Gary Neill likes to say that he followed in his father’s boot steps when he embarked on a career in law enforcement. Neill’s dad spent 20 years in the Philadelphia Police Department’s mounted patrol unit. Those boot steps have led Neill through a successful career as a patrol officer and commander on to new ventures as a private security officer protecting Philadelphia’s most important assets.
Neill’s 27-year career with the Philadelphia Police Department spanned several areas of responsibility and included regular promotions and commendations for valor, bravery and merit. One of Neill’s most difficult, but important, assignments was as Platoon Commander of the Philadelphia PD’s Special Victims Unit. “I saw some tough things,” Neill said, “but it was gratifying knowing that we were getting these people off the streets.”
Neill was also commander of the Philadelphia International Airport Unit, where he worked with representatives from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and other city, state and federal agencies on the Joint Counter Terrorism Task Force. “Working at the Philadelphia International Airport allowed me to move into something more specialized,” Neill said. “Collaborating with several agencies and making sure that the team had all the proper training, education and information was a welcome challenge.”
That kind of collaboration set the stage for Neill’s next challenge. After retiring from the Philadelphia PD, he was named Senior Director of Security and Services for the Wells Fargo Center and served during one if its most important events: the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
“I had to make sure that my team coordinated with the Secret Service and dozens of private security firms hired by all the individual media outlets and other attendees,” Neill said. And according to him, the key to making it all work was communication. “I answered every phone call and tried to manage all the different groups through clear communication.”
Neill has now returned to the Philadelphia International Airport where he is the Security Program Specialist for a major global logistics company. His work there has expanded beyond risk and threat assessment to include business continuity management as well.
Neill believes his success in law enforcement and in private security comes from staying one step ahead of the ever-changing modes of attack that bad actors can perpetrate. To keep the upper hand, Neill’s security philosophy is three-pronged: physical, personnel and technical.
“First, physical security measures have to be in place and consistent,” Neill said. “Next, top-notch personnel have to be trained and aware of what to be looking for. Finally, organizations have to use technology to monitor threats and implement safety measures.”
Gary Neill’s outstanding career protecting Philadelphia’s citizens, along with his depth and breadth of experience understanding the threats posed by terrorism and complex security situations, make him an invaluable asset to Kolins Security Group’s team of experts.