Importantance of Contract Security Guards
In 1995 the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City demonstrated to the highest degree the importants of Frontline security guards in our buildings not just Federal buildings. If it can happen at a federal building it could happen anywhere. And now with the increasing numbers of shootings in our schools, it has become paramount to have a physical security in place as a deterrent, if not to eliminate the threat.
Being in the Private security business for over 25 year, working my way up the ladder of labor, from patrolling bingo parlors, horse races to assisting and coordinating the physical security to protect the recovery efforts in the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster over east Texas. Hurricane Katrina disaster was another major challenge for us, coordinating the physical security from Texas to Louisiana to Mississippi. Through the many years I have gain knowledge through hands on approach, working posts to patrol supervisor, Instructor, regional manager to the President of a very large private security company.
I have seen all shapes and sizes (no pun intended) of private security guards that don’t understand the basics of their Roles and Responsibilities. Some people call them ‘rent-a-cops’, yet they fail to understand the Security guard is on the frontline and a cop is called after or during the crime. So they are usually’ late to the party’ were as a security guard is usually the one that deals with the party first.
If first aid is needed quickly, the Guard should be ready to assist until EMT’s arrive.
The public image of a contact guard in not very impressive 1). Because of the lack of training or knowledge a guard has, or 2). The high turn over of security guards because of the low pay. Private security guard job can be one of the easiest and can be one of the loneliest jobs one could image.
But it is all about how comfortable you feel in your job description. And how Knowledge and confident you feel about doing your job. Knowledge is power and with the basic information I’m about to share with you information gathered over the years during our training programs to help readers better understand what it takes and what is expected of a private security guard.
Roles & Responsibilities
JOB OF A PRIVATE SECURITY OFFICER
The Private security officers’ (contract guards) job responsibilities vary with the size, type and location of the employer. In department stores security guards protect people, records, merchandise, money and equipment. They often work with undercover store detectives to prevent theft by customers or employees and to apprehend shoplifting suspects prior to the arrival of police. Some shopping centers and theaters have officers who patrol their parking lots to deter car thefts and robberies. In office buildings, banks and hospitals, security officers maintain order and protect the institution’s customers, staff and property. The security guard also enforces the rules and regulations of their respective employer, as well as the any building rules and regulations for building occupants.
Local or state police are responsible for keeping public order, enforcing lase, preventing crime and apprehending criminals. They work mostly on public property, but they may enter private property when called to restore order and enforce criminal law or just patrol private property were the public has free entry, such as a parking lot at a mall or shopping center.
At air, sea and rail terminals and other transportation facilities security officers protect people, freight, property and equipment. Using metal detectors and high-tech equipment, they may screen passengers and visitors for weapons and explosives, ensure that nothing is stolen while a vehicle is being loaded or unloaded, and watch for fires and criminals.
Security Officers who work in public buildings such as museums or art galleries protect paintings and exhibits by inspecting people and packages entering and leaving the building.
Peace officers are law enforcement officers, their duty is to enforce the law and preserve the public peace. If a law is violated, peace officers are required to pursue and apprehend the person responsible. This is not required or expected of a security officer!
- REMEMBER, a peace officer’s responsibilities are different from a security officer’s responsibilities.
- SECURITY OFFICERS only protect specific people and property.
- POLICE [PEAECE OFFICER] protect people and property and enforce laws.
Basic duties of a private security guard is to help keep public order and prevent crime. Guards duties are mainly concerned with preventing and or detecting a crime.
Other typical duties of a private security officer may be responsible for maintaining certain company policies.
These could include:
- Requiring employees to show badges when entering the property; or
- Recording license plate numbers of vehicles entering or leaving; or
- Monitoring safety standards and report hazards: blocking exits, fire, safety, slippery floors, etc.
- Control access to specific areas
- Enforce property rules and regulations
- Detect and report criminal acts
- Provide security against loss from fire or mechanical equipment failures.
- Respond to emergency situations involving the safety and security of people or the facility.
- Occasionally act as a crowd monitor to maintain order and direct traffic.
Creating a Good Image
A sharp appearance, bearing, and courtesy will enhance your relations with people. Your professionalism in dealing with the public helps to build a good image for your employer and the client you protect. While you are on duty, you represent your employer. You will usually be the first person a visitor meets upon arrival into the facility. To that person, you are the Clients representative. Therefore, you have an obligation to always make a good impression.
Being employed as a Private Security guard requires a high standard of discretion. In your position you may have access to information that is either proprietary or on a need-to-know basis. You may be approached by people who ask you questions of a sensitive nature (e.g., about building security, ongoing investigations, rumors about other personnel or company business or policy, etc.). The way you respond to these situations is crucial. If you respond improperly by giving out sensitive information, you may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including permanent removal from security guard service contracts and possibly criminal prosecution.
You need to exercise discretion not only in official matters, but also in non-official matters. You never know who can overhear your conversations, or who will take your comments out of context. For example, it is a common practice for people to make comments about another person’s appearance. If you make comments about another person of a negative or sexual nature, you could be considered to have made a harassing statement and could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including civil litigation.
Building trust and goodwill are two of the Security Officers many important functions. Cultivate good relations with employees at your workplace. Call peoples by name whenever possible like ‘Good morning,’ Mr. Smith’, or ‘Miss Jones’. If you don’t know their names, use polite terms such as “sir” and “miss” when you address them. Additionally, use the magic words, make it a practice to say “please” whenever you make a request such as “Sir, may I please see your ID card?”) and “thank you” when people cooperate with you. Small gestures like this will earn you their respect. Simple courtesies such as giving helpful directions are an important part of your work. Know your surroundings, be courteous to everyone, including your fellow officers and clients employees.
Maintain a professional attitude at all times. Your attitude and actions should clearly show everyone that you intend to follow your duties and that you expect everyone else to do the same. It is not easy, but you must balance friendliness and politeness with firmness. Be Never rude or abrasive, even when people provoke you. It’s essential to be friendly, but never to the point where people might expect you to bend the rules for them.
There may be instances when a customer or client has taken the trouble to write a letter of commendation for a guard’s continued professionalism and work well done. Such letters become part of your personnel file and may benefit your career. If, for instance, you are seeking a promotion, or if you change employers, such letters go a long way towards demonstrating your ability to conduct your duties well. It is well worth the small effort it takes to act professionally and courteously at all times.
The Private security officers’ (contract guards) job responsibilities vary with the size of the job, whether it is guarding one person or one item whether it is a large mall or a highly secure federal building, and whether the location is private or public, It doesn’t matter a security officers responsibilities and professional image are typical for all successful private security officers.
We will go into more detail on Security Officers specific duties, responsibilities, and assist with understanding the ins and outs of being a private security guard in the coming articles.