Security services leaders rise to the challenge in a year of great adversity.

By Jamie Ridenhour

So much changed last year when COVID-19 hit, from work schedules and personal routines to business closures and travel restrictions (and everything in between!). Security companies also had to adapt, but with arguably greater gravitas given their critical duties to protect places, property, and people.

Staying on top of the very fluid situation of changing client policy and procedures as well as federal, state, and local government guidelines and mandates was a major challenge. It was also an opportunity to maintain the level of customer service, professionalism, and security efficacy that clients deserve and that distinguishes a security services leader.

New policies and procedures during the pandemic meant new tasks for security officers, putting a premium on versatility. One of the most common added responsibilities is performing temperature checks on all employees and visitors entering a business. This task can be more complicated than it sounds. Security officers must be firm but respectful when interacting with the public. Security officers must be able to navigate facility procedure and their interpersonal interactions with visitors and employees in a way that always strives for a positive outcome.

Many facilities not only included sudden procedure changes, but company badging, access procedures, and other items could change on the fly. To establish quarantine zones, many companies added extra access restrictions. For example, being give red badges and blue badges to separate access between different buildings or the like. Changing patrol routes, and diversification of duties has been common. Security officers have had to adapt to this new reality as well, many of whom are very glad to be able to help and protect the people and facilities they cover.

Mask-wearing requirements is a pandemic policy that has been met at times with belligerence and even violence and unfortunately resulted in the loss of life in a handful of instances. For this reason, DSI has emphasized verbal de-escalation practices in its additional training sessions. Like many companies across the country utilizing video teleconferencing and other means to disseminate training, instructions, and guidance, maintaining critical communication during a time of so much uncertainty and adjustment.

One of the most difficult things in a normal year for a security industry leader is finding and hiring the right people. DSI had to continue to apply its standards to recruitment while adjusting to the new protocols and doing heightened due diligence to keep people healthy.

The COVID-19 pandemic took a great toll on health, the economy and much more. That level of risk mitigation is something most people do not plan for; nobody’s really thinking about a once in a century pandemic, but then suddenly everyone had to adapt across every company, vertical and industry. Knowing that there is always opportunity in adversity, security leaders like DSI stepped up to the challenge to provide value and peace of mind to businesses across the country.