“Give the troublemakers what no one else will give them: love. Give them understanding.”
— Bert Gines, owner of Chula Vista Private Security
Those are unusual words coming from the head of a successful security firm. But Bert Gines, owner of Chula Vista Private Security, and a Southeastern San Diego native, doesn’t do things the usual way.
Hired by the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in May of 2016 to watch and protect Market Creek Plaza and other Jacobs Center properties, Bert has a unique philosophy about what it means to run a security company. And it all started with a chance encounter nearly two decades ago.
In 1998, as a customer in a local 7-11, Bert met the man who would change his life: Capt. David Stone, owner of Shield Security. Capt. Stone was impressed with Bert’s friendly, respectful manner toward everyone in the store, and took the young man aside.
“He said, hey I like your attitude,” Bert recalls. “And I’d like you to come work for us.”
Capt. Stone paid for Bert’s guard card and gave him extensive training. Within the first year, Bert was awarded Security Officer of the Year and a $1000 bonus. Three years later, when Capt. Stone retired, Bert took his place as head of the firm.
After a few years working for Shield and other security services, Bert was ready to start his own company. But he didn’t want it to be business as usual.
“Here’s what people need to know about most security companies,” he says. “A lot of them are in it for a quick buck. They could care less about what happens to their officers out there. There’s no training on how to deal with suspects. They’re thrown out there like sheep to the wolves.”
For Chula Vista Private Security, that means a profound change in mindset for every officer on Bert’s team – from the moment they’re hired to every day on the job.
“We have to evolve,” Bert says. “We can get to a lot more people than law enforcement can. A lot more hearts and minds than law enforcement can. That’s our calling. This is what we do.”
Beyond his security officers’ spotless, professional uniforms, lies Bert’s unique, highly-effective way of keeping the peace and promoting understanding.
“No matter what a person (may be) doing, we have to keep in mind that although they want to be wonderful and smile like us, they come from a home where there’s a lot of negativity. And our uniforms, somehow, someway…because of the mindset at home and all the negativity, they think it’s a secondary battle outside the home,” Bert explains.
His response? “Give them the total opposite of what they expect. Tell them they’re nice people. Let them know, we are not here to give you a physical battle. But we will give you a spiritual one.” He adds, “They shake our hands and move on.”
In addition to on-the job-training and daily feedback, Bert constantly reminds his officers to “keep in mind that people are watching, they’re listening…and because of the way we look in these uniforms, I’m holding you to the highest standards of professionalism.”
He says his duties go beyond a single interaction in a shopping center or business park. He’s committed to being a changemaker for the community in which he was raised. In addition to the Chula Vista Private Security business card, shoppers and suspects alike are given another special card: for Bert’s website at www. bertgines.com. That’s where he inspires people with the power of positive thinking in a world too often dominated by negativity.
“Your words are creating your outcome,” he says. “The more positive people we have, the more powerful a community becomes. You have to be able to open up your heart to all people, good and bad.”
Bert’s open heart has helped countless people in the Diamond Neighborhoods. One young man, a gang member, refused to even talk with Bert when he first met him – but took the card about Bert’s website. Two weeks later, the young man returned – to give Bert a hug and tell him about his new life out of the gang.
The overall response from residents has been tremendous. “Many shoppers have asked me to set up a program and teach the power of positivity,” he says.
Bert has one more piece of advice he’d like to share with Diamond Neighborhood residents. “Come down to the Jacobs Center,” he advises. “Take a step through these doors. Be around intelligent, positive people who are accomplishing things. Listen to what we have to say and I guarantee your life will change.”
As he firmly believes, “The more positive people we have, the more powerful a community becomes. But it has to start with you.”
You can find out more about Bert and how his passion for positive thinking is helping our Diamond Neighborhoods at www.bertgines.com.