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Mr. Glasser

Security & Safety

Advantages of Domestic and International Law Enforcement Liaison

By Marc Glasser, Managing Director, RM LLC

General Personal Relationships and Liaison

In general, it is basic human behavior to want to help a friend or an acquaintance more than someone we do not know or with whom we have limited interpersonal contact. Having a person go the "extra mile" or even inch, is one of the benefits of an established personal relationship. Advantages of domestic and international law enforcement liaison are similar to advantages afforded to valuable personal relationships in general. Additionally, it is important to emphasize that, in general, personal "face-to-face" contact is more effective in promoting liaison, cooperation and the exchange of information than contact solely established and maintained through social Internet networking (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn). While it is important to acknowledge that social Internet networking is a most valuable tool, face-to-face contact, facilitated by Internet contact or not, is generally superior for promoting effective interpersonal relationships; hence, liaison. However, it is important to understand that there may be factors that preclude face-to-face contact, such as geographical distance or financial constraints, where technology can facilitate contact that would otherwise not occur. In these cases, establishing contact facilitated by technology is more valuable than no contact at all. Further, in this global economy, it is also likely that relationships established through technology can, in the short or long-term, culminate in face-to-face meetings.

The final "general" point is that often the more that those in contact have in common (e.g., professional background, experiences, and other common traits) the more rapidly the interpersonal relationship is built and communication will be more efficient. Efficiency in terms of the information exchanged means that the information need not be "translated" for those unfamiliar with "industry" concepts, terms or other industry specifics. This is not to say, those with fewer common traits or experiences, should not establish external industry or discipline contacts, it is to emphasize that those assigned to liaison duties should be the ones with traits or experiences most in common with those with whom they are establishing contact. Even in cases where little or no "established common ground" exists between those initiating relationships, this is by no means a reason not to pursue establishing the relationship. It may simply require a bit more effort. However, the effort involved is well worth the return as is highlighted throughout this article.

This article does not imply that law enforcement officials do not want to, or cannot make, a conscious effort to help those with whom they have had no or limited contact. This article asserts that having a positive interpersonal relationship, with most anyone, including law enforcement personnel, will facilitate a climate where the exchange of information will more readily occur - specifically relating to this article - facilitating the exchange of information between and among hotel and law enforcement professionals. Higher frequency and quality of the information exchanged will benefit all those involved. Not only will it be valuable for the hotel to receive law enforcement information, it will also be very beneficial to the law enforcement agency involved.

Law Enforcement Liaison

Specific advantages of effective domestic and international law enforcement liaison include the availability of a vast array of information, including intelligence, assessments and resources. Information and analysis received from law enforcement contacts can save lives, protect property and help to safeguard a hotel's reputation. Threat information received from law enforcement sources facilitates proactive, threat reducing or mitigating, hotel security protective measures. These protective measures are based on risk management. Appropriate risk management based activities are efficient as limited resources are allocated to protective measures having the highest return on investment by dedicating resources to actions that would most likely reduce or mitigate the threat. Threat reduction includes threat elimination. Threat mitigation includes measures that would reduce the threat impact were it to occur. The aforementioned can significantly positively impact a hotel's "bottom line" with effective law enforcement liaison or most negatively without appropriate law enforcement liaison.

Other domestic and international law enforcement liaison benefits include receiving information where a level of credibility has been assessed, risk probability estimated and risk reduction measures proposed. Law enforcement analysis of information will quantify the threat probability and possible impact of occurrence. The law enforcement analysis will recommend preventive or protective measures and highlight resources available to institute these measures. Law enforcement liaison results in efficiency related to media information. Information from law enforcement officials will be credible, vital, concise and actionable, saving hotel security officials time and resources thus, reducing the need for the hotel to employ additional assets to determine information credibility, threat specific assessments and determination of protective measures to be instituted. However, in the event conditions change and law enforcement liaison is not as effective, for whatever reason, hotel security departments still need to have "in-house" or third party capacity to evaluate security information credibility, determine possible threat impact, and develop and institute appropriate protective measures.

Creating "liaison dialogue" is not only beneficial to your hotel/organization but to law enforcement and the community at large. The information a hotel can provide to law enforcement can valuably enhance the protection of the community and its stakeholders. This can be accomplished at little or no additional direct cost to either the hotel or law enforcement organization. Even if there are small costs associated with liaison activities, these costs are low compared with the return on investment for the hotel and local community, resulting in a large ROI multiple.

When hotel staff initiate contact with law enforcement officials, to establish law enforcement liaison, the hotel representatives should highlight the value that can be provided by the hotel and its staff to the law enforcement agency. This is accomplished because hotel employees can be valuable intelligence resources, individually and collectively. Hotel employees can observe hotel patrons and activities for "early warning signs". Properly trained hotel employees will notice suspicious activities and report those activities to the appropriate hotel security point of contact who then will report the information to law enforcement contacts. Such early indicators of terrorism or other suspicious behaviors by hotel staff "first preventers" may be initial signs indicating possible threats that law enforcement officials want to know about and possibly act on. It is important to note that we are not talking about an imminent or possible imminent threat situation. In cases as such standard security operating procedures should be complied with. These SOPs could include either calling 9-1-1 (or other appropriate numbers) directly to notify first responder dispatch (e.g., 9-1-1 operator) or notifying the hotel's security office which in turns notifies one or more external responding agencies.

