As the national leader and voice of the contract security industry, NASCO is constantly interacting with Congress, federal agencies, state legislators, regulators, the courts, and the media on a variety of industry related issues. NASCO also works closely with state associations, business groups, contractor organizations, and security organizations on mutual issues of concern.
2017 NASCO Year in Review
The year 2017 was another busy and productive year for NASCO on a variety of fronts. While there were many positive developments for NASCO and the industry, the biggest highlight was a the completion of a joint project between NASCO and John Jay College of Criminal Justice to create an electronic database of State licensing laws, regulations, codes and policies governing the licensure of armed and unarmed security officers. The database, which is for the exclusive use of NASCO members, will be continually monitored and updated by John Jay with input from NASCO members.
At the state level, there continued to be numerous legislative and regulatory issues and challenges for contract security companies in which was NASCO was involved, working directly with legislators, regulators, lobbyists and state associations on variety of topics.
In Maryland, a long NASCO supported bill to synch up renewals of firearms permits with armed guard licenses was enacted into law in the spring.
In Connecticut, NASCO, with the assistance of local legislative counsel, worked to find a legislative or policy solution to the current massive delays in officer licensing related to the State’s FBI check process for security officers.
In Minnesota, NASCO worked with the state regulatory agency officials, local NASCO company personnel and the Minnesota state association to stop at the last minute a bill that would have mandated a single uniform and vehicle color for private security.
In Washington State, NASCO established a working relationship between NASCO members in Washington and the State regulatory agency to address delays in armed officer licensing.
And during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma , NASCO was in communication with regulators in Texas and Florida, as well as the state security associations to provide NASCO members with information and policies related to the use of the out of state security officers in recovery efforts.
NASCO also remained in contact with state regulators through its active participation in the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators (IASIR). For the fourth straight year, NASCO was the lead sponsor of the annual IASIR conference, which took place in November in Chattanooga.
Going up to the federal level, during 2017, NASCO continued to interface with Congress, federal agencies and others in Washington on legislation, programs and other issues affecting contract security companies.
NASCO continued to work with Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on a bill that will provide security officer employers with “on demand” non-state based access to FBI checks on officers and applicant. NASCO also worked with the National Council of Investigative and Security Services on the bill. NASCO is hopeful that with the change of Administration and new leadership at the FBI, there can be some traction on this long-time signature congressional issue.
Another priority federal issue for NASCO has been to support of the TSA “Screening Partnership Program” which allows airports to use private contractors to operate passenger and baggage screening at airport instead of TSA officers. It was common knowledge that the previous administration did little to make the SPP an attractive option for airports and actively worked against the program. Airports could not see screener performance data, they had no say in the SPP selection process, and TSA’s contracting process for the program was based on questionable interpretations of the governing law. In 2016 NASCO worked with Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) to introduce a bill that would allow airport officials to see data on the performance of their screeners compared to screeners at other airports and SPP airports. In 2017, building on the Carter bill, in October the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed the TSA Modernization Act of 2017, which contained several provisions related to the SPP that will improve airport access to screener data, lessen the length of the SPP contracting process, and give airports a voice in the selection process. The premise for the legislation is that if an airport has information that its federal screeners are performing below average, because SPP screeners by law have to perform at or above the category average, switching to the SPP would improve performance.
NASCO also continued to work in Congress on the issue of airport employee screening, making the case against the arguments that randomized screening was as effective as full screening, and full screening was not cost feasible. In February, the House Committee on Homeland Security put out a Report on insider threats at airports that supported NASCO’s arguments. The Report said that airports have been unable to demonstrate the security effectiveness of randomized screening compared to full screening, and the Report noted that three major airports, Atlanta, Miami and Orlando were cost-effectively using private screening companies to conduct full employee screening. In a follow up to the Report, the Full House passed a bill that calls for “Cost and Feasibility Study” of 100% employee screening, and reviewing the current 100% screening programs.
Elsewhere in the federal government, NASCO continued to work closely, as it has now done for years, with the top leadership at the Federal Protective Service on a variety of efforts to improve and the FPS Protective Security Officer Program which utilizes over 14,000 contract security officers to protect close to 1000 U.S. government facilities. NASCO weighed in with House and Senate members and staff with oversight over FPS, as well as with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the proposed plan to take FPS out of its current location in DHS and possibly put it in a different location at DHS or take FPS out of DHS completely. For reasons related to the effective provision of security services at federal facilities, NASCO strongly has opposed calls to move FPS under the General Services Administration.
NASCO also continued to be involved in federal and national security issues in Washington through its memberships and participation on the DHS Emergency Service Sector Coordinating Council and the U.S. Chamber National Security Task Force.
A major part of the what NASCO does for its members is to track, and sometimes get involved, with federal, state and local labor and employment law and cases that affect contract security companies. NASCO is a member of the Littler Workplace Policy Institute, and NASCO also works closely with U.S. Chamber labor and employment experts, and subscribes to various labor and employment law monitoring and analysis services.
In addition, NASCO held two “Legal Forums” in 2017 where NASCO member company counsel, executives, and outside counsels met to discuss and share advice on legal and litigation issues affecting contract security companies.
NASCO also continued to be involved in important litigation affecting the industry. In California, at both the Appellate and Supreme Court level NASCO helped finance amicus briefs in the Augustus v. ABM case. Unfortunately, while the Appellate Court decision in the ABM case was considered a big win for the industry on the subject of “rest breaks,” the final Supreme Court decision in July was a big loser for the industry.
On the programming side, NASCO again held its CEO Roundtable in Fort Lauderdale in February and its Washington Summit in June with leading political commentators, industry experts, and leading labor and employment lawyers. And, at the 27th Annual NASCO Private Security Industry Breakfast held in September at the ASIS Seminar in Dallas, NASCO awarded retiring Securitas U.S.A. Chairman Don Walker, with its Colonel Minot B. Dodson Award. Created in 2001 to honor the Colonel, a former Chairman of the NASCO Board, the award was established in recognition of Colonel Dodson’s tireless efforts on behalf of the security industry. Through Don’s four plus decades in the industry with active involvement and leadership in NASCO the past twenty years, he was an incredibly worthy recipient of the award.
Finally, in 2017 NASCO welcomed Admiral Security and Premier/Apex 3 Security to its ranks.