Sunstates Blog

A Proactive Security Partner

Case Study: House of Worship Responds to ISIS Threat

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At eleven o’clock on a Thursday night, the local Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office contacted a house of worship protected by Sunstates. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had issued a public threat directing followers to burn this institution to the ground.

Sunstates President Glenn Burrell, CPP, discussed and analyzed the threat with the client contact. They concluded that the multimillion-dollar annex faced little risk, due to its state-of-the-art fire suppression system. However, the original sanctuary—more than a century old and constructed entirely of wood—could present an attractive, symbolic target.

Targeted Security

“Such an attack would send shock waves throughout the country,” said Burrell. “We couldn’t add resources to their budget, so we identified the most vulnerable areas and redirected security there.”

The site was already using a mobile management system to monitor inspections and issues. Sunstates immediately increased patrols around the historic sanctuary and added more checkpoints to confirm thorough inspections of the area.

In addition, Sunstates reinforced anti-surveillance techniques with security personnel. While conducting their duties, officers keep an eye out for anyone who appears to take special interest in the building and/or its security. Officers politely offer assistance to such individuals, a gesture that also conveys the vigilance of the security team.

Creative Partnership

By coincidence, the Sunday following the DHS alert saw the launch of a pilot program that Sunstates had developed with the client several months earlier. Sunstates trained ushers at the church as part of the security team. These volunteers completed rigorous security courses, including firearms training and licensure. Moving forward, these individuals will adhere to the Sunstates training requirements for armed personnel—quarterly refresher training, in addition to the annual qualification required by states.

“Even though they’ve volunteered their services, they are part of the security team,” said Burrell of the ushers. “In their role as greeters, they serve as the first line of defense in a potential situation.”

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your house of worship or organization prepare for such threats, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 

 

 

Written by Sunstates Security

March 21st, 2017 at 6:54 pm

Civil Unrest: How to Prepare for Uncertain Times

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From the Baltimore riots of 2015 to the political protests that continue today, such disturbances are emerging as “normal” threats with which American businesses must contend. In Sunstates Security’s home state of North Carolina, demonstrations related to police shootings and women’s rights have disrupted commercial operations, requiring additional security coverage.

Part of the reason for this unfortunate trend comes from increased polarization. Data from respected organizations like the Pew Research Center shows that the ideological center is shrinking, while those occupying the right and the left are growing farther apart.

Social media has made this volatile situation even more dangerous by making it easy to coordinate pop-up protests. Although relatively small, these gatherings form quickly and drive away customers, so even peaceful demonstrations have a negative effect on local businesses.

Crimes of Opportunity

Beyond the obvious disruption caused by these events, businesses in the surrounding area also need to guard against crimes of opportunity. Statistics show that minor crimes—such as break-ins of vehicles and buildings—spike during public disorder as opportunists take advantage of the diversion.

During President Glenn Burrell’s days with Scotland Yard, he dealt with hundreds of public order events, including policing picket lines. Video cameras proved effective as deterrents because they removed anonymity from the situation; people didn’t want to be identified. To maximize their deterrent value, he recommends making the cameras as conspicuous as possible, while protecting the equipment against tampering. Facilities should post prominent signs announcing the use of recorded video surveillance.

Similarly, businesses need to do more than keep an eye on a civil disturbance. They also need to look for, and shore up, any potential weaknesses that might be exploited while the main event holds the spotlight.

Steps to Consider

Effective protection against these threats starts with awareness, recognizing the potential for such events and evaluating the specific danger to an organization.

Threat assessment. Security teams should analyze the likelihood of a civil disturbance at or near their operations. Some threats are external, such as physical proximity to a courthouse or other government structure, or to public gathering space. Internal threats may arise from negative events, like layoffs, or ideological differences. A threat assessment should include all these factors and analyze both physical and operational vulnerabilities.

Early warning. In addition to maintaining relationships with local law enforcement, companies may consider commercial solutions to monitor social media chatter. Such programs can be customized with keywords and dates to help alert organizations to protests during the planning stage.

Employee education. Enlist personnel in the security effort through training programs. Teach them to recognize warning signs and to communicate this information along an established chain of command. For additional support, a skilled security partner will likely already have courses to teach officers crowd management and nonviolent conflict resolution, which can be adapted for non-security employees.

Additional resources. For known events that could trigger a disturbance—such as a potentially unpopular court verdict—organizations at risk should speak with their security provider about backup personnel, if needed. A larger firm should have additional staff available. Some firms also offer trained special-response teams that can travel where needed for emergencies. Such efforts should address not only threats related to the primary demonstration, but also crimes of opportunity.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization prepare for social disturbances, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.

Written by Sunstates Security

March 21st, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Antoine Worsley of Sunstates Security Receives 2016 Ralph Day Award

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ASIS International Recognizes Sunstates Officer for Heroism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, N.C., September 14, 2016—On September 11, the ASIS International Security Services Council presented the 2016 Ralph Day Security Officer Heroism Award to Officer Antoine Worsley of Sunstates Security. The ceremony took place in Orlando, Fla., at the ASIS International 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits.

Antoine Worsley of Sunstates Security

Antoine Worsley of
Sunstates Security

 

Named for Ralph D. Day, CPP, a long-time member and supporter of ASIS International, the award recognizes security professionals who perform outstanding service. Worsley, who joined Sunstates in July 2015, embodies the spirit of this honor, as demonstrated by his actions on January 12, 2016.

