Echelon’s Security Legacy

With the intenful reduction of emergency services, such as decreased funding for 911 communication centers, jail funding, law enforcement programs, mental health programs and detox / recovery services, private citizens and property owners have turned to private security to fill in the necessary gaps in services. For some, mainly those in favor of the defunding of emergency services, this newly pronounced role for private security raised concern.
A recent OPB article attempted to identify these concerns by focusing on Echelon Protective Services and other security entities. Unfortunately, the OPB article made several misleading comments about the security industry and Echelon. Let’s take a look at specific claims.

Misleading Comments about the Security Industry:

  1. The article claims that no oversight exists over the security industry as opposed to law
    enforcement.
    This statement is 100% false, and here’s why.
    1. The decertification of security personnel is identical to that of Fire, EMS, Police,
      911 Operators and Corrections Officers. If a Portland police officer commits a
      crime on duty or in their personal life, the agency for which they work has no
      recourse to decertify the employee. Only the Department of Public Safety has the
      authority to revoke a professional license. This is true for all of the
      aforementioned public safety professions.
    2. In fact the de-licensing process is identical for all public safety professionals:
      1. The security guard or police officer is investigated;
      2. Then given a due-process revocation hearing;
      3. At the hearing the accused has the ability to give testimony, and;
      4. After a vote by the Board, the accused is revoked or reinstated.
    3. What’s important to remember is that the law enforcement agency or employer
      only retains one ability, employment discipline; firing, suspension, remedial
      training, etc.
    4. If in the event of an official police investigation for a crime committed by a police
      officer or public safety official, the investigation would be performed by an outside
      agency for purposes of not showing prejudice. This means the employing agency
      does not have the authority to conduct the criminal investigation, nor should it.
    5. These same powers hold true for security companies whose guards may have
      been involved in an unlawful offense. The company can engage in employment
      discipline, such as firing the employee, same as law enforcement, fire, ems,
      corrections and 911, but they have no authority to de-license them.
    6. Again, the same standard for de-licensing is true for medical doctors, attorneys,
      electricians, and most tradespeople – licensing has to be revoked by the licensing
      authority.
    7. It is very important to note that DPSST was never contacted by OPB for this
      article even though they are commissioned and appointed by the Governor of
      Oregon to perform oversight on all facets of public safety, including investigating alleged wrongdoings by persons serving in private security and private
      investigations.
  2. Security guards who engage in unlawful activities are never investigated.
    1. This is simply untrue. States such Oregon and Washington have entire
      departments, programs, boards, committees, and employees dedicated to
      investigating alleged wrongdoing by security and investigative professionals. I
      currently sit on Oregon’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training’s
      (DPSST) The following is a link to our March 8, 2022 meeting, during which we
      voted to fine security vendors for violations. (PSIPC Amended Agenda.pdf)
    2. The following are DPSST contacts who investigate security professionals:
      (https://www.oregon.gov/dpsst/PS/Pages/contact_us.aspx)
    3. Let’s not forget that at any point an investigation can be conducted by law
      enforcement into any alleged criminal activity, regardless of the accused is am
      employee of a public or private entity. Personally, I believe that such an
      investigation into a private entity is much more likely to be authentic than an
      investigation by police into a fellow police officer.
    4. We know this to be true because agencies such as PPB have had multiple
      federal investigations conducted by the US Department of Justice which have
      shown the organization to be biased in its policing of minority populations. The
      US DOJ is responsible for policing the police to guarantee investigations will be
      conducted without prejudice.

