Condo Media - June 2018 - 21
What exactly will security consultants do for you?
The short answer: as little-or as much-as you want.
Bates, a risk management consultant,
provides a comprehensive and detailed
analysis that looks at the property, the
surrounding area, and a three-year history of crime statistics. "We look at the
property, we review the community's
current security practices, assess whether
the existing program matches the current
security risks," and make recommendations based on the community's needs, its
budget, and what comparable communities are doing, he explains.
Lanni, who often works with Bates on
consulting projects, says the comparison
with other communities is important, because it indicates the liability risks a board
incurs by what it does or does not do. If
cameras are standard equipment at other
communities, a board might be deemed
negligent for failing to install them. On
the other hand, he notes, a community
may need only two or three cameras, not
50 of them, and it doesn't necessarily
need the most exotic, expensive cameras
on the market.
Bates and Lanni don't recommend specific vendors; they suggest vendors from
whom boards can request proposals-for
security services or equipment-compare
the proposals and help boards understand
the comparisons. Lanni's analysis of
security-related equipment, for example,
would focus on the quality of the equipment and the reputation of the vendor, as
well as the price.
Consultants should review a community's policies and procedures as well
as its security personnel (if any) and
equipment, Lanni suggests. "We often
find large gaps between what board mem-
bers expect of security personnel and
what they are actually doing. Sometimes
board members don't even agree among
themselves what the standards should
be. It's little wonder that they are having
problems," Lanni notes.
Reality testing is another important component of what consultants should do,
Lanni says. "Many boards base their assumptions about security equipment on
what they see on television. They expect a
camera will zoom in and show the writing
on a lapel pin. Part of my job is to make
sure their expectations are reasonable
and can be supported by the association's
budget." The worst outcome for a board,
he says, is to go through the process of
selecting and installing equipment, and
then say, "We thought it would do X, Y,
and Z, but it only does A and B."
Whether you engage a consultant for a
limited review of a specific security issue,
or a soup-to-nuts menu of services cover-
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