Historically, private security officers have been referred to as “Rent-a-cops”, “Want-to-be-cops”, and thanks to Hollywood, “Mall-cops”. There appears to be a comparison between private security officers and police officers. Fact of the matter is that each career is very different due to the sector of work. Private security officers are part of the private sector, work for private companies, and are paid by an employer. Police officers are part of the public sector, work for the town or state, and are paid by the state. Therefore, to compare the two professions with one another by using such labels is ignorant.
Additionally, there are several negative preconceived notions that people typically associate with the productivity of private security officers. Some of these assumptions include: security guards are lazy and they just sit around, drink coffee, and eat donuts; security guards take naps during shifts; security guards watch camera monitors all day; security guards with firearms are dangerous; and security guards are people who failed out of the police academy.
Contrary to popular belief, most private security officers remain active during the shifts. Randomized foot patrols and vehicle patrols are utilized to consistently maintain the protection of property. Specific patrol logs and detailed shift logs are typically required for each job site, ensuring that the guard is actively securing the client’s location. Depending on the job site, security guards may also go inside of client’s buildings to check for any security breaches such as unlocked or opened windows and doors. Everything is documented and reports must be detailed. Active security is better security, which is often taught during training sessions.
Private security officers must have a variety of skills to be successful. Both interpersonal skills and writing skills are important. Reports must be detailed and specific, evidence must be documented using pictures, and emails must be sent to the clients. Confrontations are circumstantial, but having innate interpersonal skills helps resolve situations safely. Adaptability is important too because the exact job of the private security officer is different for each client that the security firm has. It takes a very well-rounded individual to be a successful private security officer.
Like all other careers, there are going to be some bad seeds that live up to the listed negative stereotypes. However, the private security industry has improved and continues to change for the better. Organizations such as NASCO, ASIS International, and NCISS have developed professional training and certification programs in order to propel private security officers to be the best. Today, a significant number of private security officers are educated, trained, and certified for numerous security services.
Private security officers represent the security team of the client that they serve and also the company that they represent. Private security officers are the primary deterrent factor for wrongful actions at their job sites. They also serve as the front line of defense against a multitude of violent and property crimes. Private security officers remain alert and ready so that they are able to effectively address any situation which may unfold in front of them. From protecting assets to creating a safer environment, private security officers work all hours of the day and night to keep people and property safe.