Link to first responders is critical for security firm

by Kenneth Laird - CEO, Canyon Security Specialist and Consulting

I’ve worked with different agencies in the time I've been in law enforcement – including as a supervisor with the Phoenix Police Department, as the police chief at Grand Canyon University after I retired and as the director of public safety and emergency management at Hartnell Community College district.

So I’ve had the opportunity to use communications in various stages of development. And I’ve seen what communications issues can mean to an organization..

And FirstNet is probably one of the best solutions I've used in law enforcement.

Reliable communication

Reliable communication At Grand Canyon University, we'd run into dead spots – even on the small, 200-acre campus. We had the same problem in California. We ended up putting towers on top of a mountain to communicate with our different sites around the county, because we had all of Monterey County for college services.

What I found when I worked in a couple of different places in California that had FirstNet was that there were fewer interruptions. So when I came back to Canyon Security to work as the CEO, I remembered some of the pluses of FirstNet, and we ended up going with FirstNet as our primary provider for communications.

It’s been working fantastically for us. And we’ve even gone one step further and used a Web dispatch service that provides us with coverage and immediate push-to-talk from a dispatch console.

Keeping customers safe

Canyon Security serves the Greater Phoenix area. But we also have statewide operations – about 69 employees and five principal managers across Arizona. We have sites all over the major metro cities and some areas out west. We serve retail customers, a dot-com company, small residentials and large corporations in retail and outside of what would be normal security services.

So we have a lot of communication with police and fire. And our FirstNet phones are invaluable to us in that respect, because we can communicate seamlessly with other dispatch centers within our markets.

There were several markets I worked in that had proprietary radio systems. And they needed extra equipment to operate. We have not found that here with our FirstNet devices. And we’ve adopted the Web dispatch system to go with our FirstNet handsets.

Getting the right coverage

Another reason we chose FirstNet devices is that safety is paramount for our employees. FirstNet provides us the reliable communications we need. Our guards have to have a lifeline to somebody they can talk to. If they don't have the ability to talk to somebody on the first try, that could jeopardize their safety or somebody else's.

A security guard is often the first line of defense – the first person called at most properties in a metro area. And most of our major metro partners here in Phoenix are on FirstNet. So being on FirstNet gives us the opportunity to communicate with them in a more immediate fashion rather than dialing 911 or calling a non-emergency number.

Why subscribe?

When communications fail, the first thing that we see is usually someone doesn't get the help that they need. It could risk a life. It could risk property. It could risk a delayed response and then further damage or – further loss of life, depending on what the communication issue is.

Since subscribing to FirstNet in January of this year, we've been able to get emergency services to people quicker than we would if we had to go through traditional means.

So, as the chief officer of Canyon Security Specialist and Consulting, we saw the FirstNet platform as something we could grow into – something we could expand beyond 100 or more employees. FirstNet is a cost-effective solution that anyone in any size department can use to enhance their communication ability and their dispatch ability. So it became a real easy solution for us.

We would definitely recommend FirstNet.

Kenneth Laird is the Chief Executive Officer of Canyon Security Specialist and Consulting. He spent 22 years with the Phoenix Police Department and retired from his job as supervisor in 2013. He went on to become police chief at Grand Canyon University until 2017 and then served as director of public safety and emergency management at Hartnell Community College District in California from August 2017 to October 2019.