By Nancy Devine
Private security professionals and police services can help each other in the never ending quest for safer communities, says Deputy Chief Kim Derry of the Metro Toronto Police Service.
Working together, he says, they can also enhance professional development.
By Nancy Devine
Derry serves as a police liaison member on the executive board of the
non-profit Toronto Association of Police and Private Security (TAPPS).
“This is an effective partnership between the private and public
security sector,” he says. “It has evolved from a system that involved
using faxed security bulletins from 52 Division about 12 years ago,
into a network that shares security information using the Internet.”
Nick Migliore, TAPPS’ chair, a principal with the Reilly Group of
Companies and former head of security for the CN Tower, has been with
the organization from the beginning.
He says embracing technology by creating a web-based crime-fighting
tool has helped to create a virtual community, but the group also gathers
together in person at least six times a year for professional
development sessions. These cover a wide range of issues, from dealing
with gangs and guns, to effective emergency preparedness measures.
Getting together strengthens co-operation between public and private
security, he adds — and it is critical in a city the size Toronto.
“The police are great, but they can’t be every where,” Migliore says.
“And the private sector couldn’t do everything by ourselves. More than
ever before, everyone is dealing with the issues that confront every
major city. We need everyone’s help and support.”
TAPPS members regularly post alerts on the members’ area of the
bulletin board, which can also include photos and full-length reports.
The public area of the site also has links to a number of police
forces, public safety organizations, news releases, and law enforcement
“This helps create a dialogue and exchange between police
and private security,” he says. “Then, when we get together for
training and information sessions, you start to recognize names and
faces. It’s an opportunity to get to know who the point people are, and
since every member has the chance to host a session, we get to know
where people are working as well.”
TAPPS doesn’t focus solely on crime. The association is also working
diligently to ensure its membership is kept current on emergency
preparedness measures, says Derry.
“The training sessions help everyone involved have a more comprehensive
view of security in Toronto,” he says. “We are no longer confined just
to the few blocks of downtown Toronto. Our membership includes the
wider metropolitan area and beyond. This is a valuable partnership.”
Migliore says the focus on emergency preparedness has helped to create
a better understanding of the potentionally complex issues facing
security professionals who work in the health care industry. Talking
about procedures, and learning who to call and when, will help TAPPS
create linkages not only with law enforcement, but also with local
emergency response agencies.
“The big lesson learned after 9/11, and to a degree, our own SARS
crisis, is that effective and immediate communication is critical,” he
adds. “We are learning to work better together all the time. That means
that critical information is disseminated immediately and effectively,
and ultimately, that will keep the whole city safer.”
information about TAPPS, including how to become a member and details
about upcoming training sessions, visit the website at www.tapps.org