Badlands Security Group is a major provider of security services for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Keystone XL pipeline is an 1800-mile project that will transfer oil from the Canadian oil fields to the refineries in Oklahoma and Texas. It is one of the largest projects taking place in the United States today. The project employs more heavy equipment operators, welders, electricians, carpenters, and laborers than any other project in the United States. This project pumps millions of dollars into local economies by buying hotel rooms, food, gas, and supplies. Even though this project seems like a win for everyone it still faces stiff opposition.
Several groups throughout the United States protest the project for different reasons. Some of the reasons are environmental, others are legal, and some have to do with protected Indian lands.
These protests vary from peaceful sign-carrying protesters to--as we saw during the construction of the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline)--violent fence-crashing protests that resulted in equipment damage, personal injury, fires, and project delays.
Providing security services for a project that stretches through several states, underneath rivers, and is supported by pump stations, pipe yards, and man camps comes with unique management challenges. Workforce management that spans thousands of square miles is the first challenge. This includes:
1. The licensing requirements: Our security officers move around and work in different states supporting the project. This means they must be licensed in each of these states. Since each state has different security licensing requirements, special management
techniques needed to be developed to track employee licensing process.
2. Tracking hours and project codes. The pipeline construction projects are divided into different “spreads,” or sections. Each spread has different project codes used for invoicing and tracking security labor hours. New administrative procedures needed to be developed to ensure invoices were accurate and associated with the
3. Post Orders. Each spread or security post has orders unique to that site. The post orders needed to be matched to state and local laws governing security operations. Managers must ensure each officer reads and understands the different post orders. New methods of distributing these orders at multiple sites needed to be developed. Additionally, it needed to be recorded that each security officer acknowledged their orders.
The second challenge in supporting a project that is over 1800 miles long and passes through several states is operational oversight. Operational oversight is the real-time oversight of security activity taking place in multiple locations hundreds of miles apart. These activities include:
1. Patrols: Security officers patrol different sites protecting equipment and preventing unauthorized access 24/7. Patrol oversite techniques needed to be developed for one supervisor to supervise multiple locations to ensure patrols were routinely being conducted. These new techniques needed to be real-time and viewable when reviewed weeks later.
2. Real-time tracking: Badlands Security Group has security officers scattered throughout the central plains supporting the pipeline project. For the security officers to drive to their sites often meant they were traveling long distances, in one case 97 miles, in very remote areas and often in adverse weather conditions. The biggest concern while driving were animal strikes and icy road conditions in the wintertime. Both could leave an officer injured and in a ditch. Supervisor always needed to know the real-time location of all staff on duty.
3. Intelligence: Security officers are often the first person a protestor, angry landowner, or terminated employee meets when they visit a site after work hours. These visitors are often upset and could accuse a security officer of inappropriate behavior or make threats to the project. A method to immediately capture and forward this information to the appropriate staff members for evaluation and action became critical.
To help manage these unique concerns, Badlands management turned to technology and found a customizable security management software system called TrackTic. TrackTic was a solution to all our major concerns. Through the security officers' smartphone, TrackTic linked frontline officers to back-office support and oversight. Administratively, it helped manage personnel, track licensing requirements, and requalification. It was a perfect solution for tracking
security officers' hours to specific project codes. It also acted as a permanent record that assisted in audits and reports. Project managers can also post site-specific orders for officers to read and acknowledge.
Operationally, it allowed supervisors to set up geo-fencing perimeters around a site and establish patrol routes. The security officer’s smartphone will trigger GPS points that show the security officers' real-time patrol routes and establishes a permanent record to be reviewed later by either Badlands management or customers. Additionally, this system allowed us to track the locations of all employees in real-time. This became a valuable safety feature during adverse weather conditions when officers were traveling to their post. Another safety feature was a panic button on the officer’s smartphone. When activated it sends an immediate alert to designated supervisors that an officer's panic button has been activated and their location.
Another feature of this system worth discussing is the body cam. The body cam is part of the track tic app that is downloaded to the security officers' phone. It functions just like a standard law enforcement body cam. However, the video can be instantly uploaded into the system allowing management and clients to review it immediately. Incorporating the TrackTic system into our management process allowed us to increase the effectiveness of managing our workforce that is supporting a project the size of the Keystone XL Pipeline. We can process more real-time information from multiple locations faster and with less manpower making us a valuable and efficient resource.
About Badlands Security Group