Nicholas G. Breiner, CPP, PCI, PSP, got a taste of the security field shortly after high school when he worked for two corporate security departments. But his true passion lay in law enforcement, so in 1995 he joined the Belleville Police Department in New Jersey.
This career involved some high-profile assignments. The HBO series The Sopranos was filmed locally, and Belleville officers provided security on the set. Because of the department’s proximity to New York City, officers worked in Manhattan for several weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Some officers also traveled to Washington, D.C., to help secure the 2005 inauguration of U.S. President George W. Bush.
To enhance his credentials, Breiner earned the Certified Protection Professional® (CPP) designation in 2013, but he understood its value eventt before he joined ASIS in 2009. “I saw it as a benchmark and a seal of approval,” he says. Breiner added the Physical Security Professional® (PSP) in 2015 and the Professional Certified Investigator® (PCI) in 2016. The police department encourages professional development, and Breiner says he believes ASIS certification has helped his reputation in the organization. “I’m recognized as a subject matter expert, and I’ve been given greater job responsibilities.”
Since his promotion to lieutenant in 2013, Breiner has assumed new roles in the department, including Emergency Services Unit commander, training officer, and Professional Standards Bureau commander. Most of the officers who report to Breiner are in the Emergency Services Unit.
Breiner has worked for years as a school security liaison with the school district. “We do training on possible explosive devices in the schools and provide feedback on monthly security drills.” His officers also advise the local faith-based community on security threats.
Breiner oversees all department firearms and in-service training, supervises police recruits, and administers the department’s learning management system. The department was recently approved as an “accredited agency,” following an on-site visit from state inspectors to ensure that the state chiefs association’s standards were being met.
Breiner’s responsibilities include professional standards, also known as internal affairs. “I’m charged with internal investigations when there is alleged officer misconduct,” he says. “The public demands and deserves transparency, and the chief of police, my boss, makes it very clear that we will not tolerate misconduct.” When issues arise, he adds, “we react swiftly, conduct investigations, and levy discipline or training as necessary.”
With just three years left in his police career, Breiner envisions returning to the security profession. A lifelong student, Breiner has earned a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in human resources training and development, and he is working toward a second master’s in public administration.
When he counsels fellow officers transitioning into the private sector, he recommends at least one ASIS certification based on the person’s interests. “A police career alone doesn’t make you qualified for security management,” he advises. “You have to broaden and deepen your skill sets and your education.”