LAST EDIT October 18, 2023
Question: Should Security Guards Work Traffic Accidents on Public Roadways
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If you've been following tSON for a while, you'll know that slowing police response times are spiraling out of control. Waiting hours for the police to respond to non-life-threatening incidents isn't workable, but neither is failing to respond altogether. There's really only one option left: private companies. And, that's exactly what is beginning to happen.
Baltimore, one of the nations' most crime-plagued cities, has initiated a pilot program with On Scene Service, a private company specializing in accident response under their compelling slogan: "Motor Vehicle Accident Resolution for the 21st Century."
On Scene Services isn’t an unproven company. A few years ago, New Orleans hired this company in a pilot program in response to the city's lackluster response times.
Back in 2010, NOPD had around 1,500 officers. Fast forward a decade, and the number had dwindled to about 1,200. Since 2020, the numbers have plummeted another 20 percent to just 944 officers.
Initially, the New Orleans pilot rolled out just two of the privatized On Scene units to manage vehicular incidents. Apparently, it's been a success, because the pilot program has now evolved into a full-fledged program, now deploying six units from 7 am to 7 pm daily. During a standard shift, the On Scene investigators tackle between four to ten calls.
By their metrics, each call they address spares a police officer approximately 2.5 hours, saves the police department $200, and their response time is believed to be twice as fast as the NOPD's.
The On Scene Service investigators are allowed to use the public safety electronic systems to help them write up reports, but they don't operate on freeways, nor do they issue citations.
For the private security entrepreneurs out there, you are probably asking, how much money can a company make doing this type of work?
On Scene Services charges only for the calls they handle, which is roughly half of what it would cost New Orleans to dispatch an on-duty officer.
Baltimore, for its part, has earmarked almost half a million dollars from a state grant to run the pilot program for one year.
So, yes, there is an argument for why your security business should look into this model.
Baltimore and New Orleans might be starting points, but On Scene has its sights set nationally.
Given the success of the On Scene Services model, it offers a template that could easily extend to include licensed, trained security officers, who are trained in accident response and reporting, and who can potentially slash public safety costs, enhance motor vehicle accident response times, and continue pivoting public services to the private sector.
If you're in private security and your officers are trained in handling accidents on private premises, perhaps it's time to consider expanding your purview to public roads.
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