A Year of Reassessment: The ASIS Annual Employment Survey Looks at How 9-11 Affected Corporate Security Functions, Staffing, Budgets, and Policies. (Progress Report)

By Anderson, Teresa | Security Management, January 2003 | Go to article overview

A Year of Reassessment: The ASIS Annual Employment Survey Looks at How 9-11 Affected Corporate Security Functions, Staffing, Budgets, and Policies. (Progress Report)


Anderson, Teresa, Security Management


WILLIAM BIGA, security administrator for Dominos Farms Corporation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, oversees a 650,000-square-foot multiuse office complex. The building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is nearly a mile long and has more than 100 entry points. "We are a bit porous," says Biga. "And, in early 2001, I had been talking of upgrading to digital CCTV and installing a new access control system."

After September 11, says Biga, the new equipment was moved up on the agenda and security's budget was increased. A fully digital CCTV system was completed in February, and a new access control system is currently being installed on all doors.

The company also implemented new policies to go along with the new equipment. Before the terrorist attacks, the company's two loading docks--a north dock with two bays and a south dock with 22 bays--were open. Packages could be left for employees and trucks could be unloaded at will. The new access control system will allow only those with cards into the loading docks. Those without cards must be met by an employee before leaving packages or offloading cargo.

How typical is Biga's company's 9-11 response? To answer that question, a section of the ASIS International employment survey, conducted by Westat, Inc., focused on what companies have done since the September U, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Security Management interviewed Biga and other respondents to assess specific changes in their companies. Additional perspectives were gathered from security suppliers at the ASIS 48th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Philadelphia.

SECURITY FUNCTION. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed (74 percent) experienced no change in the security function's structure within the organization as a result of 9-u. However, i8 percent of respondents said that security now reports to a person with a higher rank, and 7 percent said the security department is structured under a different department.

BUDGETS. Almost half of the respondents (45 percent) reported an increase in their overall annual security budget, while 38 percent said that the budget remained the same. Only 7 percent of those surveyed reported a decrease in the security budget. (Ten percent of respondents did not answer the question.)

The budget challenges are especially difficult for some security departments where the companies are in sectors of the economy that have been hard hit by the recession. "Tourism has been on the wane since September 11," says Alvin L. Holland, chief of security for the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. "And we have yet to recover from the downward trend."

This means that while the security budget has not decreased, additional budget dollars have not been allocated to security. To try to increase security awareness on an organization-wide basis without spending additional funds, Holland and his staff of 43 proprietary security officers have "deputized" all museum employees. Training sessions for employees have emphasized what threats staff should watch out for and when security personnel should be contacted.

STAFFING. While more money was spent, in most cases it was not concentrated on new personnel, according to the survey. Fifty-three percent of respondents said that in-house staffing remained the same, while 33 percent reported an increase in staff. Six percent of respondents said staff decreased. (The remainder did not answer this question.)

For example, after September u, one brokerage firm saw a 37 percent reduction in staff. "Instead of increasing security," the senior security manager says, "the company closed down the monitoring station and outsourced the security guards."

The guard staff, once comprising 30 people, is now at u. "We didn't change security policies, because they were already strict," says the manager. "However, now we must enforce those policies while closing locations and reducing security staff"

Contract staff followed a similar pattern. …

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