Capital Ideas Blog

WITNESS IN COURT

Dan Aloe - Thursday, June 22, 2017

While many of the duties in security are well known, it is less commonly realized that when an incident does occur, the involvement of the officer present may not end as the shift does and they will need to make a testimony as a witness in court. Though likely few need to be reminded of the procedures of a courtroom, some of the preparations necessary for an officer to make before their appearance are worth reviewing.

Preparing for the testimony does not begin the day of the trial, or even at the beginning of the incident; in fact the officer must start each shift with the possibility that his actions may be reviewed in mind. Reports made as part of a daily job routine are not considered hearsay and are admissible as evidence. Keeping the record straight from the time of the incident will prevent false memories or outside influences from poisoning the testimony with inconsistencies, which would remove the ability to ascertain the truth and doom the trial to failure.

While opinions on appropriate dress vary by company, our guards do not show up to court in their security uniforms, but instead take a professional civilian look. On the witness stand officers should always react neutrally, only giving facts and not opinions. As with all testifiers in court, security officers should know as much as they can about the opposition’s intentions, and make sure their own notes and talking points follow normal legal guidelines.

 

LIGHTING

Dan Aloe - Monday, June 19, 2017

One aspect of a security plan that may not be apparent upon first glance is the defensive applications in the usage of lighting. Obviously a dark and unlit property is a more attractive target for intrusion, but how lights are applied has a significant effect on the operation and effectiveness of the physical protection plan.

There are many considerations that need to be made when choosing the type of lights and their location. While it may seem that more lighting is always better, too much in the wrong place can create glare or high contrast shadows that decrease visibility. Some color temperatures are effective at illuminating without reducing dark area visibility, but are not appropriate in all environments.

Special consideration needs to be taken in regards to the display limitations of any camera systems, and to make sure that lights are angled in a way that faces are identifiable. LED technology has fallen in price sufficiently to be today largely preferred over all other types of bulbs due to it’s higher brightness and lower energy consumption, and along with solar charging panels can reduce operating costs to negligible levels. While devices such as motion detectors and IR sensors can help detection in low light levels, it is essential for an area to be properly lit in order to remain secure.

 

DELAY BARRIERS

Dan Aloe - Thursday, June 08, 2017

In our recent editorials we have largely discussed concepts behind threat detection, whether from individuals or items they may possess, and in addition much has been said about the importance of deterrence. Today I would like to touch upon the art of creating an environment that can delay or stop an intruder when all other aspects of a protection system have failed.

Many barriers are present on secured properties. Some are obvious in both their existence and purpose, such as fences or locks. However many passive barriers are incorporated into the environment in a way that does not make their purpose clear, such as hedges that block sightlines or walkways that subliminally funnel pedestrians to certain areas. When a higher level of threat dispersion is needed, there are many forms of dispensable barriers that can be activated upon a breach. These can include smoke dispensers, vehicle arrestors, and many more.

The most versatile form of delay barrier is in fact the security officer, who can provide coverage at any point on a property as the situation dictates. A well balanced protection system will include any combination of the three forms of delay barriers, with well thought out placement and application based on the terrain as well as what the objective of a would-be intruder is likely to be. 

For more insight into CAP’s doctrine on environmental security, please see our articles on Defense In Depth and Perimeter Security.

 

ACCESS CONTROL

Dan Aloe - Friday, June 02, 2017

The goal of access control for your business or property is to only allow entry by people who have been identified and authorized. In a low occupancy property, this is typically done by a security officer who checks a photo ID against an authorization list. When the location is one that receives frequent traffic, the process is more complicated.

A uniformed employee would need only a minimum of verification to ensure they are who they claim to be. For residents, hotel guests, shoppers, and other unpredictable visitors, the officer will need to use some combination of protocol, sound security reasoning, and common sense to ascertain the legitimacy of their presence. In order to ensure normal occupants are comfortable in knowing that the visitor is supposed to be there, name tags or passes can be issued.

The concepts of access control are not limited to the physical realm, though often the same basic principles apply.  As electronic and digital devices are becoming more integrated into the workspace every day, it is more increasingly important for security officers and their vendors to understand the uses and vulnerabilities of these systems.

MEMORIAL DAY 2017

Dan Aloe - Monday, May 29, 2017

For most of us, the most trying part of our day is the traffic on our daily commute, or normal workday stress. Short of a freak accident, we will soon be in our homes with our families, to live our lives as we please. However, one out of every fifty members of the United States Armed Forces who served during a war gave up their lives, usually far away from home, so that we can have the opportunities here that aren’t available anywhere else in the world. The security that they gave and continue to give us requires sacrifices and hardships that we can barely comprehend, and they should be remembered not just today, but every day that we exercise the freedoms we have as American citizens.

A CHANGE IN OWNERSHIP

Dan Aloe - Saturday, May 27, 2017

A change in property ownership creates an uncertain period in the lifetime of a property. Many details and tasks from the routine to those that are difficult in the best of times can or do get lost in the multitude of responsibilities that are now or will be handled by new people. In this environment a property can be at its most vulnerable.

