Closer ties: Private security and public safety need interoperable communications

IFPO's Tom Conley and Bill McCarthy.

By Adam Stone,

On October 1, 2017 a lone gunman fired down from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, killings dozens of people attending a country music festival.

The first responder on the scene was a private security guard called to respond to suspicious activity in the shooter’s room. He was shot in the leg, and while he was able to notify hotel security via radio, he had no means to directly contact public safety. “As a consequence, a lot of people died that didn’t have to die,” said Tom M. Conley, president and CEO of Des Moines-based security consultancy The Conley Group.

He’s one of a growing number of security professionals calling for closer ties between private security and public safety. As security guards become more highly professionalized, they say, public safety professionals could leverage their on-scene awareness as a vital force multiplier, if interoperable communications were more readily available. (The topic is slated to be discussed at the upcoming Security 500 conference, Nov. 18 at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City, Arlington, Va.)

Make sure to visit the IFPO at Booth #1489 at GSX CHICAGO September 8-12!

The Case for Communication

After-Action Reports published by FEMA and the Clark County Fire Department and Las Vegas police cite numerous missteps in the Mandalay Bay response, and make a broad range of recommendations for the future. Yet these reports do not address what some in security consider to be a crucial gap: The lack of ready comms between private security and the public side.

In the past, public safety may have shied away from including security guards in the comms strategy, on the grounds that those guards were not sufficiently trained to be effective partners in an emergency.

“The law enforcement officer is someone we’ve hired. We know how they are going to react,” said Bill McCarthy, a former Des Moines police chief and retired Polk County Sheriff, who now advocates for greater interoperability. With increasing proficiency among security professionals, those old worries are less of a concern, he said.

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By |2019-07-19T11:38:41-04:00July 19th, 2019|About IFPO, News|Comments Off on Closer ties: Private security and public safety need interoperable communications

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