Kolins GSX Lecture Voted one of the Top 20 Sessions to Attend

Russell KolinsRussell Kolins, esteemed security expert and CEO of Kolins Security Group, is lecturing at GSX (Global Security Exchange) Conference September 8-12, 2019 at McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. Kolins lecture, The Battle Over Security at Commercial Properties, was voted one of the Top 20 Sessions to attend at GSX. GSX conference provides opportunities to explore groundbreaking innovations and emerging solutions and products across the entire security industry. GSX features sessions that spotlight game changing technologies and discuss how security professionals can prepare for the future with exciting learning opportunities that put you at the forefront of the industry’s transformation. Ranked in the Top 20 Sessions to attend, Russell Kolins lecture, The Battle Over Security at Commercial Properties (Session #4106), will be held in Room S503-A on Monday, September 9, 2019 from 10:30am – 11:45am. Listen in as a crime victims lawyer goes head-to-head with an opposing representative of big business in a lively debate over proper security at commercial properties. Hear opinions from both sides of the aisle regarding what constitutes “reasonable security” at such properties as hotels, apartment complexes, hospitals, theme parks, casinos, and bars.

For more information about Kolins lecture and to add it to your Show Planner, click this link: https://gsx19.mapyourshow.com/8_0/sessions/session-details.cfm?scheduleid=108.

For more information about the GSX Conference, go to www.gsx.org.

Another Successful Resolution

Dear Russ,

On behalf of our clients, both Mark and I want to thank you for your expertise in helping to bring this matter to a successful resolution.

Best wishes.

Sincerely yours,

Kenneth I. Kolpan
Law Office of Kenneth I. Kolpan
Suite 1425
175 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110

Email: [email protected]
Website: For further information regarding brain injury litigation, visit www.kolpan.com

Ph: 617-426-2558
Fax: 617-426-7972

Bag Checks At Hotels Unlikely To Become New Normal, Expert Says

By Megan Gates, Senior Editor, Security Management magazine​ Appears in October 2017 Print Issue

​In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that killed 59 people and wounded more than 500 others, many are wondering if hotels will change their security policies and procedures. 

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that killed 59 people and wounded more than 500 others, many are wondering if hotels will change their security policies and procedures. 

One area of concern is if hotels will begin implementing bag checks because gunman Stephen Paddock was able to smuggle 23 firearms, along with other equipment, into his suite at Mandalay Bay to carry out Sunday’s massacre.

The Wynn resort in Las Vegas—located on the opposite end of the Vegas Strip from the Mandalay Bay resort—introduced security guards on Monday afternoon to screen visitors with metal-detector wands. It also implemented a bag check, which created a 10-minute wait to get inside the facility. 

This is unlikely to become the new normal for hotel security in the near future, however, says Russell Kolins, CEO of the Kolins Security Group and chair of the ASIS International Hospitality, Entertainment, and Tourism Security council.

“Hotels are in the business of selling privacy—they’re offering hospitality and selling privacy,” Kolins explains, adding that hotels would likely start to lose business if they began checking bags—especially in locations like Las Vegas. 

“In Vegas especially, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” Kolins says. “People bring items they don’t want other people to see.”

At airports, travelers are subject to bag searches—as well as body scans—because they are a different kind of target than a hotel. Travelers also have no expectation of privacy while on a plane, except for in the bathroom, unlike in a hotel where travelers expect privacy within their room, Kolins says.

One policy that might need to be revisited following the shooting, however, is how hotels handle checking rooms that have a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. 

Paddock checked into the Mandalay Bay on Thursday and kept a “Do Not Disturb” sign on his hotel door throughout his stay. This meant hotel cleaning staff did not enter his room, according to a hotel worker who spoke to The New York Times,​ because housekeeping is only allowed to enter a room with such a sign on it if a security guard is present.

Requiring a security guard be present to enter rooms with privacy signs is the right move, Kolins says, but hotels should consider changing their policies to require room checks every other day.

“That’s an arbitrary period of time, but I think a policy should be instilled to at least check on the rooms,” Kolins says, adding that hotels would have to make patrons aware of the policy. But such a policy could, potentially, prevent an individual from using a hotel room for an extended period of time to plot a criminal act.

Kolins leads a team of court-certified security experts at his firm. He says he thinks it’s unlikely that Mandalay Bay will be sued for negligence for the shooting because to sue for negligence, plaintiffs must be able to show foreseeability. 

