Since September 11, 2001, law enforcement agencies have been under tremendous pressure to conduct their traditional crime prevention and response activities, plus a large quantum of homeland security work, in a time of tight city, county, and state budgets. Private security organizations have been under similar pressure to perform their traditional activities to protect people, property, and information, plus contribute to the nationwide effort to protect the homeland from external and internal threats, all while minding the profitability of the businesses they serve.
Despite their similar interests in protecting the people of the United States, the two fields have rarely collaborated. In fact, through the practice of community policing, law enforcement agencies have collaborated extensively with practically every group but private security. By some estimates, 85 percent of the country’s critical infrastructure is protected by private security. The need for complex coordination, extra staffing, and special resources after a terror attack, coupled with the significant demands of crime prevention and response, absolutely requires boosting the level of partnership between public policing and private security.
Toward that end, President Joe Samuels (2003-2004) and the Private Sector Liaison
Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) proposed a meeting of leaders in law enforcement and private security. With funding and guidance from one of the nation’s major proponents of public–private cooperation—the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)—the IACP/COPS National Policy Summit: Building Private Security/Public Policing Partnerships to Prevent and Respond to Terrorism and Public Disorder became a reality.
The summit’s cooperative spirit was bolstered by co-sponsorship from ASIS International, the International Security Management Association, the National Association of Security Companies, and the Security Industry Association. The full summit report provides detailed commentary on the summit’s background and purpose, along with descriptions of law enforcement and private security and the history and current status of cooperation between those fields. Also covered are key summit speeches and major issues in public–private cooperation. Most importantly, the report features the specific recommendations—the action agenda—that resulted from the concentrated work of summit participants. This paper is also available on a compact disc that includes additional resource materials.
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