Archive for the ‘Protective Services and Investigations’ Category

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.


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.


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.


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 …


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.




LinkedIn Ain’t Facebook

November 21st, 2014 Comments off


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.

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.



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.



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.


Do I Need Security? Naw, You’re Good

September 9th, 2014 Comments off


While at a conference recently, a speaker was talking about working with the indigenous communities in new mining areas of interest.  The speaker was an expert on indigenous relations in Chile and other Latin American regions, and consulted with companies to streamline operations and build communities.

The panel members were discussing the various elements of operating in Latin America and when a member of the audience asked about security, in Mexico specifically, I was shocked with the response.  The expert on indigenous relations spoke up and suggested that security was not an issue. He continued stating that there were worse areas in Africa where companies operate without issue. The fact that the speaker suggested that security was a non-issue in Mexico is dangerous.

A security assessment should be conducted for any new area that a company plans on beginning operations, even if it’s in the US or Canada. For Mexico, and other countries in Latin America, there are other elements to consider though. What does the political horizon look like currently and in the near future? Are there any cartels or criminal entities operating in the area? Could there be threats from violent extremist organizations? Is the area prone to natural disaster e.g. flooding? Are there suitable areas for expats and their families, etc.?

Failure to ensure that professional audits and contingencies are in place for the security of your people and business can be very costly.

Get an expert opinion, from a security expert.


I Wasn’t Expecting That

August 22nd, 2014 Comments off

Speaking to an events manager on a flight the other day, he was trying to find the humour in losing an item off his trade show table from the conference he just left. It wasn’t a big event, so there was some down time when there were not many attendees circulating. Being the only one working the show, he decided to take advantage when he could, and went out to grab a bite to eat.

When he returned, it was clear that a passerby had helped themselves to some of the free giveaways he had left out on the table. Perfectly fine, as that was what the small items were for. What he hadn’t expected was that the one demo product was also gone. Difficult to say if it was mistaken for a giveaway or not, but regardless, a $3,000 item was gone.

This event manager was not looking forward to explaining this to his manager.

I think the lesson here is that one should never leave anything to chance and I believe that corporations should apply this way of thinking to travel security, workplace violence and any other corporate security precaution.


Has Anyone Told Soccer Players ‘Never Cry Wolf’?

July 8th, 2014 Comments off

I really enjoy watching Euro and World Cup soccer, but the one aspect that really bothers me about the game, is all the drama. Diving and faking an injury is so prevalent that stats are kept on fake ‘injuries’ and ‘writhing time’.


Brazil tops the list for this World Cup so far, and here is where ‘never crying wolf’ potentially came back to haunt Brazil’s top player, Neymar. Late in the game against Chile, Neymar took a brutal knee to his back (see the images and gifs here). He went down in pain, but displayed the same grimace he has many times before, so maybe it was initially dismissed as another dramatic dive.

“The Team Most Commonly Seen in Anguish: Brazil. There were 17 incidents in two games when a member of the Seleção was seen on the ground in pain—the most of any country. World Cup poster boy Neymar had five such “injuries,” the most on his team. In every case he was back on his feet within 15 seconds.” – The Wall Street Journal

Seeing the replay, I could tell that this looked like a real injury and was aghast of how the medical staff simply threw Neymar onto a stretcher, and jogged him off the field, bouncing and shaking along the way. Neymar had a fractured vertebra. Although I’m not a medic, I believe more care should have been taken getting him off the field. Again, possibly the seriousness of his injury wasn’t recognized, thinking it was play-acting to work precious time off the clock.

Then there is the opposite of never crying wolf that my AFIMAC colleagues and I consistently hear related to travel security. Companies that don’t want to acknowledge there is a wolf looming.

“We don’t want executive protection while our partners are touring our facility, so they don’t think safety is an issue.”

“We do not want to be seen as alarmists.”

“If we have protective drivers, some may think the area is unsafe.”

Well, if an AFIMAC expert is suggesting security – it’s needed. Security should not be reactive, and although you may never realize the ROI on proactive security, it’s worth it to protect your people and property. Avoid a robbery, kidnapping or worse.

Don’t let your duty of care take a dive.

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