By P.J. Ortmeier; Reviewed by George Okaty, CPP
This introductory text covers material ranging from the history of private security to contemporary principles and practices--sometimes, too quickly.
** Introduction to Security: Operations and Management, Third edition. By P.J. Ortmeier; published by Pearson/Prentice Hall, www.pearsonhighered.com; 432 pages; $70.60.
As the title states, this book is written primarily as an introductory security text for use in an educational setting. Its strength lies in its scope: it covers a wide range of information, from the history of private security to the application of security principles and specific industries and organizations.
The text’s chapters are grouped into five general sections and highlight key terms, discussion questions, exercises, and case studies at the end of each chapter. The discussion and case study questions are good and could be used as supplemental assignments to students.
The first three sections of the text are detailed and well organized. They include a history and discussion of security’s role in society, essential functions of security, and security management practices. Part four examines the impact of homeland security concerns and the application of specific security practices in a range of organizations such as educational and financial institutions and industry.
Part five addresses trends and challenges, devoting a valuable chapter to career opportunities in security. It is essentially a list of “dos and don’ts” for aspiring practitioners, with timely information on wage and salary trends. The last chapter, “The Future,” starts by examining the impact of globalization and becomes a geopolitical discussion of how the author feels the world is changing. With its focus on international issues, this chapter seems to have been written for a different audience than the rest of the book.
The topics covered are highly relevant but in some cases the material is too brief. However, the author’s discussion of homeland security is comprehensive, with a focus on the impact of these issues on the transportation security industry and critical infrastructure.
Organization is the book’s weakest suit. Continuity is addressed separately from emergency management, and workplace violence separately from workplace safety, with chapters on sector-specific security concerns placed in between. Further, a teacher’s guide should be considered for future additions.
As a whole, this book is a worthy update for use as an academic text. In addition, the book would also be of value to individuals transitioning from law enforcement or a military police background to the private sector by presenting a good overview of the different approaches used by the private sector.
Reviewer: George Okaty, CPP, is director of safety and security for Tidewater Community College in Norfolk, Virginia. His professional experience includes work at universities, museums, and in the healthcare and retail sectors. He has previously worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Delaware County Community College in Media, Pennsylvania. He is a member of ASIS International.