the jobs performed, i.e. ADA and Fair Housing Act laws, city and state statutes, and so forth.

                        Anything that falls under individual "policies" of the client or "business practices" is taught at the post site or by the employer or its' designated supervisor.

                        Again, the current training system forces security officers to be at the sole mercy of their employer and clients to receive critical training that is needed but is not and will continue not to be given.

                        It is amazing that here, in KCMO, virtually every employer here, is grossly and greatly refusing to provide Class A security officers any training specific to laws that the security officers are supposed to be enforcing, including those of the ADA and the Fair Housing Act, not just criminal laws. Yet, these same employers and even the clients then turn around and hold these security officers accountable and responsible when things go wrong. Talk about setting someone up to fail and to take the blunt of legal liabilities for others. Hence - "We want you to do your job but we are not going to tell you what you need to know; what is critical for you to know, in order to do your job right" Ya right, there's no set up there - give me a break.

                        Having a standards of practice would go a long way in breaking down these kinds of barriers in the security industry that is wrongly punishing security officers and holding them legally liable, but who are not truly guilty of any wrongdoing because they were never given the critical information in the first place.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I see the problem. You are referring to "basic techniques" or "basic methods", not "standard procedures", and certainly not to "standards of practice". These are all different things.

                          There are, in fact, many basic techniques and methods that have already been "adopted" de facto in that they are generally accepted, and these are taught, for instance in the CPO program.

                          I would not disagree with you if you said that we need to expand or extend the range of methods taught , however, or if you said that the training itself should be improved - vastly improved, in fact. I also would not disagree that all officers should be required to complete such training.

                          I believe that training in the basic methods for unarmed officers - if done properly - requires a minimum of 120 hours (if advanced first aid is included). I would add approximately 60-80 hours for training armed officers depending on the capacity of the firing range, and a six-week, 240-hour academy would hardly need to look for ways to fill up the time.

                          However, I'd consider it to be an enormous moral victory if we could get a national standard of even 80 hours of unarmed training in basic methods adopted. We're talking about two weeks of training for the people who guard our most valuable assets and our people, for Pete's sake. How hard should it be to get everyone in this country to agree that two weeks would hardly be "too much" training, or "too expensive" to implement? If you were to ask most companies how long it takes to train a cashier ("train", of course, does NOT just mean "telling them how to do it", but "assuring yourself that they can do it"), they'd tell you it takes a couple of weeks, at least.

                          One of the subtle problems we have with the idea of "adequate training" is that everyone in this industry is called a "security officer" or a "security guard", even when their duties amount to little more than those of a doorman or a receptionist behind the desk in the lobby. Sadly, these very limited roles, rather than what you and I think of as a true "security officer", are always the ones that seem to be uppermost in the minds of the security companies AND their clients when you start to call for more training, and I guess we'd have to agree that six weeks of training would be just a tad too much expenditure on someone who does little more than tip his hat and point people to the elevators or pass out visitor nametags.

                          When we think about this, it suggests that even before we can address the question of a standard for training, we need to DEFINE WHAT A "SECURITY OFFICER" IS, OPERATIONALLY, AND DISTINGUISH HIM FROM WHAT HE IS NOT. It is from that definition that a standard for training can be derived. And, incidentally, we should not call people who do primarily doorman or receptionist duties "security officers". Let's call them, ummm....I know - how about "doorman" and "receptionist"!!

                          For instance, I would define a "security guard" as one whose primary duties are to observe and report adverse situations and/or conditions. These people are rarely armed.

                          I would define a "security officer" as one whose duties, in addition to observing and reporting, also include effective response, mitigation and intervention, whether to crimes being committed, to hazardous/unsafe conditions that may arise, or to disasters and other emergencies. The security officer would be more likely to be armed, and more of them probably should be.

                          In the case of law enforcement, society has a fairly well agreed-upon and surprisingly detailed idea of what a "police officer" is and does. In our domain, however, it's instructive to note that many more than one researcher has found that his very first task in designing a study is to provide his own definitions of security positions, specifying just what he will consider to be a "security officer" for the purposes of his study. This is obviously because of the many conflicting operational definitions that exist, and is empirical evidence that it is not possible to appeal to any "commonly accepted definitions" as it is in LE. The occupational definitions in our industry will have to be standardized before we can make much headway with standards for training purposes.
                          Last edited by SecTrainer; 04-23-2007, 05:16 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

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            No, I am referring to a standards of practice in both the training and the selection processes of security officers, as outlined in the 2001, ASIS manual.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Christopherstjo
                              No, I am referring to a standards of practice in both the training and the selection processes of security officers, as outlined in the 2001, ASIS manual.
                              Chris, in those outlines it was not stated these are mandatory requirements.
                              The folks who put these recommendations are the very same folks representing various portions of the security industry that would be impacted by these recommendations and as you will note, carefully worded.
                              Enjoy the day,
                              Bill

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Bill Warnock
                                Chris, in those outlines it was not stated these are mandatory requirements.
                                I understand and agree with this...they are just standards of practice that I strongly support and believe need to be implemented.

                                Moreover, I believe that given the work done on this manual and the amount of time it must have taken to develop the mannual. It is very disappointing and discouraging that these standards of practice were not and are not being implemented.
                                Last edited by Christopherstjo; 04-24-2007, 02:25 AM.

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