A Conversation with Drew Levine

G4S Secure Solutions USA is the relatively new name for a well-known company many know as Wackenhut, a successful provider of manned security services. Along with the new name comes a broader focus for the growing company, to include not only manned security services but also the element of technology, which continues to change the practice of security. We spoke to Drew Levine, president of G4S Secure Solutions, about how the company is broadening its approach, which includes acquisitions and internal product development.

Q. How do you see the industry changing, and how is G4S Secure Solutions adapting?

A. The industry is clearly moving away from separate products, and even multiple systems, and toward a single security solution that includes all areas and operations of an enterprise. There may be multiple elements of such a system, but in the end, they must interconnect and interact. You see convergence of products and services being offered by various manufacturers and providers, and open systems also can help you get there.

But concentrating on just the technology components misses an important variable in how systems operate: the human element. Even beyond interoperable products, companies need dependable and attentive security personnel to ensure that a system works as it was intended.

We have a Custom Protection Officer program that attracts the most qualified professionals in the security industry, who must meet strict experience requirements and are provided training that goes well beyond industry standards. This is one reason our custom protection officers are uniquely qualified to perform their jobs, across all sectors, but particularly in the government space. We are the only company in the industry that is shifting our focus to consider the broader needs of security to include both technology and manpower. Our security officers come from accomplished backgrounds in law enforcement and military service. With their superior professionalism, they adapt quickly to new technology such as our Secure Trax PLUS or One Facility Video Management System, making them an integral part of the overall manpower-technology solution.

Q. How are you expanding into the technology area?

A. We are keenly aware of the importance of technology in making security officers more productive. That will only increase in the future, when security officers will be equipped with more technology to serve as a force multiplier, as well as a productivity tool. Technology can extend and enhance protection beyond what a security officer can accomplish acting alone. It can impact a business’ risk factors in a positive way.

Our Secure Trax PLUS fully interactive software platform connects G4S officers, the command center and an enterprise’s customized secure business intelligence portal. Its all-in-one software provides a range of customizable security solutions to detect, alert, dispatch, respond to and verify events in real time.

Capturing information electronically, the system eliminates paperwork and provides historical data to enable security managers to assign resources based on business intelligence and trend analysis. It’s a great example of what it means to focus on manpower and technology, which is where the greatest cost efficiencies and enhanced productivity can be gained.

Continuing advances in technologies, such as wireless and analytics, will enable security officers to do more with less. They will have access to more information, by way of handheld devices. The information must be presented in a way that is understandable and actionable, and their interface with systems should be as simple as possible.

Q. What market segments are most important to G4S?

A. Wackenhut has historically been active in a lot of different vertical markets. We believe our new emphasis on integrated security solutions that encompass both manpower and technology has a lot of resonance in the corporate market, where the approach to security and risk is broad and strategic. We also are active in law enforcement, government, education, transportation, residential, facilities management and numerous other vertical segments.

Our acquisition of Nuclear Security Services Corp. further extends our presence in the nuclear power and other regulated industries. We are active with the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Associates and exhibited at their summit in Baltimore on chemical security, infrastructure protection and the impact of Chemical Facility Anti-terrorism Standards.

Q. Tell us about G4S’ offering in the law enforcement market.

A. Our Custom Protection Officer Program, with its superior security officer requirements and training, can augment the government services sector and function as a unique solution in and of itself. We can identify security-related duties currently being performed by sworn law enforcement personnel and deliver a contract program to perform those duties.

This helps police and sheriff’s departments across the country slash budgets and work within limited resources. Examples include transporting prisoners, courthouse security and parking enforcement.

This article originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Security Today.

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