by Angela Timmons / Published October 2014
A successful set of post orders that are well-maintained and adhered to illustrate that the post and its chosen security force are effectively communicating and working to fulfill the client’s expectations.
Post orders are the written guidelines and expectations outlining the security plan for a specific locale issued and approved by its governing body. With solid boundaries of what is acceptable when gaining entry onto a post, acceptable behaviors, and reporting methods ensures that the community norms and mores are followed by all members of the group.
An association defined as a group of people organized for a joint purpose makes it sounds a bit psychological…well, it is. In any group of individuals, there are definite expectations of behaviors, and in planned communities and facilities, these are outlined in the governing documents and spell out the goals of what is and what is not acceptable for all group members within the post boundaries.
In order to develop a realistic set of post orders, it is necessary to review the associations’ documents, interpret their meaning, and then align the individuals that are to dictate and enforce these orders. Most boards will consult their legal counsel for verbiage and statutory guidelines specific to their post.
They also rely on their management staff to interview and then evaluate effectiveness of the ongoing post orders. A well-maintained set of post orders supports a well-maintained security force and will effectively communicate the client’s expectations. Post orders should be customized for each site addressing precise needs, and the security consultant should compose a security plan accordingly. Well-conceptualized and well-written post orders will make the difference between good and bad decisions being made in times of emergency and allow consistency of security decisions.
Fundamental elements needed in security post orders should be outlined and approved by the board of directors specifically addressing rules, behaviors, contact information, and emergency procedures.
The rules and standard operating procedures for the post should list who—mainly the owners and their guests—is responsible for compliance. Continuity and a uniform method for allowing or refusing access must be in place to avoid situations, which can inconvenience both owners and the security force. Using a computer access program including registered bar codes, license scanners, or one of the many identification access systems is key in recording and enforcing access. Individual access is determined by the board of directors and outlined in the post orders, right down to the required identification form and reporting methods of the person, vehicle, and their ID.
Emergency contact numbers must be included, so it is clear whom to call and under what circumstances. This ensures routine procedures are followed by all members of the security team in the same manner.
Outlining emergency procedures including computer malfunctions, weather issues, disasters, and other situations outside the norm and how they will be handled should be detailed in post orders. Sometimes pictures are useful, but be cautious not to overuse graphics and pictures as they bulk up the actual post order document and can cause errors in security enforcement. Protecting the facility, its gates, its computer, etc. should be clearly defined. Why? This enables the security force to continue to act in a manner outlined by the client even when the tools are compromised. Such tools would be computers, patrols, and all other means for fulfilling the client’s post security requirements. Post orders can serve as the foundation for the daily, in service, and emergency response training and can provide a means to avoid, mitigate, and defend liability claims.
Sometimes post orders are left outdated and containing obsolete information, which can prove to be detrimental for security operations. Inspection and revision of the post orders should be addressed periodically and updated as necessary. A well-maintained set of post orders supports a well-maintained security force and will effectively communicate and implement the client’s expectations.
As requirements and expectations set by the client change or previously unmentioned risk factors are added, post orders should be revised. Specific rules should be revised to enable the available technology to be instituted and work properly. Most posts have a security committee that reports to the board of directors and changes can then be communicated with the property manager and the security force. Information validation for the access to the post is constantly changing due to society’s busy lives, changing relationships, and revisions to the property amenities within the post. Team-work and communication are crucial for a post to remain secure and uncompromised.
Once revised, the security plans should change and supervisors and security guards should be briefed. Revised post orders will result in better service to the clients, because security officers and supervisors are more aware of expectations and of how to execute the security plan.
A successful set of post orders that are well-maintained and followed will illustrate that the post and its chosen security force are effectively communicating and working to fulfill the client’s expectations, thereby supporting the ability of the security company to provide great service.
Some security providers only provide their security guard with a generic book of post orders that includes more than 100 pages. This practice can lead to situations where a security guard may not understand the post orders at their job site. They may not exactly know what is expected by their security company or the client. Ideally, a general post order would be two pages and be written in simple language. It should outline in detail what the security officer is responsible for, the reports required, and the emergency contacts. It would outline the different risk factors at the location and the security plan in the event of such risk.
In the real estate business, the catch phrase is: location, location, location. When discussing post orders, perhaps the phrase should be communication, communication, communication. The need for constant communication of changes, updates, and clearly defined specifics is imperative for both the governing body and its post orders to allow for a successfully protected and secure post.