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Sunday, Aug 14, 2022
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Weekly Briefing

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Omar Scaife, 24-year-old owner of Scaife Protection Services, began his company in 1996 after working as a security guard himself. He observed that other security companies didn’t have much loyalty to their employees, didn’t pay them well and didn’t seek out highly trained workers. Scaife spoke with Lauren Hollingsworth about some of the challenges of offering an alternative kind of service.

I think there’s a difference between a security guard and a security officer. A guard doesn’t know the law. He doesn’t care about the profession. If something happens, a regular guard will just observe and report. According to the law, that’s all a guard has to do.

(And why not?) When you’re working unarmed, you’re going to get minimum wage or close to it. Also, the big companies don’t want to listen to the little man. They don’t care about their employees.

I’m trying to offer a different service, a more professional service, and a more dedicated service. I’m trying to pay my people better, but I’m fighting these big companies like Pinkerton and Burns. I might bid $18 an hour. Burns bids $5. It’s all about money. I’ve worked in places where the uniforms looked bad and the guards are drinking, but for the client, I think it’s all about who’s got the lowest bid.

Of course, some people do care. When I go in and meet with the client, I tell them that we provide trained professionals, people who have taken this job as a career. I have seven employees, two armed and five unarmed. To work for me, you must take a test, and I check background, criminal background, and I check to be sure that permits are still valid. I want to check out my employees just like a regular police department.

I also started this organization with the notion that I was going to care about my people and not treat them like a number. If a client doesn’t like the color of the officer’s eyes, he can call up another company and have the guy pulled out, even if he’s been working there six months. I want to be an advocate for the officer not just replace him, but sit down with the client and talk if there’s a problem.

The hard part is trying to justify the money before the client sees what I can do. I seem to be getting a lot of nightclubs as clients. They see the difference between the security they had and us because we are very professional. They say, “these guys look like the sheriff’s department.” In the end, I see myself succeeding because I am offering something different.

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