NEWS

ASIS and IACP Agree to Develop Information Sharing Programs

By Matthew Harwood

ASIS International has signed an agreement with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to establish a formal partnership between the two associations with plans to develop educational and information sharing programs in the future. Combined, the two organizations represent nearly 60,000 police and security professionals from around the globe.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) ties together “IACP and ASIS in a variety of ongoing and future activities resulting in increased security and public safety,” according to the document.
 
The agreement was signed by ASIS International President Michael R. Cummings, CPP, (pictured on the right) and then IACP President Chief Russell Laine on September 23, 2009, during the ASIS International 55th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Anaheim, California.
 
Cummings says it establishes a “framework that can lead to any number of tactical and operational deliverables that will benefit members of both organizations and the security of our communities.”
 
Chief Laine, who leads the Algonquin Police Department in Illinois, told Security Management that the public-private partnerships are force multipliers for police.
 
Through such partnerships, security professionals can "bring their expertise in security from the private sector into the public sector,” he says. “From these relationships, we learn together and we share experiences.”
 
Laine says police can learn from private security in many areas, including identity theft, shoplifting, and other financial crimes. 
 
The MOU illustrates the trend of forging public-private partnerships between all levels of law enforcement and the private sector to coordinate, collaborate, and share information in an effort to make the nation’s communities safer—a goal that has intensified since the events of 9-11.
 
“After the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., law enforcement realized that 85 percent of the nation’s critical infrastructure was owned and protected by the private sector,” says Oksana Farber, chair of ASIS International’s Law Enforcement Liaison Council (LELC).
 
Farber says the recent MOU is one more example that police now understand how important communicating with private security is.
 
Laine agrees that the old walls between police and private security have been dismantled.
 
“Both groups see the value in teaming up and working as partners and sharing resources when we’re able to,” he says. Laine added that “With this MOU, both ASIS International and IACP are saying to our members, ‘This is important that we work together.’”
 
But it did take some internal efforts. Both Farber’s LELC and the IACP’s Private Sector Liaison Committee (PSLC) had to continually stress to the broader membership of each association the importance of institutionalizing an information-sharing relationship with each other.
 
The importance of public-private security partnerships was first officially acknowledged during the twilight of the Clinton administration. In 2000, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance funded a report, Operation Cooperation, which established guidelines for partnerships between law enforcement and private security professionals. The initiative was supported by ASIS International, IACP, and the National Sheriff’s Association.
 
Nine years later, the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) reexamined the state of public-private security partnerships in a new report, Operation Partnership, which also provided guidelines on how law enforcement officials and security directors could effectively reach out to each other.
 
“The best evidence from both of these projects suggests there were many more [law enforcement and private security] partnerships in the United States in 2007 than there were 7 years earlier,” the report notes. “Operation Partnership identified more than 450 [law enforcement and private security] partnerships, compared to about 60 identified through Operation Cooperation.”
 
Farber says that the MOU between ASIS and IACP exemplifies the best of public-private security partnerships, much like NYPD SHIELD program—New York City’s innovative information-sharing and training program between its police department and the city’s business community.
 
Farber hopes the partnership will increase the ties that bind each organization to each other. ASIS International’s Chief Executive Officer Michael Stack and IACP’s Executive Director Dan Rosenblatt discussed some of what the future could hold during a meeting leading up to the MOU’s signing. The many possibilities include each organization providing the other’s members with discounted educational and training programs, linking to each other’s Web sites, and participating in the development of security guidelines and standards that impact the two organizations’ public-private partnership. Executive directors and elected leaders of each organization will also be invited to each other’s conferences.
 
In addition, the LELC and the PSLC have created a survey that will be distributed to ASIS International chapter leadership and IACP state-level chiefs of police to discover where weaknesses reside in public-private security information sharing.
“We want to develop a base level of understanding about the level of support, structure, and commitment that public-private security partnerships make in the United States,” Farber says.  
 
The overall purpose of the survey is to garner as much information as possible about public-private partnerships in the United States, including lessons learned from success stories, foreseeable and unforeseeable challenges, effective communication strategies, and leadership roles.
 
Going forward, both Cummings and Laine say both organizations will rely on the LELC and the PSLC to identify the best opportunities for future collaboration.
 
One motivation behind making the MOU official is institutionalizing a culture of information-sharing between each organization, Farber says. While each organization’s leadership is committed to this new norm of information-sharing, future leadership changes could leave such interactions vulnerable if not explicitly laid out in a document.
 
“Once these state chief organizations through the IACP find out there is an official strategic partnership between ASIS International and the IACP,” Farber says, ““there will be a responsibility and opportunity to share non-law-enforcement- sensitive information with private sector members to promote security and public safety.”
 

♦ Photo by Oscar Einzig ©

 

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