Moving on Up

Congratulations to Stockton Police Officer Travell Williams

As one of our own, all of us at Overton Security are very excited and proud to see that Officer Travell Williams has graduated from the Police Academy and is being sworn in as a City of Stockton Police Officer.  As a Regional Security Director for our company, Officer Williams had always been very clear of his intent on becoming a police officer.  It was his life goal and he made it come true with hard work and dedication.  Mr, Ile Tran, our Central California Regional Manager, in recommending Officer Williams for promotion put it very apply.  “I have found Officer Williams to be highly intelligent, level-headed, well-rounded and very focused.  But most of all, he always performed his duties in a professional manner and affected good judgement at all times.”   According to Mr Tran, the City of Stockton has won the lottery with Officer Travell Williams.  Again, we all at Overton Security would like to congratulate Travell for his accomplishment, and wish him the very best with the hope he will have a long and safe career as a Police Officer.       –Sandy Overton

Executive Protection Services

Employer Responsibility to Protect Employees From Violent Acts

As the owner of your company, one morning you receive a very disturbing phone call.  The ex-husband of Mary Jones, a long time and very valuable employee, has made a veiled threat on the telephone saying “You had better fire Mary or else.”  You call Mary in and ask her what is going on. Mary says he has threatened her with violence and knowing her ex-husband she takes the threat very seriously.  Mary has obtained a restraining order on her ex-husband and suggests you do the same.  Mary has given you very good advice; you need to report the call to the police, as well as obtain a restraining order for your company against the ex-husband.  The Fed-OSHA Act contains a General Duty Clause which requires employers to provide their employees with a safe and secure workplace, free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.  This “veiled threat” has now become a real physical threat when Mary warned you of his violent nature.  You now have a responsibility to provide protection for your employees, vendors, customers or any visitor to your facility.  Local law enforcement will only respond, and unfortunately, they cannot be expected to assign an officer to your facility.  The first thing you think of is to simply hire a security guard from a local security company.  Although Overton Security is in the business of providing security guards, I would not assign a security guard under these circumstances. Security guards armed or not, are not trained to deal with this type of threat.  Protecting individuals is a very different discipline from securing property.

Given the risks involved, the only real solution to protecting your employees, and to a very large extent your legal liability, is generally referred to in the security industry as Executive Protection (EP).  Most EP Officers have law enforcement backgrounds with the highest level of training in conflict resolution and threat assessment.  If the situation dictates they have permits to carry a concealed weapon which requires an extensive background check, along with approval from law enforcement.  Very few of these permits (CCW) are issued.

The threat of workplace violence can be extremely disruptive to your business, especially when your employees see a uniformed officer walking around with an exposed weapon.  EP Officers will make every effort to blend into the work environment and remain as commonplace as possible.  I am very proud of the fact that in the many years my company, Overton Security, has been providing Executive Protection Services we have never had an instance where a weapon was brandished, let alone discharged.  Most EP providers can also make this same claim.  If there is an incident, EP Officers will focus on preventing the incident from escalating by removing the conflict to an isolated area and attempt to settle the dispute in a private manner.  If an incident escalates to such an extent that there is no other choice other than to use force to directly protect lives, the EP Officer is very well trained to react only with the force that is necessary.

An Executive Protection Services Officer’s experience, training, and good judgment does not come without costs, but considering the cost of attorney fees defending lawsuits from injured parties both physically and/or stress related, the price will seem like a bargain.  After talking with Mary about receiving the threatening telephone call you incurred a legal duty to protect your employees.  Other than firing Mary, closing down your business or just doing nothing, you have few options.  It doesn’t seem fair, but again, as a business owner, you assume the legal responsibility to provide a save and secure environment for your employees.       -Jason Solorzano, VP of Operations, Overton Security

Parking Enforcement

Parking Enforcement Due Diligence Documentation to Support Tows

Following the parking enforcement tow policy of one our properties, as the site security guard for Overton Security, I towed a vehicle that had been parked in a red zone for over three hours.  The next day my office got a call from the irate property manager claiming we had illegally towed a tenant’s vehicle and the tenant wanted them to pay for it.  The tenant said that he had only parked there for about 10 minutes and the security guard was not telling the truth.  The first clue was that you can’t tow a vehicle in 10 minutes.  The word of the tenant was taken as gospel and as the security guard I was automatically on the defensive.  I cited the vehicle on my first round, and on my second round, three hours later, the citation was still on the vehicle.  I called the Overton security supervisor to respond to the location as a stand-by and sign off on the tow.  I also took pictures of the vehicle.  The time I called Dispatch for the citation and for the tow was recorded and time-stamped.  After submitting our documentation, we did not hear back from the property manager.  If it had not been for our “due diligence” we (I), the security guard would have been at fault.  Documentation is very time-consuming, making the towing of vehicles a very expensive proposition, not only for the tenant but your security provider as well.  I think my company should have made the property manager more aware of the fact that we are required to follow the parking enforcement policy and submit documentation supporting all tows.  When confronted by an angry tenant the property manager could explain our parking enforcement policy to the tenant and have them call us with any questions.  This will leave the property manager free to put out all the other fires.   –Jason Stanford,  Parking Enforcement, Overton Security


