Making the Grade with Contract Security

A clear contract that outlines campus staffing needs and officer training requirements is just one element that has led to a successful partnership between Tidewater Community College and its security provider.

Once an educational institution has made the decision to use a contract security program for its campus, the next challenge is ensuring a professional, proprietary-like standard of service that is maintained with the benefits of a contract security force. The optimal way of establishing such a relationship is through the development and use of key performance indicators that are reviewed in partnership between the educational institution and the contracted security force.  

In July of 2008, Tidewater Community College (TCC) in Hampton Roads, Va., selected Top Guard Security Inc. as its contract security force provider. The best practices that follow ensure the school has adequate security staffing and that its officers are properly trained to respond to incidents.

Contract Helps College Evaluate Firm’s Performance
A community college presents a serious safety and security challenge because of the open campus environment in which it operates. TCC is no stranger to this with campuses in both urban downtown districts and suburban areas. The diverse issues that security staffs address can range from dealing with criminal offenses to responding to personal injuries. They must also provide services such as unlocking doors and providing escorts. In addition to the these issues, there are federal mandates for reporting and recording criminal offenses under the Clery Act and mandates by state law, such as training requirements for campus security officers in Virginia.  

TCC’s contract with Top Guard includes provisions designed to evaluate the performance of Top Guard’s field and office staff in this dynamic and challenging environment. The provisions are used to evaluate staffing, training, standard operating procedures, communications that include report writing and supervision. A quarterly performance survey tool incorporating these categories was developed to evaluate the effectiveness of the contract security program. A five-point scale is used for each category.

TCC’s Staffing Needs are Clearly Outlined
The staffing category of the performance survey tool examines turnover, professional appearance, customer service, attitude and scheduling. The statement of staffing needs in the college’s contract with Top Guard is based on the development of formal job descriptions for the officers. This ensures that qualified personnel are recruited and retained.  

The number of posts or assignments and hours dedicated to each campus site is also detailed in the contract. TCC’s staffing requirements are for approximately 70 part-time and full-time officers. Top Guard’s turnover metric is evaluated quarterly. Turnover above 25 percent results in the assumption of training expenses for replacement officers by Top Guard.

The scheduling of staff to ensure there are no vacant posts is also critical. With an employee base of more than 600 people, Top Guard and its human resources department has the resources to recruit and screen candidates that meet the job standards and to supplement vacant post assignments.

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