Lax Security Procedures Persist Months After 9/11

Private security officers are reporting that their building management has adopted no new security procedures since September 11.

A new poll shows four in 10 private security officers report no new security procedures at their buildings since September 11, and seven in 10 security officers report that bomb-threat drills or natural disaster drills are never conducted at their buildings.

"This research exposes what every security officer in America already knows - the buildings where we work remain tremendously vulnerable," said Janet Boston, a former security officer at the World Trade Center. "Things won't improve unless we raise standards, improve integration with police and fire departments, and increase compensation. These findings should cause a lot of sleepless nights."

The polls were sponsored by the Service Employees International Union, the nation's largest union of security officers, and Kroll Inc., a leading worldwide private security consulting firm. Key findings include:

  • Four in 10 security officers say no new security procedures have been implemented at their buildings since September 11.
  • Seven in 10 security officers report that bomb-threat drills or natural disaster drills are never conducted at their buildings.
  • One in five security officers have received no training at all from their employer.
  • Four in 10 security officers received no pre-hire training from their employer.
  • A majority of security officers received no training in evacuation or emergency response prior to being hired.

In response to the findings, SEIU called for new cooperative efforts among security companies, building owners and security officers' unions to raise industry standards.

"We cannot afford to continue to ignore the lessons of September 11. When it comes to providing quality security, 'business as usual' is unacceptable. We need to work together to raise standards for private security in this country," said Jono Shaffer, director of SEIU Security Organizing.

Kroll Inc. emphasized the need to improve the quality of security provided to building tenants and the public. Industry experts estimate that job turnover among private security officers is between 100 percent and 300 percent a year.

"It takes a professional, stable workforce to provide world-class security," said Jeff Schlanger, COO of Kroll Inc. Security Services Group. "We can't ensure safe buildings with poorly trained, poorly paid security personnel."

Experts estimate that security officers helped save thousands of lives at the World Trade Center on September 11 thanks to rigorous training, regular drilling and evacuation procedures implemented at the buildings after the attempted bombing in 1993.

"Thank God we had all been trained," said Janet Boston. "Thousands more could have died."

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