Regardless of your institution’s size, clearance holders have an obligation to protect our national security. Security managers need to work with clearance holders to create a type of community within their organization in order to establish a ‘community policing’ program.

Community Policing: What is and Why we need it

Consider your job. You can only be in one place at a time. If you enlist each and every member of your work force as a ‘community’ in the security mission, it can help you spread your reach. This means that all of your employees must be educated as to what to look for.

Consider one slogan, popular now in the world of terrorist threats, “If you see something, say something.” Slogans such as this are meaningless unless your personnel know what to look for, and to whom to report what they see. If you have but one hour a year (as most Federal agencies have) to give a formal presentation, make it memorable. Cover required subjects such as espionage, terrorism, and compromise. But make sure you show how to recognize these. Make your one hour program live throughout the year. Give out brochures, post notices everywhere, put reminders on daily computer screen shots. Use your imagination.

5 Steps to Building a Community

However, the first step in making a community responsive to security awareness is to start by building a community.

1) Make your security program clear and transparent.

Security personnel need to build relationships with the community that are not simply about upholding regulations. They are also about creating trust, engagement and improving quality of life in a community. Show how your security measures protect our service personnel. Show how cleared program awareness policies keep adversaries from taking what your people have worked so hard to make.

2) Place an emphasis on the ‘human side’ of community security policing.

It must allow security managers the time and resources to build meaningful links with the people they are serving. Meet your clearance holders. Show an interest in what they do, and that you know that their trust and respect have to be earned. Time and resources for personal outreach must be allowed. Don’t forget those who don’t hold clearances. They are targets of adversaries, too.

3) Identify with your community.

Communities emerging from little if any contact with security personnel find it challenging to both identify and build relationships with security programs. They find it much easier to associate with individuals and construct meaningful dialogue with specific managers. Therefore institutions must encourage security managers to establish personal links and associations with ‘communities’, that is, all the personnel in their company. Through this means a type of empathy between the security manager and employees will emerge. The institutional leadership must show it is behind this initiative.

4) Empower employees to actively contribute and participate in security.

One method which works has been through consultation. It is important that the security manager creates opportunities for consultation and engages their communities on issues of security matters important to them. However, it is crucial that security personnel use their increased knowledge to deliver real and practical assistance. The security people must create ‘tailored’ briefings, sometimes to leadership, or to a single department, or to a specific group of people within the company

5) Understand the different groups in the company or government facility during the security community development process.

Do you have Force Protection officers, actual physical security officers, or local authorities you’d like to introduce? Do so. Be sure everyone knows what to report, and who to report it to. Show how you work with other agencies both inside and outside your company. The sharing of information between official and (where possible) company groups is key to identifying needs and prioritizing resources to improve security.

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John William Davis was commissioned an artillery officer and served as a counterintelligence officer and linguist. Thereafter he was counterintelligence officer for Space and Missile Defense Command, instructing the threat portion of the Department of the Army's Operations Security Course. Upon retirement, he wrote of his experiences in Rainy Street Stories.