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ASIS, NASCO set record straight.

ASIS International and the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO) recently reacted to the Boston Herald's November 25 column, "Insecurity guard keeps mall safe for Xbox rush," by the Herald's Howie Carr.

In the opinion of both ASIS and NASCO, Carr's column in-accurately portrayed the private security industry, maligned security officers and misrepresented the vital role security officers working in mall and shopping center settings play in crime prevention as well as in terrorism preparedness and response. The letter is intended not only to encourage the Boston Herald to set the record straight but also to convey the importance the security industry itself places on the screening and proper training of its officers, that they may never become the unsavory stereotypes that Carr depicts.

ASIS Board of Directors Chair Daniel J. Consalvo, CPP, (who was Society president at the time the letter was written) and NASCO Chair Michael E. Goodboe, Ed.D., wrote that, "It is unfortunate that Howie Carr chose entertainment value over fact and safety in his blustering November 25 rant ("Insecurity guard keeps mall safe for Xbox rush") attacking the integrity of security officers who work in our nation's shopping malls during the busiest and most important time of the year for retailers and consumers.

"The private security industry employs nearly two million security officers protecting 85 percent of our nation's most critical and vulnerable infra-structure. With three times more private security officers than law enforcement currently serving our nation's communities, security officers are the backbone of our nation's security, working with other first-responders to protect millions of people everyday.

"In our post-9/11 environment, we must work diligently to balance security and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. Malls are designed to be open facilities and create enjoyable, safe experiences for consumers while providing a secure environment for the transaction of billions of dollars in business. Security officers are trained to focus on crime prevention while also providing important customer services.

"In reality, today's security officers are better trained to handle any number of situations. The risks, threats and activities of security officers and measures differ tremendously from facility to facility. The training and level of security required at one property may not be necessary for another. Security professionals work with local police departments to determine the level of security required.

"The private security industry recognizes the importance of raising the standards for security officers and advocates better training in skills applicable to the environment and risks associated with the facility. Private security is working together to develop meaningful state regulations for security officer licensing and training. In fact, ASIS ... released its Private Security Officer Selection and Training Guideline that has been endorsed by ... NASCO, whose members employ nearly 400,000 of the best trained and most prepared security officers working in the United States today. This guideline sets forth minimum criteria for the selection and training of private security officers, which also may be used to provide regulating bodies with consistent minimum qualifications.

"In addition, private security hailed Congress's passage and the president's signing of the National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 last December, as published in your November 14 edition by James Alan Fox ("Public safety at risk from private protectors"). The Private Security Officer Employment Authorization Act, which ASIS, NASCO, and others supported, was part of this law. This provision authorizes employers to request FBI criminal back-ground checks on persons applying for or holding positions as private security officers.

"The private security industry is working with state legislators and regulators to raise the standards for security officers across the country. Similarly, important changes have taken place in the training arena, including increased integration of anti-terrorism and disaster response measures.

"ASIS, NASCO and other security associations that share our vision for the industry are committed to promoting laws that raise the standards for private security and promote quality service with professional, properly screened, and trained personnel.

"Carr obviously makes a living painting with an extremely broad brush. It is unfortunate he painted such a bleak and inaccurate picture of the security community. Had he asked, as Mr. Fox did, for information on the state of industry training, screening, and licensing requirements, we would have been happy to assist. Carr's column might not have been as sensational, but at least it would have been accurate."
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Title Annotation:ASIS NEWS
Publication:Security Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
Previous Article:European Security Conference in Nice.
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