“This is unprecedented—nothing like this has ever happened,” Kolins explains. “If something happens the first time, it’s not foreseeable.”

Now that such an attack has happened, though, if a similar attack happens plaintiffs could potentially bring a lawsuit saying it was foreseeable. In response, Kolins says he expects the hotel security industry to begin having seminars and tabletop meetings to determine how they would handle a similar case.

“I think what this has done is show that the slogan ‘expect the unexpected’ is again proven to be true,” Kolins says. “It wasn’t foreseeable because it was unprecedented.”​

Click here to schedule a consultation with Russell Kolins, Hotel, Motel and Resort Security Expert, President of Kolins Security Group and Chairman of ASIS International Hospitality, Entertainment and Tourism Security Council.

This article first appeared on Security Management magazine, a publication of ASIS International. (https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/Bag-Checks-At-Hotels-Unlikely-To-Become-New-Normal,-Expert-Says.aspx)

Mom-of-3 Was Startled Awake, Raped in Iowa Hotel Bed After Staff Member Let Attacker into Room

Russell Kolins served as the Hotel Security Expert on this case which settled for an undisclosed amount.

The man who flirted with Cheri Marchionda at the hotel bar somehow learned her room number and jarred her by calling her after she’d gone to bed. Still, behind the double-lock on her door at an Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines, Iowa, Marchionda, a business executive traveling alone, felt safe. But hours later, while Marchionda was sleeping, hotel staff helped the man enter her room. The man then startled Marchionda awake and sexually assaulted her for more than two hours. The attacker,…

Click here to read the full story. 

This article first appeared on March 01, 2019 4:53pm. https://people.com/crime/mom-raped-in-iowa-hotel-bed-after-staff-member-let-attacker-into-room/

Woman raped by man given access to her Iowa hotel room: “All I thought about was surviving”

Cheri Marchionda appeared on CBS This Morning today, February 25, 2019.

Marchionda told “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Dana Jacobson she used to average a trip a week for work, taking the same precautions many do on the road, like using the safety bolt in her hotel room.

Cheri Marchionda’s life forever changed on April 10, 2014, when – traveling alone for work – she was sexually assaulted when a man got access to her room at an Iowa Embassy Suites hotel. The assailant obtained a key to her room from the front desk without having to verify his identity and entered her room in the middle of the night.

Click the link to read the full story and watch the video of her interview:  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hotel-rape-cheri-marchionda-talks-about-sexual-assault-after-man-was-given-access-to-her-hotel-room/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a

This article first appeared on February 25, 2019 7:34am. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hotel-rape-cheri-marchionda-talks-about-sexual-assault-after-man-was-given-access-to-her-hotel-room/?ftag=CNM-00-10aac3a

Iowa Hotel Settles with Woman Who Was Raped Inside Her Room

Russell Kolins served as the Hotel Security Expert on this case which settled for an undisclosed amount.

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa hotel has settled a lawsuit with a New Jersey woman who was raped and battered after the front desk gave the attacker her room key.

Attorneys for Cheri Marchionda say the operators of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Des Moines agreed to a settlement before she was set to testify Wednesday. Terms were not disclosed.

According to court records, Marchionda was staying at the hotel as part of a business trip and was in the hotel’s bar when a man, later identified as Christopher LaPointe of New York, approached her. She rejected LaPointe’s advances.

She later awoke to find LaPointe in her hotel room touching her leg. He then battered and sexually assaulted her over several hours.

Police later learned that LaPointe had asked the front desk for and been given a key to Marchionda’s room, without being asked to show proof that he was registered to the room or even a hotel guest. When he had trouble getting in because Marchionda had engaged the door’s safety latch, LaPointe convinced a maintenance worker to disable it, telling the worker he had had a fight with his “girlfriend” and she had locked him out of the room.

Investigators say the maintenance worker let LaPointe in unaccompanied and left.

The press typically does not name victims of sexual assault, but Marchionda’s attorney, Peter Villari, said she is revealing her name in hopes of serving as an advocate for hotel safety and sexual assault victims.

A Des Moines attorney for Hammons Inc. and Atrium TRS III, the operators of the hotel, did not immediate return a phone message left Wednesday. The Embassy Suites franchise and Hilton Worldwide had earlier been dismissed from the lawsuit.