Misleading Information about Echelon Investigative Services

  1. The OPB article falsely claimed that Echelon does not have a policy and procedures
    manual.
    1. Since the company’s founding, Echelon has always had a policy manual in place.
    2. Moreover, every employee is furnished with a copy of the manual and all SOP’s
      and required to review and sign them for our records.
    3. As a security provider for multiple Western US States, we have a policy and
      procedures manual, training manuals and many Standard Operating Procedures
      (SOP’s), many of which are unique to the State of operation.
    4. In fact, one of our current clients, the University of Oregon, had us codify our
      Policy and Procedures Manual, Unarmed Training Manual and Armed Training
      Manual as addendums in our official agreement for services. This contract was in
      place almost a year prior to the OPB articles release.
    5. More importantly as a professional security provider we would never have been
      able to secure the levels of General Liability, Worker Compensation &
      Commercial Auto insurance policies without a policy manual and standard
      operating procedures. These are required and often reviewed by underwriters
      prior to the issuance of policies.
  2. The OPB falsely claimed that an employee of the company engaged in unlawful activities
    near the Multnomah County Courthouse.
    1. Echelon has never, at any time, had a client in or near the Multnomah County
      courthouse.
    2. Moreover, at the alleged time of the incident, no employee was working in the
      vicinity of the courthouse.
  3. OPB falsely alleged that Echelon employees engaged in unlawful or illicit activities while
    on duty.
    1. To date, no Echelon employee has ever been arrested, charged, pleaded guilty to
      or been found guilty of crimes.
    2. At no time past or present has Oregon or Washington departments of safety or
      licensing investigated Echelon for wrongdoing or alleged illicit or illegal activities.
      Again, these entities are responsible for all such investigations.
    3. Echelon leads the industry in its transformative outreach approach to security. In
      fact, Echelon leadership is trained by local shelters to perform intake services on
      the street level. Currently, Echelon averages 16 tent-to-shelters intakes a week!
    4. Just in FY 2022 Echelon has utilized NARCAN more than 30+ times on persons
      overdosing on narcotics, saving lives.
    5. Echelon works with several area nonprofits to usher life saving resources to the
      street-level. To name a few: Loving One Another, Helping Hands (Bybee Lakes),
      Blanchet House, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Union Gospel Mission, Clackamas
      Resource Center, We Heart Seattle, We Heart Portland, SOLVE, and many many
      others. In fact we provide security for most of the nonprofits as well.
    6. The entire Echelon Team serving in Portland, OR has been trained by Portland’s
      Fire and Rescue (PFR) team on the City of Portland’s de-escalation processes.
      This was mandatory training for all Echelon leadership and guarding staff. The
      training was held by PFR at the downtown Embassy Suites Hotel, a client of
      Echelon’s.
  4. The OPB article falsely suggests that Echelon takes an adversarial approach to issues of
    houselessness.
    1. First and foremost, Echelon is an ally of the houseless!
    2. Echelon has dedicated its efforts to assisting area houseless populations in
      finding adequate shelter and live-giving resources. Currently, Echelon provides
      thousands of dollars of resources to Portland’s houseless community weekly.
    3. In addition to our strategic partnerships with nonprofits, Echelon operates its own
      food bank in Portland’s Oldtown neighborhood, which it used to hand out
      hundreds of meals weekly.
    4. The Principal and CEO, Alex Stone, suffered from houselessness as a youth and
      as an adult. For more than two years, after transitioning out of the military, Alex
      lived in his vehicle at the McDonalds located on Yeon Ave. ALex also lived and slept in several area shelters as a youth and young adult in Houston, TX, one of
      which was Star of Hope.
    5. For several years, Alex Stone also worked with the houseless and drug-addicted
      street youth in Houston for years while serving with Harbor Houston and Mission
      Houston.
    6. As a formerly houseless person, Alex would never allow Echelon to embrace an
      adversarial stance against society’s most vulnerable.
    7. Currently, Alex remains a trusted and well known community member who has
      dedicated his life to serving on nonprofit boards. Currently, he serves on the
      following Boards:
      1. Public Safety Action Coalition (PSAC – Portland)
      2. Oregon’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, Private
        Security Board (PSIPC)
      3. The Professional Security Association of Oregon (The only active security
        trade association in Oregon)
      4. The Benevolent Order of Protective and Investigative Professionals.
        (BOPIP)
      5. Loving One Another – Nonprofit dedicated to personal and community
        transformation (loapdx.org)
  5. The OPB article falsely labeled a security event as harassment when in fact Echelon
    Team Members were the actual victims.
    1. About 2-years ago, Echelon Team Members were assisting several houseless
      persons in cleaning the areas surrounding their campsites.
    2. Part of this week-long task was to organize a trash pick up for unwanted items
      and personal trash. On the night before pickup, an individual purposefully placed
      their urine in an unmarked bowl-like container, then asked the Echelon Team
      Member to place their items in the trash. Again, this was done intentionally as the
      bowl was hidden and could in now way stop spillage.
    3. While moving the items for trash pickup, the urine spilled all over the Team
      Member’s hands (no gloves) and uniform. Understandably, the guard was upset
      and threatened charges against the perpetrator.
    4. Even though this should be considered an harassment or assault according to
      Oregon Revised Statutes, law enforcement refused to take the incident seriously.
    5. Months later, footage of this incident was used by OPB to claim we were
      harassing the perpetrator without any facts of the incident in the article.
    6. Echelon notified DPSST of this incident.
    7. To date DPSST has never received a verified complaint regarding this incident.
  6. Summary – Echelon understands that true security comes through community, the
    commitment to build a social contract that should and must benefit all parties involved
    and not a select class or grouping of participants. For this reason Echelon became the
    first in the nation to develop and employ its outreach-based security program, a model
    that aligns community transformation with personal transformation.

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