By Nadra Enzi
I had the pleasure of spending a weekend with the command staff and officers of Critical Intervention Services(CIS),a Clearwater, Florida prevention agency licensed to provide security and investigative services.
It began on January 24th, 2003, the same day the federal Department of Homeland Security officially opened doors for business.
I witnessed real, grassroots homeland security in action.
CIS resembles a combination private police/social service agency.
This combination, particularly applied to the needs of captive inner city housing residents, produces on-site assistance available 24 hours a day.
By building relationships with the community and even the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, CIS has amassed impressive results.
Residents often call the CIS Operations Center instead of 911. Officers not only deter criminal activity but also provide non-security help to their clients. This creates a bond between the two that has lead to real improvement in a number of complexes customarily dismissed as lost causes.
The quality of the agency’s recruitment, training and field performance has led the local Sheriffs Office to request CIS officers to back up arrests and other law enforcement activity on protected properties. This is almost unheard of nationally. Like the general public, most law enforcement agencies regard private security as unintelligent, unreliable and frankly, unworthy of anything except the most menial tasks.
As a security writer, I am qualified to discuss this industry and communicate its truths to a populace that has little practical insight into its inner workings. My experiences as a professional in various security disciplines allows an “inside out” perspective when addressing safety topics.
CIS combination of private law enforcement with social service initiatives is at least two generations ahead of its peers in private security and traditional social services. While there are regular guards who patrol high crime communities, they are not empowered to actively route criminals from the premises. Truthfully, the average security guard is not competent enough nor equipped to confront career criminals. Many public and private social service agencies have case workers who regularly frequent the worst environments. Their clinical skills can correct individual and even family disfunction, but, unlike CIS officers, they cannot combat the overall environment that daily damages their clients.
Imagine the image and tactical knowledge of a protection officer guided by the temperament and concern of a social worker.
This fusion is what inner city landlords and their tenants experience every day when encountering CIS officers and their Character and Community Based Protection Initiative (CCBPI) philosophy.
The most hopeless neighborhoods can be changed, but only by those armed with the olive branch of friendship and the shield of professional protection.
The author is a security writer whose work is available on any search engine. He is a public safety officer at Savannah Technical College.
Contact: Nadra Enzi P.O. Box 11042, Savannah, GA 31412, (912) 412-3806, firstname.lastname@example.org.