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Neighborhood watch.

COMMUNITY policing is public law enforcement's way of mirroring the private security industry. Like private security, community policing is proactive crime prevention that is accountable to the customer. The similar goal creates the opportunity for a cooperative program between the private and public sectors that would benefit both sectors as well as the community. Police forces, which are over-burdened and understaffed, would be able to share some of their responsibilities with security officers, and the police department's resources would help the security professional better protect his or her client, as well as open up a new market.

In their book, Community Policing A Contemporary Perspective, Robert Trojanowicz, the founder of the National Center for Community Policing, and Bonnie Bucqueroux, the center's associate director, recognized this opportunity. "There is no formal mechanism for the public and private police to share valuable information (though it might prove logical to add this to the community police officer's job)," write the authors. "A private security guard patrolling the mall may well learn things the police department should know."

One need only look at the private security industry's rapid growth since World War II to understand the growing need for joint protection. The increase in crime and the decline of public protection resources. coupled with property tax limitations, have contributed to the growth of private security. People want protection, and what they cannot get from the police they get from private security companies. The public is already using both resources. Now the private and public sectors need to learn to use each other.

The Hallcrest Report II: Private Security Trends (1970-2000), a research project conducted by Hallcrest Systems under a grant from the National Institute of Justice, made recommendations for increased cooperation between private security and public law enforcement. The report noted the growth of cooperative programs between the private and public sectors since the 1980s and concluded, "Partnerships between security and law enforcement groups will likely continue to be forged throughout the 1990s, creating an increasingly formidable coalition fighting crime and favoring joint solutions to issues affecting private security and law enforcement, the public, and the business community."

Creating a program. In the creation of a cooperative program, the first three steps should be to get the support of the police chief, appoint a security liaison officer, and conduct a needs survey of the security operators in the area. The chiefs support will lend credence to the program by proving the department's commitment.

The chief's support. Leo F. Callahan, past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) notes that progress has been made in closing the communication gap between law enforcement and private security. "Inroads are being made to break down the obstacles that stand in the way of cooperative efforts," he says.

The IACP has long supported public and private liaisons. As far back as 1983, this group passed a resolution supporting cooperative programs between the private security industry and law enforcement. As a result of that resolution, the Private Security Liaison Committee (PSLC) of IACP was established in 1985. The membership of the committee is an even mix of law enforcement executives and private security professionals who have developed cooperative programs in the fields of product tampering, drugs in the workplace, and telecommunications fraud.

In addition, in August 1990, under the guidance of the PSLC, the National Center for State and Local Law Enforcement Training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, developed a three-day training course titled, "Operation Partnership." The course is designed to assist police and security executives in developing a specific cooperative program action plan.

The liaison officer. The establishment of a security liaison officer gives the private sector a contact person within the police department. Says Sergeant Steve Zultowski, security liaison officer for the Southfield police department in Michigan, "When I receive an inquiry from a member of PRIDE [Pooling Resources In Defense of our Environment] about a particular case or problem they're experiencing, I research the problem for them. Since I know the operations of the police department, the PRIDE member doesn't get the runaround and his problem is not swept under the rug."

In 1976, an in-depth research study titled Private Security: Report of the Task Force on Private Security was conducted by the National Advisory Committee on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals. In it, the task force points out some of the qualifications of a good security liaison officer, and they still hold true today. According to the report, the law enforcement officer selected as the liaison should understand the private security industry. He or she should have a working knowledge of all applicable laws and registration requirements and be familiar with private security providers, including contract guard companies, armored car companies, and alarm companies. The officer should also understand the operations of proprietary security organizations.

The survey. The third step in forming a cooperative program, the survey of security operations, will determine the nature and extent of private security operations in the area. The survey helps measure interest in cooperative programs and identify areas of need. When the survey is completed, a meeting should be scheduled to discuss the results and establish long- and short-term goals.

Officer training. It is not enough to form a program. Cooperative relationships between private security professionals and police officers must be fostered. The best way to do this is through training.

The lack of respect some police officers have for private security personnel inhibits cooperation. Police officers may look at security officers as low quality, unprofessional workers who tend to overreact during a crisis. These stereotypes must be overcome before both sides can build the trust and communication that will provide the foundation for the program's success.

To dispel these misperceptions, face-to-face training sessions should be held. The training should emphasize the diverse nature of private security. Although all private security forces are concerned with the prevention of crime and protection of assets, security officers in different industries have unique responsibilities, and police officers must be made to understand this.

