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Eddie Sorrells: Legal Issues Faced by the Security Industry

By Mark Folmer, CPP, MSyI

Eddie Sorrells: Legal Issues Faced by the Security Industry DSI Security ServicesEddie Sorrells, CPP, PSP, PCI is the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel for DSI Security Services. He is also a board member of the National Association of Security Companies (NASCO) and he serves as the incumbent Council Vice President for ASIS International. Eddie happens to be a certified law-practitioner in the state of Alabama as well and a published author. He is thus a prime commentator on the rising legal complications in the security industry.

ASSIST Texas is a security association that actively encourages Texan security firms to follow “appropriate legislative and continuous improvement initiatives” in order to maintain high standards in security service delivery. In the lead up to its Annual Convention in San Antonio this week, I caught up with Eddie at ASIS International’s Global Security Exchange (GSX) 2018 conference to get his insight on the appropriate legislative measures that security firms need to undertake in order to uphold quality security services and avoid legal trouble.

 

The changing landscape of the security industry

Having been in the industry for as long as Eddie has been – 25 years – he is starting to notice that the percentage of lawsuits has risen each and every year. The fact of the matter is that there’s a lot of legal issues that tie into the delivery of security services.

Since Eddie primarily contracts security officers, he is more attuned with the legal challenges arising from that respect. In fact, he says there’s no shortage of negligence lawsuits being filed across the country everyday caused by heedless guards. Malpractice, wherein guards use too much force to subdue emergency situations, can be another trigger.

 

Avoiding legal complications

Eddie Sorrells: Legal Issues Faced by the Security Industry DSI Security ServicesOne of the most important things that security companies can do to avoid lawsuits is to ensure they have sound training and documentation policies because when lawsuits start to fly, people want to see things in writing. Eddie advises that having really good, detailed post instructions and training for security guards is going to help security firms in the long-run.

In today’s climate of frivolous lawsuits arising from unsatisfied customer experiences, security firms are bearing the brunt as well. The TrackTik software permits security operators to send Daily Activity Reports to their customers to document the agreed-upon service deliverables by frontline guards. Offering this level of transparency to customers can be crucial in avoiding legal trouble.

 

Rolling out the best practices

Next, I asked Eddie if security firms are starting to roll out his suggested policies to staff as they come in or if these are being rolled out on a refresher basis to existing employees. Eddie answers that each situation can be different because the security industry is evolving everyday.

In the security officer world, security firms need to realize that they not only have to train security officers as soon as they walk in through the door but to train them continually throughout their employees’ lifespan in the company. Security firms need to make sure that their employees are aware of the fresh techniques, approaches and the latest operational best practices of the industry.

 

Continuous improvement in security standards

Eddie goes on to add that security firms have to come to the realization that if a security guard has been trained one time and never trained again for five years then that’s going to be an issue in a lawsuit. This alludes to the point that employees need to be kept engaged and enlightened about current practices.

Switching gears, I wanted to find out what keeps Eddie up at night being a security professional and a lawyer at the same time. He answers that security firms have a solemn responsibility to address all the different threats that their customers face. All areas of concern have to be addressed in every pressure situation, especially high-risk ones such as live events wherein there is no shortage of pressure points.  

 

Security is serious business

Due to the seriousness and the critical nature of the security service process, the thing that weighs in on Eddie’s mind the most and on all security firm managers’ minds is making sure that the customer’s needs are addressed. He says, ‘you never want to get that phone call that something has happened and there’s been some type of incident to a large scale or even a small scale at a customer’s facility.’

Security firms are entrusted by their customers to ensure that their security needs are met. Eddie constantly reflects on whether or not his own security firm is delivering on that customer promise. He goes on to add that thankfully over the past 50 years, they’ve done a pretty good job of doing that.

 

Visit the TrackTik Booth at ASSIST Texas

The Associated Security Services and Investigators of the State of Texas states that it is “committed to the enhancement of security services for Texas citizens.” At TrackTik, we believe that we help security operations safeguard the assets under their care. Our software is equipped with detailed reporting capabilities that helps ensure your customers’ safety and satisfaction.

Come see us at Booth #2 at the ASSIST Annual Convention 2018 at the Marriott Plaza San Antonio from October 10-12.

 

Check out the video of my chat with Eddie Sorrells at GSX 2018 below:

 

Mark Folmer, CPP, MSyI
Vice President, Security Industry
[email protected]
Twitter: @markfolmer & @TrackTik

 

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