OMNI Security Featured in Emerald Magazine
Sep 13, 2017
Bill Keller of Omni Security Transportation Services and Scott of Winterbourne Farms pose for State’s first track and trace program.
OMNI Security Transportation was featured in the June, 2017 issue of Emerald Magazine.
Articles written by Shannon Perkins.
WHEN HARVEST SEASON COMES, BE PREPARED AND INSURED FOR SAFE, SECURE, AND RELIABLE TRANSPORT WITH OMNI SECURITY TRANSPORT
Imagine you’re driving down the highway, truck full of freshly cured, all-legal cannabis, ready for sale. This is just another routine drop off to the usual, secure, and permitted distribution location. You exit the highway. The car behind you exits. You turn left. The car behind you turns left. “It’s a busy area,” you think, “it’s probably nothing.” A few more miles pass. You turn right. They turn right. You take the next turn… and they turn, too. You pull up to your distribution center, and realize the car following you is not a friend. Now what?
This type of dangerous and risky situation can be easily avoided by using Omni Security.
With California’s cannabis legalization set to come into full effect on January 1, 2018, many new guidelines and regulations are being released. Legal and safe cannabis transportation is among the requirements in Assembly Bill 266 (AB 266), and Omni Security is a company that not only meets, but exceeds the criteria. Omni Security Transport provides professional, safe and reliable transportation service for cargo, specializing in cannabis.
Bill Keller, Director of Operations of the Transportation Division, sat down to talk security with me over a cup of coffee in May. “AB 266 was passed in 2015 and breaks down the permitting and licensing regulations. It is set up to prevent monopolies,” he said. There are specific descriptions of which licensees may hold only one license. For everything from cultivation to transportation, the lengthy document spells it out. Site security plans, another requirement for licensee hopefuls, are available through Omni Security.
Omni abides by all the legal requirements and all personnel have backgrounds in the military, law enforcement or both. “Some of these guys are returning from overseas deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan where they received specialized training in vehicle convoy operations. They are highly trained, skilled professionals,” Keller said, “Omni staff are in no way regular security guards.” Team members have their qualifications up to date as required by the State of California’s Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS). In addition, Omni Security also has their own in-house private investigator who conducts background checks on every employee to ensure perfect scores on financial, criminal and driving records.
When you spend all season working hard to procure a good harvest, why risk losing it all in the transport and possibly risk not being able to get a license in 2018 if a grower or employee is arrested during transport?
Omni Security Services was established over 20 years ago. Chris Cronin, owner of Omni, described the company’s transition to cannabis. “[I] was providing security for large concerts, special events, and executive protection for professional athletes, musical artists and other celebrities. Omni Security also has a walk-through metal detector division and has overseen access control for clients ranging from Snoop Dogg to the Dalai Lama. However, things began to change for the company when Omni started providing services for a prominent cannabis attorney over three years ago,” he said. “Soon after meeting the cannabis attorney, Omni began moving its resources to the industry. What started out as drawing up security plans for grow sites and dispensaries evolved into testifying before Planning Commissions and City Councils.”
Then, Omni started providing site security consultation, installing camera systems and providing armed guards at their secured locations. The transportation division soon followed. Due to the challenges faced with legal, safe, secure transportation, Cronin enlisted Keller to oversee all transportation operations from their office in Eureka, California.
Keller has over 35 years of experience in military and law enforcement special operations. He served in both the U.S. Army and Air Force. This led to a career in law enforcement where he was a member of a multi-jurisdictional SWAT team. Keller also worked as a contract government security specialist in the Middle East where he gained experience conducting low profile, high risk security operations. As a private rearms/tactics instructor, he has provided training to a wide variety of clientele from NGOs and corporate organizations to Military and Department of State personnel.
California’s legal cannabis regulations are changing rapidly. The 45-day public comment period, opened after California’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR) released the latest set of requirements in May 2017, will bring more adjustments. Omni Security’s transportation division is on the frontline of developing guidelines. “We work with local law enforcement,” Keller explained, “we have extensive training in surveillance and counter-surveillance, use of force tactics and interaction with law enforcement.”
Omni employees have special training in counter assault and vehicle ambush tactics. To ensure all cargo, legal cannabis included, will be delivered to the properly permitted location, from the properly permitted location, Omni maintains up-to-date transportation licenses and insurance, going out of their way to be fully covered. They have cannabis-specific load insurance and are bonded, unlike other transportation companies. “In an industry full of ambiguity, Omni will be there on delivery day, with everything accounted for, without issue,” Keller confirms. There are also security options for 24/7 coverage and roving night patrol during growing, harvest and grow seasons.
The biggest concern most of their clients have is getting arrested while they are transporting their own plants or products. Other concerns include having products and cash conviscated by law enforcement, theft from hijackers or their own drivers going rogue. Local law enforcement divisions have concerns surrounding increased violence and theft as a result of the illegal drug trade. Omni strives to satisfy all of these concerns by providing safe, law-abiding, accountable trans- portation
“Working with Omni Security has given us tremendous peace of mind knowing that our products are securely, safely, and promptly reaching the legal market in California,” Andy Powell of Emerald Family Farms told me, “Without Omni Security, our Humboldt Grown products wouldn’t be in hundreds of dispensaries all across the State.”
In August 2016, Omni worked with Humboldt County’s Ag Commissioner Jeff Dolf, Cannabis Sub-Committee Supervisors Estelle Fennell and Ryan Sundberg, Planning Director John Ford, and SICPA, the county’s chosen vendor to provide secure track and trace solutions.
"As a result of volunteering, Davies’ Winterbourne Farms happened to be the first among a select group to conduct a track and trace cannabis sale in California. He appreciates the collaboration, adding “Former law enforcement shows up to pick up our pounds, but they’re working with us. They’re doing transportation for us. Bill was fantastic! The same guys that might have been used for prosecution in the past, are now collaborating with us, as a result of the vote for medical and recreational [cannabis].”
Omni operates a fleet of vehicles, which will go anywhere in the state of California. Keller explained that some locations require four-wheel drive trucks or SUVs while others, especially during hot summer months, require refrigerated transport. The company has a vehicle for every need. Their refrigerated trucks can maintain a controlled environment to as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Law Enforcement is generations deep in arresting cannabis farmers,” Keller says, “and it’s going to take a generation of cops to change things.”
Omni only works with companies who are permitted or in the permit process. “It puts everyone at risk if regulations are not followed,” he added.
“We have had nothing but wonderful experiences with Omni Transport,” Miranda Moore of Honeydew Farms says, “their level of professionalism and attention to detail are a key reason we continually choose to use their service. We have complete confidence in Bill and the Omni crew and trust them to care for and transport all our cargo safely.”
Omni Security Services is prepared to deliver your products safely, without issue, and provide site security for dispensaries and grow operations. Give them a call for a quote or to learn more about their company, and keep your cannabis safe.