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  • Should Security Officers Play A Major Role In Government Emergency Responses?

    I am currently working with the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department, homeland security division, in preliminary matters regarding private security officer training and involvement in anti-terrorist efforts.

    I recently submitted a program, (Direct Intervention for Victims of Emergencies (DIVE Team)(c)), to the Department, which I wrote in 2002. My program is designed to incorporate select trained security officers into front line government responses to serious or otherwise mass emergencies within the U.S., involving both natural and man made castrophies. If my program is accepted, it will be the first of its' kind in the U.S.

    http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dfjksk8c_2c348fr

    In researching various subjects I came across this article involving Blackwater, U.S.A. which is a private security company that has several major contracts with the U.S. military to provide private security services in Iraq and elsewhere. Blackwater U.S.A. proposes and has received preliminary approval to open and operate a civilian / military anti-terrorist training camp within the U.S., it too will be the first of its' kind.

    http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Massiv...test_0403.html

    However, Blackwater, U.S.A. is not the only private security company to provide anti-terrorist private security services under contract with the U.S. government. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began certifying private security corporations to operate under contract in anti-terrotist efforts, to-wit, some corporations provide an "array of robots, aerial surveillance drones, computer systems and transponders that detect trespassers with biochemical sensors."

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...esecurity.html

    Therefore, the question I wanted to pose is:

    What are your feelings about private security officers playing a major role in front line government responses to serious or otherwise mass emergencies (both natural and man made) within the U.S.?
    Last edited by Christopherstjo; 04-10-2007, 02:21 AM.

  • #2
    Christopherstjo:
    Would it not be in the best interest of both law enforcement and citizens to have well trained private security personnel to evacuate in a safe manner those facilities for whom they provide protection? How would the police prefer to handle several hundred occupants of a particular complex? If the police instruct private security for that complex on where occupants can go in a particular incident that will aid in the safety of all concerned. Better to have organization than a wondering mob.
    If there is serious incident such as the WTC on 9/11, the private security forces did a marvelous job and many security personnel gave up their lives to save so many.
    Enjoy the day,
    Bill

    Comment


    • #3
      If a terrorist incident or other disaster happens on private property, chances are that the security guard(s) on property will be the "first responders." Unfortunately, the law enforcement community generally believes that they are the first responders and incident commanders of any man-made incident, and there is no response before they arrive. EMS and Fire like to remind them that they don't show up first.

      The thing is, when you say, "security guards are first responders," the people involved go, "No, they're not, they're just civilians who will get in the way." Changing this at the unit level is a priority because the security personnel are the first responders in the eyes of the public. They are the uniformed authority figure that the public expects to save them.

      I've had this happen during active shooter incidents. When responding, the residents of the property I was on stopped annoying us, and looked at us to:

      Kill the bad guy(s)
      Save the childrens
      Protect them from harm and death

      Any other time, "security can't do nothin, they ain't the po-lice."

      When it happens, people will be looking to the low paid security guard who is present to observe and report at their shopping center or mall or office building. And, unfortunately, 9 times out of 10, they'll be just as clueless due to no or little training and no refresher training in emergency procedures.

      The ones who have training, and have refresher training regularly, will probably fare better when the people look to them for help.
      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


      • #4
        Both of you offer good points; ones that I not only strongly agree with but have been using in my avocations (though in different words).

        I recently sent an e-mail to my contact person in the KCMO Police Dept, homeland security division about the response I received from the KCMO Police Dept when I requested access to training classes intended for police officers. The response was that while Class A security officers would be permitted to attend such classes, there was no mistaking that police officials at the training center resent and resist security officer involvement in training opportunities. Specifically telling me in the e-mail that I opened a can of worms with my request for Class A security officers to attend training otherwise made available to everyone else, inlcuding the civilian population.

        My contact person, who is a high ranking official, stated, in a recent meeting we had, that private security guards (though I corrected him in the use of the title "guard") do not receive the respect they deserve. I told him that I appreciate his open comment very much, as not only is it true, it is an exceptionally rare thing for a senior police official to openly admit such and its' even more rare to admit such in front of other police officers and their superiors. A rather daring and risky thing to do.

