FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY JOIN UNION, BUSINESS AND REAL ESTATE LEADERS TO UNVEIL PILOT TRAINING PROGRAM FOR PRIVATE SECURITY OFFICERS
Mayor Michael R. Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, SEIU Local 32BJ President Michael Fishman and Partnership for New York City President and CEO Kathryn S. Wylde today announced New York Safe & Secure, an innovative pilot training program for security officers in New York City commercial office buildings, will begin training workers this week. Also joining the Mayor at the announcement were Realty Advisory Board President Jim Berg and representatives from Fisher Brothers and Vornado Realty Trust, the first companies to have their employees participate in the program.
“Helping to keep New York safe is everyone’s responsibility,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York Safe & Secure brings together government, labor and business to increase training and professionalism for private sector security personnel. All New Yorkers will benefit from having thousands of extra trained eyes and ears on the streets on the lookout for trouble. I am proud that the NYPD and Office of Emergency Management will be providing their technical expertise and training for this program and I want to thank SEIU, the Partnership for New York City, Fisher Brothers and Vornado Realty Trust for taking the initiative and bringing this program into operation.”
New York Safe & Secure provides security officers in buildings managed by Fisher Brothers and Vornado with 40 hours of in-depth commercial building security training above and beyond the eight hours required by New York State. The curriculum, developed by the Office of Emergency Management and the NYPD with the assistance of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, reflects modern security concerns and includes segments on terrorism, evacuation procedures and coordination with police, fire and emergency personnel during a crisis. Trainees will receive instruction on the history of terrorism, examine case studies of previous terrorist attacks and their responses as well as receiving briefings on identifying different types of explosives devices and fake identifications. The training will be conducted by off-duty NYPD officers and recently retired instructors from the New York Police Academy.
Initially, 253 security officers from 31 Midtown buildings owned and operated by Fisher Brothers and Vornado, will take part in the pilot program with the expectation that the program will be expanded to include additional owners and buildings. In addition to providing training sessions to their security officers, Fisher Brothers and Vornado have agreed to compensate their workers in lost wages for participating in the program. The cost of operating the program is being shared through an agreement between Local 32BJ and the Realty Advisory Board.
“The state-of-the-art training courses provided through this program will go a long way toward ensuring that security officers possess the skills they need to help the City’s police, fire and emergency personnel keep New York and New Yorkers truly safe and secure,” said Commissioner Kelly.
“As the largest building service workers union in New York City, Local 32BJ is committed to working with government, the real estate industry and the business community to ensure private security officers receive the state-of-the art training they need to safeguard the buildings they patrol and protect the people who work in and visit New York’s midtown and lower Manhattan office buildings,” said Mike Fishman, Local 32BJ President. “At the same time, security officers must receive a livable wage if we are to reduce the alarmingly high turnover rate that undermines the effectiveness of today’s private security industry.
“In the post-September 11th environment, the availability of highly-skilled private security officers in commercial office buildings is crucial,” said Kathryn S. Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “New York Safe & Secure establishes a protocol to protect New York City’s high-profile office buildings that is state-of-the-art and includes the best trained personnel and incentives to attract the top talent in the field.”
“Fisher Brothers has long recognized the tremendous importance of a properly trained and professional security staff,” said Fisher Brothers Senior Partner Ken Fisher. “While innovative technology and security systems make buildings more secure, there is no substitute for proper training and employment standards.”
“We are pleased to be among the first building owners to join this important program for ensuring a safer and more secure working environment for thousands of people who occupy our office buildings every day,” said Gaston Silva, Chief Operating Officer of the Vornado Office Division. “As owners and as New Yorkers, we are committed to constantly seek improvement in all areas.”
“We are happy to have the opportunity to continue in this innovative and proactive effort to strengthen the city’s first responder network,” said James Berg, President of the Realty Advisory Board. “New York Safe & Secure clearly demonstrates the seriousness with which all of us view issues of security and tenant safety.”
In 2002, the Partnership for New York City recruited business leaders to join Local 32BJ and real estate leaders for a series of roundtable discussions hosted by Jacques Dubois, Chairman and CEO of Swiss Re America Holding Company, that examined strategies to raise the professional qualifications of building security personnel. This program is an product of those discussions. In May 2004, Local 32BJ, the Realty Advisory Board and the Real Estate Board of New York began a similar labor-management security training program. To date, New York Safe & Secure has trained more than 5,500 residential building service workers in security awareness.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Paul Browne (Police Department)
Matt Nerzig (32BJ) (212) 539-2882
Brad Hoylman (Partnership) (212) 493-7484
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