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  • How can a client get a better quality security officer?

    With very few exceptions, most of my clients are less than completely satisfied with the level of professionalism that they receive from their contract security officers. The most common complaints are lack of people skills, lack of motivation, and failure to understand enough about the client's business to really do their job correctly. High turnover is also a major issue.

    In fairness to the security companies, many of these same clients are the same ones that always take the "low bid" when soliciting proposals for security services.

    My question is this: can a client really pay more to get more? That is, if the current billing rate for an officer is $20 per hour, can they offer to pay $25 an hour and get a better officer? Or will they be paying more to get the same basic thing? If paying more money works, what percentage increase in pay would make a difference?

    From the perspective of the security company, what else can the client do to improve the quality of officer and level of service that they receive?

    The majority of my client base is in Washington, Oregon, and Calfornia, if this makes a difference.
    Michael A. Silva
    Silva Consultants

  • #2
    Clients can require the following in their contracts:

    1. Minimum contractor pay rate. If I'm giving you 30 an hour, you better be giving the guard 10 an hour, not minimum wage and making the difference.
    2. Spell out what expectations they want from their contract employees. You fail to do this, you get 'observe, report, do nothing.'

    Requiring "former law enforcement" is useless, they'll just send out someone who used to be a cop in 1953, or someone who was kicked off a police force.

    Requiring "former military" is useless, borderline insane people without people skills are not exempt from military service.
    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


    • #3
      Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
      Clients can require the following in their contracts:

      1. Minimum contractor pay rate. If I'm giving you 30 an hour, you better be giving the guard 10 an hour, not minimum wage and making the difference.
      2. Spell out what expectations they want from their contract employees. You fail to do this, you get 'observe, report, do nothing.'
      My 1st FTO with the tiny town PD I worked for (who was also part time, the only true full timer was the Chief lol) owned a small security company. I once told me that some very smart clients would specifiy a minimum officer wage from the start before openning up the bidding process, and bidding companies knew from the outset what they would have to charge to make the contract doable.

      That seems a clinet driven process the way it was with him, but I'd think a smart security company could turn that around and make that a selling point. The whole "yes we charge a bit more, but the quality you get exceeds the extra amount you will pay"

      They need to explain to the prospective client the monumental (hell, exponential) quality differance you get from an officer who is making above average wages without needing overtime than what you get from an officer who works a full schedule PLUS overtime and still can't make ends meet. The security company can also be WAY more selective and probably assure a very low turnover rate like this too.

      As my old FTO used to say (for some reason he thought I'd end up owning a security business, heck he might have been trying to sell me his ) SELL the positives and you MAKE the sale (or something like that).

      Requiring "former law enforcement" is useless, they'll just send out someone who used to be a cop in 1953, or someone who was kicked off a police force.

      Requiring "former military" is useless, borderline insane people without people skills are not exempt from military service.
      Like everything else, it depnds how you do it. There is the right way and then there is Wackenhut (lol, and I can say that because I used to be a CPO ).

      When I was with Wackenhut, the "officer quality" among CPOs (who are required to have military or LE or corrections experiance or at least training) was widely variable, because the hiring rules were so lose. I was able to be a CPO because I was a reserve police officer (with less than a year of experiance) and had been to the police academy. Another guy (my partner on the site I worked) retired a Sergeant 1st Class from the Army after 20 years. A THIRD who had worked for a private corrections corporation for 2 months (technically fulfilling the requirement) was also a CPO.

      We all made the exact same money, and Wackenhut was charging the client out the wazoo for us to be there. It was crazy sometimes, I remember on guy in the Wackenhut Armed guard class who had been an MP in the Army 20 years (and 200 pounds) ago, he answered every shoot/don't shoot question SHOOT (he was later involved in an incident where his weapon was taken from him on post, he was lucky to be alive). it was just not a good situation IMO.

      Contrast that with my experiance working for Alrod Security on the GSA contract. By then I had 2 years of police experiance and that just barely got me though the door. Just going to the police academy or being a Detention officer for a while would not have cut it. They also checked to see if I was in good standing with my PD, something Wackenhut did not do.

