Once upon a time many years ago when I was very young, ASIS announced a new certification program called the CPP, which stood for certified protection professional. I received a call asking me if I would consider being “grandfathered” in as a CPP—no study and no exam. Interesting offer, I thought. I had been to a handful of local ASIS meetings but never found much retail information and commitment. There were a lot of smart people from industrial security and law enforcement but no retail loss prevention. I decided no thanks on the CPP; I will wait for something in retail that may add value to my career. Well, wait I did…and wait and wait.
Over the years, CPP had become a distinguished certification, and many worldwide have garnered the designation through study and examination. But not me; I was still waiting for something more tailored toward retail. Then in 2006, a few individuals in the retail industry decided it was time, and the Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) was announced. A content development committee was formed as well as a board of directors. It was a slow process by design. Some 300 LP professionals representing over 130 of the leading retailers worked on various modules of the certification.
Then in the fall of 2009, the LPCertified (LPC) certification was complete and ready for study. On April 30, 2010, the first LPC designates were announced. Four years seems like a long time to develop a certification program, but all the work was volunteer by the retailers and financially supported by a few solution providers who have stayed the course over the years. And everyone involved wanted to do it right.
The foundation was set up as a not-for-profit, IRS-approved association established and run by retail LP executives and relevant solution providers. It remains so today with many of the original leaders still on board. The names of the individuals and companies are not important to mention; they know who they are. It is important to note that the foundation remains an association for the LP professional, run by LP professionals.
Now fast forward to this past October and the annual LPF board of directors meeting held this year in Philadelphia. There are now thirty-two board members consisting of both retailers and solution providers. Almost all were in attendance, as well as some sixty guests as the meeting is open to anyone interested.
During the nine years of the foundation’s certification, including both the LPC and LPQualified (LPQ) for novice LP associates, the coursework has been updated, and various other certificate courses have been added to the curriculum. As of the October meeting, there are now 1,224 LPC and 866 LPQ designates. I am proud to say I am one of those and did the right thing in waiting.
This past summer the foundation hosted a golf outing preceding the NRF Protect conference in Dallas with the proceeds going to no-cost scholarships for those who apply. A total of 128 individuals were given grants representing over a hundred companies. It is worthy to mention some of the comments included on the applications:
- “While I am proud of my accomplishments, I believe in striving to do better.”
- “Being a certified professional in one’s field demonstrates a commitment to continuing education.”
- “LPC is now the standard, and I want to show to my clients I have maintained that high level of knowledge.”
One of the heartwarming initiatives of the foundation is the Loss Prevention Benevolent Fund whereby funds are donated and set aside for those LP professionals who may have suffered loss of life or crippling injuries. Thousands of dollars have been passed on to suffering families in their time of need in the name of the foundation and certified professionals.
Now as the foundation enters its tenth anniversary of the completion of the course work, it is good to pause and reflect on the growth of a profession through an association devoted to the individual loss prevention professional. This is one once-upon-a-time story that is not a fairy tale but a living and loving true story.