Domestic Law Enforcement Liaison

One of the lessons learned from the 9/11 terrorist attacks was the importance of establishing formal and informal relationships (liaison) between law enforcement, homeland security, emergency management officials and other community stakeholders. Concisely stated, one purpose of establishing these relationships is for the exchanging of information. Most communities have established "fusion centers", usually managed by law enforcement, inclusive of many community stakeholders, to include those representing law enforcement, fire service, emergency management, critical infrastructure and private sector partners. Private sector partners include hospitality industry representation. The fusion centers serve as a focal point for the collection, vetting, analysis and distribution of information. The local fusion center receives and manages local, state, federal (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation including Joint Terrorism Task Forces and InfraGard information) and international intelligence. In addition, most fusion centers offer training, generally at no cost. This refers to "Properly trained" mentioned in a previous paragraph.

Contact your local police department and ask about private sector fusion center and other local liaison opportunities. Examples follow below.

Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center (SNCTC - Las Vegas, NV area fusion center) example:

• SNCTC website http://www.snctc.org/ highlighting Terrorism Liaison Officer and Fusion Liaison Officer basic web-based training courses, Seven Signs of Terrorism training video link (http://www.snctc.org/View-DVD.asp) and reporting of suspicious (http://www.snctc.org/SAR/sarintro.asp) activities and other valuable information.

Other domestic liaison opportunities include city-specific chapters of:

• InfraGard (www.infragard.net and http://www.infragard.net/chapters/index.php?mn=3)

• Local hotel security directors associations (http://vegassecuritychiefs.com). If no similar local association exists you may want to consider starting your own.

• ASIS international (http://www.asisonline.org/about/history/index.xml and http://www.asisonline.org/searches/chapters/index.xml)

International Law Enforcement Liaison

Relating to U.S. hotel security interests, among your best international law enforcement contacts is through the local country U.S. Embassy or Consulate, U.S. State Department Regional Security Officer (RSO). RSOs are career U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, law enforcement Special Agents serving overseas based out of U.S. embassies and consulates. In addition to overall U.S. Embassy or Consulate security responsibilities, RSOs serve as the U.S. Department of State's primary liaison with foreign/host-country police and security services. In terms of a hotel analogy, RSOs are the in-country law enforcement and security service "Concierge" - understanding local threat conditions and have in-country law enforcement and security contacts at the highest levels. The "Concierge" analogy is meant to highlight that the RSOs have the appropriate high-level law enforcement and security relationships with "those in the know" as well as the "decision-makers".

Regarding hotel specific security purposes, the local RSO can advise regarding local threat conditions and facilitate the appropriate international law enforcement liaison contacts. Local threat conditions could include information regarding current local political and economic conditions, terrorist activities, direct threats against Americans and American interests and protective guidance. It is best that hotel senior security/executive management individuals establish initial RSO contact for country specific law enforcement liaison initiatives. Information on the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security can be found at http://www.state.gov/m/ds/about/overview/index.htm.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Diplomatic Security manages and maintains the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) to "promote security cooperation between American private sector interests worldwide and the U.S. Department of State". Further, a "primary goal of OSAC is to develop an effective security communication network, consequently, OSAC invited all U.S. businesses, academia, faith-based groups, and non-governmental organizations to become constituents." (https://www.osac.gov/Pages/AboutUs.aspx).

Relating to the OSAC purposes above, OSAC has:

• Country Councils in over 140 overseas locations bringing together the American embassy or consulate with local representatives of American organizations to share information about security issues of mutual concern in the region.

• Maintains a very robust website for the exchange of unclassified security related information (summary and detailed) on incidents and threats overseas relating to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. private sector interests.

Most information can be accessed as a "member only" referred to as an OSAC constituency. There is no cost involved with OSAC constituency. OSAC constituency is available to any American-owned, not-for-profit organization, or any enterprise incorporated in the US. To become an OSAC constituency, one can apply at https://www.osac.gov/Pages/Login.aspx. Your organization's director of global security, who is based in the U.S., or whoever represents the CEO on security matters, should complete the application process. This person will serve as the primary point of contact for your organization OSAC constituency account. Once approved, the account will have the ability to manage your organization's membership as well as create new user accounts for other members of your organization.

Summary

Facilitating effective domestic and international law enforcement liaison is advantageous to hotel patrons, security and the parent company. These benefits are easily articulated to entry-level through C-suite executives. They include having credible and timely law enforcement and security information which can result in saving lives, protecting property and helping to safeguard a hotel's reputation and "bottom line". In conjunction with hotels' security management, the liaison facilitated information can help determine the most efficient and effective risk management implementation measures to prevent or reduce the impact of possible threats to specific hotel locations and the company at large. The article identifies initial domestic and international liaison points of contact. Specific liaison establishing efforts will lead to other significant liaison contacts - contacts building upon each other. Establishing these valuable domestic and international law enforcement liaison contacts can be achieved through minimal effort and cost correlating to a high return on investment in terms of protection of personnel, patrons and assets (physical to include buildings and property and intangible including reputation and goodwill).

Marc Glasser is the Managing Director of RM (Protection Risk Management) LLC. RM LLC provides security, business continuity, and emergency management services spanning the protection of life, operations, assets and stakeholder value. He directs risk management, security, and business continuity programs (including business impact and supply chain analysis) to mitigate vulnerabilities, including natural (e.g., floods, earthquakes, hurricanes), technical (e.g., utility service disruptions, hazardous materials incidents), and intentional (e.g., terrorism, theft, espionage). Mr. Glasser can be contacted at 702-809-3434 or mglasser@rmllc.com Extended Bio...

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