Security Guard Liability

Help Overton Security Protect Your Liability

It is extremely important that clients understand, for their own liability protection, that security guards unless proprietary, do not work for the client, they work for the security company.  The security company works for the client.  Sometimes clients will get involved with our security guards and start supervising them directly as to what they want them to do or not do, many times asking them to do things that are not in their job description.  This can become a liability nightmare for the client as well as the security company.  Contracting with an outside company to provide security guards for your property limits your exposure to liability.  If the security guard does something that is an actionable event on your property and a lawsuit is filed, your defense is simply that you hired a duly licensed security contractor and have had no roll in the hiring, training or supervision of the security guards posted to your property.  If you have been supervising the security guards, you can be held to have taken responsibility for their actions.  Also, by supervising the officers they feel they have the ear of the client and tend to forget who signs their checks. There are security guards who are good guards but not very good employees.  As a security company, we must deal with them as a security guard for the benefit of our client as well as an employee of Overton Security.   If, as a client, you feel the security guard is not performing as expected or you wish to add duties, temporary or permanent, just give us a call and we will make the changes you requested immediately.  The limited liability protection from the actions of the security guard should be very important in the decision to hire an outside security contractor.   This will also help protect the liability of the security company by not allowing the security guard to perform duties he was not trained or qualified for and not part of the job description.  –Sandy Overton 


Executive Protection Services

The Security Guard

Arguably the Worlds Oldest Profession

Security guards, while not as appealing, have been around long before the other “oldest profession.”  When Cain went into the land of Nod and started to begat, you can be assured it wasn’t long before they started posting human security guards.  After food and shelter, the security guard became a first priority and the job description has not changed; deterring unwanted activity by the incontestable “observe and report” method.  While man has built walls, moats, guard towers, and more recently video, alarms, etc, the security guard still remains by far the most effective in preventing crime.  By discouraging criminals, identifying threats and alerting others, the security guard presents a formidable risk to the success of any criminal activity.  Cameras can record crimes, but have little value in identifying or capturing criminals. Alarms may alert others but are plagued with false alarms, seldom responded to by law enforcement, and few criminals consider them a significant risk.  Fences and locks can easily be breached by serious criminals.  Guard dogs, although quite formidable, are easily neutralized.  Citing the cost of security guards, the security industry, as in the past, is eager to convince us that new technologies are a suitable replacement.  While new technologies can be very effective, the replacement value is a false premise.  What the “evil doers” fear most is an as-it-happens witness.  A security guard whose only job is to observe his surroundings, along with the human capability to make judgments as events dictate and assign unpredictability to the equation, is the criminal’s worst nightmare.  The presence of an alert security guard almost always convinces the criminal to seek out an easier target.


Honorary Security Guard

Racket Man Our New Honorary Security Guard

The saying you never judge a book by its cover is an understatement.  While working as a Security Guard for Overton Security, I was always encountering  numerous unwanted persons, mostly homeless, mentally ill and aggressive panhandlers.  When dealing with these individuals I have learned that you cannot judge them by looks alone.  These individuals are custom to being mistreated and are defensive.  I’ve found the best policy is to be understanding and respectful while interacting with them.  There is one story that sticks out and I use it when training inexperienced security officers.  Although he never bothered anyone, there was a regular visitor to the Center that attracted attention due to his unkempt appearance and the fact he always seemed to be talking to himself. But what made him stand out is that he always carried a tennis racket around with him.  We had to caution him about swinging his racket on the property for safety. We began to call him Racket Man.

Not long after, while patrolling the Center, I noticed Racket Man sitting on the ground visually upset, yelling and crying.  He was bleeding and had bruises on his face and body. Racket Man explained that he was attacked by seven young gang members and they had taken his prized tennis racket.  I called for medical assistance and the Police Department, and Racket Man was taken to the nearest hospital.  The security guard staff felt terrible and wanted to do something for Racket Man.  We set up a donation bowl, and in no time we were able to buy him a new Racket.  Not long after, we located Racket Man waiting by a bus stop.  I gave him the new racket and expressed our concern for him.  The look on his face was of pure joy.  He could not believe it and began telling us his passion as a young man for the sport of tennis.  We all felt great, and more importantly, Racket Man had a brand new racket to practice with.

