Lake Toxaway, a three-mile long, one-mile wide lake in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, reflects the beauty and serenity of the historically popular mountain retreat area. Year-round and seasonal residents share the 5,000-wooded acres surrounding the beautiful rural lake.
The Lake Toxaway Community Association is a homeowners association (HOA) that is responsible for administering and managing the community of some 1,200 residential property lots. Not unlike HOAs at thousands of up-scale destination communities throughout the country, one of the board’s most important governing responsibilities is to maintain the safety and security of the residents and their properties.
In its efforts to provide quality, efficient and responsive services to its residents, the Lake Toxaway Community Association’s Board of Directors has contracted IPM, of Arden, NC, one of the region’s largest destination property management companies, to provide seamless community association management services. IPM enforces the association’s rules and regulations, provides financial and administrative functions, and maintains operational procedures, which range from landscaping to security.
The Lake Toxaway Community Association Board’s Safety and Security Committee, in conjunction with IPM, began researching the possible financial efficiencies available to the HOA by changing from a hybrid in-house security operation to a private security company.
“The Board’s decision came down to simple economics,” said Kit Garren, President of IPM. “We began to explore contract security services for Lake Toxaway and discovered through a series of interviews with numerous companies that we would have an economic advantage of outsourcing with a private security company.”
After a thorough evaluation, the Board selected Allied Universal Security Services as their private security company.
“Allied Universal came in at a very competitive rate. They saved the HOA money without compromising the outstanding level of service that the residents had come to expect from their in-house security,” Garren said. “Allied Universal brings a high level of customer service, which was critically important to the Lake Toxaway Board.”
In high-end residential communities like Lake Toxaway, residents have extremely high expectations, especially in the area of safety and security. “The delivery and execution of those services must equal those expectations,” Garren said.
The critical challenges for Allied Universal were to execute a flawless, professional transition and establish a responsible, authoritative security presence with a high degree of customer service for the homeowners.
With over 5,000 acres, 36 miles of twisting, turning mountain roadways, and a massive lake to patrol, Allied Universal set out to recruit top quality personnel, initiate their award-winning training curriculum for their new employees, and become a visible, customer-friendly force in the community.
Another important aspect of Allied Universal’s new presence at Lake Toxaway was the company’s ability under North Carolina law to create a Company Police Department, staffed by a sworn, state-accredited, armed police officer who is an Allied Universal employee. In addition, Allied Universal expanded security coverage by providing around-the-clock shifts of an Allied Universal security officer to work in conjunction with the state-certified Company Police Officer.
The new Company Police Officer immediately established key relationships with the Transylvania County, NC, Sheriff’s Department, in whose jurisdiction Lake Toxaway is located. Their relationship is enhanced by instant radio communication and a commitment to supplement each other’s duties to maximize the safety and security at Lake Toxaway.
Allied Universal hired Brian Kreigsman, who had been a Chief Detective for the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office, to be Captain of the Company Police Department. Kreigsman is responsible for training, supervising, and scheduling the Allied Universal security officers who are assigned to Lake Toxaway.
“Brian is a perfect fit for the Lake Toxaway Community Association,” said Charles D. Kirby, CPP, District Manager, Allied Universal. “He has a great command presence while maintaining a friendly, customer service oriented approach with the ability to de-escalate a situation very quickly. He’s a good law enforcement officer and cares about the people he is serving.”
The Lake Toxaway Community Association now gets twice the bang for its security buck. Kreigsman enforces county and state laws, while the security officers enforce HOA rules and regulations. They interact constantly, exchanging information and planning joint operations. Under the previous arrangement, only state laws were enforced.
“Allied Universal has the resources far beyond those of an HOA. Their training impacts the actual performances of the security officers on site. Having a management hierarchy and supervisory staff that can be communicated with above and beyond the security officers is great. All of the procedural capabilities of assisting with and drafting post orders relieve the HOA of those tedious management tasks,” Garren said.
Kreigsman said he has a new appreciation for the security industry after being in the Sheriff’s Department for more than 30 years. “I have to protect the people and homes in Lake Toxaway, similar to the duties of a police officer, and provide the best service to our clients – the HOA and the home owners.”
Allied Universal has received very positive feedback from the community about their visibility and the politeness of the security officers. Response time to emergency calls has been reduced since Allied Universal took over and two vehicles, the Company Police car and an Allied Universal patrol car, are on patrol.
Through its decision to switch from in-house to Allied Universal contract security, the Lake Toxaway Community Association has created its own dedicated team with a certified, armed Company Police Officer and a full complement of professionally trained and managed security officers to enforce the HOA’s rules and regulations.
Kirby’s explanation to the Lake Toxaway Community Associations Board of Directors is applicable to many HOAs across the United States. “The HOA doesn’t want to manage their own in-house security personnel. They’re a volunteer board, no one is getting paid to manage the process and it is not their primary area of expertise.”
The benefits of having Allied Universal provide services on the property are greatly appreciated by the HOA and the residents. The results are obvious:
Responsive security officers and managers.
Increased communications with the HOA administration, management and residents, and law enforcement agencies.
Quality, award-winning Allied Universal training for security personnel.
Significantly greater visibility to deter potential criminal activities.
More strategic and effective vehicular and nautical patrols.
A concerted effort to make customer service a priority.
The expertise and resources of Allied Universal’s regional professionals.
Allied Universal’s residential community security expertise and sharing of best practices.
“Allied Universal has made a very positive impression on the residents,” Garren said. “In addition, the Safety and Security Committee is well versed and advised on the entire security process at all times. The Board of Directors is very happy.”