Villari said his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from the attack, causing her to lose her executive sales job. Her doctor says she’ll need a minimum of six months treatment for her PTSD before she can begin working again.

“It’s been a long fight for this woman,” Villari said. “She’s very happy that it’s been resolved.”

This article first appeared on Waterloo-Cedar Creek Falls Courier, Waterloo, IA. https://wcfcourier.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa-hotel-settles-with-woman-who-was-raped-inside-her/article_6324403d-75a2-5c5a-ada8-65db4feb8e81.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

The Intoxication Issue

01 February 2019
By Megan Gates, Senior Editor, Security Management magazine
Appears in February 2019 Print Issue

It’s a typical affair. A company hosts a holiday party for employees and clients. It books a venue to handle the DJ, it hires a caterer to provide the food and wine, and it contracts with a security firm to make people feel safe while they celebrate.

But what happens if someone gets drunk at the party and gets into an argument with another guest? Or passes out? Or tries to drive home? What’s the security officer supposed to do? This exact predicament arose when a woman, who’d just been promoted at work, was attending a private event. She wanted to celebrate her new professional accomplishment and ended up drinking alcohol to the point that she was intoxicated.

When she went to leave the event, she stumbled and fell. A security officer, whose firm was contracted for the event, helped her up, sat her down in a chair, and got her some water. She reassured the officer that she was fine, and he escorted her to an elevator that went down to a sub-level parking garage.

The woman, however, was not fine. She got in to her car, drove up the wrong ramp to exit the parking garage, crashed into a drop gate, drove out onto the street, and ultimately killed a bystander.

A lawsuit was later filed against the security firm for allowing her to leave the venue in her vehicle while intoxicated. The suit was settled for a final amount that was not disclosed.

In a deposition, the security officer who had been on duty at the event was asked what training he had to handle interactions with individuals under the influence. The officer said he had never received any.

“If that guard had been trained, he’d have known better—that there are policies or something I have to do because this woman can’t drive,” says Russell Kolins, CEO of Kolins Security Group and an expert witness on security issues.

And, unfortunately, that lack of training is common for many security officers working for contract firms that provide services for special events, Kolins adds.

“The professionals who are the bartenders, servers, and security personnel who work at venues are trained—but in the private party arena, where you have contract guards who are assigned to protect the party, they are not trained because this is not something they would normally do,” he explains.

In the last two years, Kolins says he’s been contacted about five separate cases involving contract security agencies that were later sued because of their response—or lack of—to an intoxicated person at a private party.

Typically, contract agencies that are hired for events—like private parties—are focused on keeping uninvited people out of the venue, answering questions, and giving the presence of authority so people feel safe.

“But they normally don’t have discussions about whether or not alcohol is being served; it’s not something that would be in their normal course of operation,” Kolins says. “They are there for a specific purpose—to provide a deterrent to a crime or negative things that could occur. They don’t take into consideration how they are going to deal with intoxicated individuals.”


Alcohol is a depressant and when consumed, it passes into the bloodstream to affect the brain, kidneys, lungs, and liver. Its most visible effects, however, are on the central nervous system, causing physical and behavioral changes like relaxed inhibitions, impaired judgment, slowed reaction time, and reduced motor coordination.

The amount of alcohol it takes to make a person intoxicated depends on a variety of factors, including weight, gender, age, metabolism, food intake, the strength and type of alcohol, and any medication that the individual is taking. Women are more likely to feel the effects of alcohol sooner because they have lower levels of the enzyme that breaks alcohol down—meaning it will stay in their system longer.

The legal blood alcohol limit to operate a motor vehicle in the United States, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Puerto Rico, Singapore, and the United Kingdom is .08 percent.

Many other Western and European countries have a .05 percent blood alcohol limit, including Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Other countries, like China and Sweden, have a lower blood alcohol limit of .02 percent.

Employees who work in restaurants, bars, and nightclubs are trained to recognize changes in behavior due to alcohol consumption. Many establishments have this training in place due to U.S. dram shop statutes, which allow the venue and the individual serving the alcohol to be held liable for selling or serving alcohol to individuals who then cause injury or death due to intoxication. 

While security personnel are not engaged in serving people alcohol, by being employed directly—or indirectly via a contract—by a venue that does, they could be liable should an incident occur. Therefore, it’s critical for security personnel to receive Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS), like bartenders and servers do, to recognize the signs that someone is intoxicated, Kolins says.