One day Racket Man seemed eager to tell me something.  He said he saw two males breaking into vehicles in the North parking lot.  He said they used a type of device that shattered windows quietly.  One of our security guards caught the suspects inside of a customer’s vehicle.  A total of six vehicles had been damaged by these two suspects.  Police arrived and placed them under arrest.  I looked over and saw Racket Man talking to himself, and thinking, that no one would have believed that he had been the person responsible for solving this crime.  I no longer call him Racket Man.  He calls me Ile and I call him Tim, as I would any other good citizen.  What I learned from Racket Man, is that by treating him with respect, he respected us in turn.  He had a great perspective of the Center and he became a valued asset by alerting us to unwanted activity.  Again, “You can never judge by its cover.    – Ile Tran, Overton Security Sacramento Regional Manager

Direct Access

Imagine…Instant Access to All Security Documentation:  No More Paper

The days are gone when Property Managers were burdened with categorizing, filing, and then finding a place to store all the documents that are generated by security providers.  These documents accumulate over a period of time and eventually become a real headache to have to deal with.  When you need to retrieve a document it can become a migraine moment.  Again, these days are gone with the introduction of Direct Access, a web-based program developed by Overton that allows you to login to your very own “web portal” and have access to all your security documentation directly from our server.  What is a web portal, you ask? Good question.  A web portal is simply a client dedicated security web page that is accessed only with a secure user name and password chosen by the client.  After clicking the “login” tab, you will be given a menu page that links to all security documentation and information, both current and archived.  Direct Access has a 30-second learning curve. Just one click takes you directly to the document you want to review.  All reports Overton Security generates for your property are there; DAR, Incident Reports, Monthly Reports, Citation Reports, Response Reports, etc., are at your fingertips.  Your DAR will be sent to you daily by email (PDF) and at the same time be available on your web portal.

All documentation related to your property, your Contract, updated Certificate of Insurance, PPO, W-9, contact numbers and Post Orders.  There are links that allow you email forms for pass-downs and information updates.  How about a link that will give you all our contact numbers, as well as numbers to other vendors or local agencies. There is a link to security tips for you and your tenants as well as newsletters.  The portal is dynamic and updated continuously.  There is even a link that lets you “tell us what you think of us.”  There is a link for GPS verification of time and date of patrols on your property with all information validated by a third party.

Direct Access was developed by and is proprietary to Overton Security Services.  All information is stored on Overton Security servers with multiple backups in-house, as well as fully encrypted data transfer to an off-site data center, ensuring all files are stored safely and allowing for instant recovery in case of disaster.  Direct Access was designed to specifically accommodate the needs of our clients and offers the flexibility to adjust to our clients’ changing needs.  Direct Access is very user-friendly, requiring nothing to be installed on your computer.  The only requirement is that you have an Internet connection.  You may access your private web portal from anywhere at any time or you may choose not to use it at all; regardless, it will be there for you if you change your mind.  All files are stored on our server forever, with search capabilities to find the document you want.  There is absolutely no cost to you for Direct Access; just give it a test drive and we think you will be impressed.

Employee Security from Workplace Violence

Workplace Violence & The “General Duty Clause”

Workplace violence is any type of violence or threat of violence against you or your employees.  While most violent threats in the workplace are not life threatening or lead to an actual physical attack, there are many other types of threats that may be considered violent.  Threats such as stalking, bullying, harassment, emotional abuse, verbal abuse and intimidation are all part of the workplace violence problem that has become a growing concern for employers and employees of small businesses and corporations alike.

The Fed-OSHA Act “General Duty Clause” states clearly that employers have a legal if not ethical obligation to establish a work environment free from violence, and may face serious liability if negligent in this duty.  In addition to liability and lawsuit costs as a result of workplace violence, you may experience lost work time, a drop in employee morale, a loss in productivity, increased workers’ compensation costs and prolonged medical expenses.

As an employer, you will need to establish a workplace violence prevention program in writing, outlining standard policy and operating procedures addressing your lack of tolerance for violence and a course of action if abused.   Although all larger corporations have definite written policies and procedures in place, many smaller companies do not. If your company does not have a written policy on workplace violence, the time to do so is now.

When writing your policy you must bear in mind that risk varies with the employee job description and with your type of company in general.  If you exchange money, have extensive public contact, work in a high crime area or late at night, deliver goods, services or passengers you have a higher risk factor than if you work in a secure office building.  These risk factors must be taken in consideration when formulating your program.  The program itself may be in the form of an employee handbook as part of the hiring packet, part of your safety manual or a document with just a few pages specifically dedicated to workplace violence prevention and resolution.

