THE MAGAZINE

The Security Handbook, Second Edition

By George J. Okaty, CPP

The Security Handbook, Second Edition. By Philip P. Purpura; published by Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann; available from ASIS, Item #1540, 703/519-6200 (phone), www.asisonline.org (Web); 463 pages; $35 (ASIS members), $39 (nonmembers).

This book addresses the issue of providing professional training to security officers and supervisors who seek a career in security. A user-friendly text, it is filled with checklists covering topics such as how to improve job performance and prepare for a job interview.

In the book's four sections, the reader is guided from a history of security to opportunities in the industry. Chapters are organized with a statement of objectives, case discussions, and chapter reviews that lend themselves well to discussions and test questions.

After an introductory history discussion, the next section looks at how security officers perform their daily duties as well as the skills involved. The material succeeds because it not only tells officers what to do but also why to do it that way, such as by describing the theories behind various crime prevention programs. One of the few places in which the discussion falls short is in the material on self-defense, however. The author could have referenced respected programs such as the Nonviolent Crisis Prevention program developed by the Crisis Prevention Institute.

Section three covers internal theft, fire, medical and safety topics, retail loss prevention, and special security problems. The latter addresses such issues as computer crime, workplace violence, substance abuse, and terrorism.

The final chapter, called "Your Future in Security," is devoted to career planning. The author provides dos and don'ts of job hunting.

The book is ideally suited to serve as a supplemental reference for in-house training programs. Such training can be given in conjunction with state-mandated certification programs as well as programs promoted by associations such as the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety and the International Foundation for Protection Officers.


Reviewer: George J. Okaty, CPP, is director of protective services for the Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. His career includes security management positions with a university, museum, and retail chain. In addition, he has taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is a member of ASIS International.

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