The Importance of People in Security

The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots.

~ Eric Fromm

by Pete Ferguson

Within the physical security industry, I perceive there is a continual conflict against people. Card readers are mainly considered force reducers – the more card readers, the fewer people are needed in the security department. Cameras also reduce many posts and consolidate into one control room “tv watcher.”

Additional measures have been prototyped – to include a security robot – and are showcased at the annual American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) International trade show each year.

Yet I’m always a bit perturbed by the “industry vs. human” mantra.

Without great people, security is just door locks of varying degrees and cameras. And neither of those save lives on their own.

Yesterday I was informed of three separate acts of great people to further illustrate the point.

The first was of an employee who went into cardiac arrest in a break room. The security professionals nearby sprang into action calling 911 and starting CPR while an AED was enroute. After two rounds of CPR and AED shocks, the individual thankfully renewed consciousness. The officers knew the employee and knew he had medicine on him for cardiac episodes and as soon as the person came to, they helped administer the pills, shortening the recovery period until EMS arrived.

The second example occurred during a very hot day in Texas – over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity – where two children were seen left in a car. The security staff immediately intervened and made sure the children were okay while locating the adult responsible. Unfortunately a few years earlier in the same parking lot the outcome was not good.

The third example is more common. A staff member – off duty – had paid attention and noticed a banned individual on their campus on his day off and immediately called for help eventually leading to the arrest and removal of this potentially dangerous individual.

In both these cases, it was people – not necessarily a machine – who prevailed and beat the stereotypes Hollywood and the industry itself have placed upon us.

You can have millions of dollars in technology, but if you don’t have good humans interpreting and taking action on the data – it is all for nothing.

I think it is time to stop with the overwhelming focus on technology and start putting our focus back where it matters – our people!

The challenge is even greater than ever as the current generation are coming out of high school and college with ambitions to change the world – leave their dent in the universe.

Trying to dumb these gals and guys down to sitting in a room watching CCTV isn’t going to be effective. We have to show them how valued they are as part of a team in building a culture of safety and security and invest in their future – even if their future is short-lived in the career of security.

It’s time to make the security industry sexy to the next generation – and certainly technology is important – but it must be seen as a tool for really talented people. Not a means to try and replace them.


3 thoughts on “The Importance of People in Security

  1. Very nice. I think it should be sprang into action, not sprung. Love, Dad

    Sent from my iPhone I have now relocated to the US: 15419 S Via Rancho Grande, Sahuarita, AZ 85629; 520 561 6411

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