The security week that was: 07/29/11 (Stuck with bad service?)

Stuck with bad service?

The Los Angeles Business Journal reported this week on a startling new bill that every security director with properties in the state of California needs to be aware of. Here's the summary, quoted from the article we re-published from the LABJ.

"If the bill becomes law, a building owner who ends a contract with a problem security company, for example, would find the incoming security company would have to hire the old guards and keep them for three months. At that point, the contractor by law would have to enter collective bargaining if they are union workers. That means the new security company would have far more difficulty dismissing the old problem guards."

The situation is that, as a security director, if you've been loaded up with poorly trained, lackluster guards by your security company, you can fire that company -- but you couldn't fire the company just to get rid of those guards. Wait, that can't be right, can it?

Actually, it is. If you are dissatisfied with your contract security provider because they're sending you donut gobblers instead of the security professionals you were promised (and which you pay for), all you can do is change the name of the company who accepts the checks, but you can't succinctly rid yourself of the donut stuffers to get true pros in place.

Ostensibly, this bill is designed so you can't price shop and get the lowest bidder. I have questions about that intention as well, since the capitalism model that our nation is built upon supposes the tenet that you can only charge what the market will bear – or else your customers will jump ship and grab a better deal. What's most strange is that the Service Employees International Union somehow thinks this bill would "improve the quality of service for building owners and tenants" by limiting those same building owners and tenants' ability to get rid of poor quality service providers.

I sincerely hope this bill doesn't become law in California. It seems to only favor unions, and doesn't benefit anyone else.

A six-figure lesson in training
Why policy matters, unless you don't mind paying big court-decided numbers

Smart security directors know that what really defines the security in your enterprise is the policies and procedures you have in place, not what brand camera you bought. So, if you're paying more attention to your video wall than your employee training, it's going to bite you. Why does employee training matter so much? Because if you're not making sure your policies and procedures are drilled into the heads of your security and LP employees, you're more likely to end up in court and then have a blog post like this one written about your missteps.

Still not sure? Read the blog post. Curt discusses a case where LP agents didn't follow procedures and it ended up costing the employer a six-figure settlement. Worst of all, it could have all been avoided with something as simple as an apology.

The surprise in Norway
Terrorist thought he was preventing terrorism

The people of Norway are in our thoughts this week after the attacks 7 days ago. When I was writing the Friday recap last week, the information was vague: bomb explosions in an urban building district, gunmen opening fire at a political retreat on an island. It sounded like a revisit to the Mumbai attacks of 2008 by Islamic terrorists. So it was with much surprise as the Norway story unfolded that we learned that this was a "lone wolf" attack by Anders Behring Breivik, a Christian terrorist. What was even stranger was that Breivik somehow believed that he was protecting his nation from immigration and terrorism by creating two terrorist acts.

In other news
World Trade Center building security, Cernium's new dealer program, NYPD looks for dirty bombs

Diebold worked up a security management system using VidSys' PSIM and Quantum Secure's access control management solutions for the World Trade Center. ... The New York Police Department is going to deploy a command center to monitor 2,000 officer-worn radiation detection devices. It's all designed as part of a dirty bomb detection program for the city. ... Video analytics solutions developer Cernium announced this week that it is launching a new initiative for dealers to offer its CheckVideo alarm verification product. ... Morpho Detection's CEO Dennis Cooke is leaving to work with Ryder System Inc., and his shoes will be filled by former DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Technology Brad Buswell, who joined the company a year ago.