Your written program should be predicated with a statement that establishes a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence against or by your employees.  Set up an atmosphere that will encourage employees to come forward with claims of experiencing or witnessing workplace violence.  Establish a definitive step by step procedure in dealing with complaints that will guarantee that any grievance will be taken seriously, investigated and resolved.  It is vital that every procedural step must be documented in writing and signed off by all parties involved.  You must distribute a copy to all employees requiring each to sign a statement acknowledging that they have received and read these polices, understand them and agree to fully comply by their provisions.

Also as an employer, you need to recognize the high-risk everyday behaviors that indicate the need for preventative intervention.  There are warning signs that communicate a propensity toward violence long before it occurs.  Legally you may be held responsible if a violent act occurs at your place of business, whether it is against or by an employee, vendor or customer.  Your best defense is to take steps now to provide your employees with a safe and secure workplace environment.


Parking Enforcement: There is a Solution.

Residential Parking Enforcement:  There is Only One Simple Answer

When a survey was taken by Overton Security of Apartment Managers as to their biggest management headaches, only one topped each list; not surprising, it was our old nemesis “Parking.”   If all vehicles parked in residential communities in the Bay Area were lined up bumper to bumper they would end up somewhere in Kansas. Apartment Managers certainly don’t have the time to hang out in the parking lot catching offenders.  The solution seems simple; create more parking spaces, or hire a 24-hour parking guard.  But, unfortunately, the first is obvious but not possible, and the second is too costly.

One way that does work is to start towing cars until the tenants get the idea that you are serious about enforcing parking rules.  Although it is your right to tow a vehicle when proper notice is given, it does bring out the worst in people.  As a security company, Overton Security spends a great deal of time trying to defend our actions and console tenants who want heads to roll over the trauma of having one of the worst and most expensive days of their life.  It doesn’t matter that they parked on the sidewalk.

Let’s look at some of the reasons we are short of spaces and why tenants break the rules: many parking garages are used for storage rather than parking, as well as “de-facto” residents or extended house guests.  These may be girlfriends, boyfriends or roommates, temporary or permanent.  They all consider themselves residents but don’t rent or own units and they all own vehicles that need to be parked.  Due to the limited amount of parking, they break the Association or apartment rules out of frustration.

So what is the answer?  I’m afraid it is not simple.  There are no magic formulas or algorithms that can offer a quick fix. From our experience as a security provider you  have basically one solution; write simple, enforceable parking rules and regulations, and enforce them diligently and without exception.  You must make sure all residents are fully aware of these rules, and with each rule having a penalty for not complying.  The policy must have hard, fast, simple rules that are easy to understand, difficult to misinterpret and nondiscriminatory with penalties clearly defined.

This will only work if you use the “take no prisoners” approach, allowing your Security Patrol Service to enforce these rules and stand behind them when they do.  There will be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the beginning, but when residents catch on that your rules mean what they say, things will begin to improve considerably.   If you require help with these rules, give Overton Security a call and will be happy to work with you in writing a well-thought-out parking enforcement policy.

Security Company in San Ramon

Security Company in San Ramon

<h2>Finding a Private Security Company in San Ramon</h2>

The best security plan only comes together with the final step of finding a private security company in San Ramon. Sit down with a security professional, like one of the experienced staff working through Overton Security, to map out the plan that will fit your unique security needs.

Tips for Finding a Private Security Company in San Ramon

1. Understand what needs you have when it comes to security. Each situation will present unique concerns. Make a list of concerns, past issues or possible scenarios for you, your family and your property. The list will help you work through potential security companies to find the one that will meet those needs.

2. Look around at the security being offered in your community. Talk to those that are using the security that you see. Get an insider perspective of the performance of the companies. Ask for the likes and dislikes that might exist, and also ask about potential problems that have been resolved and the satisfaction of those resolutions.

3. Use the internet to search out additional security options and ask for references from those companies as well. You can also use the internet to search for reviews, complaints or other comments about the company that you are considering. You might also be able to get some new ideas about security possibilities. Be sure to keep digging with what every find because every situation will have two sides to the story.

4. Talk to law enforcement to see who they work well with or even get recommendations. The local law may not be able to give a direct recommendation but you can get their opinions of how the company operates. Use any information that they offer to sort through the possibilities but remember that it is still just the opinion of individuals.

Know what options are available so that you will be in a position to choose the one that is right for your needs. Spend some time researching the security options available in your community. Not only should you look into the companies, but you should also use the time to sort through the individual options to develop the right security plan for you needs.

Working through a plan to provide your full security can take time. The investment of time will result in giving you the comfort you need in your life and in your home. Take the time to work through the tips for finding a private security company in San Ramon.