Training courses should cover the role of private security, its resources, and how public law enforcement can develop relationships with security personnel and make use of their expertise. The training should also discuss the types of problems confronted by private security, including white-collar crime and computer fraud. The course may also cover security technology and equipment. The most important point of the training, however, is to introduce the certified protection officer to the private security officers who work in his or her district.

Current programs. Many cooperative programs already exist, and most are quite effective. Following is a look at some of these programs and how they help the communities they serve.

Dearborn Security Network, Dearborn Police Department, Dearborn, Michigan. The Dearborn Security Network was formed in 1988. It includes the Dearborn police and more than 100 security representatives from local corporations. The network meets monthly to discuss combined approaches to current issues facing private security and law enforcement. Ford Motor Company gave the network a grant to purchase a computer, and now an electronic bulletin board is available to network members so they can share information. The information on the bulletin board is updated daily with crime and suspect information and other news of interest to security personnel.

Corporal Douglas Laurain, director of the Dearborn Security Network, recalls how important this cooperation was during the Gulf War. "Dearborn has the largest Arab population outside of the Middle East, and during the Gulf War our city averaged ten to fifteen bomb threats per day. The Dearborn Police Department conducted training for Dearborn Security Network members for bomb threats, and as a team we handled the crisis."

PRIDE, Southfield Police Department, Southfield, Michigan. PRIDE was formed in 1981. The group includes more than 130 members from the private security sector who share their expertise and knowledge with police, exchanging information on crime patterns, suspects, and crime rings. Members also have easier access to police department information. Biweekly meetings are held with topics such as police information systems, business security, new legislation, and premises liability lawsuits.

Because of this program, security personnel from a nearby university and the police were able to control protesters during a presidential visit. "There were several hundred protesters for President Clinton's visit," recalls Security Liaison Officer Zultowski. "All protesters were told to gather on LTU [Lawrence Technological University] grounds across the street from WXYZ television studio. LTU security officers and Southfield police officers worked together to control the protesters and President Clinton's visit was uninterrupted. This cooperative action with LTU security was a tremendous success for the Southfield police department [and] can be attributed to the relationships formed through PRIDE."

Jack T. Looney, area security manager for IBM and a PRIDE member, says that the cooperation fostered by the organization led to the arrest of car thieves on IBM properly. "Our Southfield location was having a problem with car thefts from our employee parking lot. Through my membership with PRIDE, our security officers were provided with Southfield police department radios to communicate directly with patrol officers. Our security officers...observed two suspects attempting to steal a car and patrol officers. The police responded and arrested the car thieves. Without the cooperation of the Southfield police department, the timely relay of information would not have been possible."

Downtown Detroit Security Executive Council (DDSEC), Detroit Police Department (DPD). This organization was formed in 1984 and is composed of fifty-five security executives from major corporations and local, state, and federal law enforcement officials. The council's goals are to identify security problems, develop crime prevention programs, and maintain open communication between private security and law enforcement.

Annual Update Seminar on Security and Crime Prevention, Detroit Chapter of American Society for Industrial Security, (ASIS) and the DPD. The DPD and the Detroit chapter of ASIS hold an annual seminar to enhance the relationship between the public and private protection sectors. The annual seminar addresses current issues that are of interest to both sectors and houses a display of approximately fifty security products. The meeting gives professionals from both sectors the chance to meet each other and build better relationships.

Baltimore County Police Department and Private Security Association. This group, formed in August 1987, has benefited the police department and the private security sector in a number of ways. It disseminates information at monthly meetings and via a fax network, enhancing communication between the two organizations. Its activities have also strengthened the relationship between businesses and the police. The association provides training on drugs in the workplace, shoplifting, robbery, cons, bad checks, credit card fraud, counterfeiting, and alarms.

Area Police/Private Security Liaison (APPL), New York City Police Department (NYPD). The APPL was developed in 1986. Its four separate chapters include representatives from more than 350 security organizations. The APPL has monthly meetings to improve public and private cooperation in protecting people and assets, and it provides training on bomb threats, drugs in the workplace, and fraud as well as information on crime patterns, criminal suspects, and stolen property.

Realizing that the need for cooperative programs between the public and private sectors exists is the first step toward improved crime prevention and control. Toward this end, community policing programs should be expanded to include the resources of private security. Once this is done, responsibilities such as alarm response, workplace drugs, theft prevention, and disaster preparedness can be put into the hands of private security professionals for more effective handling.

Thomas A. Kolpacki is a community police officer for the Ann Arbor, Michigan, police department. He holds a masters of science degree in security administration from the University of Detroit Mercy.
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Title Annotation:community policing
Author:Kolpacki, Thomas A.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Nov 1, 1994
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