Friday, September 18, 2009

How Facility Security Officers and other Security Professionals Contribute to their Communities

One thing that I like about security professional organizations like American Society of Industrial Security Professionals International (ASIS) is their emphasis on giving to the community. The group sponsors scholarships, provides security services and training opportunities designed to help non-profit or not for profit organizations. Churches, charities, and students benefit from the generosity of local and national security professionals. In my own community I began to look at examples of how security professionals could contribute in a meaningful way.
The best examples I can give are what we have done in my neighborhood. For one organization in particular, I arranged for an FBI agent to present a small presentation on cyber security. The audience consisted of interested parties representing the community and various demographics. We had teachers, children, baseball teams and senior citizens all together for breakfast and training on a fine Saturday morning. The presenter gave valuable information derived from real data. The audience was appreciative and provided positive comments. This, of course was a few years ago. We are thinking of presenting it again since social networks like Face book, LinkedIn, and MySpace are so prevalent.
Just recently I invited a fellow security professional to present “Active Shooter” training for my church. I’ve known the presenter for the past few years as a result of NCMS (Society of Industrial Security Professionals) and ASIS. We’ve both spoken in the professional organizations’ seminars and luncheons. We’ve set up booths next to each other during conventions. One day while he thumbed through my latest book I had on display, he told me of his side business. I asked him his expertise and he said that he consults churches and non-profit organizations on security.
Coincidently, in a church meeting the next month our leadership raised concerns of recent violence in religious institutions during the past year. I thought of my friend and offered a solution. After a few months of planning, we hired him as a consultant. One Monday night, with over 50 people present, we learned how to possibly prevent or reduce the impact of an active shooter incident. Interestingly, we have police officers and federal agents at our church and many were in attendance. However, just because one is in law enforcement, does not necessarily mean they are an expert in a certain discipline. What we learned was how to plug law enforcement into the scenario and rehearse responses. The best part was that even though my buddy presented the training, my church leadership began to view my skills and training as a security professional in a new light.
So, how can you contribute to your community? The first step is to look at needs and trends. Look at the crime rate, high risk neighbors, gang affiliations, unique issues and national trends. You might consider identity protection, family security, loss prevention, anti-terrorism or cyber security training. Your security, operations security and risk management training offer very valuable opportunities to train volunteer based organizations with tiny budgets. Each community’s needs are different; however you may just have the necessary skills or connection to fill in vital gaps.

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