Although more details are still to come in the wake of the catastrophic Astroworld fiasco, at BPS Security we have been heartbroken with the realization that lack of training and security industry standards contributed in the loss of at least 8 lives. As more information is coming to light, we are frustrated and hurt that the security industry has consistently failed to uphold higher standards. and we are working tirelessly to shine a light on major concerns about the security industry.
Note that this article is only addressing a few of the many concerns about the security industry. The issue as a whole is multi-faceted.
Some of the Concerns About the Security Industry
Since day one, our mission here at BPS Security has been to re-write the security industry’s standards of customer care and create quality, reliable, consistent service by integrating technology and personal attention eliminating common challenges such as poor service, untrained and unprofessional security officers, and underpaid security workers. However, it’s pretty apparent that no one seemed to care… until now after 8 individuals, here in Texas died at a concert, and a traumatized security guard is speaking out.
Jackson Bush, one of the security guards working the event came forth to share his thoughts and experience in this article: Astroworld Security Guard Did Not Feel ‘Prepared’ For Event, He Says. Below are just some of the major problems within the security industry that Jackson Bush covered:
- The total lack of communication from the organizers leaving an entire security team unprepared. “I don’t believe I was prepared,” Bush said. “I believe if we were all prepared the right way, that stuff would not have happened the way it did. Honestly, even with the amount of people that passed and went unconscious … the amount of injuries could have been avoided.”
- The organization’s willingness to hire anyone to fill the role of a security guard for the event. Bush said he and his uncle just showed up for the job with no background checks. The only security work he has done is when he was hired to sit outside a bank. He even said he had never been to a concert before, and ended up having to try saving people’s lives.
- Lack of followthrough and professionalism from the organization hiring the guards. Bush said he was told security personnel would be paid $17 per hour through Cash App, but he still has not gotten any money. NewsNation reached out to Live Nation for comment but didn’t hear back at publication time.
This is the Security Industry’s MO!
Why is this the standard way of operation?This is a chicken or the egg situation — security firms do not educate their potential clients, and companies hiring security firms want the best deal.
When it comes to large events, companies/organizations need to quickly hire security firms that can provide a large (LARGE) number of security personnel. The thing is, most of their personnel are already placed in full-time positions, so they scramble to hire as many “bodies” as possible just to “fill the role.” To do so, their job posts tout “No experience necessary”. Additionally, background checks are laughable (if they happen at all). And once onsite, they are just herded like cattle posts where they are asked to do a random job and receive no additional information.
(Have you ever been to a large even and ask a security guard a question such as, ‘Where is the customer service booth?” And they stare at you blankly?)
Not only are the firms able to quickly hire “guards”, they can also pay them silly rates. (Though, if the Astroworld Festival did indeed pay their security guards $17/hour, this is a decent rate, and rare).
Back in 2019, but we turned down a potential event!
The company that was interested in hiring BPS was not happy with the quote and wanted a lower price. Based on the size of the event, we could not cut the number of guards, so they wanted us to cut hourly pay to the guards. Let us be clear that the amount we were quoting was “high” because we pay our security guars a living wage which helps attract experienced guards. (There was not additional markup, and BPS would not see a larger net income after completion of the job.) The event organizers pushed back. However, we refused to budge since we will not hire guards for minimum wage because that dollar amount usually attracts:
- Untrained and/or undertrained guards
- Individuals with little experience
- Guards that do not take pride in their work, thus, often do a poor job
Now you may be thinking, “Sure! Pay someone more money, but you may be paying someone, that fits the bulletpoints listed above, more money.” We do not! Which brings us to another point. We have a very strict hiring process, ongoing training, and education, and keep a large group of part-time guards to fill roles such as one-time events. (We also tap into this pool of highly qualified personnel should one of our full-time guards gets sick or takes a vacation.)
Why Security Firms Employ Unqualified Security Guards
Frankly, most firms are greedy and do not have company values. They would rather take a contract, quickly fill the positions with unqualified people leaving their client at risk, all so they can make a buck! (Now, are all security firms bad? NO! But too many are).
Can this change? Yes! If security firms raise their standards and push back on companies that refuse to pay a little more for adequate personnel. However, this isn’t happening.
Here is a job posting from Allied Universal in Austin, Texas. The job posting is for a security officer at a car manufacturer. Note that, they do offer great benefits, which is promising! However, their qualifications are, frankly, unsatisfactory. (Screenshot to the left!)
And below (at the bottom of the article), is another screenshot showing a job posting for a position at the Alamodome on 11/7/21.