Ethics


Woke up this morning to a second scandal in the same number of weeks involving the protection community. Out of respect for the profession and most importantly the good men and women who work for them, I will not name the companies involved. 


When I entered this profession 31 years ago, I was young and green. To be successful, I immersed myself in every training opportunity and surrounded myself with as many people who had protection experience as I could. As a result during those first few years I was exposed to a lot of unethical company practices, bounced payroll checks, broken promises and difficult relationships with law enforcement while doing my job. 


As I entered my 5th year in the industry I continued to work hard, employ strict work ethics, remained humble and made sure I helped others around me. As a result, I began to meet and work with professionals who were in the top 5% of this industry. Thanks to consummate professionals and industry leaders like Bob Oatman, Dan Palmer, Dennis Bridwell, Jeff Williams, Tom Elfmont and Brian Brady along with incredible teammates likes John Souza and Tony Mainardi, my career took a significant jump to the next level. Finding, connecting and learning from these incredible leaders was key! I quickly learned that these leaders at the top of this industry believed in ethics over money, treating employees with respect over profits and putting professionalism before billable hours. 


For those just getting into our industry, those who have enough experience seeking to open their own business and those who make security decisions on behalf of their employer, I offer the following:


Ethics – Have Them & Keep Them


For me ethics are key. It’s what guides you through making the right choices not only in this career but in your life.


For an employee, its telling an employer “I don’t think I’m the right fit for what you’re asking me to do.” 


For an agent, it’s what your gut tells you when you’re about to do something questionable. 


For estate managers, family office managers or CSOs, its doing your due diligence before signing the contract. It’s seeing if the vendor has a history of ethical practices, proper licensing and strict hiring practices. Its knowing if that vendor really has an office in Israel or simply using  a maildrop with an answering service. 


Law Enforcement – The Proper Relationship 


Three decades ago, the EP and corporate security industry rarely worked together in a collaborative environment. At that time is was more of a “us vs. them” relationship. With more robust corporate security programs and UHNW families hiring their own protection, the relationship with law enforcement has strengthen significantly over the years.  We all need to do our part to grow this relationship with law enforcement and foster an ethical partnership. Every single person associated in this industry owes it to our profession.


Employer / Employee Relationship


As a detail leader, security director and now business owner, I have always had the mindset that I will not ask my team to do something I wouldn’t do myself.


As an employer putting profits before your employees and your professionalism is a recipe for failure. Be honest with your customers and your employees. Be realistic in your marketing claims and you submit in your RFPs.


As a job seeker do your homework and know who you’re applying with. Explore your network and talk to others before applying. Just as potential employers are interviewing you; you should be interviewing them.  As a hiring manager and decision maker, I never took offense to a candidate asking me tough questions during their interview! 


Cutting Corners = Bigger Headaches


At an early age, I learned that cutting corners only made things worse. Don’t sidestep processes just to save time or a buck. Do a proper advance whether you’re getting paid for it or not. Make sure you get an exposed firearm permit even if you have a CCW.


Simply put….do the right things and you will be successful!


As with everything I do, I welcome your feedback but ask that you respect the industry and not name anyone involved in these recent incidents.



Harry Arruda, CBCP

CEO, Cooke & Associates Inc.

Article originally posted on LinkedIn, August 8, 2020

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