        In this respect, you are right Nathan, general society is really no better but when the chips are down - who ya gonna call? No - not Gostbusters - Rent a Cops (haha).

        I believe private security offers an enormous pool of manpower and resources that have yet to be tapped in ways that will go a long way in addressing crime rates and anti-terrorist efforts. Clearly, we are the eyes and ears of government but rarely are our voices heard and our reports often go unnoticed and unresponded to.

        My contact at the KCMO police dept, said he is going to be conducting surveys of the private security industry. I suggested that he focus on doing such with front line officers rather than doing such in the customary way of approaching employers and executives. No offense - but employers and exectutives do not know or see what front line officers do and as such, our voices, in many respects, are more important than our employers and the employer's management team. We know what will and will not work on the properties we are assigned - we see and deal with the daily activity and we know many of the personalities, characters, habits and quarks of our clients and many of the employees on our properties. What police official can say that?
        Last edited by Christopherstjo; 04-09-2007, 11:03 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Christopherstjo,

          I am wholly in favor of Security Officers playing major roles in mass

          emergencies. Not only do I agree in your observation that the private

          security sector is a vast and untapped resource, I also believe that

          developments like these will start to change the general public's view of

          Private Security for the better. More professionalism equals more respect.

          From a Security Officer's point of view, developments such as these signify

          opportunities for advancement and learning different skill sets.
          "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
          - Thomas Jefferson

          “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
          — Vince Lombardi

          "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

          IX. Strive to attain professional competence.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by N. A. Corbier

            I've had this happen during active shooter incidents. When responding, the residents of the property I was on stopped annoying us, and looked at us to:

            Kill the bad guy(s)
            Save the childrens
            Protect them from harm and death

            Any other time, "security can't do nothin, they ain't the po-lice."
            Unfortunate but true, we get very little respect until something happens and then we are the ones being the first responders. I have seen many Officers get demotivated from the lack of respect.
            Todd

            Comment


            • #7
              I believe that like it or not, the industry will explode in the very near future to broadly expand in the services provided by front line security officers.

              I believe we will become a centerpiece in the delivery of front line criminal justice and public safety efforts, far more than we currently are doing.

              I believe that because we out number police by an estimated 13 to 1 (according to the 2004 U.S. Dept of Justice report) and control 85% of the critical infrastructure facilities, it is enevitable that we will be called upon more and more to provide services in broader realms than currently exist.

              I believe that the [greatly misinformed] belief of security "guards" (I absolutely hate that word) being [solely] a fixture at a parking lot, mall or convenience store and lacks a brain cell to urinate on, will become a far distant steretypical image of the past. To-wit, we are already seeing specialized and tactical teams developing that are comprised of private security officers who are being incorproated into governmental anti-terrorist efforts.

              I believe the tide is shifting into a new direction that will entail security officers across the nation having police powers with the mandate to exercise such in a light most favorable to the goverenment in protecting public safety by fighting crime.

              I believe that because of these things, security officers will have to make a choice; either unite and make our voices heard in order to gain our independance both as professionals and as as a credible profession; access the training we have a right to have in order to safeguard our personal safety and preserve our employment, and to obtain the respect we deserve and rightfully earn everyday, or to remain complacent and therein ultimately be swollowed up by the industry and forced to leave.
              Last edited by Christopherstjo; 04-10-2007, 02:32 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have posted the link to my DIVE Team program in the opening post for this thread. I scaled it down from the original program I wrote in 2002, specificaly to present to the KCPD to consider implementing on a city level, which I did piror to my writing my thesis.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Christopher,

                  I agree that Security should play a role in responses to major emergencies (look at the CNN shooting last week... who took the shooter down? Security).

                  I am concerned that you are confusing regular security with Blackwater. Blackwater and other "security contractors" (Mercenary isn't a politically correct word these days) Do have benifits... Same goes for the para-militry teams that secure installations such as nuclear power plants.

