DK Security hires former GR police chief Belk as VP
He will be tasked with compiling an emergency response team.
The nation’s seemingly growing unrest has led to growth for Grand Rapids security firm DK Security, which recently added former Grand Rapids Chief of Police Kevin Belk to its leadership team.
Belk was appointed last week as senior vice president of DK Security, including the direct supervision of the company’s Armed Operations Division and special operations, DK Security CEO John Kendall said.
The hiring was influenced by two main factors: Kendall’s co-founder, Bob DuHadway, retired and the experienced Belk was available, following his retirement from the GRPD in 2014. Kendall and DuHadway started DK Security in 1995, following their retirement from law enforcement careers with the U.S. Marshals and the FBI, respectively.
Along with the management of the armed operations division forces, the company’s fastest growing unit, Belk also will be tasked with leading the threat analysis efforts and putting together an emergency response team.
“Before we deploy people, we need to look at the challenges they face and we might be facing,” Kendall said. “Things don’t look like they’ll get better in the short term. There’s a lot of urban and college unrest, lone wolf, localized terrorism. We want to be and owe it to our clients to be prepared to respond.”
The Armed Operations Division has grown at DK Security, as the company services all the military bases in Michigan and the Soo Locks, and more corporations desire armed security forces, Kendall said.
Belk said threat analysis is meant to help security forces be prepared for what might come during a job but also to help mitigate any risks.
“We want to know what a client’s concerns are, so we have a better understanding of what they need,” Belk said. “Sometimes, once we get a better understanding of their concerns, we can eliminate the need for ongoing security.”
Belk brings more than 30 years of police experience, as he started at the GRPD in 1980 as a patrol officer. His positions included sergeant, lieutenant, commander of the investigative division and captain. He was named chief in 2007, first as acting then appointed. According to a release, crime in Grand Rapids dropped 38 percent during his stint as chief.
As a former police chief, Belk understands the growing challenges of police forces in the United States and said private security services need to step up and help take some of the responsibility off of the police force.
“We’ve seen law enforcement agencies across the country reduce their forces, and you’ll see more of that fall to the private sector,” Belk said. “We can tailor a solution to meet individual client’s needs, and there’s more of a desire and need for higher-trained security officers.
“It’s an area that we’ve seen grow a lot already.”
The relationship between Belk and DK Security didn’t “pop up overnight,” Belk said, as he has spoken to Kendall for years, including increased conversations following his retirement from the GRPD and his service on the Parole Board at the Michigan Department of Corrections — a full-time position.
“This is a good fit. I’ve been working out of Lansing but living in Grand Rapids, and I missed being involved in the community,” he said. “It’s a quality company and well managed.”
DK Security employs more than 1,600 security officers at more than 200 clients in Michigan, including seven colleges, seven military bases, two international airports, 42 state office buildings and multiple Fortune 500 corporations.
Kendall said the company’s need for new armed guard duties has grown from one to two times per month to now two to three times per week. Some are full-time security patrols, while others are temporary services, such as when companies need to perform large-scale layoffs.
The company was listed among the top 83 of 8,000 security companies in the U.S. by Robert H. Perry & Associates.
While Kendall cited in both a Business Journal interview and an internal letter to employees the growth was because of an increase in unrest in the United States, he also said West Michigan has been a safe place to live and work.
“There’s no major threat looming, but there are unpleasant things happening across the country,” Kendall said. “Grand Rapids, and most of the state, is peaceful and will likely continue to be, but we need to plan for the future.
“We want Kevin to pay attention to our armed operation and help take that to the next level.”