The Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay is listed as a 5-star hotel.
Security officers at a 5-star hotel tend to be held to a high standard of courteousness and demeanour.
Out of curiosity, I checked the reviews on Half Moon which mentioned security. The four that I found, rated their experience as 5 out of 5 stars.
Clearly, guests who interacted with security officers found that the encounter enhanced their stay. Certainly, it did not detract from their 5 out of 5 stars experiences.
This high standard of performance explains why new security officers posted to that location tend to find it very challenging. Doubtless, they would have received training suitable for the tourist industry.
But still, it was always going to be a challenge to meet the expectations of the hotel security management and the guests.
Denardo Bennett, or Bennett as he is referred to on the job, is described as having met the challenges of working at Half Moon with ease. And we shall see why.
Bennett joined the Atlas Protection Group a scant one year and 5 months ago and during that time has found favour with the security management team. This is no mean feat.
A young 23-year-old from Scott’s Run, a rural District in Eastern Portland would have had some rough edges that needed smoothing. But he was up to the task.
It is typical that security officers work 12-hour shifts. Shifts may begin at 7 PM and end at 7 AM the following morning. Bennett was on one such night shift as the patrolling officer.
A security officer who is on patrol can be anywhere on the property within his patrol area. This mobility creates opportunities for an officer who is so inclined.
There is the opportunity to find a quiet spot and catch up on your social media posts. Or you can have a quick nap. The list of malingering opportunities is limited only by the ingenuity of the officer on patrol.
On Friday, March 11, 2022, Bennett was assigned patrolling duty from 7 PM to 7 AM at the luxurious Ocean Suites located on the Half Moon Property.
A fire had started in one of the suites, but Bennett could not have known about it. No alarm had sounded. The fire was out of view. There was no smoke. So, he continued his patrol.
Suddenly the lights went out in his section at about 5 AM. Clearly there was an electrical problem, so he dutifully called a maintenance technician who responded.
An examination of the breaker box showed that a breaker had tripped. The breaker was reset, and the lights came back on. The technician left.
Minutes later the lights went off again, and Bennett again called the technician who turned the lights back on.
But this time Bennett insisted to the technician that something had to be wrong, and they needed to walk the block and check.
This is not typical behaviour for a security officer who is getting close to the end of his shift after ten hours of work.
Bennett suspected that there was more to this than meets the eye. He had done this patrol many times before and the lights typically do not turn themselves off at 5 AM in the morning.
Bennett was familiar with his environment because he performed his duties with diligence. Bennett was not a malingerer. Something was not right, and he was going to find out what it was.
As the pair did their checks, Bennett noticed a light in suite 3016. But Bennett knew that suite 3016 was unoccupied. Why did he know this? Because it was his duty to know what was happening in his sphere of influence. He knew because he had a genuine interest in his job. He knew, because if the room was occupied he would have noticed on his previous visits to the area. He knew because he cared.
Further investigation revealed that the suite's bathroom was engulphed in fire which was the source of the light.
Bennett did what he was trained to do. He activated a pull station, called Security Control to report his findings and immediately attacked the fire with extinguishers and a fire hose until the fire services arrived.
That section of the hotel was fully occupied with guests who had no idea that there was a raging inferno next door.
Thanks to the alertness and attention to detail displayed by Bennett, disaster was averted.
There could have been loss of life. There could have been major damage to the hotel. There would have been job losses. And maybe there would have been no more reviews mentioning security because there would have been no guests.
Thanks to the professionalism of Denardo Bennett, the entire security industry can be proud.
Proud that we have true professionals in our ranks. Proud that we have proven, once again, that every cent spent on a business’s security and loss prevention infrastructure is money well spent.
Denardo, we are proud of you. Atlas is proud of you. And the security department at half moon is proud of you.
The Jamaica chapter of ASIS international is pleased to present you with an Award of Merit.