“The program teaches you how to handle people and how to interact with them and gives you an understanding of how people might act if they are under the influence,” he explains. “People do stupid things when they are under the influence.”

Security managers also need to have policies in place that explain what security personnel are expected to do if someone is intoxicated.

“These policies could be as restrictive as necessary, but should at least say, ‘We will stop people, talk to them, notify the supervisor for the event, and turn this job over to the supervisor to handle if necessary,’” Kolins says.

He also recommends that clients hiring contract security firms for special events cover what the policies and expectations are for security staff when interacting with individuals under the influence.

“Have a clear understanding, in writing, requiring guards be trained to understand the effects of alcohol and how to deal with people who are intoxicated,” Kolins explains. This can then be used to demonstrate, should an incident occur, that the security firm took reasonable steps to prevent it.


Darrell Clifton, CPP, has worked in casino security for almost 30 years. As the current executive director of security for Eldorado Resorts, Inc., which owns the Eldorado, Silver Legacy, and Circus Circus in Las Vegas, he works with a proprietary security team responsible for three casinos, six night clubs, and roughly 100 bars. And they interact with people under the influence every day.

“Being drunk, not only is it not a crime, it’s acceptable behavior at a casino and a nightclub—it’s what we market,” Clifton says. “Just because someone gets drunk doesn’t mean they are a bad person.”

This is the mindset that Eldorado Resorts starts with when teaching security staff how to interact with people who are under the influence. Even though individuals are intoxicated, security staff has a responsibility to treat them like valued guests.

“There are many states that have dram shop laws. Nevada does not, but it doesn’t excuse us from liability or moral responsibility of making sure somebody gets to where they are going safely,” Clifton adds.

In training, which involves role playing and then on-the-job training with a supervisor, security staff are taught how to recognize that someone is intoxicated, the policies in place to address that behavior, and that they are empowered to take action based on those policies.

For instance, security officers are taught to “work the line,” looking for minors who would not be allowed in, individuals who don’t meet the dress code, or those who are visibly intoxicated.

“We teach our staff that you have the power to keep those people out of the venue, because then they take it seriously,” says Clifton, adding that it helps prevent future incidents.

Clifton also stresses the importance of training security staff, and other employees like valets, to be on high alert when people leave the premises to ensure their safety. His staff is encouraged to engage people, especially those who show signs of intoxication, while they exit clubs, bars, or the casinos.

“You talk to them and get more information as to how intoxicated they are, and then decide if they are all right,” Clifton says.

If the security officer determines that that person is not safe to leave on his or her own, the officer is taught to ask if there is someone who can be called to pick them up. Other options include walking the person to their hotel room, if it’s part of the same venue, or calling a taxi or free shuttle service.

If the person has been driving, the officer and the valet can offer to hold the person’s keys and keep their car overnight. If the individual becomes resistant and insists on driving, security and the valet can tell them they will only surrender the person’s keys after the police have arrived on the scene.

“We tell people we don’t want to ruin your night, and that works 99 percent of the time,” Clifton says.

As a last resort option, security staff can call the police who will pick the individuals up and put them in a holding cell to sober up without being charged with a crime. This all goes back to duty of care, Clifton says. Security owes this care to people at the venues it is responsible for protecting.

“What we should do as good risk managers is realize the liability is out there, the danger is out there, and we have a responsibility to the customers to keep everybody safe,” Clifton says. “If we do the right thing, we should be okay.”  ​

This article first appeared on Security Management magazine, a publication of ASIS International. (https://sm.asisonline.org/Pages/The-Intoxication-Issue.aspx)



While security managers and officers are not engaged in serving alcohol, they could be found liable for incidents involving intoxicated individuals if they have not been trained to identify, interact with, and manage people under the influence.

In a session at GSX 2018 in Las Vegas, Russell Kolins, CPP, CEO of Kolins Security Group, and Darrell Clifton, CPP, executive director of security of Eldorado Resorts, Inc., walked attendees through the science of alcohol’s impact on the human body, as well as liability risks and best practices for security staff.

A recording of “Dealing with Customers Who Present Signs of Impairment or Intoxication” is available at https://learning.asisonline.org/diweb/catalog/item?id=2569397​. It is free to all during February 2019. ​

Kolins Receives ASIS Service Award

Russell Kolins proudly serves as Chair of the Hospitality Entertainment and Tourism Security Council for ASIS International. In Las Vegas, Nevada on September 24, 2018, ASIS International presented Russell Kolins with the 2018 Meritorious Service Award in recognition of his work to foster the spirit of goodwill and professionalism within ASIS International.

