Friday, March 13, 2015

Gate Crashers... PR & The Homeland Security

This past October Joseph Clancy took charge of the U.S. Secret Service on an interim basis following a series of security lapses that led to the resignation of Julia Pierson as director of the government agency. Clancy's efforts will try to right the wrongs while a search for a permanent successor is conducted, but are the breaches in security already impacting the Secret Services and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a negative manner when it comes to publicity and public image?
Oh, let us not even speak about the recent retirement party and the gate crashed by Secret Service officials!

One article on PR Newser states, "The agency has been hammered by the media since 2009 because of the string of embarrassing security breaches that have put the agency’s credibility in jeopardy. The latest episode happened September 19, when an armed intruder jumped over the White House fence and ran into the residence. That was preceded by the service allowing an armed felon to ride on an elevator with President Obama. The most notorious incident was in 2012, when several Secret Service agents conducting advance work in Columbia for a summit meeting there were recalled after being accused of hiring prostitutes and bringing them back to their hotel."

The list of blunders, unfortunately, can go on and on.... So, yes- the DHS and the Secret Service have lost respect in both the eyes of the media and public. A loss of respect in this specific example equates directly to the loss of feeling secure among the American people. We can plead with people to "see something, say something" all we want, but if the government isn't leading by example- why should the public take anything its says seriously?

Rebuilding trust isn't as easy as fixing communication errors or weak spots in security plans and procedures. It is a long-term fix that has to built up over time. There is no quick fix to the damage done, which is unfortunate in a time where feeling secure is all that matters right now within this country and its road back to economic greatness.

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

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