      For ex-military, you had to have atleast an honorable discharge with nothing major (as far as disciplinary actions) on your service record and be seperated from the service no more than 5 years. Everyone had to pass a physical and take a PT test. Thats alll in addition to the GSA requirements and testing.

      The team I worked with at the Federal Building was THE most top notch private security unit I've ever experianced, all of us ex or reserve LEOs or retired or ex military. Hell, there are times I wished I'd stayed on there at least part time when i went to work for the college.

      When it's done RIGHT, requiring prior service of some sort can be a big boon (and another major selling point), just lots of companies don't do it right at all.
      Last edited by Black Caesar; 12-19-2007, 06:28 AM.
      ~Black Caesar~
      Corbier's Commandos

      " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Silva Consultants View Post
        With very few exceptions, most of my clients are less than completely satisfied with the level of professionalism that they receive from their contract security officers. The most common complaints are lack of people skills, lack of motivation, and failure to understand enough about the client's business to really do their job correctly. High turnover is also a major issue.

        In fairness to the security companies, many of these same clients are the same ones that always take the "low bid" when soliciting proposals for security services.

        My question is this: can a client really pay more to get more? That is, if the current billing rate for an officer is $20 per hour, can they offer to pay $25 an hour and get a better officer? Or will they be paying more to get the same basic thing? If paying more money works, what percentage increase in pay would make a difference?

        From the perspective of the security company, what else can the client do to improve the quality of officer and level of service that they receive?

        The majority of my client base is in Washington, Oregon, and Calfornia, if this makes a difference.
        My humble opinion is that a good vetting and good training (ongoing) makes for good security officers. Forget the ex leo and ex military as others have said. All that seems to be is asserting the employee was trained by agencies superior to your own, without any real case by case qualification for the assertion.

        So yes, imo, pay can make a difference. It means more money for training and vetting. Vetting can even include role-play. Sounds weird, but don't laugh too hard, role playing is a great way to accurately gauge much about an individual from interpersonal skills to how the employee will react in various situations.

        Also don't forget about probation periods. Trying a probationary employee out at a specific site on a test run for a few weeks (depending on how many clients you have), if the client doesn't like them, try them at a different site. If no client likes them at the end of their probation, they don't keep the job.

        Just some ideas.
        formerly C&A

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
          Requiring "former law enforcement" is useless, they'll just send out someone who used to be a cop in 1953, or someone who was kicked off a police force.
          Requiring "former military" is useless, borderline insane people without people skills are not exempt from military service.
          I wouldn't say that. In my little area, which has 15 officers, 11 of them are either former cops or currently POST licensed police officers with either full or part time jobs. We have a very high satisfaction rating from our clients. Unfortunately, the rest of the company doesn't have the same standards as the Northern Regions.

          As an added bonus: since we've been in this area, 5 of my officers have been hired by local law enforcement agencies. It's nice to have contacts in the local agencies!
          Last edited by Badge714; 12-19-2007, 08:36 AM.
          "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

          Comment


          • #6
            My agency has a wiiide variety of officers when it comes to quality. One of our jobs is an abortion clinic and they directly specify certain officers they want, and which they do NOT want. I think internal controls at the agency should start to weed out people who they specifically dictate they do not want, and reward those who are requested.....but this is the real world; incompetence is typically rewarded in my experience.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hire Us!:d

              Comment


              • #8
                Paying more certainly gets more applicants in the door, which in turn lets you more selectively choose who you hire.

                End result=better employee's!
                ATTN. SPECOPS AND GECKO45 my secret username is CIDDECEP and I am your S2. My authorization code is Six Wun Quebec Oscar Fife. Your presence here is tactically dangerous and compromises our overall mission parameter. Cease and desist all activity on this board. Our “enemies” are deft at computer hacking and may trace you back to our primary locale. You have forced me to compromise my situation to protect your vulnerable flank. This issue will be addressed later.

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                • #9
                  There are some contract provisions that can help:

                  1. As already mentioned, a clause that provides the minimum wage to be paid to the officers serving the site. This clause will also typically incorporate a provision for the minimum annual increases that must be made to an officer's wage.

