Raleigh, N.C.-The ASIS International Security Services Council is pleased to announce that the 2016 Ralph Day Security Officer Heroism Award recipient is Officer Antoine Worsley of Sunstates Security.
Officer Worsley works at a high-rise facility in downtown Raleigh, N.C. as a third shift full-time officer. He has a tremendous work ethic and has shown himself to be capable of going above and beyond the call of duty on numerous occasions.
On January 12, 2016, Officer Worsley responded to a fight in front of the building where he is assigned. A male was on the ground surrounded by three other males who were punching and kicking him. It was discovered that the fight was prompted by a prior robbery attempt made by the male on the ground against one of the other males. Security Officer Worsley observed the altercation and went outside to announce that everyone should “go their separate ways”. The male who was on the ground got up and turned around after separating and ran behind one of the other males and began to stab him with a knife multiple times. Police and EMS were called and Officer Worsley announced to the men that the police were on their way. The male with the knife still had the knife in hand and rose up in a stabbing position making threats towards other individuals in the area. Security Officer Worsley approached the male from behind and grabbed
his wrist/arm holding the knife and forced him to drop the knife. The male was detained until police arrived and EMS assisted the injured. The medics later advised that one of the wounds suffered was near fatal and any additional wounds could have resulted in death.
The victim later recovered and returned to the site to thank Officer Worsley. He stated “If it weren’t for Officer Worsley, I might not be here.”
On behalf of our entire council, and our Ralph Day Award committee, we are honored to recognize Officer Worsley for this selfless act of heroism”, Security Services Council Chair Eddie Sorrells commented. “We received many nominations this year that once again highlighted the professionalism and dedication of Security Officers across this country, and around the globe, that go to work each day with the commitment to do whatever it takes to serve their clients, visitors, and the general public”.
Officer Worsley will be formally presented this Award at the 62nd Annual ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits in Orlando, FL in September. Sponsored by Council Member Bruce Brownyard and Brownyard Programs Ltd., Officer Worsley will receive a $5000 check, travel to Orlando, and a plaque recognizing his actions.
The Security Services Council established the Ralph Day Security Officer Heroism Award to honor a deserving security professional who performs outstanding service/acts in the security profession. It is named for Ralph D. Day, CPP, a highly regarded figure in the security industry and a long-time member of and contributor to ASIS International.
Sustained, double-digit organic growth creates expanded C-suite for regional security leader
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RALEIGH, N.C., August 15, 2016—Effective immediately, Denis J. Kelly has been promoted to the role of chief operating officer at Sunstates Security, based in Raleigh, N.C. His promotion from executive vice president reflects
his expanding leadership responsibilities in a larger organization, the result of sustained annual organic growth averaging an impressive 24% over the past five years.
“Denis has been a key member of Sunstates management since he joined us in 2010 as Vice President,” says CEO Kathryn Burrell. “Not only does he bring extensive industry experience and sound business acumen, but he also shares our commitment to improving the image and reputation of the contract security industry.”
As COO, Kelly will maintain oversight of companywide operations, sales and marketing, and human resources for Sunstates, which provides uniformed security services to a diverse client base throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest regions of the United States. During his tenure, Kelly has led the firm’s business development efforts and helped create the operational strategy that allowed Sunstates to triple in size without sacrificing service quality.
“I’m honored to step into this role and excited about the future opportunities for Sunstates,” says Kelly. “I joined the company because I believed in, and shared, the leadership’s vision for the firm and the industry. Together we’ve come a long way toward making that vision a reality, and it’s a testament to the people we serve, both clients and employees.”
Kelly’s 24-plus years of experience in the private security industry spans entry-level operations management to executive-level leadership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and criminal law from Eastern Connecticut State University.
About Sunstates Security
Based in Raleigh, N.C., Sunstates Security provides uniformed security personnel and security consulting services to clients throughout the United States. The company is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Greater Business Women’s Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
Access control is an important component for workplace safety, however can be hard to achieve in an open environment designed to be inviting and easily accessible to employees and customers. Violations of access control can take the forms of tailgating and piggybacking. Tailgating occurs when an unauthorized person slips in through a door before it closes. Piggybacking occurs when an authorized person allows someone to follow them through a door to secure area. Both practices are breaches of security which have the potential to expose your workplace to a variety of threats.
