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Campus Safety Services pays students to test building security

A year-long program hires students to review guard practices in halls.

In an effort to test the consistency of security at Main Campus buildings, Campus Safety Services has run a year-long program using students’ reports to gauge the effectiveness of security guards. 

The program consists of a handful of paid students, known as quality assurance representatives, who travel to numerous security checkpoints around campus and grade their interactions via an online form afterward.

“Sometimes stores do it,” Acting Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said. “It’s called secret shopping, where they go around and they’ll purchase and they’ll interact with the staff, and then they make reports whether the people were pleasant.”

AlliedBarton Security Services, based in Conshohocken, Pa., is the largest American-owned security company, with more than 55,000 employees and 120 offices across the country. According to the university’s vendor report for the 2012 fiscal year, Temple spent more than $8 million in professional fees and contracts to AlliedBarton.

Leone said the security guards are aware of the trials CSS runs with select students. The guards who are reviewed poorly receive the appropriate reprimands and incentives have been put in place to reinforce the performance reviews.

“We can give them anything from a letter of appreciation to movie tickets – something that will let them know that they’re doing a great job and we appreciate it,” Leone said.

“The recent report was great, except we had one instance where they heard the officer speaking and they cursed,” Leone said. “It is not a major infraction, but it’s something we address.”

A student who worked for CSS and helped report on building security said he saw similar issues inside the halls.

“The most common things I see are guards on their cell phones and guards allowing students to enter buildings without showing IDs,” the student, who asked to remain anonymous said. “Anderson [Hall] has done well in my reports, but I think we should look at how security is done.”

On Oct. 29, an 81-year-old Temple professor was assaulted inside his office on the second floor of Anderson Hall. He reported being punched twice and held at knife point when the suspect demanded his wallet. The professor was taken to Temple University Hospital with injuries to his face and brain.

Police arrested 45-year-old Darryl Moon on Oct. 31 in North Philadelphia. Police remain unsure how the suspect, who is not affiliated with the university, was able to gain entrance to Anderson Hall, which is guarded by a security officer at the front entrance.

“We need to make sure that IDs are checked efficiently,” Student Body President Darin Bartholomew said. “It is an incredibly tough job.”

Temple Student Government suggested a plan earlier this month to improve safety across Main Campus.

In a written proposal to the university, TSG called for a uniform distribution of the TU Alert system, a web page that provides updated information and logs previous alerts, and changes to building security measures. The proposal also requested a review of roving AlliedBarton security guards at the Student Center.

“All security employees work very hard, and there are procedures in place to ensure the highest quality [performance],” Bartholomew said. “TSG is focused on procedures and operational efficiency.”

Leone said the program would result in a positive outcome to the issue with security.

“It’s just a good way for us to see things besides having a supervisor go by who may or may not see something, or getting a complaint from somebody,” he said. “We want to know about the complaints before they develop.”

Edward Barrenechea and Cindy Stansbury can be reached at news@temple-news.com.

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    One comment on “Campus Safety Services pays students to test building security

    1. James Faralli on said:

      I agree that this is the best way to test security for an average day, but it needs some alterations. Of course if you wanted to test them in an emergency you would need to create one, but for the average day here at Temple, using the students is a great way to test the security. As a freshman, I have noticed certain security breaches. Some may be minor but others, such as letting people into buildings without checking IDs, are serious. Be it the guards at the desk not even scanning your ID, or when getting into buildings for class some do not care. I know on multiple occasions I have shown my ID, gone past, and as I go to put it away I notice my thumb was covering my photo and the guards simply let me pass. The likely reasoning for this being that there are many people entering, it is not worth it to hold everyone up causing an even greater inconvenience and to helping clear the halls faster. With the campus becoming more militarized, more guards, more protection, it seems that they do not seem to be doing their job. With a professor being attacked nothing changed. For a few days there were extra guards in the buildings. For those few extra days. Now the security is back to being lax. If you had students doing these tests over the course of a semester one would get better results for a true reading of security instead of a single week. I do not foresee much changing in terms of security in the future to Temple either. If there were to be changes, additions to security, and further restrictions, according to “Shock Doctrine” it would have been best to implement changes after the Professor was attacked.

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