On September 25th, 2017, a security officer, Jesus Campos, was on a routine walk-through of the hotel where he worked. Many floors below and outside of the hotel, a concert was starting. Campos’s thoughts weren’t on the concert but simply on completing his rounds. Below him, the concert was in full swing, and he later recalled occasionally hearing the music. Suddenly Campos’s radio crackled to life, notifying him of a door alarm on the 32nd floor. As Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowds below, a sole unarmed security guard was on his way to confront the worst mass shooter in U.S. history. In the aftermath, authorities have widely praised Campos’s actions during the tragedy stating that without him more lives would have undoubtedly been lost.
This hotel was equipped with security basics for worst case scenarios. Have you given thought to your security needs that will prepare you for your unique situations?
Determine Your Needs
What are your needs? Asking this important question is one of the first steps to take when looking at a security company. Some companies have been built on overselling customers on services they simply do not need. Others do nothing more than “check the box” by putting a person on site with no training, experience, or the necessary resources to provide adequate security. It is important that your overall security plan is developed around your actual needs. One of the most effective ways to develop a security plan, as well as assess a potential security provider, is to ask them for help in creating your plan. This will give an idea on what their expertise level is as well as whether they are trying to sell you on services you do not need.
Speak with a Decision Maker
Do not settle with a company that only allows access to its sales force. It is important that any company you hire have an accessible management team. The unfortunate reality is that most incidents take place after hours. If you have a critical incident at three in the morning, is the company responsive to your needs? Does management personally respond to the situation to ensure that your security needs are met? Does the company work to ensure your employees and site have the protection they need? When you have a problem you need to speak to people who can make the changes you need. You should unquestionably have direct contact information for or access to the decision makers within the company.
Utilization of Technology
Ask any company you are looking at employing how they leverage technology. If they struggle to answer, look somewhere else. Technology, to borrow a term from the military, can be a true “force multiplier”. It can allow a significant cost saving to your company if properly applied. One simple way to gauge a company’s ability to use technology is their internet presence. Does the company have a professional website? Do they utilize social media to effectively communicate their company and its values? These things may seem unimportant but in today’s world the inability to effectively and professionally present their company in the online world is a red flag. Furthermore, ask what technology the company uses to help their personnel provide you with the services you were promised.
Over the years, I have learned that there is no substitute for experience. This is not to discount intelligence or any other factor but simply to highlight just how important experience is. The important factor to look for here is the experience of the management team. A company is a direct reflection of its leadership. If the senior members of the management team have significant security and leadership experience it is likely that they will build this into their company’s DNA.
Although last in this list, cost absolutely plays a role in what company you choose, and understandably so. There are several important considerations when it comes to cost. It is important to determine your budget and then apply it in the most efficient manner to meet your needs. The old adage, “you get what you pay for” certainly applies here but there are companies that provide a poor or indifferent service at an unreasonable price. An important question to ask here is, how do they pay their employees compared to the industry average and do they pass along that cost? If you base your decision only on price, the quality of service you receive will be poor. There is simply no way around it; if the company you contract pays at the low end of the wage scale, it will be clearly reflected in the employees they hire.
While the above five factors are not the only things to consider, they are some of the most critical aspects when choosing your security provider. Be sure to consider the full picture when choosing your security provider and try to find the company that can best meet your individual security needs.
Dan has extensive security experience in a variety of fields. In his over twenty years as a Marine and Soldier he has multiple deployments throughout both the United States as well as the globe. In the military he has risen to the rank of Command Sergeants Major which has given him a unique perspective on all levels of security operations. Dan also has over a decade of law enforcement experience that includes experience in property crimes (loss prevention), as a detective in multiple units, and he currently serves as a supervisor in the Special Victims Section for the Lexington Police Department.