I was professionally honored and humbled in May. At a very special event at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids, my ASIS International Chapter presented me with the 2016 “Security Practitioner of the Year” award.
The primary focus of the annual event is “Law Enforcement Appreciation Night.” Each year security professionals host the event and invite the leadership from several West Michigan area law enforcement agencies–who present their “Officer of the Year” awards at the event. Turn-out is always 100 plus attendees, including dozens from 6-10 law enforcement agencies, as well as scores of security professionals.
As each Police Chief (or Deputy Chief and/or other Leadership personnel) approaches the podium with their Officer of the Year, the Chief spends about 5-10 minutes outlining the background, events, and details surrounding their department’s Officer of the Year award. It culminates with that departments award presentation to their Officer, applause, and photos. Then the next department is called upon and the process repeats itself until every department has spoken and recognized their Officer of the Year.
The final award of the night is the “Security Practitioner of the Year” and is awarded by the ASIS International Chapter Chairperson. It is an odd experience, having someone address this large combined group of Law Enforcement and Security Professionals, as they speak about my various security career achievements, including drawing attention to my being one of the most highly certified security professionals in the country. The award is presented, photos take place, and the room offers recognition. It was very humbling.
To be presented the award this year was made more special as it happened on the birthday of my father (who passed away four years ago). You see, he served on three of the police departments who made presentations at the event, having had a career in law enforcemement during my youth. When he left the force, he partnered up and began a private security guard agency and private detective practice. Which, as one might surmise, is where my interest in security began.
The public/private partnership between law enforcement and private security has grown over the years, and deepens as our world changes. I recall my college efforts seeking a degree in security management, while sitting in classes 80% of the time with the Police Academy. I had what was likely the best early training on terrorism that any individual could attain in the 80’s – long before the idea of global terrorism was fully understood – thanks to Dr. Jonathan White, my core Professor and the foremost authority on terrorism and its history. Dr. White was pulled from Academia for a number of years after 9/11 to assist the US government in understanding the full depth of terrorism.
I continue to love the security profession and the opportunity it affords me to help others. The public recognition of my efforts as 2016 “Security Practitioner of the Year” was very special, and I will continue to do my best within this great industry.