Another area where law enforcement and private security professionals can work together is to follow and address legislation that impacts both groups. Items such as concealed carry, private investigator licensing issues, computer crime statutes, privacy concerns, etc., are just some of the current items that impact both public- and private-sector groups. Private-sector organizations may have the financial resources to mount an effective lobbying campaign, while public-sector officials may have government contacts that would be willing to discuss pending legislation.
While developing relationships with the private sector can prove mutually beneficial to the parties involved, there can be more significant benefits from public sector and private sector collaboration. This is eloquently and simply explained in the document, “Engaging the Private Sector to Promote Homeland Security: Law Enforcement-Private Security Partnerships” (www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bja/210678.pdf).
According to the article, “Since the attacks of Sept. 11, law enforcement/private security partnerships have been viewed as critical to preventing terrorism and terror-related acts. Because the private sector owns and protects 85 percent of the nation's infrastructure, while local law enforcement often possesses threat information regarding infrastructure, law enforcement/private security partnerships can put vital information into the hands of the people who need it. Thus to effectively protect the nation's infrastructure, law enforcement and private security must work collaboratively because neither possesses the necessary resources to do so alone.”
Extra Eyes and Ears
Private-sector individuals can often go places that are difficult for public sector employees to enter. This can be identified by the fact that business professionals that travel oversees are often contacted by government agencies to provide detailed information as to what they witnessed during their travels. I had a brief discussion with someone who spent time meeting with the president of a small South American country. Upon his return to the United States , he was debriefed by a member of a federal agency. He was questioned as to what he saw, specifically whether or not he witnessed, overheard or discussed evidence of terrorist activities during his visit. This ability to go places discreetly can provide extra eyes and ears for often understaffed, under funded agencies. Law enforcement will often reach out to private security professionals to notify them of significant threats or issues, specifically the abduction of children. An alert sent to a private security professional can then easily be forwarded to his or her network of contacts.
As outlined in the document “Engaging the Private Sector to Promote Homeland Security,” when establishing relationships between private sector and public sector entities, it is important to keep the 4 C's in mind: communication, cooperation, coordination and collaboration .
John Mallery is a managing consultant for BKD, LLP, one of the ten largest accounting firms in the United States . He works in the Forensics and Dispute Consulting unit and specializes in computer forensics. He is also a co-author of Hardening Network Security , which was recently published by McGraw-Hill. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.