When Security Gets No Respect
Security departments sometimes take on non-security duties, such as traffic control, maintenance, contractors monitoring etc. either because they are forced to or because they want to enhance their value. But when doing these extraneous duties detract from security's primary mission and undermine the image of staff?
A security director at a Midwestern U.S. investment firm aired his concerns in the ASIS Online discussion forum recently when he learned that his staff was being asked to take on custodial duties. The maintenance person responsible for those chores had been let go, and "the powers that be decided that security was [the] least busy [department]," the security director explained in an interview with Security Management. "They didn't consider walking the property or watching a gate constructive enough."
Security staff started with only a few custodial duties, but management gradually added more and more non-security tasks. Officers started losing respect from employees who saw them performing tasks such as emptying trash, the security director says.
Bob Lilje, senior analyst at Modern Technologies Corporation, suggested that the security director make the best of the situation, such as by channeling janitorial work into "some sort of a security round" or by combining light custodial duties with safety checks and other security activities that officers could do on the go. Others responding to the online post noted that non-security activities, such as distributing memos and collecting wheelchairs, can create opportunities for security personnel to interact with staff in other divisions, which can foster rapport.
One Washington, D.C., law firm security manager reported that extra services provided by security, such as delivering evening faxes and performing maintenance checks, helped him justify substantial raises for security staff.
The investment company's security director says that the most helpful response was one...