- Theft. Allowing unauthorized individuals into secured areas can result in tangible losses to include:
- Office equipment
- Intellectual property
- Sensitive hardware
- Employee personal items such as phones, wallets, purses and other valuable items
- Unsafe Working Environment. An unsecured environment that does not have access controls is more susceptible to:
- Workplace Violence
- Active Shooter
- Domestic Violence
- Acts of Terrorism
- Unhealthy Company Culture. Even if the piggy backer is an employee with appropriate clearance, the failure to respect the rules contributes to an overall attitude that security is not important, further increasing the likelihood of a future security breach.
Piggy backing is primarily a behavioral issue that circumvents established access control procedures. One of the most effective ways to combat this behavior is by embracing a “secure building” culture, whereby all employees / tenants accept their shared responsibility in maintaining a safe workplace. Following are some suggestions to help ensure the safety and security of your office space:
- Don’t hold badge accessed doors open for anyone that you do not know personally, and make sure no one slips in behind you.
- Bring attention to any individual you observe trying to slip through any type of access control situation whether it involves badging in, signing a visitor log or checking in with security.
- If you find a door that does not automatically close or has a broken lock, contact building security. If you find a door that is propped open, please close it.
- Never hesitate to challenge unfamiliar people in your workplace or office building. People often avoid doing this as it makes them feel uncomfortable or rude, or they are afraid they will be mistaken. Circumvent this discomfort by approaching the encounter as an opportunity to meet someone new, and address unknown individuals with a friendly greeting and question as opposed to a confrontational or accusatory manner. Employees or visitors with a legitimate right to be there will not be offended by a friendly approach, and will likely respect your commitment to workplace security. Unauthorized individuals will shy away from any sort of attention, and are likely to leave on their own if they are directly addressed.
- Report any suspicious individuals to the security team.
Security is everyone’s responsibility – remain situationally aware at all times, and take action to address individuals who seem lost, aren’t dressed for the environment, don’t have a badge, or who blatantly attempt to evade access control measures. This collective effort will enhance the security of your workplace and the safety of all employees and tenants.
As corporate conglomerates keep growing and local firms get ever smaller, customer service seems to suffer. Razor-thin margins force many companies to cut corners, especially when it comes to personnel. Tasking a shrinking workforce with maintaining service and production levels creates a losing proposition for all:
- >Managers and employees burn out quickly, unable to succeed under impossible circumstances.
- Customers receive disappointing service from overworked support staff.
- Companies must replace a continuous outflow of customers and employees.
That’s why Sunstates Security continues to follow a more traditional approach to business operation and growth. The company invests resources into recruiting and supporting the right people, who in turn take care of Sunstates’ employees and clients. Double-digit organic growth in each of the past five years bears out the success of this strategy.
Prioritizing personal service
Sunstates Security managers are responsible for much smaller portfolios than their counterparts at national firms—typically one-third the size. The lighter work load frees them to spend more time with clients, as well as with security officers, in person. Sunstates managers are able to visit accounts and discuss client needs as part of their daily responsibilities—not only during an incident. The result is high customer satisfaction, as evidenced by monthly client surveys and a client retention rate that exceeds 95%.
“We’re growing our business the old-fashioned way,” says Sunstates President Glenn Burrell, CPP, “through rock-solid customer service. We want every interaction with Sunstates to create a positive impression. This philosophy applies to our dealings with everyone, from clients and employees to vendors and visitors.”
Burrell leads Sunstates management by example, visiting client sites to talk not only to the client, but also to employees. “We stay in touch with what employees need,” says Burrell. “If a branch manager isn’t on a first-name basis with everyone at a site, we’ve got a problem.”
Retention and reward
Workforce retention and continuity are another key part of customer service. Sunstates empowers managers to act and gives them the tools and the personnel they need to succeed. In an industry that’s notorious for high turnover, Sunstates takes the opposite road. “We hire the right people for the right job, and we make sure they’re invested in staying with us,” says Robb Rogalski, Vice President of Operations.
The Sunstates Learning Management System includes courses on leadership and management skills, as well as security and safety practices. Rogalski says, “Rather than looking outside for talent, we have found it’s more effective to develop it and promote from within. It’s good for us, certainly, but more importantly it’s good for our customers, because having officers and managers who know their job and the customer is the best way to meet clients’ needs.”
Sunstates Security has been providing premium customer service since 1998. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
Technology is everywhere. It fills so many facets of our daily lives that we barely notice it. It has made our lives more efficient, more productive in often surprising ways. This is especially true for the security industry.
Metal detectors, door access controls, remote cameras, and various types of sensors have been security mainstays for years, but they are only part of the picture. New and innovative applications make security officers more efficient and improve customer service.
