Friday, November 29, 2013

Paramount security firm looks to hire, train veterans

Security monitorsPARAMOUNT CA Nov 29 2013  — Rick Rodriguez, founder and president of RMI International here, can truthfully say he is a protector of movie stars, ambassadors, foreign dignitaries and the average resident.
The latter group is served as RMI provides security at facilities of the Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, where his trained, armed and state-certified personnel handle less hazardous duties, allowing the sworn officers and deputies to devote their attention to solving and preventing crime. “We have about 1,300 security personnel around the world,” said Rodriguez of his 18-year-old agency. His employees provide security only, there are no covert or spy operations, Rodriguez stressed.
He said he can't get specific on who is protected or where, but his services include security at embassies in hot spots such as the Middle East as well as local government buildings, including courthouses, police stations and the Hollywood sign.
“Many people like to smoke dope and have sex under the sign,” he said.
“I have been in the security business since I was 18,” said Rodriguez, now 53.
He worked for the Honda Corporation for eight years before starting RMI with partners in Downey, where he started the agency. It moved to larger facilities for administrative and training purposes in Paramount about 10 years ago.
And while his original partners are no longer with the agency, it has become a family affair, with Lupe, his wife of 30 years; and six of their seven children involved in the business.
Son Rick Jr., 33, is vice president and son Dan, 27, is an official. Both are former Army combat veterans with tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 The only sibling who isn’t involved in the company is a mechanic, Rodriguez said.
As if running a worldwide agency isn't enough, Rodriguez keeps busy as president of the Downey Chamber of Commerce and as an ordained chaplain in his church, Calvary Chapel of Downey.
While ministering to men in prison, in hospitals or drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, Rodriguez realized that many were veterans, like his sons, but for some reason did not make the transition back to civilian life and primarily needed jobs.
That resulted in Rodriguez and his family a couple of years ago establishing the Living Tree Foundation, which operates five nonprofit programs all aimed at helping veterans.
Foremost is the training of veterans as security guards and hiring them in his agency.
“We have trained about 100 so far with 70 more waiting,” Rodriguez said. The training is done in a building next to the administrative classes where Dave Frazier, a former Long Beach Police SWAT officer, puts 14 to 15 veterans at a time through the three-week class.
Frazier heads his own training service and contracts with RMI as an instructor.
Trainees are carefully screened to make sure they have the physical ability and temperament for the job. The first two weeks or 10 days is completely devoted to classroom study. The final week includes physical training in self-defense, martial arts and weapons used in a “shoot house.”
In the physical training room, with black mats from Afghanistan on the floor, students don protective gear and practice subduing assailants armed with guns or knives. However, the guns and knives are plastic.
The shoot house is a structure were trainees act out going into a home for apprehension of armed and dangerous individuals. In this training, they use real weapons but with low-impact ammunition, similar to paintballs, which leaves a mark but does not kill, Rodriguez Jr. explained.
He said that age is not a factor in the training or hiring, noting that some successful trainees have been in their 50s and one was in his 60s.
The younger Rodriquez added that when he left the military 18 months ago, 47 members of his unit left with him, were trained and hired by RMI.
One of the programs offered by the elder Rodriguez is Shields of Faith Bible Study, which he conducts for veterans who feel more comfortable learning of God and worshiping with their peers.
“In the military, when a veteran has psychological problems they assign him a psychiatrist, not clergy," Rodriguez said.
He estimates its costs $2,500 to train someone as a security guard, which is covered for veterans by the Living Tree Foundation.
Rodriquez said that providing security in the United States and overseas is a growing field and has been since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City.
But it's not all physical. The training includes prevention through use of technology, Rodriguez said.
The agency has five full-time employees on computers monitoring videos and gathering information trends and dangers, such as anti-American sentiments or revolutionary situations in countries to which RMI personnel may be sent. They work overnight because of the time difference in other countries.
“We want as much as advance information as possible of an area before we send our people there,” Rodriguez said.
The technology is also used to monitor the RMI area with cameras in case of vandalism or graffiti, showing that security is needed at home as well as overseas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

KING of Low Wages and crappy benefits !