Rock Security Finds AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk a Rock Solid Solution

About Rock Security

Rock Security is not a typical security services provider. In fact, the Las Vegas, Nevada firm tries hard not to be. Having dealt with some of the issues that plague the industry, Rock Security built its business on solid planning and innovation to confront issues endemic to private security. With more than 150 security officers, Rock Security provides superior security services to individual, residential, commercial and industrial, and event clients alike.


Rock Security has worked hard to upgrade and deliver standout security protection in its industry. To do this, the company needed to create a corporate culture that kept its security officers satisfied by providing training and daily opportunities to learn and communicate as a group. Rock Security also wanted to ensure its officers’ accountability to perform security activities in a highly professional way.


AT&T Enhanced Push-to-Talk Service (Enhanced PTT) gives Rock Security reliable nationwide PTT communications, equipping its security officers with rugged smartphones. With Enhanced PTT’s Web-based Corporate Administrator Tool, management can create and change officer communications groups based on the unique needs of clients. Officers can interact and learn from each other, leading to greater accountability and professionalism.

Rock Solid Fundamentals

Justin McEwen comes from the Las Vegas building construction industry where companies hire security firms to guard their construction sites. When the economic downturn hit the desert playground hard, McEwen decided to change careers, entering the security services market where there was vast room for improvement.

In 2010, McEwen founded Rock Security, building his business by successfully tackling the fundamentals before moving on to greater security challenges. Based on its success of providing security to homeowners, neighborhood associations and apartment buildings, Rock Security expanded to include clients like shopping centers, athletic clubs and the familiar construction industry. Rock Security has continued to steadily grow, adding to its client portfolio major corporations, airports – and is even the odds-on favorite for the casino and entertainment industries. In fact, the company has supplied security to both the Golden Globe Awards and the Grammy’s.

One of the industry’s challenges is a security officer turnover rate of about 400 percent per year. McEwen understood this could be combatted through the creation of a strong company culture via ongoing job training and communications to nurture accountability.

Other than quarterly meetings and team-building exercises, most of the security officers rarely come face-to-face. “I wanted to create a high performing team that cares about each other and the industry,” said McEwen. “Having PTT communications is a critical element of this type of culture. Everyone can hear the latest updates and interact; they can learn from others’ situations and help each other when they can.”

Initially, security officers carried handheld radios, yet their limited range could no longer accommodate the company’s business that was spreading as rapidly as a desert wildfire. Having more than one system of radios would defeat McEwen’s desire to retain central dispatch in Las Vegas and would complicate communications that were vital to the collaboration and camaraderie of his officers.

McEwen was equally concerned about the perception of officers speaking on mobile phones. “In our industry, when people see a security officer on a cell phone, they just assume that he isn’t working,” explained McEwen. “I wanted to avoid this often misplaced image. My AT&T account manager helped me find the right security communications tool.”

Scalable Coverage and Control

AT&T Enhanced PTT ideally suits Rock Security’s challenges of aggressive growth, while retaining and enhancing the features for a cohesive security officer workforce. The company’s more than 150 officers are now equipped with rugged smartphones for instant PTT communications. To care for the company’s image, the AT&T account manager recommended the use of headsets with the smartphones.

Just as McEwen has built Rock Security from the ground-up, the ease of Enhanced PTT scalability has complemented his deliberate growth strategy. “When I started this business my intent was to create a model that I could extend to various locations. Enhanced PTT helps me do that,” said McEwen.

Transitioning from the handheld radios to Enhanced PTT required minimal training. And the ruggedness of the smartphones can withstand the wear-and-tear of 24/7 use. “The biggest relief for my officers is that the phone is about a quarter of the weight and size of the radio they were using,” added McEwen. “If you are carrying that around all day with several other tools, the weight and size are definitely a consideration. My officers appreciate the new phone.”

McEwen also likes the web-based management tool for quick changes to officers’ PTT capabilities. “The AT&T Enhanced PTT management system is fantastic for me. When I need to add phones or make changes to group arrangements, I can easily do this through the website. I can give access to my dispatch manager so that he can adjust settings, without giving him access to everything. That, for me, is absolutely phenomenal.”

With Enhanced PTT, Rock Security can provide groups of security officers with different communications capabilities. “I may have three or four officers on a site that need to be able to communicate with each other, but not with dispatch,” explained McEwen. “Then, the next day they may need access to dispatch. So, I can very quickly change the scenario for just these PTT phones and switch it back the next day.”

Securing Clients and Officers

If the need arises, management can conduct a group call with all on-duty officers with the push of a button, even overriding PTT group conversations in the event of important, time-sensitive information. In addition, with the former handheld radio system, an officer would have to call dispatch to call 911. Now officers have the ability to call 911 directly, saving valuable seconds or minutes.

One timesaving feature involves officer clock-ins. Before Enhanced PTT, officers reporting to work would radio their dispatchers to let them know they had come on duty. Now Enhanced PTT links to a workforce management application that allows officers to call in using their employee ID numbers and the system automatically clocks them in.

“Each of my dispatchers spent 15 to 20 minutes each day just logging officers, which was a waste of time,” reported McEwen. “They have become more efficient because I have taken that needless burden away.”

Rock Security is also making use of Enhanced PTT to better serve clients. “I have some clients that ask for the capability to locate officers,” said McEwen. “Using Enhanced PTT and a GPS application, I can show clients where their security officers have been on their sites, that they are working and making rounds."

If a client wishes to include an on-duty officer in a conversation, the dispatcher can initiate the call to set up the conference. Or clients may be provided with a smartphone and Enhanced PTT to call the officer directly. “Enhanced PTT allows us to be very flexible and responsive when serving our clients,” said McEwen. “It helps set us apart.”

McEwen’s methodical approach to creating a culture by using communications technology wisely has paid off. His company’s officer retention rate surpasses the industry average by 75 percent.

“Officer retention is a result of many things and one of those is our use of AT&T Enhanced PTT,” advised McEwen. “Allowing officers to communicate and hear what is going on with the rest of the company is vital to maintaining that culture.”

Not surprisingly, McEwen advises others to use thorough planning to make successful use of PTT communications. “In almost every way AT&T Enhanced PTT has helped me to be more efficient. It is flexible and helps me address all types of client requirements. It’s fundamental for our business.”

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