Senator Lucio's Letterhead

CAPITOL UPDATE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2007
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez , Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

Valuable and Growing Role of Security Professionals in Texas

Working with law enforcement to safeguard state and border

As the population of Texas continues to grow (22.8 percent increase from 1990 to 2000) and as terrorism remains a threat, the role of private security professionals becomes more prominent.

Representing the border region, I am keenly aware that the work security companies perform will play a critical role in the success of law enforcement curbing local and international crime.

Often at the forefront of investigations or criminal activity, security officers and private investigators must work closely with their counterparts in law enforcement to protect our communities. The presence of a security officer at a power plant can discourage would-be terrorists, much like a police patrol car can dissuade potential neighborhood vandals.

The added protection that our businesses and communities are afforded by security professionals is innumerable. The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported in a March 19, 2003, article, "Security officers are patrolling Texas bridges, power plants, airports and rail yards as part of an extensive plan to shield the United States against terrorism as the country stands on the brink of war with Iraq."

Security personnel enhance the excellent work of our border patrol agents, customs inspectors and local law enforcement officers who cannot possibly detain or catch every menace to society.

The trained eyes and ears of a security officer can better alert them to terrorist activities than the average civilian, especially when high-tech maneuvers are being utilized by intruders.

Also, sophisticated crimes perpetrated via computer equipment and other technological means can be thwarted by security officers hired to protect these sensitive environments.

A security officer's extensive training is a sure measure of enhanced protection. Most are authorized to detain or arrest criminal violators, answer calls concerning criminal activities and in some areas, issue traffic violation warnings.

As the discussion for a border fence to keep out illegal immigrants and potential terrorists intensifies, the cry to increase local law enforcement as a more sensible alternative grows louder. That is why we must add to this debate the need for security officers working alongside federal and local law enforcement on the border.

Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McGraw last year said, "At one time, security professionals were not viewed as important parts of our national security. They must be an important part."

Regardless of a community's crime rate, security is always an integral part. Criminals and terrorists can be found everywhere, but fortunately, so can security officers. They guard air, sea and rail terminals protecting people, freight, property and equipment. They're hired to protect historical buildings, such as the Texas Capitol. In Austin, these men and women reinforce the excellent work of the Department of Public Safety troopers. Security services are greatly needed at every state, federal, county and city building, at our airports and bridges, or wherever public safety is at stake.

Security professionals are always ready and willing to respond to calls for assistance from police, fire or emergency medical services. They also play a vital role in writing comprehensive reports outlining their observations and activities during their shifts, for use by either their employers or by law enforcement trying to solve crimes or apprehend offenders.

To be effective, law enforcement officers show good judgment and common sense. The same holds true for security officers. These traits are essential when interviewing witnesses or victims, preparing case reports and even testifying in court.

Their expertise is invaluable as we continue efforts to protect ourselves ranging from the petty thief to the international terrorist. Population booms can spur more crime, placing a heavier burden on law enforcement. Enlisting the assistance of security officers in protecting industrial, commercial and sometimes residential property makes sense.

I commend ASSIST for continuing to upgrade the standards and training of security officers. Congratulations to the newly elected President of ASSIST, Dan Flores, for his contributions to this great organization. Kudos is also extended to his predecessors and the many officers whose service and leadership have increased the membership and prominence of ASSIST. Most of all, thank you to every security officer for your active role in protecting Texas!

As always, if you have any input or questions regarding these or other matters, please do not hesitate to contact Doris Sanchez, my press secretary, 512-463-0385.

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