Boston bombings: Working with your private security assets

There are a number of angles from which I might approach an early analysis of the week's events in Boston.

I (and others like me) have been howling for years about young, disaffected, men from places like Chechnya. I (and others like me) have been warning about how easy it would be for such individuals to follow step-by-step instructions in the pages of Inspire Magazine on "making a bomb in the kitchen of your mom."

I (and others like me) have just about had it up to here with comments made in the aftermath of a slaughter — “he was such a nice boy” and “he never showed any signs that he’d hurt someone” — when we all know that there’s almost always a series of clear indicators to the type of attack we saw in Boston on Monday. 

Private Security Assets
But today, let's look at this from a different angle: law enforcement relationships with private security personnel.

We all know that there are varying degrees of effectiveness — and capability — for private security personnel. We all also know that police officers tend to look down upon anyone who isn't also a sworn law enforcement officer. 

But the recent events in Boston — the importance of the video provided to investigators by the Lord and Taylor security personnel — clearly shows that effective collaboration between police and private security can be the difference between quickly solving crime and not.

Five Key Questions
Ask (and answer) the following questions:

•    First and foremost, what are the most-likely soft targets in your area of responsibility?
•    Who are the security personnel working in those areas — not just at those locations, but other buildings nearby? 
•    What are the real and true capabilities of these folks — are they armed, and if they are, can they shoot?
•    What types of surveillance video capabilities do those security personnel have, and have we established a procedure in advance to maximize those resources when the situation arises?
•    Do we regularly visit with the security personnel at those locations so that we can all get to know one another's faces? 

We can read a capabilities and resources report, and we can have formal, sit-down meetings, but it’s also a good idea to — on regular patrol — make an effort to stop by and say "hello" to these folks. 

Private security personnel — armed and not armed (and I am reluctant to call an unarmed person "security") — can be the gate keepers to get you through to an active shooter or other criminal activity quickly and effectively. They know their turf and they know their terrain. 

Armed private security personnel provide a level of deterrence as well as response capabilities. 

Ensure that your relationships with those personnel are healthy before the need arises.

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