Keeping America Secure

Khushwant Singh

Gurutej Singh Khalsa Founder Akal Security, Inc

A Day at Akal Headquarters

‘Many happy returns of the day, Gurutej Singh ji,’ I said, as he stood in the hotel lobby waiting for me. I handed him a small gift, a signed copy of Ratanjit Singh Sondhe’s book, TEA. ‘I hope you enjoy reading it, because I did,’ I said.

‘It sounds interesting,’ he said, and asked if I had had my breakfast. ‘We have a long day, as I have to cook langar at the community gurdwara,’ he said.

‘I’m full,’ I replied, after which we left for our onward journey to Espanola.

The same two flags, the ones I had seen the previous evening, fluttered, though with less gusto because of the weak morning breeze, as we turned into the Sikh Dharma complex that has been the headquarters of Akal Security for over two decades. Unlike a big corporate house where one would expect a tall multi-storeyed building as office space, Akal Security operates through single storey mobile homes, though they have remained permanently fixed at one place. Spread over an area of many acres, about six to seven structures house Akal staff and Gurutej Singh, Daya Singh and Sukhwinder Singh operate from independent structures.

A flurry of birthday wishes awaited Gurutej, from the moment he stepped out of the car; almost everybody we passed while walking to the office wished Gurutej a good life ahead. ‘Waiting for the langar,’ someone called out. Gurutej’s office, to my further surprise, was a small little room cluttered with files. A computer with a very secure line was on one end and a golf club stand in one corner. A book rack stood opposite the executive table and contained some of the published works of Gurutej himself, mostly his poems. Certificates and pictures certifying Gurutej’s capabilities in matters of security are spread over the four walls. In other words, the Akal story could be read in the room and it was for me to showcase to the world, especially the Sikh community, how their fellow ‘western’ Sikhs had built one of the top five contract security companies in the US. After being listed as one of the fastest growing companies in 1985 and 1986, Akal started receiving numerous contracts to protect critical national facilities, including White Sands Missile Range, US Army Records Centre, and DEA’s International Intelligence Centre.

In 1992, the US Marshals Service awarded Akal the first of many contracts to provide court security officers to protect US courthouses. In 2002 and 2003, Akal was awarded four contracts under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In 2003, the US Army awarded three contracts to Akal to provide security at army bases and installations in eight states. In 2004, the DHS, Federal Protective Service (FPS) awarded a contract to Akal to protect more than hundred federal government buildings in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. An approved vendor for GSA-MAS, Akal is the primary services security provider for the Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) Airport. A hundred and twenty-five officers are deployed in controlling access to secure areas and patrolling sensitive facilities at this rapidly growing hub in the nation’s capital region.

In their Court Security Officer Program across federal courthouses in forty-four states, Akal is America’s largest provider of contract court security services, protecting the US judicial family against increasing threats of terrorism and criminal attack. Four thousand deputized Akal Court Security Officers (CSOs) are on the front lines at federal courts every day.

Akal’s capability can be gauged from the fact that when, in 2003, the US Congress approved funding to outsource access-control support at select US Army installations, Akal was awarded contracts for eight locations nationwide, including some of the largest US Army posts. Following the award of the contract, Akal had ninety days to get things in order. ‘Since 9/11, military installations have tightened security regulations and Akal was responsible for enforcing a stricter standard of access control, manning up to fifteen access points at each post,’ claims Gurutej. ‘Akal guards at Fort Hood uncovered more unauthorized items in the first week than had been discovered in the previous year.’

Khushwant Singh
  • Bhavleen Kaur

    What an amazing piece to read? Really enjoyed reading it. What an amazing man! I felt I was travelling with you to meet Mr Khalsa…. very nice write up