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October 30, 2013 -
Outsourced service providers, such as security personnel, can often be subject to the hiring trends of the time. Whether a department should be in-house or outsourced changes due to factors beyond budget, though that always plays a role.
At the recent ASIS Conference in Chicago, there was a session on improving the safety of university campuses. The presenters discussed the trends and strategies they've experienced and employed. For example, where once the trend was to wholly outsource the security department to a third party, due to the recent upswing in shootings on campuses, the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction. As one presenter put it, "The president said, 'Let's get some coppers with guns on campus."
While the trend is to establish a sworn officer department for the campus, the presenters recognized that many of the outsourced security personnel they had worked with had been with the account for many years and offered a depth of knowledge and loyalty they were not willing to loose. In order to retain these seasoned individuals, the presenters discussed negotiating to offer a small annual raise, beyond the stipulations of the contract.
While a sworn department might have strengths in partnering with outside agencies during a crisis, outsourced security personnel offer their own benefits. First, they're not hardened former street cops, and so don't have to be trained out of the harsher postures and tactics that would be overkill on campus. They also can perform functions a sworn officer can't, such as searching patrons entering a sport venue.
One strategy for keeping key outsourced personnel while still building an in-house police department is to redeploy the outsourced security personnel to serve as dispatch, running plates and pulling records for the officers, who are deployed out into the campus.