Running a security company is much more than a 9-to-5 job. That’s especially true for Task9 LLC, which specializes in K-9 units and armed security patrols.
“I tell clients that we aren’t just mall cop security,” says owner Natalie McGuire. “We are an elite security company.”
Task9 is the brainchild of McGuire and Tim Brenner, owner of Southern Missouri Judicial Services LLC. They formed Task9 in 2018, when they say the security services SMOJS was offering had outgrown its business model.
When Task9 became its own entity, McGuire says first-year revenue hit $1.3 million, with a call volume of about 5,000. Brenner, who now handles officer training for the company, says calls are on the rise, and last year, Task9 received roughly 8,500 calls.
Partners against crime
McGuire didn’t start out in security. She worked in pharmaceutical sales.
However, a year after she and Brenner met at networking meetings and she’d agreed to share some sales tips with him, McGuire had a sudden need for a career change. She was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer.
“It threw me for a loop,” she says of the diagnosis in 2016. “I went through a year and a half of chemotherapy, so naturally I couldn’t keep my pharmaceutical sales job. You have to have a lot of stamina and you’re on the road a lot.”
At the time, Brenner offered McGuire an opportunity to work as sales director for SMOJS.
“I wanted to give up,” McGuire says, “but this helped keep me from feeling sorry for myself. At that point in time, he began to train me about the business, how law enforcement works and on everything he knows.”
McGuire did have a personal background as a “police kid,” she says. Her mother was an officer in Kansas City.
SMOJS had been doing security since 2008 but also bail bonds, private investigations and inmate transportation. Brenner says that with McGuire’s help, the security division of SMOJS was growing so fast, it could stand on its own.
The name Task9 came from the idea that K-9 units, as well as all areas of security, could extend past the SMOJS southern Missouri footprint.
When clients seek security services from Task9, the company has its own dispatch center where employees take a variety of calls, such as suspicious vehicle sightings, trespassing by homeless people, noise complaints and nonphysical domestic disturbance calls.
About half of Task9’s clients are hotels and apartments, McGuire says.
Task9 staff members patrol seven apartment complexes and some single-family homes and duplexes for Bryan Properties, said Ericka Peppers, the company’s chief operations officer.
Bear Village is one of Bryan Properties’ larger complexes, with 660 units adjacent to Missouri State University. Peppers said officers are stationed at Bear Village around the clock, and to her, security is almost considered an amenity for residents.
“Task9 really is a part of our community,” she says. “If a girl gets home from work really late, she can even call Task9 and they will walk her to the door.”
Peppers, who has worked with Brenner and McGuire for 10 years, says calls at Bear Village range from lockouts to concerns of drug use.
Other types of clients are gas stations, schools, car washes, warehouses, shopping centers and construction sites.
April Bryant, manager of the Fast N’ Friendly Convenience Store in north Springfield, says Task9 provides security for its nine stores. She said calls to Task9 are often for help with suspicious activity and issues with customers who refuse to leave – employees made some 980 calls to Fast N’ Friendly stores in 2021, McGuire says.
Then, there’s the K-9s.
“When I first said we were going to do bomb dogs, people laughed at me,” Brenner says.
Now, there are 12 dogs, and McGuire says six of them are trained for explosive detection, mostly employed at amusement parks, concerts and events. Others are hired to search at schools and private homes where parents suspect drug use.
“When our K-9 alerts, we notify the client of what the K-9 has found, and it’s up to the client on what is done with the items we have found since we are a private contractor,” she says, noting additionally, arson dogs can sniff fire scenes for accelerants potentially used to start one.
The dogs tie into all aspects of Task9’s work, as the officers certified to handle them really grow a bond.
“The K-9s live with the handlers, becoming part of their families while (the officers) are employed with us,” she says. “When the officers go on duty, the K-9 patrols with them and serve as a force multiplier on the patrol.”
Even with the increase in calls, Task9 took a financial hit when McGuire says the company exited the Branson market and during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. That year, Task9’s revenue dropped to $522,000.
But the owners say revenue is on its way back up, reaching $1.1 million in 2021. McGuire credits the uptick to calls increasing at all properties. She says the majority of clients are charged a flat rate and the rest are billed by the call.
Brenner says he and McGuire anticipate revenue to increase again in 2022, where they may surpass the 2018 high.
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