                  2. A clause that gives the client the right to inspect the records generated by the security vendor during the hiring process - i.e., application, results of background check, any test results, etc. If the officer is an established employee of the vendor, the right to review the officer's prior performance record. (The vendor may need to execute a special disclosure waiver with its officers.)

                  3. A clause giving the client the right to approve and/or reject any officer prior to assignment to the site.

                  4. A clause giving the client the right to request removal of any officer from the site without cause.

                  5. A clause specifying a maximum allowable annual turnover rate. (One effect of this is to prevent the vendor from changing out officers merely in order to avoid granting the annual increases to officers as specified in item #1 above.)

                  6. A clause granting the client the right to specify training beyond state-required minimums, if applicable. A particular site, for instance, may require officers to have advanced first aid training.

                  7. A clause specifically granting the client the right to recognize superior performance rendered by officers, either by means of small monetary or nonmonetary forms of recognition. In other words, this might be something like special mention in the company newsletter to an "officer of the month" award, perhaps with a spiff for dinner for two or something with a limited monetary value.

                  8. A clause or clauses granting the client the right to review and approve or disapprove all post orders.

                  9. A clause limiting the vendor's options for manning posts with supervisory personnel during their normal supervisory shifts. (This takes various forms and there are various reasons for this provision. The main one, of course, is that supervisors who are manning guard posts are hindered from their duties in supervising personnel, and services deteriorate when supervisors are not supervising.)

                  10. Various forms of penalties for failure to meet all of the terms and conditions of the contract.

                  Dennis Dalton has several books that include excellent contract suggestions and samples. I recommend Security Management: Business Strategies for Success and Rethinking Corporate Security in the Post-9/11 Era.

                  However, even when the contract gives the client substantial control over who is placed on site and how their duties are to be performed, the contract still remains a "dead document". What gives it life is the level of the client's ongoing involvement in managing the security function and maintaining close communication with the vendor.

                  There is a common misconception among clients that they should be able to sign a contract and "hand off" the security issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. The client must remain closely engaged, through the provisions of the contract, in the daily management of the security function and its integration into the life of the company. Even on a risk-management basis, while a client can transfer some of its risk through insurance and security contracts, there will always be a significant residual liability that cannot be transferred to third parties. One only has to check the court dockets to observe that even where security vendors are sued, the vendor's client is almost always named as a co-defendant. That is why it will always remain very important for the client to be able to show that it did not adopt a "set-it-and-forget-it" attitude about security.

                  The reason for client involvement, however, is not merely the avoidance or mitigation of liability, but because client involvement, coupled with appropriate contract provisions, is the ONLY WAY that the client will get the kind of performance they are looking for. There is no other way, and certainly "paying more" in and of itself is NO guarantee that the client will "get more".
                  Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-19-2007, 02:15 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


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dboogie2288 View Post
                    My agency has a wiiide variety of officers when it comes to quality. One of our jobs is an abortion clinic and they directly specify certain officers they want, and which they do NOT want.
                    Once I applied for a job for in-house security. The company manufactures natural beauty products. Part of the application was a form the applicant had to sign that said all employees had to agree with the company position on animal cruelty, pesticides, gun control, etc. I "forgot" to sign this form.
                    In the space where they asked for my affiliation with any "organizations," I wrote:
                    Life Member - NRA
                    Life Member - MN Deer Hunters Association
                    Member of MN Trappers Association - 15 yrs.
                    Member of the Fur Takers of America - 15 yrs.
                    Member of the Ruffed Grouse Society - 10 yrs.

                    I wonder why I never got called for an interview? I'd bet the abortionists wouldn't want me to watch their clinic either!!!
                    "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Badge714 View Post
                      Once I applied for a job for in-house security. The company manufactures natural beauty products. Part of the application was a form the applicant had to sign that said all employees had to agree with the company position on animal cruelty, pesticides, gun control, etc. I "forgot" to sign this form.
                      In the space where they asked for my affiliation with any "organizations," I wrote:
                      Life Member - NRA
                      Life Member - MN Deer Hunters Association
                      Member of MN Trappers Association - 15 yrs.
                      Member of the Fur Takers of America - 15 yrs.
                      Member of the Ruffed Grouse Society - 10 yrs.

