Each month IFCPP chooses a member that exemplifies what being an outstanding cultural property security professional is all about. From these excellent candidates we will choose our annual IFCPP Security Professional of the Year Award recipient. See past Featured Members here.
Eric Drewry, CPP, CIPM, is the Director of the Department of Protection Services at the Detroit Institute of Arts. He leads strategic and operational protection efforts, leveraging technology and creative challenge-solving as force multipliers and initiators in the development of cross-organizational endeavors to protect the priceless collection and cultural heritage at one of the top fine art museums in the United States. Eric has significantly expanded the role, reach, and status of the Department of Protection Services since arriving at the DIA in 2015 and continues to explore new and innovative ways to provide mission-driven security and leadership in the rapidly-evolving realm of cultural property protection on an institutional level as well as locally, nationally and internationally.
Eric previously served in senior security and safety management at Monticello, the home of US President Thomas Jefferson in Charlottesville, Virginia, providing leadership in risk mitigation, physical security, event planning and protection, business and operational continuity, and emergency preparedness and operations.
“Ten years ago I had never heard of the term ‘cultural property protection’”, Eric recalls. “I was on track to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a police officer when a tremendous opportunity came about to lead the safety and security team at Monticello. I was a little shocked, to be honest. I had worked in private security for my entire adult life, but I was 28 years old and I was literally being handed the keys to a national monument and I was responsible for making sure nothing happened to it.”
When asked about his favorite part of the job, a smile grows across Eric’s face. “Hands down, my favorite part is developing people, serving people. Nothing is better than seeing an employee under my charge go on to do bigger and better things. It means that sometimes I lose great people but I never want to hold them back. I want everyone to outgrow their job, to build skills that allow them to move up and succeed, if that’s what they want to do. If they’re ready to make that move and I don’t have a spot for them, I encourage them to find it elsewhere. I think I developed that management style when I worked at a university. I supervised a lot of student employees, and it hit me one day that my responsibility wasn’t much different than the professors in the classroom. I had to give the students the tools and experience that would allow them to succeed in the workplace after they graduated. The professors were giving them the technical knowledge and I was giving them an environment in which they could apply that knowledge and hone their skills. I’ve carried that same passion with me throughout my career and I know it will always be a motivating force for me. It’s addicting, helping others succeed.”
In January 2019, Eric developed and deployed a technology-driven COMPSTAT model designed to engage departments from across the museum in protecting the DIA’s collection. These internal COMPSTAT meetings are driven by a custom-built heat mapping program that allows decision-makers across numerous disciplines to see where and how visitors are violating policies and determine the appropriate resources and tactics to address threats to the collection. The program has seen far-reaching positive impacts, including directed and flexible deployment of security and volunteer staff to monitor “hot spots”, reduction in overtime wages, empowerment of security staff through intelligence, and insight into how visitors are interacting with the collection.
“To be honest, we’re just scratching the surface with our COMPSTAT program right now. It’s six months old and every time I look at it, I find another way to use it. It can turn into a rabbit hole pretty quickly”, he remarks. “It’s generated a tremendous amount of usable information and intelligence that not only helps us protect our collection in a smarter way, but we’ve also seen a significant reduction in visitor complaints related to security staff interactions. Our staff are smarter because of it, our business operation is smarter because of it, and I really feel like we’ve put the DIA on the cutting edge of collection protection.”
In May 2019, the DIA’s COMPSTAT program was the recipient of an award from the American Alliance of Museums Media and Technology Professional Network, which recognizes institutions that enhance the visitor experience through useful and innovative digital programs and services.
Eric holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, as well as numerous professional certifications including Certified Protection Professional through the American Society for Industrial Security and Certified Institutional Protection Manager, Level II, through the International Foundation for Cultural Property Protection.
IN THIS SECTION
TRAINING & EVENTS