Security officers called names like "Hero", "Unsung Hero", and "Brave".
(Click on the name to learn more)
There are so many, many more. (Feel free to post others)
So to the Security Officers that are called names, like "Hero", Unsung Hero", and "Brave", and those that are but are not recognized, Great Work!!! Thank you for protecting us!
More private businesses today are turning to private security to protect their employees, customers, and premises. As the number of security officers employed climb, we can expect to see increased incidents of violence against security officers, decreasing security officer safety.
There are many factors that are increasing the dangers to security officers as well:
1. Mental health - Individuals with mental health issues create unique challenges for security officers. Their behaviors, at times, can be erratic which causes concerns for employees and patrons alike. It is important to note, that most individuals suffering from mental illness do not become violent. But, as they interact with others, others may react violently due to fear, or failing to understand, which places security officers in harms way as they respond to altercations.
2. Violence on the increase - Violence, the actual act, is increasing. In other words, the violence is becoming more violent. Statistics can be tricky. Statistics often do not reflect the amount of violence being used, rather they count as one act.
3. Changing lifestyles/influences - Children today are growing up under different circumstances than what their parents experienced. (Every generation can say this) Many ponder how reduced social skill abilities, which are being replaced by the use of social media, may increase the potential for violent acts. The concept is that younger adults are less likely to seek out non-violent solutions to confrontation, opting to react violently. Although there are no clear indicators yet, as time is needed to gather statistics, there is the potential for increases in violent acts.
So how do security companies and officers respond?
Unfortunately, assaults on security officers are expected to increase in the coming years. Security officers require additional training, and being reminded to always be alert to their environment for signs of potential violence.
Every experienced officer has encountered one of those situations that just seems to be a little odd. It may be an individual that is wandering around aimlessly, someone that looks out of place, or there are changes to the physical environment.
So what do experienced officers do when they encounter such a situation?
First priority is always the safety of those you are protecting, and to protect yourself so you can respond effectively. An incapacitated officer is no help to anyone. Second, when things don't appear to normal, chances are you are right. It could have an easy explanation once you take the steps above. Third, always document what you saw. This protects you, your colleagues, and those you are their to protect.
Depending on your post as a security officer, night shifts create unique challenges. When patrolling a property, it is critical to maintain high visibility, create a patrol plan, and remain vigilant.
The goal is for your night patrols is for them to be uneventful. Prevention is the goal for any officer. These tips will increase your preventative patrol measures, keep you and the property you are protecting safe.
Face it, a major part of your job as a security officer is dealing with disgruntled people. Whether working in a retail environment, or company setting, you will be faced with someone that is very unhappy about something. Often you will be required to deal with the person. Here are a few steps or tips to help you deal with someone that is very unhappy:
1. Maintain a calm and controlled voice - You may tempted to yell at someone that is yelling at you, but it only escalates the behavior of the person. Keep your voice calm, and quiet throughout your conversation.
2. Show empathy - Empathy is not agreeing with the person about their problem, rather you acknowledge they are upset. Try making statements like: "I can see this problem is very upsetting for you."; "I see how difficult this problem is for you, let me see if I can find someone to assist us." Never say, "I understand how you feel." The person will feel that you are patronizing them or that you truly don't understand their specific concerns.
3. Paraphrase what they are telling you - Paraphrasing is a great way to ensure you fully understand their concern, while allowing them an opportunity to calm down while they listen to you. It is also a way to show that you care, by demonstrating that you have heard them. For example; "Let me make sure I understand you completely so we can work on identifying a solution. You are upset that another vehicle is parked in your assigned parking space and you are late for work. Is that correct?"
4. Show appreciation for bringing the problem to your attention - "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Parking is difficult and unfortunately this occurs periodically. We are going to work on a solution for you."
5. Allow them to vent - One of the easiest ways to help someone calm down is to allow them to "get it all out". Take notes, use body language that shows you are listening such as nodding, make eye contact, and don't interrupt.
When dealing with disgruntled people, your goal is to calm them and begin helping them work on a solution. Sometimes the issues they are having are not within your control, but you can assist guiding them to the right people.
Uniformed security officers, armed or unarmed, provide a valuable service --- PREVENTION!
Unfortunately, it is impossible to measure the crimes, conflicts, or other issues that may have occurred but the presence of the officer prevented them from occurring?
So how does a security officer reflect their worth?
Reporting - How many times has a security officer observed a suspicious individual. The officer moves to a position to ensure that the suspicious individual sees the officer. Make sure to document what you observed, and the actions you took. This can be reflected in your daily activity report or a separate suspicious activity report.
This holiday season thousands of security officers will report to work. They will work through their family holiday gatherings. They will be watching over us as we shop, and prepare for our holiday events with friends and family.
This holiday season, say a thank you to the security officers you encounter as you go about your holiday activities!
As a security officer you know that your work is hazardous. Let's face it, when you are patrolling you are looking for hazardous situations. Consider that if there were no hazards, chances are you wouldn't be working at a specific location. Following are a few reminders to ensure you are safe when on-duty:
1. Be aware, be alert - First mainstay of safety is always being alert to your surroundings, understand what is going in the area you are working, and being alert for any potential problems. "Keep your head on a swivel" - best advice that has been passed down for decades. It refers to looking around you at all times.
