So what’s the Solution?
As a rule of thumb, you can increase your options and success if you select a larger, established contract agency over a smaller one. A larger agency can usually replace no-shows or unacceptable officers, even at the last minute, because they have a larger pool of employees. Also, larger agencies tend to retain officers longer because they can offer better training and supervision, more benefits, and can provide a defined career path. This doesn't guarantee success however, you still need to accept or reject poor quality security guards when it becomes apparent that they are not meeting the challenge.
You can drastically improve your success potential by setting up strict patrol compliance standards as part of the written contract. These are usually called "post-orders." Post orders should be detailed and always in writing. They are given to each officer as the basis for how they are to service your property. Any breach of the post-orders could be grounds for not paying for the defective service, for replacing the officers, or for replacing the contract security agency. Long-term courtesy officers usually don't require post-orders but more of a detailed job description.
Specific post-orders might include, for example, a set time requirement for patrol such as one-hour of foot patrol, three times per night, and between 8:00 PM and 4:00 AM. You should require that the security officers patrol all areas of the property and to document their patrol pattern in detail. This can be done either with written activity logs or with the use of a watchman’s clock or similar device. Don’t accept activity logs that merely state, "10:00 PM or 11:00 PM – all quiet." A proper activity log might state, "10:06 PM – Completed patrol of the south parking lot, one light burned out over parking space #256 or "10:14 PM – Checked the mail room, pool gate, laundry room, and bathroom door locks. All were secure."
Drive-through security patrols can be a waste of money if the security officer never stops or gets out of the car. Drive-through accounts rely on high visibility and therefore must spend time on a property to be really effective. Some contract security agencies will overbook drive-through accounts and thereby create a schedule that is impossible for the patrol officer to maintain. Because of this, some properties might get skipped altogether or receive only a high-speed pass through their property.
Reprinted with thanks and permission of Chris E. McGoey. Mr. McGoey may be reached at (951) 461-8950 or by visiting www.crimedoctor.com This article may not be copied or republished without the consent of the author.
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