Advances in security technology
The capabilities of technology have increased by leaps and bounds, even as the cost of technology has decreased, sometimes drastically. Sophisticated remote cameras and controls, automated systems, and complex command centers are available now at a fraction of their previous cost. This makes that technology attractive to companies seeking the most favorable ratio of cost to security coverage. However, proper operation requires skilled personnel with special training.
Today, smartphone technology and applications can streamline important but time-consuming administrative tasks previously associated with security patrols and incident reporting. Smartphones can now log and time-stamp a security officer’s rounds automatically via WiFi and GPS, as well as help create timely, and more accurate, incident reports. These tools not only reduce the potential for error, but also minimizes the time spent writing and filing logs and reports.
This same officer now has more time available to provide a security presence.
Augmenting other duties with security presence
Integrating security services with other personnel duties is an increasingly common practice.
Rather than a receptionist, for example, whose job is to answer phones and greet guests, a security officer skilled in public relations can fill that role, bringing additional security expertise to that front-line position. Similarly, using security personnel for mailroom or concierge responsibilities can create additional efficiencies,
“At the end of the day, technology means better tools,” says Denis Kelly, Executive Vice President of Sunstates. “Someone still needs to use it. The right technology can make existing personnel more productive and more accurate. The key is finding the right balance of people and tools.”
Sunstates Security can help you integrate state-of-the-art security technology and trained security officers into your organization. We’ve been doing it since 1998. Contact us today to find out how.
In most emergency situations, whether instigated by humans or caused by natural disaster, the reactions of security personnel are just that—reactions. A proactive approach, on the other hand, yields better results.
Business Continuity Planning Is SMARRT
How do you keep your business operating if it becomes a crime scene or disaster location for weeks at a time?
Recent natural disasters and tragedies have spurred more companies to develop business continuity plans. Such plans include tabletop exercises, drills, and working with skilled security partners that can provide hands-on training and the benefit of experience and best practices.
According to Sunstates president Glenn Burrell, “Business continuity plans work best when everyone in an organization is invested in security, from top to bottom, management to mail room. An organization is a community. If everyone looks out for each other, keeps their eyes open, and then communicates, the organization benefits. Many potential crisis situations can be defused before they explode. This kind of cooperation doesn’t happen overnight, however. It takes practice and education.”
Sunstates has developed its own business continuity program to ensure its ability to take care of clients in a crisis situation, including creation of a special response team.
Now operating in most regions across the U.S., Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT) consists of 81 specially trained and equipped team members whose primary focus is protection of clients’ personnel and assets and immediate containment of incidents. SMARRT is ready for rapid deployment at a moment’s notice, available only to clients.
Active Shooter Training
Among the manmade crises plaguing the nation, active shooters have become a high-profile threat for a wide range of organizations, from schools to businesses. Training individuals how to deal with this type of situation is critical to preventing loss of life.
Moreover, the ways that law enforcement engages such situations are evolving, and organizations should evolve as well. Instead of waiting outside, for example, police are now directed to enter the scene and engage the suspect.
But how do organizations keep themselves up-to-date with current best practices? By partnering with experienced security professionals.
Sunstates has participated in active shooter training scenarios at the middle-school and college levels, conducting live drills where volunteers acted as shooting victims. In both cases, the training went well, and everyone from EMTs to the school administration and faculty gained valuable experience.
Sunstates president Glenn Burrell says this type of training is the best available. “Planning is absolutely key, so that if such a tragedy were to occur, everyone knows what they have to do.”
The president of a large community college in North Carolina described the exercise as not only vital to campus security, but also beneficial to everyone involved. He stated, “It allows local law enforcement and emergency services personnel to become familiar with the campus, while getting excellent training. And it ensures that the college has procedures in place in the case of such an event.”
On May 3, 2015, in Garland, Texas, two gunmen opened fire upon attendees of a controversial event displaying caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack. Although no direct link to ISIS has been proven, there is no question that terrorists worldwide are bringing their brand of fanatic violence to U.S. shores.
The world is becoming ever more dangerous, and few entities elicit greater threats than religious organizations. This puts faith-based organizations in the crosshairs of all sorts with axes to grind. But how can an organization with open doors be secured?
Trends in Security Threats
Terrorist threats; spree-shooters in schools, shopping malls and college campuses; and even random vandalism and theft all contribute to the need for increased security.
Faith-based organizations are turning more and more toward security services to protect their property and members, but often find their purpose and mission at odds with providing real security. Funds for faith-based organizations come primarily from the members, from the congregation, and these funds are expected to support education, outreach and/or worship. Nevertheless, for many large organizations, spending a portion of those funds on security has become necessary.
