Expert Corner – Leslie Cole, Security Expert

August 16, 2008

Leslie N.A. Cole, Sr., CPP, CST, is one of the best credentialed security experts you will come across. He has an M.A. in criminal justice, and his Master’s Thesis, “Security & Policing of Airports” is the most sought article at his alma matter, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Mr. Cole is a Certified Protection Professional by the American Society for Industrial Security. Mr. Cole was previously employed as a security consultant by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization.

I had the good fortune to work with Mr. Cole in a recent case involving a sexual assault in a high school. It was evident in every step of the litigation process that Mr. Cole took enormous pride in his work product. His expert report contained a comprehensive analysis of the relevant factual evidence in the case. The opinions set forth in his report were grounded in respected published authority. When I met with Mr. Cole to prepare for depositions, I knew instantly that he had prepared for the meeting, and was already prepared to testify because he had an excellent command of the facts at issue.

Leslie had a significant background in the subject of school security. My partner, Amos Gern, recommended Leslie because he prosecuted a case involving negligent security at a New Jersey college, and Leslie was hired as the defense expert in that case. Mr. Cole is a Certified Protection Professional by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS). One of the optional subjects under his ASIS certification includes Educational Institutions Security. Additionally, Mr. Cole sat on the Township of Union Board of Education between 1989 and 1995, serving as its President from 1990 through 1991. Finally, Mr. Cole was a member of the Level III External Review Team of the Newark Public Schools.

If Leslie is your expert in a negligent security case, he will educate you and the jury about a Systems Approach to Security. While the facts of every negligent security case vary, principles developed through the study of subjects like security and criminal justice demonstrate that for security to work, a Systems Approach to Security must be followed. A Systems Approach to Security consists of three components: (1) software, (2) hardware and (3) personnel. Software consists of the policies and rules that govern the security system and how it is supposed to function. Hardware consists of the physical tools that aid a security system to achieve its goals. For example, hardware is utilized to limit and monitor access to a building (locks and security cameras). Finally, for security to be effective, it must have adequately trained personnel, who conduct their day to day activities in accord with the policies and procedures (software) of the system and who are provided with adequate tools (hardware) to do their job. All three components of the security system must be satisfactory in the System’s Approach to Security, or the security will not be adequate. A security system is only as strong as the weakest link of these three components.

If I had one regret about hiring Mr. Cole, it was that I waited too long in my litigation to retain him. If you are considering hiring Mr Cole, you should consult him immediately, so that the location of the attack can be inspected and the security system in place can be analyzed. Furthermore, Mr. Cole will provide invaluable advice throughout discovery.

Finally, one consideration for every attorney hiring an expert is how easy the expert is to deal with regarding scheduling issues. In the case I utilized Leslie in, the trial proceeded much more quickly than either side had anticipated. We had planned to bring Leslie in during the second week of the trial, and as a result he scheduled a business trip to Florida during the first week of our trial. As a courtesy, Leslie offered to reschedule his trip to Florida merely for the $50 cost associated with rescheduling his flight. Inevitably, that was not necessary, but with that simple gesture, Leslie demonstrated that he was not merely an expert we retained, but a part of our litigation team.

To visit Leslie’s website, click here. To e-mail Leslie, click here.