ASIS 2018 Award Recipient

Counterterrorism Expert with Decades of in the Trenches Experience Joins Kolins Security Group

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.

Click here to schedule a consultation with Gary Neill, the Kolins Security Group expert for Airport and Logistics Security, Counterterrorism, and Event and Venue Security.

Nearly $10 Million Awarded to Family of Woman Killed in Fatal Motorcycle Club Brawl

Bollinger v. Iron Order Motorcycle Club

$9.7 Million Verdict

Date of Verdict: July 3rd
Court and Case No.: C.P. Philadelphia No. 150700429
Judge: Kenneth Powell
Type of Action: Negligence, Dram Shop.
Injuries: Death.
Plaintiff’s Counsel: Slade McLaughlin, McLaughlin & Lauricella.
Experts: Russell Kolins – Dram Shop, Lou Di Joseph – Gang.

Click here to schedule a consultation with Russell Kolins, Dram Shop Expert or Lou Di Joseph, Gang Expert at Kolins Security Group.

This report first appeared on VerdictSearch, an ALM publication (https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2018/07/19/nearly-10m-awarded-to-family-of-woman-killed-in-fatal-motorcycle-club-brawl/).

$1.75M Awarded by Jury in York City Bar Murder Sanabria v. Anita’s Place

Russell Kolins, Premises Liability Security Expert

Date of Verdict: March 14.
Court and Case No.: C.P. York County, No. 2015-SU-000373-71.
Judge: Richard K. Renn.
Type of Action: Wrongful death.
Injuries: Death.
Plaintiffs Counsel: Benjamin D. Andreozzi and Nathaniel L. Foote, Andreozzi & Associates, Harrisburg.
Plaintiffs Experts: Andrew Verzilli, economics, Lansdale; Russell Kolins, security/premises liability, Philadelphia.
Defense Counsel: Larry C. Heim, Katherman, Heim & Perry; York.

Comment: On August 18, 2013, the plaintiff’s decedent, Jaime Sanabria, 25, was a patron at George’s Tavern at 376 Walnut St., in York, Pennsylvania. During the course of the evening, a fight broke out at the bar. Sanabria attempted to break it up, but in doing so he was knocked to the floor. While lying stomach-down, another patron, Halim Bowen, got on top of Sanabria and shot him in the back at close range. Sanabria later died of the gunshot wound. Bowen was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sanabria’s estate sued Bowen and tavern owner Anita’s Place Inc., alleging that the bar provided inadequate security. According to witnesses, Bowen, prior to the shooting, had hung around outside George’s Tavern for about an hour before finally being let inside. Bouncers had to turn away people because of the bar’s full capacity. Bowen allegedly persisted trying to get in, and offered to pay $20 even though a cover charge was only $2. Tavern patrons reacted to the gunshot by ducking or running for the exit doors, but Bowen did not react at all, according to witnesses.

Video surveillance from inside the tavern showed him calmly stepping over the dying Sanabria and making his way to an exit. George’s Tavern was required to use a metal-detecting wand to check all customers for weapons, as the tavern had been the site of numerous violent encounters and was considered a nuisance bar. The requirement was part of the former tavern’s provisional license with the state’s Liquor Control Board.

The estate’s counsel faulted the bouncer’s search of Bowen, and maintained that a decent search with a wand takes 30 seconds to one minute. However, evidence showed that the bouncer’s search of Bowen lasted about five seconds. The estate’s counsel presented a diagram of the proper use of a security wand by the wand manufacturer. Anita’s Place maintained that the security guard had properly used the wand and had sufficiently searched Bowen. Any liability found should be against Bowen, who was the shooter, counsel asserted.

Bowen, pro se, denied that he shot Sanabria. The court gave a curative instruction that the jury could not consider Bowen’s denials, given his conviction. Sanabria was taken by ambulance to a hospital for emergency surgery. The bullet had entered his back and exited his chest. He died during surgery. Sanabria is survived by a 10-year-old son.

Prior to his death, Sanabria had performed temp work. The estate’s expert in economics calculated his future lost earnings from $680,000 to $1.3 million. Sanabria’s sister and mother, who brought the suit on behalf of her son’s estate, testified about what kind of son, brother and father he was. His estate sought damages under the Wrongful Death and Survival Acts. The jury found Bowen 10 percent liable and Anita’s Place 90 percent liable. Sanabria’s estate was determined to receive $1,748,743.

