ASIS earns another SAFETY Act designation

Certifications now protect from liability in anti-terrorist applications
Friday, September 1, 2006

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--ASIS International, a worldwide organization of security professionals, announced in late July the designation of its certification program, by the Department of Homeland Security, as covered by the Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technology Act of 2002 (the SAFETY Act). It earned the same designation for its Guidelines program in May of 2005.
These designations mean that individuals, and their companies, who have earned these certifications--as Certified Protection Professional, Professional Certified Investigator or Physical Security Professional--and follow ASIS Guidelines cannot be held liable for actions in trying to prevent an act of terrorism.
"If you are anyone utilizing a CCP, or PSP, or PCI, this means that there is no theory of liability that can attach to that person's credentials," said Brian Finch, the lawyer with firm Dickstein Shapiro who led ASIS through the designation process with DHS. In other words, following a terrorist act, victims "can't say, 'I'm going to sue company x, because company x hired this guy with a CPP and the CPP is baloney.'"
Richard Grassie, president of Techmark Security Integration, which designs security systems for industrial and commercial sites around the world, holds a CPP. He said the new designation does give him some additional piece of mind, "but it's not like, 'Woo, we're all covered!' We've never been sued and we've never been questioned. Still, it's the right move, absolutely the right move. When we go for a job, all of our work is based on referral, and when we do get a referral, that CCP or PSP is very important to a lot of people, and it's much more important now, for building owners or property management people. When I do a security assessment or an audit and I put that seal on it, that means something to them. They have more confidence in the recommendations. The SAFETY Act just makes that credential stronger and more meaningful."
Though the SAFETY Act has never been tested in a court of law, Finch said it is based on a well established theory of liability defense used in common law. This should also give credential holders leverage with insurance issuers, as "it's removing one avenue of liability," Finch said. However, "the best thing [individuals] can do is get SAFETY Act certification for themselves," even if it is a fairly rigorous federal process. That way, an individual's every action, even should it deviate from certain established principles, will be covered from liability.
"For a small integrator, it's definitely something to think about," Finch said. "It can make you more marketable to have gone through this vetting process, and from an investor's standpoint, maybe they'd be more likely to go with a company that has taken the effort to achieve liability protection. It should be high up on anybody's radar screen."