Real-World Security Solutions
Unfortunately, security breaches typically provide the biggest motivator to engage security services—after something bad has happened. A proactive approach is far more cost-effective than dealing with the aftershocks of a tragedy.
But prevention is harder to justify in budget discussions. People don’t see the benefits when security does its job. The security team can’t quantify how many incidents of vandalism, theft or violence are prevented, which makes it difficult to divert funds from a church’s youth programs or community ministry to security.
Despite these challenges, Sunstates Security offers these best practices for protecting large faith-based organizations, based on decades of experience securing these unique communities.
These best practices apply not only to faith-based organizations, but also to any organization that is, by its very nature, an open environment, including schools, college campuses, shopping malls, etc.
If you would like to know more about how your organization can improve its security, contact Sunstates Security.
The arrival of the Ebola virus to U.S. shores has revealed a number of chinks in the armor of disease control preparedness. While the epidemic was raging in West Africa, Americans generally gave it little thought, nursing only vague fears that the virus would hop the Atlantic Ocean and find new hosts here. But when it did, we found ourselves unprepared at almost every level.
A phenomenon like Ebola (or the Spanish flu of a century ago, or the bird flu, or the regular flu season) is not just a public health issue; it is also a security issue and a business continuity issue.
What happens to an organization in the short term when half of its employees stay home sick? What happens if employees bring their contagion to work and infect more employees? Who is going to guard your assets if your entire security staff is ill? How do you mitigate the long-term damage of having your business effectively put out of commission until the illness passes?
Do you have a plan in place to mitigate the damage of a pandemic to your organization?
A Unique Security Challenge
Sunstates works with a number of large, faith-based organizations in Dallas, where the first U.S. cases of Ebola occurred. Such organizations have unique security risks, in that their open-door policies and large gatherings could put thousands at risk if an infected individual sought solace there.
Sunstates recognized the potential catastrophe and, having done extensive research already, offered swift guidance for pandemic response to Dallas clients. Sharing this information provided tremendous peace of mind and allowed for adaptation to their own business continuity plans.
Glenn Burrell, President of Sunstates Security, says, “Business continuity comes from having the ability to backfill personnel if they are taken out of action.” For instance, one of the ways Sunstates handles this is with the Sunstates Mutual Aid Rapid Response Team (SMARRT). These specially trained and equipped team members are ready for rapid deployment at a moment’s notice to fill such personnel gaps and provide security.
The keys to maintaining continuity in your business in the event of a pandemic or other emergency include the following:
· Cross-training personnel
· Resource depth to bring in additional personnel, as needed
· Top-down commitment to the business continuity process
· Regular re-evaluation of procedures, modifying as necessary in the face of changing circumstances
· Live and tabletop drills simulating emergency situations
Sunstates Security has been helping clients create customized emergency and business continuity plans since 1998, including pandemic contingencies. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
In September 2008, thieves broke into an Alltel Communications warehouse in Fort Smith, Ark., via four of its loading docks. The intruders disabled the alarm and surveillance systems before helping themselves to four tractor-trailers loaded with an estimated $10 million worth of cell phones.
Furthermore, threats can go beyond theft.
In August 1982, Leonard Avery entered an IBM plant in North Carolina carrying a Thompson submachine gun, where he went on a shooting spree that left one employee dead. He came in through the unsecured loading dock.
Would you leave the back door to your house open while locking the front one? Probably not. Nevertheless, loading docks represent exactly that—a back door that is often left open in the hustle and bustle of normal business operation.
The Dangers Go Beyond Physical Security
Far less dangerous but far more prevalent is theft via the loading dock. The nature of the shipping industry often results in shipments and pickup drivers coming and going at all hours. Cybercriminals know that it’s much easier to have their victims hand something over than it is to sneak in and steal something. Today’s practice of brokering shipments makes this method of theft increasingly easy.
Many suppliers post loads on the Internet for pickup, and carriers bid on or schedule loads through these listings. Carriers receive the information they need to pick up the loads and then come to the facility. Sometimes, thieves will steal the identity of a legitimate carrier and use that to accept the brokered load via the Internet. They then arrive at the warehouse with the necessary information to pick up the load and drive away.
Loading docks are also the perfect place for employees to walk out with company property, or to facilitate theft by propping open doors or otherwise giving accomplices warehouse access.