                      I wonder why I never got called for an interview? I'd bet the abortionists wouldn't want me to watch their clinic either!!!
                      I don't think that is legal. I don't believe that a political opinion can be used against you in employment.
                      "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Andy Taylor View Post
                        I don't think that is legal. I don't believe that a political opinion can be used against you in employment.
                        I asked an attorney friend of mine, and she said that fur trappers aren't a protected class. Now if I was a GAY fur trapper, maybe I'd have a case!
                        "Striking terrific terror in the hearts of criminals everywhere" Since 1977.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Andy Taylor View Post
                          I don't think that is legal. I don't believe that a political opinion can be used against you in employment.
                          These are not political beliefs, per se, although they find expression in the political arena.

                          Any company that has a certain philosophy or belief that drives its business model (as in this case) certainly does have a right to ensure that employees are in agreement with its core beliefs.

                          For instance, a company that provides job training services for handicapped people has the perfect right to insist that all employees sign a statement stating that they agree with the company's philosophy about the value of handicapped individuals in the workplace.

                          What is key here is that the "belief" being asked about must have a nexus to the organization's business or purpose. For instance, even in politics, you can't imagine that a political campaign headquarters would not have the right to be sure that potential employees do truly support the candidate's positions and his election to office.
                          Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-19-2007, 08:04 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


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Badge714 View Post
                            I wouldn't say that. In my little area, which has 15 officers, 11 of them are either former cops or currently POST licensed police officers with either full or part time jobs. We have a very high satisfaction rating from our clients. Unfortunately, the rest of the company doesn't have the same standards as the Northern Regions.

                            As an added bonus: since we've been in this area, 5 of my officers have been hired by local law enforcement agencies. It's nice to have contacts in the local agencies!
                            How much does this have to do with their being former police officers, and how much of this has to do with their actually being able to do the job assigned?

                            Originally posted by dboogie2288 View Post
                            My agency has a wiiide variety of officers when it comes to quality. One of our jobs is an abortion clinic and they directly specify certain officers they want, and which they do NOT want. I think internal controls at the agency should start to weed out people who they specifically dictate they do not want, and reward those who are requested.....but this is the real world; incompetence is typically rewarded in my experience.
                            I have seen clients in Florida that will allow guards who are unarmed, and ask the guard if he "ever wants a gun permit." If the guard says yes, then they will not be allowed to work at the site.

                            As to an abortion clinic... I would not ask "Are you a pro-lifer," but instead, "Are you capable of putting any political or moral feelings aside and do what you are paid to do, which is to protect this facility and all the persons in it from criminal attack, as well as to maintain order?"

                            If the posted officer is siding with and aiding the pro-life protesters on cite, then they see an ally in their cause, not a neutral third party present to maintain order.

                            If, on the other hand, the officer is adamantly pro-choice and lets the protesters know this, we have the same problem. This is not a neutral third party present to maintain order, this is the enemy.

                            Originally posted by CAP View Post
                            Hire Us!:d
                            Why? ^^;

                            Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                            There are some contract provisions that can help:

                            1. As already mentioned, a clause that provides the minimum wage to be paid to the officers serving the site. This clause will also typically incorporate a provision for the minimum annual increases that must be made to an officer's wage.
                            I forgot about the minimum annual pay increases. I have seen firms that will write this into a bid, and then the client immediately goes to someone else who flat-rates the guard pay for the entire 5 year contract. "Of course," you say, "They'll go with the lowest bid over the year."

                            Keep in mind, find out if the guard service pays by officer, and not by post. If they pay by officer, then ask about their incentive and pay increase plan. Some firms will say, "We pay every officer 10 an hour," when everyone else is getting 7. Yes, they are paying more. But, is that 10 for life, while the other guards are making up to 10 an hour in as little as 2 years?

                            Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                            2. A clause that gives the client the right to inspect the records generated by the security vendor during the hiring process - i.e., application, results of background check, any test results, etc. If the officer is an established employee of the vendor, the right to review the officer's prior performance record. (The vendor may need to execute a special disclosure waiver with its officers.)
                            This is an interesting idea, and one I agree with. I have long suggested that potential clients and clients be given access to the structured training program that you put your guard force through. I have also suggested that the process (not the results) be available for actual inspection by the clients.