                  But they are not the same Security Officers that protect office buildings... in my case, if my employer were to decide to arm me tomorrow, I'd carry a semi-auto pistol... no shotgun, no AR-15. Look at my uniform... I'm in a standard police/secuirty uniform with badge, nameplate, collar brass, and duty belt... and a tie in winter months. No BDU's, no 5.11's.

                  Both styles of "security" have a place in disaster response... but only one will be there when everything actually happens.
                  The views expressed here are mine and do not reflect the official opinion of my employer or the organization through which the Internet was accessed.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    EMTjon

                    No, I am not confusing the two - only demonstrating the comparisons existing between the different apects security functions.

                    I believe that regardless whether or not a security officer works a parking lot or a military base - each plays a significant role in public safety. Moeover, each can be properly incorporated into disaster responses with the correct training and oversight.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Christopherstjo
                      EMTjon
                      I believe that regardless whether or not a security officer works a parking lot or a military base - each plays a significant role in public safety. Moeover, each can be properly incorporated into disaster responses with the correct training and oversight.
                      What you said and yes then, to your original question.

                      Even the observe and report Officers should have basic training on possible threats and what could be expected of them.
                      Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
                      Groucho Marx

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm all for that idea Christopherstjo. It sounds a bit like an idea I've been working out (on my end down here in SATX) that I labled an S.D.U. or Special Duties Unit comprised of the elite of PSOs who have proven themselves in training courses and have all the proper certifications. Glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way, as I feel it's something [be it your DIVE or my S.D.U.] that does need to be implemented into the fabrics of Private Security indeed. I for one am always going for more training in all areas and will be going for my LV IV certification soon and after that to be EMT certified as well. I'd say a specialist unit that deploys as "1st responders & LEO/National Guard Assistants" for natural disasters, civil unrest (think the whole fiasco in NOLA here) is a must.

                        A buddy of mine who works for US Security Associates actually fielded during the whole NOLA incident, and they were some of the few PSOs stuck in the middle of a logistics nightmare where the police weren't doing much, and the National Guard had yet to deploy. It wasn't anything on the scale of a fully capable and well trained DIVE or SDU formation from within the ranks of that particular company... but there they were, guarding Home Depots and a few other places (iirc on the actual clients) with armed idiots running around shooting at recovery helicopters and what few LEOs were to be had in the chaos. What went through my mind then, [and what got me into the process of what you're already doing] is why isn't there a para-military specialist unit comprised of PSOs? Like it's already been mentioned, PSOs are the 1st responders whether the Police or any other agency want to hear it or not concerning private property. In the interest of clients who want their estates, properties and more secured, or as an "assited" force working with the respective Police, such units need to be taken seriously. But I fear they won't be for all the reasons given. Which I don't understand why seeing as how a huge chunk of PSOs are usually ex military, ex police or people who have "natural knack" for Security and it's implementations and seek more and more training to be a better professional in their respective field.

                        For what it's worth though, I'm right there with ya man.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by EMTjon
                          Christopher,

                          I agree that Security should play a role in responses to major emergencies (look at the CNN shooting last week... who took the shooter down? Security).

                          I am concerned that you are confusing regular security with Blackwater. Blackwater and other "security contractors" (Mercenary isn't a politically correct word these days) Do have benifits... Same goes for the para-militry teams that secure installations such as nuclear power plants.

                          But they are not the same Security Officers that protect office buildings... in my case, if my employer were to decide to arm me tomorrow, I'd carry a semi-auto pistol... no shotgun, no AR-15. Look at my uniform... I'm in a standard police/secuirty uniform with badge, nameplate, collar brass, and duty belt... and a tie in winter months. No BDU's, no 5.11's.

                          Both styles of "security" have a place in disaster response... but only one will be there when everything actually happens.
                          EMT,

                          You make a good point about BW and other firms of their type. They are generally ex SF guys who are extremely well trained and competent. There are few LEOs that would mind having them next to them in a crisis.