2. Prepare early for work - Give yourself enough time to get ready for work, before you leave the house. Rushing at the last minute often results in leaving important equipment at home, or failing to inspect your equipment. There are those times when an officer is running late, rushing to get to work and they left their firearm at home....don't be that officer.
3. Arrive early - Make sure you have enough time to mentally and physically prepare for duty before you start. This is an opportunity to talk with on-duty officers about potential issues, review the post orders and reports from prior shifts. You need to have the time to be aware of what may potentially happen.
4. Be diligent in your duties - You may have been on a post for months without any issues. Today or tonight will be different. "Something is going to happen." Sounds paranoid, but you need to be have your senses about you. Patrols can become monotonous at times, but that is not a reason to relax. Check that door again, or view your perimeter a second time. You are looking for changes to the property, then investigating why it is different. Being diligent will help you remain alert, and to identify potential problems at the earliest on-set so you can react in a preventative manner.
5. Report when required - Not only is your safety important, but remember your colleagues. Make sure that your report suspicious activity, or situations to relieving officers. Let them know of potential problems. Maybe you found a door propped open, or observed an individual lingering a little too long on the property. Let them know. Over time they will ensure they let you know of potential problems.
6. Maintain a safety position - Keep a safe stance when interviewing suspicious individuals. Keep your body turned at a slight angle toward the person, strong hand further away from them. This allows you repel an attack without losing your balance. Maintain eye contact with individuals you encounter. Scan, scan, and scan again for hand movements, concealed weapons, or signs that the individual may attack. Always be alert for positions of cover, and routes for evacuation if an emergency situation arises.
Unfortunately, security officers are injured in the line of duty, and some may even lose their life. You are responsible for your safety, make it a priority.
As a security officer you are responsible for assisting, directing others in an emergency situation. Here a few tips to help you effectively respond to any emergency:
1. Get the exact location of the emergency - What area is unsafe? Some call it the "hot-zone". Make sure you accurately locate the emergency scene to direct people away from it, and not into it.
2. Immediately start evacuating people from the area - Prevention is the best, first step. Reduce the potential that individuals will be injured by directing them away from the scene. If it is a fire, or chemical spill, pull the fire alarm.
3. Call 911 or have someone call 911 - While you are locating the emergency area and beginning the evacuation call 911, or direct someone to call 911.
4. Secure the area - People returning from lunch or other appointments may be unaware that an emergency is underway. Ask for assistance, posting people at entrance points, away from the danger area, to direct people to gathering points, away from the danger area.
5. Gather anyone injured in a safe location if they can be moved, where emergency responders can reach them easily.
When emergency responders arrive on the scene, your primary job will be to continue securing the perimeter and acting as a resource for emergency responders, i.e. providing them access to facilities, etc.
Security officers conduct interviews as a part of their routine duties, whether gathering information about potential threats to their facilities, or gathering information about an alleged criminal incident. Following are a few tips to help you get the most out of your interviews:
1. Start by introducing yourself to the individual - "I'm Officer Herring. I need to gather some information about what occurred and I hope you can help me." Introducing yourself puts the individual at ease. Letting them know you need their help let's them become a part of the solution. (I had a relative that witnessed a robbery years ago. She always starts the story with, "The officers asked for my help. We caught them within a few minutes." Know she didn't help make the arrest, but by the officers action she felt she did.)
2. Allow the person to tell their "story" - When someone witnesses an incident they formulate what they saw in their mind. Start the interview with an open-ended question such as; "Tell me what happened." Allow them time to talk, get their story out.
3. Follow-up by providing them with an overview of what they told you - "Ok, from what you told me I understand that....". This allows you to confirm the information you are receiving. It allows the individual an opportunity to correct information that may have been misunderstood or left out. Also, when the individual hears what you believe they have told you, it prompts them to remember additional details.
4. Ask them to walk through or diagram the scene - When possible, ask them to walk you through the incident. Have them show you where they were standing, where the others involved were standing. This provides you with a replay of the incident. If they say they saw the individual strike another person, ask them to demonstrate how the person did it. This also prompts additional memories and provides you with a clearer picture of what occurred.
5. Don't shortcut the interview - Resist the urge to cut someone off and ask specific questions. Allow them to talk. Often witnesses to an incident need to "think out loud" about what they witnessed. This helps them recall the incident while allowing you the opportunity to identify discrepancies. NOTE: There are times you need specific information in a hurry, such as; a suspect description where the suspect has just fled the scene. Let them know you will talk with them further to gather additional information.
6. Expect witnesses to a stressful incident to "jump around" when they are relaying what they saw - Stress causes an individual to piece information together in random ways. For example; a witness to a robbery may provide you the following statement; "It was a big gun. They came in the door and they seemed to be angry. He took it out of his pocket and pointed it at the clerk. The clerk knew them when they came in, before they pulled the gun. Or it seemed that he did. They yelled at everyone to get out. I saw them walking across the parking lot but didn't see a gun. Seemed odd at the time. I just didn't know."
7. Move to safety - Whenever you are interviewing someone, make sure the scene is safe. When possible, move to an area out of sight and out of hearing range of others. As an officer you are required to take risks. The person you are interviewing is not.
As an officer you are required to gather accurate and complete information. Take some time to allow the individual to talk and you will gather the information that you need.
Member of the Guardstar Academy Staff. All Guardstar Academy staff are experienced law enforcement, security professionals and/or private investigators.