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The Power of Public-Private Partnerships

In recent weeks, I accepted a position with Mead Johnson Nutrition and relocated to southern Indiana. As a result of
this new role, I’ve embarked on a series of “meet and greets” to get to know key law enforcement personnel within my region. These meetings have reinforced that in this era of shrinking budgets and resource limitations, the need for collaboration with our public sector security colleagues has never been greater.

Aligning makes sense. With 85% of U.S. critical infrastructure protected by private security, alliances are essential for homeland security. Other benefits include greater crime prevention and awareness, intelligence sharing, neighborhood advocacy, technology access and sharing—not to mention financial resources for special projects.

We know the need to share information and resources exists. At the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) conference last month, Tom Langer, CPP, representing ASIS, spoke about how police can leverage their corporate security partners in the fight against crime. The key to success is building trust and strengthening bonds with our public sector security colleagues within our spheres of influence—our local communities.

Just getting started? Begin with relationship building. This can be accomplished in myriad ways. ASIS chapters recognize law enforcement colleagues through appreciation day programs, dinners, awards, and golf outings. These “tip of the cap” events provide an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments and deepen connections–while spotlighting the special relationship between private security and public law enforcement. At the Annual Seminar and Exhibits, ASIS extends a special “thank you” to active duty law enforcement, military, and first responders, by providing free entry on Law Enforcement and Military Appreciation Day. This year it’s October 1 in Atlanta.  

The Law Enforcement Liaison Council (LELC) just released, Operation Partnership: Primer on Getting Started, available for free download on the ASIS website, which provides a “how to” guide for developing goal-oriented public-private partnerships.

Already have a good relationship with law enforcement? Share your success with peers by applying for the ASIS Foundation and LELC Matthew Simeone Award for Public-Private Partnerships. When done right, these partnerships serve as a much needed force multiplier for police departments and private security staffs.

Last year’s winner, the Harris County Law Enforcement and Private Security (LEAPS) program in Houston, Texas, is a great example of a well-conceived and executed partnership. Established in 2011, LEAPS provides training to private-sector security personnel to enhance their knowledge in crime reduction, emergency preparedness, crime scene protection/preservation, and criminal trespass.

Collaborating can be hard work. It requires us to broaden our scope and to consult and listen more intently. Yet the rewards are immense. In the words of Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”