Service with Heart: A Day in the Life with the Security Team at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis
The idea of a security team may prompt images of uniformed officers standing with earpieces and a steely glare. But Colton Pollack, Security Director at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis, and his team — which includes a manager, four supervisors and seven officers — hardly have time to stand in one place.
Some of the department’s many responsibilities include walking the property more than a dozen times a day, monitoring the Hotel’s more than 100 security cameras, handling all employee keys and access, maintaining first aid equipment around the Hotel, attending to basic first aid treatment for employees, guests, residents and vendors, managing the lost and found and much more.
The fact that the Hotel is part of a mixed-use high-rise means collaboration is key when it comes to keeping everyone on the property safe. Thus, Colton meets with fellow security companies in the building on a regular basis. He also attends community safety meetings and maintains relationships with Minneapolis law enforcement officials.
Additionally, Colton and his team coordinate security measures — including outside security teams — for dignitaries, heads of state and other high-profile individuals. “We go out of our way to make sure that if they don’t want to be seen by the public, they aren’t seen,” Colton says.
A Proactive Approach
The blueprint for Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis extends well beyond the architecture plans. The Hotel — which opened in June 2022 — has its own safety and security program expertly tailored to the property’s location and the city’s unique circumstances.
“The risk advisory firm CHC Global came out and did a two-day audit of the property, looking at the vulnerabilities not only here, but of the city itself,” Colton explains. “They sent a threat analysis, and we use that information to be best prepared for anything that might happen in the environment or at the property.”
While strategies for some emergencies are straightforward, there’s always the chance of a more high-pressure situation. So, with help from CHC Global, Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis established a Property Crisis Management Committee – a group that determines in advance how to respond in a wide range of intensive, high-stakes situations.
“If something is happening, a member of that committee makes a call and it's like kind of like throwing up a bat signal,” Colton says. “It brings in all of our key players and we break down whatever is happening with as much real-time information as we can, then we make decisions for the Hotel based around that.”
Property Crisis Management Committee
With proactivity in mind, the Property Crisis Management Committee meets regularly to run through tabletop exercises and dig into even the most granular decisions of a large-scale incident. The group gathers in a room — no phones allowed — and Colton guides them through a mock scenario, prompting the group to make decisions about every element involved in a course of action.
“You can’t technically have everything in place, because you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he says. “But we get the conversation going about how we are going to think, how we are going to respond. We’re building the foundation of what we’ll do right now.”
Take civil unrest, for example. During the tabletop scenario for that subject, the Property Crisis Management Committee made a range of decisions: what would each department be responsible for, how would leaders communicate with employees, residents, guests and vendors, even where would first aid be administered, if necessary.
Another example scenario is a power outage or blackout. Once the guests, residents, employees and vendors are safe, one of the many things the team has to figure out how to handle everything on site that could spoil.
“If something happens and we lose power, how do we keep the perishable goods we have? We rent trucks. Who pays for the trucks? Who gets the trucks? How do we move goods into the trucks? How do we pull goods from the trucks? Who secures the trucks?” Colton asks.
Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis also has a range of resources outside the crisis room — including help from our global security team. “Depending on the severity of the emergency, we have a crisis hotline with corporate that we can call. That activates a whole other property or corporate crisis team,” Colton says.
Present for People
While the goal is to keep people and property safe and secure, our security team is as much a part of the guest experience as any other employee.
“My team is present, but it's not like we have big shirts that say ‘security’ on them,” Colton says. “We're in suits and dress shirts and generally discreet. We’re present if we need to be. As far as most people know, I'm just another manager standing at the door most of the time. I won’t say I’ve seen it all, because every time I think I have, I’m proved wrong. But the majority of my job is talking to people and checking in on people. No two days are the same.”