Balancing Daily Business with Real Security
Insecurity at any loading dock results from several competing needs. Trash must go out. Supplies must come in. Shipments must go out. Employees and vendors come and go. It can be a hectic, volatile environment, one that requires a diligent balancing act.
Richard Tesauro, Vice-President of Security at NFI, a transportation and logistics company based in New Jersey, says that lax procedures or enforcement creates opportunities for bad things to happen. Based on his experience at NFI and 28 years with the New Jersey State Police, he offers a variety of measures that organizations can take to secure their loading dock areas.
- Record truck and driver identification—driver’s license, identification, license plates, phone numbers. Make sure they are who they say they are, and verify their contact information.
- If possible, use your own carrier or one third-party carrier. Having a consistent system in place reduces the chance of theft. Familiarity with carriers can help alert you when anything is amiss.
- Use a Dock Lock System, where a hook locks onto the ICC bumper at the back of the trailer. Designed as a safety mechanism, it can also serve as a security feature. Until released from the inside (by someone at the facility), the trailer can’t be pulled from the dock door.
- All personnel or man doors should be closed, locked and alarmed, 24 hours a day, with a limited number of doors designation for entry and exit. Limit the ease of people walking in and out.
- When not in use, all dock doors should remain closed, latched and have a padlock attached through the latch.
- The driver’s entrance at the Shipping and Receiving office should be separated from the warehouse floor by a fence to limit drivers’ access to the warehouse. Drivers should only be allowed access to dock area under escort.
- Install interior and exterior cameras for surveillance of all doors, drivers and workers.
- Maintain strict supervision and oversight. All the security measures in the world are useless if not supported and followed by every level of the organization, from top to bottom.
- Perform security audits of loading dock procedures to identify and correct weaknesses.
- If loaded trailers are left in an unsecured yard, apply kingpin locks to prevent anyone from hooking up to the trailer and driving away.
For more information about eliminating vulnerabilities in your loading dock security, call one of our specialists at Sunstates Security today.
Sources: Canfield, Amy. “Hospital loading docks rival ERs for security concerns,” Security Director News, 25 November 2013.
Paul, Lauren Gibbons. “10 Steps to Loading Dock Security,” CSO Online, 5 October 2008.
The security industry has long been one of mergers and acquisitions, with larger firms swallowing up their smaller competitors. Industry consolidation has been the norm for decades. Comparatively small companies are finding competition more and more difficult.
In spite of this trend, Sunstates Security has achieved phenomenal organic growth throughout the 15 years of its existence. With average annual growth of more than 20%, the company has almost doubled in size in the past four years.
The Right Person for the Right Job
One of the ways that Sunstates has been able to achieve such phenomenal growth is by retaining talent, not only management, but also top-quality security officers.
The key to finding and retaining quality officers and support staff is screening applicants thoroughly. Sunstates has launched a state-of-the-art vetting program that allows applicants to apply online. Application questions establish personality traits, which are then used to assign applicants to the positions for which they are best suited.
A high proportion of Sunstates employees have been with the company longer than five years, many of them more than 10 years.
Sunstates President Glenn Burrell says, “We treat employees like we treat customers—with respect and a positive, professional attitude. We’re planning for the future,” Burrell says. “I want people to stay with us for 10 years or more, not just to get through next week.”
Professional Respect and Attitude
After an auditor recently visited the Sunstates offices, her firm offered a tremendous compliment: “Great job to all of you for treating her according to Sunstates’ company morals: professional respect and attitude.” She departed feeling how Sunstates Security wants everyone to feel – from the UPS driver, to security officers, to the client – that they feel better about Sunstates than when they arrived.
Burrell credits this philosophy with Sunstates’ outstanding client retention rate, which exceeds 95%. This philosophy also allowed them to beat employee retention goals last year. In fact, the company has reduced employee turnover in each of the last five years, coming in at roughly 25% of conservative industry estimates.
Why Is This Better for Clients?
Burrell says, “Our number one goal is to treat our employees better than any other security company. In the world of conglomerates and board meetings, the folks at the bottom of the totem pole tend to be snowed under by numbers on the bottom line. The simple truth is that happy employees stay longer and perform better, and in the case of the security industry, it means that they do a better job for our clients.”
But in the world of impersonal spreadsheets and all-powerful profit margins, do employee incentive programs siphon away profit margins?
According to Burrell, the bottom line is not the only measure of success. “I base decisions on what is going to be good for my grandchildren—even though they’re not even born yet—not what our would-be shareholders want for the next three months.”
Sources: “Turn Away Turnover,” Security Magazine, 1 September 2004.