Every building has some value, even a demolished pile of rubble contains materials formerly part of infrastructure that can be valuable as scrap. Few targets can entice potential criminals or vandals like an unsecured building, with uncertain ownership making reprisal seem unlikely.

Ideally all procedures and precautions will be set in place before any transaction takes place. However when this isn’t possible and when the access to a property isn’t at least monitored a criminal activity or liability event can occur.

MANAGEMENT RESPONSE TO REPORTS

Dan Aloe - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

One of the most valuable resources to come from the use of security guard services are the reports which document a large body of information. However as the value of any asset is only as great as the return it creates, security management must file, sort, and pass on the reports as appropriate in order to use the information to its potential.

As entries regularly maintained during the course of regular business, a daily security officer report is exempt from being classified as hearsay and is admissible as evidence in court. Aside from the obvious benefit in the case of a severe incident, this is frequently useful in arbitration and litigation cases, especially when there is no other evidence of the event. Clients who use security services can also use these logs to establish or confirm facts that may be uncertain otherwise, such as the precise timing of an event or the presence of an individual at the location.

The security management is responsible for overseeing and documenting the logs, as well as making sure that they are created with the proper amount of detail to be useful. As local management should not have to be expected to study every report that is made, it is usually the responsibility of the security company to bring to their attention any observances that they should be aware of.

 

POST ORDERS

Dan Aloe - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The job description of a security officer can vary widely depending on the needs of the location that they are protecting. At every location with guard services, security and local management create a list of post orders, tailor made for each site, that details every action that the officer is to perform.  

Post orders need to be well detailed, and also easy to understand with no room for interpretation. Each order should only cover a single subject, and for a particularly complex site or for officers expected to be able to cover multiple sites a thorough and cross-referenced index can be created in case a specific order needs to be reviewed quickly. In addition to all daily duties, such as specifics on rounds or door locking procedures, all information that is relevant or may be needed by the officer should be included; such as emergency procedures and contact information, or evacuation plans.
 

Post orders should be available for consultation at any time.  If the location has a guard shack or similar main office that the officer is posted, that is the most logical choice. If a patrol vehicle is operated on site, that is another ideal place to store post orders. If there is no viable option to store orders on-site, one solution is to issue photo-reduced copies to each officer to carry in their uniform.

 

PATROL REPORTING

Dan Aloe - Friday, May 05, 2017

When on a patrol or in the normal course of their daily duties, a security officer will observe a large amount of information. When properly documented and passed on, this provides an incomparable account of what is happening at a location and the activities of the security operation. And though too much information is always preferable to not enough, if the guard reported every irrelevant event or inconsequential item that was encountered, it would be impossible to find important information within the mass of data entries.

Many events give no doubt in the need to be reported; unsecured doors and entrances, broken windows, or hazards such as broken pipes which will lead to property damage are examples of obvious issues that demand to be tended to. Many notable incidents may seem much less straightforward; while an officer guarding an empty area would find any person on-site suspicious, someone guarding a trafficked area would need to keep an eye out for more subtle clues such someone in a coat on a hot day, one who takes pictures or recordings in unusual or restricted areas, or exhibits a suspicious amount of interest in security procedures.

Lastly, when observing and reporting a security officer must always remember the difference between a fact and a conclusion. Facts are to be documented and stated exactly as they happened and only based on what the officer experiences. Any judgments or conclusions made by the officer based on these facts, such as a person’s intent or effect of property damage should be kept to themselves.

 

THE BEGINNING OF A SHIFT

Dan Aloe - Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Upon arrival at a location, a security officer should take a few minutes to familiarize himself with the area; even if it is a post he has worked frequently before in case there are any situational changes. If the officer is relieving another they should be comprehensively debriefed and both should be aware of every relevant event that took pace during any preceding shifts.

The first actions on a site will vary based what the client and management desire the post orders to be, and should always take into consideration the characteristics of the environment. For instance an opening patrol may be necessary if the officer cannot view the entire area to be secured from his post, but may be impossible if the officer is required to remain in one area with a high activity level.

 


CAP PROVIDES MISSION FOCUSED SECURITY PROFESSIONALS - AT CAPITAL ASSET PROTECTION, WE FIND THAT MOST CLIENTS NEED PROFESSIONAL, WELL-TRAINED SECURITY GUARDS WHOSE APPROACH IS ONE OF DIPLOMACY AND RESPECT. CAP SECURITY PERSONNEL, WITH THEIR PROFESSIONAL BEARING AND DRESS, ARE OFTEN THE "FIRST FACE" THAT VISITORS, EMPLOYEES, AND/OR STUDENTS SEE AS THEY ENTER YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS, HELPING TO MAINTAIN YOUR ORGANIZATION'S PROFESSIONAL IMAGE STARTING WITH THE VERY FIRST PERSON VISITORS SEE. Read More...