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Archive for the ‘Protective Services and Investigations’ Category

Twenty Five Years and He Let Me Fall

May 14th, 2015 Comments off

Steve5

I was with a friend over the past weekend that I have known for twenty-five years, and reminded him of when he helped me out on a video shoot I did for AFIMAC a few years ago. I also reminded him of how he let me fall, literally.

We were shooting the educational active shooter video for AFIMAC, and I had staff, friends and family all helping out. We were short one person in a scene, so I stood in to take the part. My role was to run to the front doors of the building, act like I was shot, and fall down…without looking. We’ve all seen those team building activities where one person folds their arms on their chest, and falls backwards into the trusting arms of everyone stood behind them. Well, my scene required a similar trust factor. When I fell, my friend’s job was to quickly push a mattress under me to cushion my fall. Without the mattress, I would fall on a hard tiled floor.

We had to capture the scene from several different angles, which included another actor, so we had to do several takes. After we finished the fifth take, I got into position for the sixth. I turned and began to fall, but had a weird gut feeling, craned my neck to check the floor and noticed the mattress wasn’t there. With barely a millisecond to spare, I managed to get a hand down to break my fall onto the tiles.

You can check the scene out that I’m referring to at 1:50

One of the things that I like about my friend is his sense of humour. But that quality let me down on this occasion. Behind the scenes for any type of video shoot, there is a lot going on from cameras, lighting, people off camera, microphones, etc. My friend was preoccupied with some of the other people that were playing roles in other scenes, joking about, and adopted a sense of passiveness from the repetitiveness of my previous five takes for that scene.

He allowed himself to become distracted and forgot about me for a moment.

Someone may look at a service like an ‘airport transfer’ that AFIMAC provides its clients, and think it’s just that – a trained driver picks a client up at the airport and drops them off at their hotel safely. Seems easy enough, but it isn’t. No different than my example of depending on my friend to break my fall, AFIMAC transfers have a lot more going on behind the scenes as well.

Routes are selected and planned in advance, taking into account the time of day, whether there are any major events going on, and alternate routes are always preselected. Points of interest are also identified in advance, in case the driver must make an emergency stop, for example, if the client has any medical conditions and needs a hospital. The operations team tracks the AFIMAC driver and client via software, and notifies the driver of any changes in the planned routes.

I’m always impressed with the operational level of services my colleagues provide behind the scenes. It can prove to be invaluable.

I’d trust any of them to catch my fall.

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AFIMAC Media Feature

May 14th, 2015 Comments off

Recently, AFIMAC spent some time with Sandra Peeples of Univision talking about domestic and international kidnapping threats. The feature is in Spanish, and has some great information, visuals and re-enactments. Check it out here.

Part 1

Part2

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In Our Own Backyard

April 20th, 2015 Comments off

RoadSigns2

My colleague, Ron Hartman with ASAP Secured, mentioned to me as I headed to a meeting that he saw signs erected by our local police department warning against cargo crime. Ironically, the meeting I was going into was with ISB Canada, related to their MEE (Making Eligibility Easy) service within the trucking industry.

The MEE platform assists companies with recruiting and qualifying their drivers; so its prevention at the first stage.

If you do what the police signs say and report cargo crime, you’re already too late. Contingencies need to be put in place to prevent the cargo crime, so as a business, you need to become less of a target.

At your sites:

On the road:

AFIMAC also offers a highly sophisticated approach to securing cargo in transit, from audits, escorts, GPS tracking, to intelligence briefs.

Get ahead of the criminals.

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Family Vacation Plus 400 College Spring Breakers Equals…

March 20th, 2015 Comments off

After not having any plans to get away this season, my wife and I decided to take a last minute trip to a hot destination and escape one of the coldest winters on record. Why not?

We knew it was going to overlap university and college spring break a bit, but that didn’t matter. While on holiday, I admittedly check emails and respond to any requirements, so I was happy that the resort had Wi-Fi in the rooms. Well, the first two days it did.