                            This would take that a step further, and actually give the client some peace of mind.

                            Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                            5. A clause specifying a maximum allowable annual turnover rate. (One effect of this is to prevent the vendor from changing out officers merely in order to avoid granting the annual increases to officers as specified in item #1 above.)
                            You mean I just can't rotate everyone out after 180 days, claiming I need them somewhere else, reset the clock, and put them back on your post at base rate again?

                            Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                            9. A clause limiting the vendor's options for manning posts with supervisory personnel during their normal supervisory shifts. (This takes various forms and there are various reasons for this provision. The main one, of course, is that supervisors who are manning guard posts are hindered from their duties in supervising personnel, and services deteriorate when supervisors are not supervising.)
                            What, you mean the supervisor manning that guard shack is stiffing other clients because he's no longer doing his "mobile patrols" or answering calls for supervisory presence? And your post doesn't have a guard shack, so you're being stiffed?

                            Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                            There is a common misconception among clients that they should be able to sign a contract and "hand off" the security issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. The client must remain closely engaged, through the provisions of the contract, in the daily management of the security function and its integration into the life of the company. Even on a risk-management basis, while a client can transfer some of its risk through insurance and security contracts, there will always be a significant residual liability that cannot be transferred to third parties. One only has to check the court dockets to observe that even where security vendors are sued, the vendor's client is almost always named as a co-defendant. That is why it will always remain very important for the client to be able to show that it did not adopt a "set-it-and-forget-it" attitude about security.

                            The reason for client involvement, however, is not merely the avoidance or mitigation of liability, but because client involvement, coupled with appropriate contract provisions, is the ONLY WAY that the client will get the kind of performance they are looking for. There is no other way, and certainly "paying more" in and of itself is NO guarantee that the client will "get more".
                            I think a lot of this is from the large guard services stating that they'll do everything and all you have to do is send them an invoice. Obviously, this is a patent lie.

                            Also, everything above is a SELLING POINT, people. Get crackin.
                            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


                            • #15
                              Here is my take on this situation having gone from a Security Officer to upper level management. While I was a security officer, I was making $11.00 an hour. I took my job seriously, showed up to work on time, did a good job and took advantage of any training available and due to my hard work I moved up the chain. A lot of my fellow officers however, felt that it was just a job, show up, do your job with as little effort as possible and if there was more to do who cares it only pays $11.00 an hour. They were never thinking long term. It was always "well if i get fired i'll go to company X and they will hire me." Even though they had the opportunity to advance, a lot of them just plan on drifting through life going job to job. As a manager I ran into this as well. Many of my people just didn't care about advancing and were only thinking about short term. Their ideology was that if they aren't getting paid squat, why should they bother putting forth any extra effort.

                              Another thing I ran into was the amount of work the officers have to do. I work for a large national company. The people at my site do everything from fire panels, responding to codes, checking fire extinguishers and patrolling, to doing non security related work because this is what the client demands. They feel that for 10.50 an hour, why should they do that when their peers down the street work at a high rise, make 11.00 an hour, and do a quarter of the amount of work.

                              What it comes down to is that if the work ethic isn't there, the quality is going to hurt. Even with rigorous screening of candidates, you can't really tell how someone will be until they are out in the field and you realize you've hired another warm body. I've found even with excellent training, keeping morale up and offering opportunities for advancement, a lot of people would rather just keep getting by doing the bare minimum and are content knowing that if something happens, the next company is just a phone call away.

                              I personally think it should be harder to bounce from company to company. If a guy has security experience and a license but has worked for several companies in a smaller amount of time, I don't hire them even though he looks good on paper. The fact that these guys know they can just up and leave and go to another company makes it hard to retain people because they are secure in the knowing that they can just go to another company with no questions asked.

                              If I had it my way, all security officers would have to sign a non compete agreement agreeing not to work for another company for a certain amount of time or within a certain distance of any site they've worked and have the minimum distance be far enough out that they know they can't just up and leave and work at the building next door.

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