Security Leadership and Focus During Challenging Times

May 19, 2020

As a newly hired Director of Consulting, Kevin Davis brings substantial crisis leadership experience and detailed knowledge to GardaWorld. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and FBI National Executive Institute.  During his dedicated career in law enforcement, he led reform initiatives in use of force, training and technology that have received international attention and accolades.   Kevin shares his perspective on security leadership and focus during these challenging times.


I have long appreciated the wisdom Bill Bratton brings to American law enforcement.  The former New York City police commissioner, Los Angeles police chief and Boston police commissioner regularly begins interactions with police brass across the nation by distributing copies of Sir Robert Peel’s Principles of Law Enforcement.  

Authored in 1829, the founder of the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police Service and one-time Prime Minister reduced the duties and responsibilities of his “bobbies” to nine simple truths that have stood the test of time.

First among them, Peel wrote and Bratton reminds police chiefs and cops across the nation, is the description of the basic mission for which police exist: to prevent crime and disorder.  

An oversimplification for today’s world? What about its application to the emerging threats that now include the COVID-19 pandemic on top of other 21st century threats like terrorism and cybercrimes?   

DNA evidence, body-worn cameras and recorded interrogations have become commonplace during my nearly three decades in policing. Our criminal justice system and society demand better evidence-based policing and prosecutions.  

So much else has changed.  Cops now apply tourniquets to gunshot victims and administer naloxone to those suffering drug overdoses.  We rely on sophisticated technologies that capture telephone and electronic communications.  Police deploy tracking devices, license plate readers and erect street cameras that document with pinpoint accuracy the whereabouts of persons and motor vehicles.  Essential data is easily accessible with the push of a mobile computer button inside police cars.  Facial recognition and even aircraft camera technology are now used to determine the comings and goings of perpetrators who commit crimes. 

Now, body temperature screening and face mask fidelity are defaulting to police and physical security personnel to administer and enforce.    

None of this changes our mission.  

It does, however, demand less parochial thinking and more collaborative partnerships.  

Publicly funded policing efforts are now complemented more than ever by private security companies like GardaWorld.  Demands for private security have risen to meet 21st century safety expectations in the workplace, shopping centers, churches, schools and sporting venues.  

Police leaders like me realize we simply cannot prevent crime and disorder in all the places that matter most without meaningful partnerships with private security organizations.  We must work together and find collaborative ways to fill in the gaps.   

As we imagine the bullish social distancing expectations in the days ahead, now is the time for thought leadership from our police and security leaders.  

New legislation and workplace policies are undoubtedly on the horizon that will define and instruct physical distancing in ways that will change our interactions with one another.  

Compliance mandates are on the way.  Who will enforce them?

New behavioral expectations, whether dictated by law or policy, require training and education. They also demand costly physical alterations to our workplaces and large gathering environments. 

Some levels of compliance will ultimately fall on police and security to deter and enforce.  

The reasonableness standard will be in full effect.  Americans will consider the limits of physical distancing enforcement against protected rights and free will.  Tolerance and opinions will ebb and flow over time.  

Deterrence, as Sir Robert Peel argued, is fundamentally the test of efficiency and should be our first consideration.   

Companies like mine, GardaWorld, are leading the way as our new decade confronts COVID-19 and other threats to our security and peace of mind.