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Working together.

Working Together

AS CHAIRMAN OF THE ASIS LAW enforcement liaison council, I was privileged to participate in putting together Operation Cooperation. This video, a special council project, was introduced at the 1989 ASIS seminar and exhibits in Nashville, TN, and paralleled the seminar's theme, "Concepts in Harmony."

The video reemphasized the need for collaboration between the private and public protection professions. While the video has been well received in showings throughout the country, it is only a first step.

The council's next major project was to develop a format through which local security groups could initiate dialogues with their counterparts, the local police. Both of the council's presentations at the 1990 ASIS seminar and exhibits reinforced that goal.

In developing a mutual assistance program between private security and police, it is natural to ask a few questions: Where in the process of cooperation are we now? Where ought we be if we are to enhance the protection network America deserves? And how can private security and the police merge to the point of optimum success?

Let us return to the past to identify some of the obstacles that prevented an understanding of how security and police assist each other. In the past there was an arm's length relationship between the police and the security industry, even though the security profession is no Johnny-come-lately in protection. In fact, private law enforcement has been around longer than municipally constituted public law enforcement.

Quite naturally, questions of turf have come up, and motives have been mistrusted. The police consider themselves independent. Therefore, when private security requested assistance, the police felt their responsibility to the public was somehow compromised. Other reasons the police have used to justify limited interaction with private security include the absence of standards and licensing in the security industry, skepticism over the quality of security personnel and their training, and a failure to recognize security's contribution to the public welfare.

Perceptions among law enforcement officials are changing. Recognition that public law enforcement does not and will not possess sufficient resources to respond to the needs of American businesses is probably the engine driving the interest in mutual assistance and collaboration. In fact, both professions recognize that more binds than separates them. The following are several duties both professions perform: Personal safety. The private sector has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its employees, its clients, and anyone else with whom it comes into contact. That responsibility rests largely on the shoulders of employers, not local police. Crime prevention activities. Both professions have an obligation to develop crime prevention initiatives. More and more police departments have acknowledged that it is better to prevent criminal behavior than to combat it after the fact. That philosophy is a founding principle of the security profession. Order maintenance. The police are responsible for maintaining public order. In areas maintained by private industry, the job of order maintenance falls to private security. IN 1975, APPROXIMATELY HALF A MILLION police were employed in American police and sheriff departments. A similar number of persons were employed in private security. Today, the police staffing level is roughly the same as it was, while the security force level is three times what it was. Why has such unequal growth occurred?

Rightly or wrongly, public officials are reluctant to raise taxes to increase public protection forces. Increasingly, we hear the plea that we must do more with less. As the police become more selective in what tasks they will perform, many new duties have fallen to private security.

Despite occasional decreases in crime rates, many people believe crime is simply out of control and there is no end in sight. Furthermore, no obvious solution is at hand. I suspect we will observe closer cooperation in handling the increasing criminal burden. Success will be measured in terms of coping with, not solving, the problems. Thus police must target crimes that most affect the public's sense of safety. Many minor crimes must be neglected.

This inability to address certain crimes has created additional responsibilities for other parts of the protection profession. Private security must take a more assertive position in dealing with problems that cannot be addressed by public law enforcement under today's circumstances. In fact, interest is rising in privatization, in which traditional government services are contracted out to the private sector. The growth of the private law enforcement industry and the rise in crime suggest a different view of the relationship between public law enforcement and private security.

Only two relevant differences exist between the public and private protection professions: the amount of publicly constituted authority necessary to carry out a mission and the question of who pays for the services. Current protection literature notes changes in constitutional or chartered authority to perform protection activities. The public and private protection arena now contains not only police officers and peace officers but also deputized, commissioned security personnel.

With regard to who pays for the services, policing is the result of tax levies, while private security is individually sponsored. However, the same person is paying for both services - it's just a matter of how payment is extracted. As a taxpayer a person pays for police services, and as a consumer he or she funds private policing activities.

Private security is necessary to supplement the police if we are to get any relief from crime. Both protective services perform such basic functions as prevention, protection, enforcement, investigation, inspection, emergency services, patrol, detection, and deterrence.

Private Security and Police in America: The Hallcrest Report, published in 1985 by the National Institute of Justice, found that law enforcement officials, proprietary security managers, and contract security managers agreed on the transfer of certain police-related activities to the private security side. Those activities were burglar alarm response, preliminary investigations, incident reports when victims decline prosecution, certain misdemeanor incident reports, and transporting people taken in citizens' arrests. A number of those activities are already being handled by private security in many areas of the United States.

There appears to be a growing potential for contracting private security to perform the following activities:

* public building security

* parking enforcement

* parking lot patrol

* school crossing protection

* public park control

* accident investigations (without injuries)

* animal control

* traffic control

* special event security

* funeral escorts

* court security

* executive protection

* housing project patrol Many of these items are almost entirely a responsibility of proprietary and contract security organizations.

Particularly in urban and suburban areas, traditional police responsibilities are increasingly a shared activity. Many police administrators look favorably on such an exchange, which permits the police to focus on more serious public concerns.

Police are not the only ones who must adapt. Businesspeople must recognize that traditional police protection may not be available. Executives must adjust to the notion that, despite the taxes paid, the demand for protection will be met primarily outside the public arena. Private security activities will need to be expanded to fill the vacuum created by police responses elsewhere. Compromise, negotiation, and partnership will be the key activities in future public/private enforcement roles.

WHERE SHOULD WE BE, AND HOW CAN we get there? The need for security simply can't be satisfied by the traditional systems of public and private protection. It's time for both protection professions to explore their opportunities - at the local, state, and federal levels - for cooperative options of mutual benefit. It's time for police and security administrators to develop broad cooperative strategies.

A number of positive activities are currently emerging from both the private and public sectors. A joint council among ASIS, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Sheriffs' Association seeks improved communication and cooperative programs between the public and private sectors.

Also, in August 1990, at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA, the Office of State and Local Training formed an ad hoc committee of law enforcement and private security professionals to develop a police/private security facilitators training workshop. Labeled "Operation Partnership," the training course is directed at building skills for overcoming the mistrust and skepticism associated with cooperation between public and private police. The efforts of these groups and many others are going to take us where we need to go if we are to satisfy society's concern for crime and disorder.

The Hallcrest Report II: Private Security Trends (1970 to 2000), just published in November, substantiates the belief that security industry growth exceeds that of public police.

In addition, the report describes a number of successful police/security partnership models around the country. Such models can serve as an inspiration to the rest of us in ensuring that security is a collaborative responsibility.

Charles P. Connolly, CPP, is assistant vice president for corporate security at the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation. He is also chairman of the ASIS Law Enforcement Liaison Council.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article on securing a solid relationship; private security & police
Author:Connolly, Charles P.; Reid, Ken
Publication:Security Management
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Words:1466
Previous Article:Success with ISS.
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