Click here to schedule a consultation with Russell Kolins, Premises Security Liability Expert at Kolins Security Group.

This report first appeared on VerdictSearch, an ALM publication (https://www.law.com/thelegalintelligencer/2018/05/10/family-claimed-bars-lack-of-security-led-to-patrons-murder/?slreturn=20180414102807) and is based on information that was provided by plaintiffs counsel. Bowen was not asked to contribute, and Anita Place’s counsel declined to contribute.

From the Street to the Courtroom, Joe Ralston Shares His Narcotics Expertise

The experts at Kolins Security are known for their “boots on the ground” experience. Nowhere is that experience more evident than in the knowledge and skills of Joe Ralston, a veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office and an expert witness on drug trafficking, surveillance and other narcotics-related issues.

Ralston started on the street level as an officer in the Philadelphia Police Department. “I did all the usual stuff,” he said, “like patrolling the streets and executing search warrants.” After making contacts at the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, Ralston was hired there as a narcotics agent, where he handled complex drug cases that required him to develop special expertise in several areas.

Ralston was promoted to a supervisory role at the Attorney General’s office because of his success with those complex cases. “I testified in hundreds of court cases in several areas,” he said. “I became an expert in drug jargon, working with informants, organized crime, undercover operations and wiretaps.”

Working with wiretaps proved to be the most difficult, yet most rewarding, part of Ralston’s work with the Attorney General’s office. “A wiretap can be an investigator’s biggest tool, but you have to show a judge that you’ve exhausted all of the other tools available,” he said. Ralston said that while the federal agents might have designated attorneys to complete wiretap affidavits, Ralston was responsible for writing these affidavits himself and providing judges with justification for a wiretap. “Only about 10% of agents have ever filed a wiretap affidavit,” he said, “because the process is so complicated and requires a high level of expertise.”

According to Ralston, the first step to obtaining a wiretap was to obtain phone records. “Using the information from the phone records, I would review all the data and look for patterns.” The patterns he found, along with the results of surveillance work and the cultivation of informants, would help him build a case for probable cause to obtain a wiretap. “The process is tedious, but necessary, in order to justify a wiretap,” Ralston said.

Ralston’s narcotics investigations eventually removed dangerous criminals off the streets, including members of a cartel who were responsible for using tractor trailers to move hundreds of kilos of cocaine from Arizona to Philadelphia every month.

In addition to wiretapping cases, Ralston has testified in federal, state and municipal courts over 500 times, on subjects ranging from organized crime and bookmaking to gangs and surveillance techniques. He’s also provided private security for Sylvester Stallone, the National Football League, CBS Nightly News, the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and various business executives.

Ralston still remembers an important piece of advice he got while in the Police Academy: “I had an instructor that said, ‘What you learn here is only the first step on your way to becoming an officer. Your real learning is being on the street.” Ralston’s street experience makes him a successful and knowledgeable part of the Kolins Security team. Ralston exemplifies their commitment to providing security consultants who have real world expertise.

Do you need a narcotics or organized crime expert for your case? Click here to schedule a consultation with Kolins Security Group.

FAPI Honors Kolins Security Group President, Russell Kolins, ICACP, BAI

From the desk of our esteemed President, Russell Kolins, ICACP, BAI:

“As a Member of the Advisory Board to the prestigious Florida Association of Private Investigators, I am proud to announce that I have been honored with the designation “Life Member”. FAPI is a very active and revered professional organization comprised of some of the country’s best investigators and security professionals. I will continue to do my best to uphold the professional standards, integrity, and quality of this superior group of professionals and I thank them for this honor.”

4 Reasons to Choose Kolins Security Group for Security Consultation

4 Reasons to Choose Kolins Security Group for Security Consultation

“You’re the real deal.”

That’s a phrase Russell Kolins has heard quite often during his 48 years as a security consultant and litigation expert—from colleagues, other experts, even opposing counsel. But what does it mean to be the “real deal”?

“When people say I’m the ‘real deal,’ it’s because they know that I have high-level, practical experience in complicated security environments. They know they can always trust me to be thorough and professional,” Kolins said.