On the second night after returning from dinner, we were relaxing in our room and I thought I’d do a quick email check – I had no service. Then I checked my iPad – I had no Internet. It worked previously, so I went to bed thinking it would be back up in the morning. Nothing changed the next morning. When we made our way towards the pool and beach, it became very clear what had happened. Everywhere I turned there were student spring breakers on their phones, tweeting, posting to Instagram and texting. The Wi-Fi pipeline was flooded.

I was immediately reminded of what AFIMAC cautioned clients about leading up to the World Cup in Brazil, but that was because millions of people were going to be descending upon the country. This resort was hosting only 400 students!

Luckily there were contingencies in place. I had multiple devices, could sit closer to the hotspots, use the telephone, and there was a business centre. Luckily, there wasn’t anything urgent enough for me to need to do that, and my colleagues covered for me once I was finally able to get a hold of them to let them know.

I was prepared to dodge sick partiers, endure long line-ups at the pool bar, and scrounge to find beach chairs, but I did not anticipate a Wi-Fi melt down.

Regardless, I felt twenty years younger! What a great trip.

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You’ve Got a Green Light, But I’d Still Look Both Ways

February 12th, 2015 Comments off

You’re waiting at a red light and it turns green. You can drive straight through, right? If everyone followed protocol, then absolutely, but unfortunately not everyone acts rationally. For the motorcyclist in the linked video below, he found out the hard way that one can’t assume. Didn’t all of our parents tell us what happens when you assume?

It definitely was not the motorcyclist’s fault, and luckily he only received minor injuries, but could it have been prevented? The first comment on the video states just that, and hundreds of people agreed by ‘liking’ it, but there are also hundreds of replies debating the issue.

Steve3

Let’s look at this in comparison to building a contingency plan for a large-scale event your company is hosting.

• Marketing/event planning perspective
-the speaker you had scheduled cancels on the morning of the event – you of course would have one or two back-up speakers available on site

• Security perspective
- activists try to crash the event – you of course are aware of any groups or organizations that would attempt this, and have conducted social media monitoring in advance of the event, and planned security for crowd control

• Speaker’s perspective
- a heckler or long-winded audience member is interrupting your presentation – you would have canned responses to move the presentation along

There is no legal obligation to look both ways before you advance on a green, but should you?

Plan for the unexpected.

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How to Use Executive Protection Services Overseas

January 31st, 2015 Comments off

Security Magazine Article

By Claire Meyer

How to Use Executive Protection Services Overseas

For the 2014 Winter Olympics, a 50-person contingent from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), including several members of the board of directors, spent 14 days attending various events and competitions in Sochi, Russia. For Tiger Shaw, two-time Olympian and now President and CEO of the USSA, this meant the need to call in some expert help.

Read more …

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Never Cry Snake

December 11th, 2014 Comments off

Steve (2)

 

I didn’t watch the special #EatenAlive that the Discovery Channel featured this past weekend, but 4 million others did.

For weeks, the special was promoted to potential viewers that a man will be eaten alive by a large green anaconda for scientific purposes. Cameras and equipment built into a custom anaconda proof suit will capture statistics on the snake as the man is constricted and eaten. The problem is that a large majority of those viewers felt as though they were sold on something, that wasn’t delivered.

The snake coiled around the man, but never ate him, and a social media backlash ensued.

It may be a fairly distant parallel to compare the entertainment and security industry, but I’m going to. I’ve seen security companies that have websites claiming they are a lot of things that they are not. I’ve found proprietary images of our field staff that AFIMAC has on our website being used on other security company websites. I’m aware of all the times that a security company calls AFIMAC because they sold a client a service that they can’t deliver and need our help.

It may fool a client once, but ethically and with a long-term business plan, there can’t be a payoff.

For anyone that is going to use a security company, check references and do your homework. Voicing displeasure about a movie or TV show is easy, but explaining why an inexperienced security company lost one of your executives, not so much.

 

 

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LinkedIn Ain’t Facebook

November 21st, 2014 Comments off

LinkedInFacebook

Wow, I’m guessing that did not go as planned. What I’m referring to is a photo that a gentleman posted on LinkedIn, ‘a business-oriented social networking service’. The photo was of his daughter holding a sign that read ‘My Daddy will quit smoking if I get 1,000 likes’. The comments on the post were fast and furious, and although there were some that considered it a good cause, most either completely berated the gentleman or voiced their disgust in the poorly placed campaign.

