The Magic of P3s

Public private partnerships are finding new ways to help municipalities with safety and security planning and goals


Farber: A proportional investment forms both partners in a P3 program. In nearly all P3 programs, senior PS business leaders and LE leaders collectively decide during monthly or quarterly meetings what it takes to develop and grow their P3 program. Funding for the public sector equipment is sometimes supplied through homeland security coffers or as a result of the buy-in of senior LE leaders who fully understand and appreciate the inherent and long-term value of a P3 relationship within their own community, thereby approving funding and staffing resources to help expedite the P3. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. There still exist LE leaders who believe sharing information with the PS is a mistake. Fortunately, walls of silence and silo mentalities are fast becoming a thing of the past. Funding from the PS is often executed by utilizing already available resources such as unused or large facilities that can accommodate P3 cross-training goals. The emerging ways to obtain funding involve creative and innovative thought processes. The typical ways of funding have fallen apart.

Jules: I’m not sure the basic principals have changed but the interest level has intensified. We’ve seen a lot more police foundations getting started and people taking an active role in those foundations. We are seeing more partnerships between industry and public safety groups. For example, I sit on the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, an interested group.

Murphy: With more states approving the deployments of red-light cameras, it is natural to target some of the funding resources from the safety cameras into a deployment of surveillance cameras.

Wohlstetter: Some cities are setting up a non-profit corporation to relieve the city from the burden of funding and operating the video surveillance network. The non-profit corporation can contract with integrators, monitors and other private sector vendors clear of the maze of a city procurement process. Further, the non-profit can charge downtown associations, businesses and homeowners for monitoring their cameras, providing a higher level of public safety. And crucially, foundations and other charitable organizations can donate on a tax-preferred basis to the non-profit, ensuring that their philanthropy is having a direct effect on a city’s public safety. Providing a high level of public safety in high-priority areas enhances not only public safety, but also economic development.

 

Q. Where can integrators find out more about public-private partnerships or avenues to funding or approved projects?

 

Farber: Integrators are encouraged to become familiar with the activities and participation of corporate and LE members of merit-based P3 programs. ASIS International’s Law Enforcement Liaison Council (LELC) fosters, helps to develop, monitors the success of and advises on the continuity of P3 programs here in the U.S. and abroad. Our counterparts at the IACP, the Private Security Liaison Committee (PSLC) work with us on P3 surveys, shared education strategies and active support of P3s. FEMA’s Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS.gov) is a ‘national, online network of lessons learned, best practices, and innovative ideas for the emergency response and homeland security communities.’ Many P3 programs are listed on this website.

Jules: For starters, contact us. Our website, www.nationalpublicsafetyfoundation.org, has a PowerPoint presentation which has initial information. Reach out to your local police foundation or national groups.

Murphy: I believe the integrators need to start partnering with the consultants who have deployed or created some of the successful public-private partnerships across the country. I know myself; I can find some avenues to increase funding on many different municipal deployments.

 

Q. With many municipalities experiencing budget cuts and even bankruptcy, how does this affect the need and desire for security and video surveillance projects?

 

Farber: Therein lies one of the reasons why P3s are crucial. Challenges such as aging infrastructure, financing gaps, budget constraints and the availability of private capital are forces that bring P3s to the foreground. The need for security and video surveillance projects are more critical now than ever before. Emerging threats that companies face, including mobile security, social media and privacy are factors that drive security governance. Significant changes regarding threats to information security and heightened attention overall for employee theft, workplace violence and information security incidents require video surveillance.

Jules: One of the good things that came out of the financial crisis is it is forcing agencies to work together. The ones who are doing it well are seeing the rewards and will continue to do it more in the future.

Murphy: Current economic realities limit some of the Federal grants that were much easier to obtain in years past. Get creative. Don’t just chase the Department of Justice or Homeland Security grants. I have used gaming grants, Federal transit grants and the private partnerships to bring value into a community’s system. Leveraging different resources can be a win for all sides as the private sector is looking to reduce costs as well.