Authentic, Real-World Knowledge
In keeping with his reputation for honesty and credibility, Russell Kolins has assembled a team of experienced security experts who, like himself, have firsthand knowledge of their individual security domains.

“My team at Kolins Security Group has real, boots-on-the-ground experience,” he said. “And while these individuals are highly trained, their understanding goes beyond the academic—they have authentic, real-world knowledge of complicated security situations.”

Breadth and Depth of Experience
With this talented team in place, Kolins Security Group can offer clients a variety of security services, including risk and threat assessments and consultations, as well as litigation support in a variety of disciplines.

For example, Kolins himself is not only an expert on Dram Shop law, but has years of experience in liquor and bar security. Because Kolins and his team have both depth and breadth of experience, they perform these services with professionalism, expertise and candor.

Rock-solid Reputation
Kolins Security Group can provide litigation support in a wide range of fields, including alcohol and liquor liability, premises security, crime security, technology, police and law enforcement, healthcare and schools. And because of their rock-solid reputations, clients can be sure that members of the Kolins Security Group team can withstand scrutiny in any situation.

Up-to-date on Emerging Threats
Kolins also understands that the security sector is ever changing—new and complex situations arise that would have been unheard of only a few years ago. That’s why his team receives up to the minute, in-depth training in emerging threats and security best practices. In addition, they’re educators themselves, providing training to private companies and serving as subject matter speakers on a variety of topics. Many have also published articles in respected trade journals.

By combining his own stellar experience and reputation with the wide ranging, top-level expertise of a seasoned team of experts, Russell Kolins has assembled a group that achieves results for their clients, whether in the board room or the courtroom. That’s what it means to be “the real deal.”

Do you need an expert for your case or an in-depth security audit? Click here to schedule a consultation with Kolins Security Group. 

Arrest and Excessive Force of Salt Lake City Nurse

By: Russell Kolins, BSSM, ICACP and Stephan Hollowell, CPP

In response to the much-publicized arrest of a Utah emergency room nurse who appears to have been following the protocols of her employer, the Kolins Security Group is appalled by the actions of the Salt Lake City Detective who appears to have illegally arrested her when she refused to take blood from an unconscious accident victim–one who was not under arrest at the time of the request.

Information now states that the detective was given instructions to arrest the nurse by his supervisor. This, on the face of it, would be difficult to believe, as the University of Utah Hospital and the Salt Lake City Police Department had agreed on the hospital’s protocols over a year ago. It is the actions or, rather, the inactions, of the University of Utah Hospital’s security department that should also be questioned. It appears that they did nothing to deescalate the situation in any way. It is unclear if a security manager or security supervisor was present throughout this incident. It is the hospital security department’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its community, which consists of its patients, visitors and staff–especially the front-line clinical staff.

It is imperative that not only a hospital’s own policies and protocols are written down and communicated to its staff, but also any policies that affect outside agencies, especially those of law enforcement. Because law enforcement officers assist hospital security departments with violent visitors and patients every day throughout this country, any policies that affect the both law enforcement and hospital staff must be understood and agreed upon by both agencies.

The hospital security department is normally the liaison between the hospital administration and law enforcement and, in the unfortunate case of the University of Utah nurse, the security department should have acted to deescalate the situation. If the detective did not want to listen to the hospital’s security officers or supervisors, then best practices dictate that this incident should have been escalated to the Director of Security and Administrative Coordinator of the Hospital, who should have attended the Emergency Department and attempted to amicably resolve the situation before it spiraled out of control. It is in the best interest of all parties–law enforcement, hospital security and hospital administration–to work collaboratively to ensure that they avoid actions which can bring disgrace to the police and a feeling of betrayal in staff toward their own administration and security department.

Further, each individual healthcare facility must establish its own hospital policies and procedures that relate to potential law enforcement issues. The facility’s legal department should provide the chiefs of all surrounding local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies with its written policies and procedures. These agencies should then be given a reasonable window of time either to object or agree with these policies and procedures. Once there is an agreement, all agencies must sign the agreement collectively and the original document must be kept on file at the healthcare facility.

Once the policies and procedures agreement has been signed, it is imperative that the respective agencies and healthcare facility provide immediate training to all LEOs and healthcare staff to establish that they know the rules. If they don’t know the rules, security and healthcare staff won’t know how or what to enforce. The University of Utah Hospital nurse, according to video, conducted herself in a highly professional and responsible manner; she did everything the right way. In the event there is a future similar situation, a copy of the “Signed Agreement” should be kept nearby so that the nurse could provide a copy to any LEO who is oblivious to the rules or who turns rogue.