Here are a couple examples of comments, but I’ll leave them as anonymous:

“Why are you posting this on a professional networking site!? Is this a sad way to gain connections?”

“An executive using his child as networking leverage is pathetic.”

In my opinion, it was posted in the wrong environment, and it should have been on Facebook, ‘an online social networking service.’

Yesterday on LinkedIn, I saw a graphic that stated ‘Type the FIRST THREE words you see’ (which I’ve modified as an image to support this blog). You’ll notice words such as intelligence, freedom, love, win, etc., but all I see is a waste of time.

Knowing your environment and what it will tolerate is important, but it can be critical in some situations.

  • With holiday parties around the corner, staff need to keep in mind that they are still in a professional environment with their colleagues, and not treat it like a wild night out with friends.
  • Travelling to another country that has different customs than where you typically travel, could land you in jail or worse, so you should research and educate yourself pre-trip.
  • Crossing a picket line to a business you’ve visited for years will have a completely different atmosphere and employees may act out of character, so training would be suggested.
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BOOM! And That’s How it is Done!

November 6th, 2014 Comments off

I would like to openly admit that I have some OCD tendencies, and am extremely detail oriented at times.

People in my life are used to it and either roll their eyes or poke fun, but often find themselves saying “Okay, you were right, good thing we did it that way.” Whether I’m harping about locking the front door (even if ‘you’re going right back out’), spreading olive slices evenly across homemade pizza (to ensure every bite gets the same amount), or taking umbrellas ‘just in case’ as we head out for Halloween with the kids (we were poured on and the umbrellas were very needed).

In my opinion, planning ahead, and considering all potential outcomes strengthens your position, regardless of what that position is.

Whether my colleagues at AFIMAC govern their personal lives this way, I’m not sure, but I know they do when it comes to planning for clients. As example, Michael Husnik (Director of Operations at AFIMAC) and his team spent months working with a client preparing for a potential strike, and a few months back Michael sent an update email internally, as he often does, detailing the below:

“The client explained to me that the union’s upper hand was taken away by how prepared management was for the strike today which became evident and visible to the union over the last 24hrs.  The union leadership is now considering taking the last offer presented by management to the membership which they were not going to do previously.”

The union did not strike, and a deal was reached. I’d consider that a strength of position win, so well done Michael.

 

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Don’t be Late to the Party

October 7th, 2014 Comments off

Are you in the know when it comes to tracking incidents, threats and current events? If you are just following the news – you aren’t. You need to be actively engaged with social media.

Abdulkader Hariri, a Twitter user in the town of Raqqa, tweeted about the US airstrikes on ISIS before it broke on CNN and other major mainstream media. This isn’t the first time the public has beaten the media to the punch either; in fact, it is an ever-growing occurrence. It’s so common, that you’ll often see CNN reference and credit twitter or a specific user for breaking a story.

Steve2

 

So what? Well, let’s look at a few examples to illustrate the importance of inheriting real time information.

 

1. Contract negotiations are underway for a new collective agreement.
a. If you want to pick up on the chatter of your employees, it will be happening on Facebook and Twitter.
b. If union members are planning a protest or rally, it will be talked about on social media before it happens, and by the time the media posts photos of
the protest, its likely you’ll also already know about it.

 

2. A fire broke out at a large chemical facility surrounded by several other businesses.
a. Images and messages were posted by the public long before the story hit the media and evacuation notices were sent out.
b. The surrounding businesses were able to make quick decisions, efficiently shut down operations and move staff to safe locations.

 

3. An employee is harassing other workers online, boasting about having stolen merchandise for sale, or posting disparaging remarks about your brand.
a. Tracking of various keywords would alert you to each of the above examples.
- If any of the above became newsworthy, it would be too late for you to intervene most likely (e.g. if an employee attacked a coworker,
reporters would dig into old social media posts to see if there was hints of violent behaviour)

 

Ultimately, you need to not only be active in social media to further your branding efforts, you also need to watch over the other chatter to have an opportunity to be proactive vs. reactive.

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