Sunday, April 15, 2018
A Letter from John Harvey, former Director of EDC Operations at MSA
Many of you may not know me. I left MSA Security in January 2015. I was a long time employee of MSA Security going back to the late 80's when the company was first founded. I am retired NYPD, and most of my police career I spent in the Emergency Services Unit and the Bomb Squad. In the Bomb Squad I served as both a Bomb Tech and an EDC handler. I was the first to graduate from the NYPD Bomb Squad single-handler EDC Team program. I moonlighted as a screener and EDC handler while still active PD and when I retired in late 2001, I went to work full-time for MSA as both a SmartTech Operator and an EDC handler when needed. From September 17th, 2001 till January 2002 I worked full-time as an EDC handler at 1 New York Plaza until I was appointed to be the first Director of Canine Operations. At that time we had perhaps 20 canines who worked with multiple handlers. I was responsible for getting MSA onboard with a single-handler, single purpose canine, and I would have to say that was my proudest achievement. We began our affiliation with Puppies Behind Bars (PBB) through a referral from Ken Silva (God rest his beautiful soul). Ken was an NYPD Bomb Squad Master Trainer & PBB trainer and he made the introduction for me at PBB. The relationship MSA Security began with PBB was probably the single greatest thing to happen to the EDC Program. I was interviewed for almost three hours by the Director of PBB, and the one thing she demanded, the one thing that was non-negotiable for her was that the dogs never be kenneled, they must live with the handler and their family and get a chance to be a normal dog. I made that promise to her without reservation because I knew in my heart and my head that it was the right thing to do. A happy, healthy and social dog that has a strong bond with their handler is a more effective working dog. It was best for the dog, it was best for the handler and ultimately it was best for the client and the MSA EDC Program.
I have watched from a distance what has been going on these past few years since I left MSA, and it saddens me to see that so many employees are so unhappy with their current status as a handler at MSA. I have always felt the handlers were the face of MSA Security for the client and were deserving of my respect and appreciation.
I have decided to write this letter because I can say without hesitation or reservation that Bill Beaury and Joe Nacarlo are two of the finest men I know, and for anyone to refer to them as "disgruntled ex-employees" is a damn shame. Their integrity is unquestionable and they are both honorable men. What makes it even worse is the comment was made by someone new to the company who probably has no idea what MSA was like in the days, weeks, months and years post 9/11. It was an honor for me to work with them as an Emergency Service Officer, and it was a privilege to hire them as EDC handlers for MSA Security. It was the integrity, dedication, experience and credibility of men like Bill and Joe that helped make the MSA EDC Program so successful. It was guys like Bill and Joe who would work 12 hour days at Ground Zero and would still take a post for four hours so I could sleep in my car. Guys like Pat O'Connor, Jim Ludwig, Frank Keane, Joe Belcastro, Les Staubitz, Mark Demarco, Eddie Joergens, Ken Silva and many others who helped MSA build the program the right way.
I never professed to be a canine expert or a canine trainer, but I was trained by three of the best canine trainers in the country while in the NYPD Bomb Squad. Tim Dinan, Ken Silva and Karen Engdahl. All I did was use what they taught me while I was in the Bomb Squad at MSA, and it worked. I was also fortunate that they came to work at MSA. Having them as handlers made my job quite a bit easier. I won't say anything negative about MSA, I had a good run, but my time had come so I moved on. To be 100% transparent, I have always respected Mike O'Neil and Keith Mulcahy is someone I consider a good friend. If you decide to have a Union, then so be it, I have no dog in this fight. It makes more sense to me to have representation from guys like Joe and Billy whos reputation as EDC handlers and police officers is above reproach. They have always put the interests of the handlers first. If you look at Bill and Joe's experience in the NYPD and with MSA and compare it with anyone else looking to represent you, the choice is very clear.