Policies and procedures are subject to change, in which case any changes must be communicated in a timely manner to law enforcement agencies, just as with the initial agreement. A good example of an issue that required a change was the relatively recent implementation of BWCs, (body worn cameras) by LEOs. The activity of medical and hospital staff, patients, and visitors; white boards with names and medical information; medical records and other private information was being recorded on body cameras, causing this information to become part of a police investigation record. HIPPA Laws were seriously breached by the same people who had sworn to enforce the law. Once becoming aware, the healthcare industry immediately went into repair mode by modifying existing agreements between the healthcare facilities and law enforcement agencies to cover the use of body cameras.

Kolins Security Group is prepared to provide expert consultants to review and recommend policies and procedures, as well as to provide expert services in litigation matters. Our professional experts are experienced in their respective disciplines of safety, security and law enforcement and undergo continuing education and training in order to provide the most cogent and current advice to our clients.

Changing Times and Changing Threats: Stephen Hollowell and his Commitment to Security Excellence

Stephen Hollowell Security Expert

Of all the industries that have changed in America since 9/11, the security sector has undergone one of the most drastic transformations. “Security is now more than walking the halls, checking IDs, and making sure the door is locked,” said Stephen Hollowell, the newest member of Kolins Security Group’s team of highly trained security experts.

According to Hollowell, security consultants must evolve as the threats to their clients evolve, while understanding the complexities of the organization and its people, as well as their particular security challenges. “The goal of a strong security plan is to protect not only an organization’s assets and clients, but their employees as well. Employees that feel safe are more productive and professional,” he said.

Hollowell said that he approaches new clients by conducting a listening tour. “I meet with directors and stakeholders to ask them about their security concerns. I let them do the talking.” Hollowell then conducts an in-depth threat assessment that uncovers the organization’s vulnerabilities and any weaknesses in their security program.

One of Hollowell’s strengths is his ability to deliver his threat assessments with a sense of realism, even to organizations who operate with an excess of political correctness. “I don’t tiptoe around the facts,” he said. “I don’t want to scare the banks off of them, but I want to inform of them of the true nuts and bolts of their threat situation.”

Hollowell’s extensive experience in a variety of settings also gives him a unique understanding of how to work within complex organizations: “I had a mentor who helped me realize that the support of individual teams within an organization is extremely important.” Hollowell said that he takes the time not only to describe necessary security changes, but also to explain why those changes are necessary to each affected team.

Although Hollowell began his career in security over 25 years ago, he credits his continuing success in the industry to his ability to constantly learn and evolve. To that end, Hollowell has earned the prestigious Certified Protection Professional (CPP) certificate, which provides demonstrable proof of knowledge and management skills in seven key domains of security. Those who earn the CPP are ASIS board-certified in security management.

Kolins Security Group is a comprehensive team of nationally-recognized, court-certified security experts. Our vast wealth of practical, hands on experience, depth of knowledge and refined skill sets, extensive education and specialized training have supported numerous clients in achieving favorable results.

Florida Bar Served to Point of Intoxication: Jury Verdict $19.6M

Florida Bar Served to Point of Intoxication: Jury Verdict $19.6M

A young man in Florida finished work at 11 PM then walked a block to a popular local bar. As he became intoxicated while drinking several alcoholic beverages at the bar, a physical altercation developed just outside the front door on the sidewalk and street. A bouncer sent one of the patrons known to be an amateur fighter outside to take care of the problem. The first young man who became intoxicated while sitting at the bar a few feet away for 2 ½ hours was sent was sent out the front door into the middle of the brewing brawl. The young man in the presence of the bouncer who acted as a spectator standing in the doorway, asked everyone to calm down and go home, but the amateur fighter punched him, causing the young man to fall backwards and hit his head on the edge of the curb. He suffered serious brain damage. Although there is a modified Dram Shop law favoring the bar, Russ’ opinion included that the bar served the young man to the point of intoxication and continued to serve him while visibly intoxicated. He was rendered incapable of protecting himself because his stage of acute alcoholic influence and intoxication involved increased muscular incoordination, loss of perception, slowed reactions, diplopia, disorientation and mental confusion. Further, the security was inadequate and negligent. The jury returned a verdict of $19.6m.