                          The contract guard industry is in a real catch-22. The salaries being offered do not attract candidates who, again generally, are capable of being trained to that level. Regardless of their capacity to be trained, most employers will not expend the resources to a level where most LEOs would want them armed and standing with them in a crisis. Remember these are just my opinions.

                          That being said, our unarmed contract guard forces in this country should be part of the response to any crisis. They will be the first responders in most instances. They need to be trained in security awareness and emergency response. In either case the need to be armed is minimal. I also believe that there should be a second tier of security officers- those who have the aptitude and attitude to take on added responsibilities, those who likely are currently in supervisory roles- that are armed or capable of being armed (dependent on company or institution policy) in a crisis.

                          Chritopher, I will print and read your DIVE proposal in more depth, but my first quick read found it to be excellent!

                          Regards,

                          John
                          "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." G. Orwell

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            On a superficial level, it's very tempting to look at the sheer numbers of security personnel as a potential disaster response resource. It only seems to make sense. You could do the same, for that matter, with "healthcare workers" and other industrial groups. It turns out that there are several major hurdles to doing so.

                            First, the logistics of mobilizing such a resource effectively are very problematic, involving a number of issues such as equipment (what equipment, and who is going to pay for it?), preparedness/training, notification, coordination, command and control, administrative functions, etc. that have proven thorny even when they are confined merely to the public sector - for instance, many regions still do not have interoperative communication systems among police, fire and EMS.

                            Second, most security forces, like healthcare workers, have their own venues of responsibility in the event of disasters which they are not free to abandon to respond off-site anyway. This is particularly true in the sectors designated as the "critical infrastructure" industries, which happen also to comprise the largest segments of security forces.

                            Third, there are a host of legal issues, ranging from authorization to liability, would require outright legislation to resolve.

                            I am in favor of all security officers receiving the necessary training, equipment, etc. that they need in order to be able to respond to disasters in terms of their own sites (evacuation, etc.), which is also where I think they would be most effective. This implies, of course, that the site must have its own disaster response plan, disaster preparations/supplies, etc. Trying to meld security forces with public responders for "general disaster response" would not be nearly as effective as preparing all security officers to deal with the consequences of disasters within their own venues. This would leave public responders free to deal with other venues where such disaster-capable forces are not available. Although this contribution to the disaster effort is "indirect" with respect to the public space, it would make an enormous and much more effective contribution to the total response effort. It is not at all necessary for security forces to become public responders themselves, as there is plenty to do in the private space when a disaster strikes.

                            _________________________________

                            Machiavelli, incidentally, was wrong. The proper implementation of a new system need not be, as he cynically believed, a zero-sum game in which the "winners" under the old system switch places with the "losers".
                            Last edited by SecTrainer; 04-11-2007, 01:03 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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Qarlo X64
                              For what it's worth though, I'm right there with ya man
                              Glad to hear it - it is an up hill battle getting anyone to listen to us - I think they hear our "titles" and immediately equate this to the erroneous preconceived belief / notion that we automatically lack the ability to have anything intellectually meaninful to say. Neglecting, of course, to remember that there is an enormous pool of professional backgrounds, experiences, experise and educational capabilities within the front line security officer platform.

                              I had to scale my program down to conform to a city level basis. My original program also incorporated mental health professionals on the premise that DIVE Team participants would respond to such things as high school shootings, as well. I went to Columbine High School, in Colorado, several years before the shooting there took place - my heart sank when the images of what was taking place were plastered on every television. I was in the K-Mart electronics dept when the news broke - on everyone of their 30 televisions stacked next to each other so it was like being in a movie theatre in front center row.

                              Anyway, I do not know if the City of Kansas City or the Kansas City Police Dept will ultimately implement my program. So far they appear genuinely interested and are willing to consider such which is more than I have been able to accomplish with State and Federal government officials. I am hoping to use KCMO as a pilot program and from this, gather the necessary data to then advocate its' implementation on a state wide level, and from there, onto the major moutain of avocating for such on a national level.

                              Comment

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