That evening, Worsley responded to a fight in front of the office building in downtown Raleigh, N.C., where he is assigned. Three men were punching and kicking a fourth man, on the ground, who had previously attempted to rob one of his attackers. Worsley went outside and advised the individuals to “go their separate ways.” As the group dispersed, the person on the ground pulled out a knife and pursued one of the other men, stabbing him multiple times.

The man with the knife continued to threaten the other individuals, even after learning that police were en route. Worsley approached him from behind and grabbed his arm, forcing him to drop the weapon. The man was detained until police arrived and EMS provided medical assistance. Medics later revealed that one of the wounds was near fatal and that additional injury could have resulted in death.

Upon recovering, the victim returned to the site to thank Worsley, saying, “If it weren’t for Officer Worsley, I might not be here.”

Worsley received a check for $5,000 and a plaque at the Orlando ceremony. He was recognized in May 2016 as Security Officer of the Year at the Sunstates Security Annual Managers Conference in Raleigh.

“We are proud of Officer Worsley and thrilled to see him recognized by ASIS International, the leading global organization for security professionals,” says President Glenn Burrell, who founded Sunstates Security after serving 20 years in Scotland Yard. “In addition to his actions on this occasion, he represents exemplary service in his daily commitment and work ethic.”

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).

Written by Sunstates Security

September 14th, 2016 at 4:57 pm

Sunstates Security Partners with Punch Technologies to Enhance Client, Public Safety

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North Carolina firms collaborate in shared mission to promote community safety

Punch Alert

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RALEIGH, N.C., September 6, 2016—Sunstates Security has partnered with Punch Technologies to offer the Punch Alert emergency communication platform to clients as part of its expanding technology arsenal. The system crowdsources safety and security by allowing individuals to report emergencies and safety hazards via a smartphone app. In addition, the platform permits two-way communication during an incident, enabling users to submit information and responders to deliver mass updates.

“We’re excited to introduce the Punch Alert system to our clients,” says President Glenn Burrell, who founded Sunstates Security after serving 20 years in Scotland Yard. “Not only is the system easy to use, but it can also be customized to fit the specific needs of each organization and location.”

The enterprise platform includes geofencing to restrict tracking to on-site users. The system uses GPS, WiFi and optional iBeacon/Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to capture the location of the initial report and actively monitor the position of all community members for the duration of an incident.

“Both Punch Technologies and Sunstates share a common vision for an inclusive, interactive approach to community safety. Standard one-way mass notifications and physical panic buttons for employees are not enough,” says Greg Artzt, CEO of Punch Technologies. “Safety is best achieved when anyone in the community can easily report an incident or submit information. And fast resolution occurs when on-site responders can manage situations with real-time intelligence.”

Designed to fit any organizational type—public facilities, educational institutions, healthcare or corporations—the platform also allows designated personnel to send announcements about closings or safety hazards. These alerts can target specific groups or go out as mass notifications.

“This type of proactive technology could prevent a terrorist event or save a life during a medical emergency,” adds Burrell. “Supporting the platform with a skilled security team enhances its effectiveness, making this a true strategic partnership.”

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).

Punch Technologies is a mobile software company based in Charlotte, N.C. They are the creators of the Punch Alert mobile security and communication platform. The Punch Alert Platform is the only all-in-one emergency communication platform leveraging both GPS and iBeacon location technology.

 

Written by Sunstates Security

September 6th, 2016 at 9:09 pm

Antoine Worsley Recipient of 2016 Ralph Day Security Officer Heroism Award

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Antoine Worsley

Antoine Worsley

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.

Written by Sunstates Security

August 18th, 2016 at 7:53 pm

Sunstates Security Announces Promotion of Denis Kelly to Chief Operating Officer

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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

Denis Kelly, Chief Operating Officer

Denis Kelly, Chief Operating Officer

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).

Written by Sunstates Security

August 18th, 2016 at 7:46 pm

Security Focus: Access Control Tailgating & Piggybacking

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Access Control Piggybacking

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. 

The Risks of Tailgating & Piggybacking

  • 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. 

Access Control Solutions

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:Access Control Tailgating

  • 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.

 

 

Written by Sunstates Security

August 11th, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Posted in Security Tips

HOW MANAGEMENT SUPPORT IMPROVES CUSTOMER SERVICE

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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:Customer Service

  • >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.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 26th, 2016 at 7:55 pm

USING TECHNOLOGY FOR MAXIMUM SECURITY EFFICIENCY

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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.Image for USING TECHNOLOGY FOR MAXIMUM SECURITY EFFICIENCY Post

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.

Written by Sunstates Security

January 19th, 2016 at 8:07 pm

THE PHILOSOPHY OF PREVENTION – STAYING SAFE IN A DANGEROUS WORLD

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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?Image for THE PHILOSOPHY OF PREVENTION – STAYING SAFE IN A DANGEROUS WORLD Post - Emergency Preparedness

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. Image for THE PHILOSOPHY OF PREVENTION – STAYING SAFE IN A DANGEROUS WORLD Post - Active Shooter TrainingTraining 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.”

Written by Sunstates Security

October 29th, 2015 at 6:05 pm