Security officers have been around for most of history, simply under different terminology. A common historic term for someone of this position is a watchman. Throughout history, watchmen have been a vital part of society, keeping people and property safe, especially at night. These days’ watchmen are called security officers. You will see these safety officers in public arenas acting as an authority presence. Some security officers work for large companies, some work for themselves and freelance their skills out to individual people or small businesses. No matter what sector of society security officers work in, they act as a valuable part of the safety infrastructure our country maintains in order to provide safety to people and property. Proper security officer training will prepare you for a variety of scenarios you may encounter, in whichever area of the security officer job market you enter.
A security officer is the new politically correct terminology for a security guard. This means that security officers can either be armed or unarmed depending on their licensing or certification. A security officer is typically a uniformed guard who works to protect people and property for a security company. Often a security company will be contracted by schools, businesses, hospitals, public shopping centers, large public arenas, and other locations. The security company will then hire people with a security guard license or certification to work for their company. This company will then provide their company uniform to outfit the security officer and will place them at a venue to protect. The officer will then report to and get paid through the security company rather than the location where they work.
Security Officer Training
In order to become a security officer, a person needs to undergo training to receive proper certification or licensure within the state they work and live. Typically this is a multi-part training process leading up to certification. Most states require 8 initial hours of in classroom training time. This first 8 hours of class time covers a security officers powers to arrest, in addition to how to observe and report. With these first 8 hours of training accomplished, a person can apply for security officer jobs and begin working as a security officer for a security company. This company will provide their own training in addition to the 8 hours of training already covered. The next step is to complete an additional 16 hours worth of course work within a 30 day period of beginning work as a security officer. Another 16 hours worth of course work is required within 6 months of starting, for a complete total of 40 hours of classroom work.
The classroom work will cover public relations, laws and legal knowledge a security officer needs to know, and an important overview of duties and responsibility a person has a security officer. These initial training hours are designed to equip a person with the skills and knowledge needed to work as an unarmed security officer. A person wishing to work as an armed security officer must undergo additional training (classroom hours). For instance, an individual can take courses in order to be licensed to carry a baton, handgun, or pepper spray. All of these require additional certification for a person who wishes to carry these types of weapons or defense mechanisms on the job. Even pepper spray (which is legal for any citizen to buy and carry for protection), must only be carried and used by properly licensed or certified pepper-sprayer holders. If a security officer uses or carries items that they are not properly certified to carry or use they run the risk of being prosecuted by the law for using these items illegally on the job. In this day and age, it is dangerous to do anything outside the law as it leaves a person at risk to be prosecuted or sued. The legal ramifications for not being properly certified for particular weapons is too great to risk. Therefore, as a security officer it is vital to have proper certification and training for all that you do and possess. Security officers are considered law enforcement officials as they act to uphold the law. It is a great responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly.
For those security officers who complete the unarmed security guard training and desire to continue on in their training to become certified to carry a weapon, there are special courses to take for these purposes. The training hours are in addition to the initial 40 hours of training. Some people assume that they can take the armed security guard training and that will cover all the information they need to know. This is not usually the case in most states. The armed guard training needs to be in addition to the unarmed guard training. Some states and programs will allow you to take these courses in tandem with one another in order to complete the process around the same time. Some online or even in-person training programs offer package deals for doing all the courses together (and paying at once).
It is important to shop around before selecting security officer training programs. First, ensure that the programs you are looking into are in fact accredited or recognized by the state in which you live. Second, check into several programs to see price differences, as well as program differences. Keep in mind that they are some security officer training programs available online and some available at community colleges, tech schools or even at security companies. It may be a good idea to look into all of your different options prior to making a decision and beginning your course work or classroom hours. Security officer training will set you up for your career as an officer, and will be the foundation for building your security career upon. Don’t take this decision lightly. Do your homework before selecting a program and once you select a program stay committed to putting forth your best effort to learn the information that is being taught. Security officer training is designed to get you out of the classroom and into a uniform as quickly as possible, therefore they cram as much information into as few hours as possible. There is a lot of information that is vital for an officer to learn, therefore take your security officer training very seriously and stay focused on the goal. This will set you up for a better chance of success in your security officer career.
Security Officer Duties
The primary duty of a security officer is to be visible in the location they are hired to protect. Their uniformed presence is a deterrent for crime related activity in the area. This is one of the single most important duties: to be seen! The simple act of being seen in uniform can cause a person to think twice about committing a crime or engaging in any sort of criminal activity. Often this is why businesses and public places will pay a person, simply to be a presence of authority, with a uniform and badge or patch showing that they are a person who has the authority to stop a person from doing something they shouldn’t be doing.
There are four basic words to describe the security officer duties: detect, deter, observe and report. The first requirement is to detect possible suspicious activity. During the security officer training, a person is trained on how to detect suspicious behavior without stereotyping people or races. It is important for a security officer to identify suspicious behavior according to the behavior of a person alone (rather than the color of their skin etc.). In the instance that suspicious activity is detected, the next responsibility if a security officer is to deter said activity. This may be through presence alone, it may also be through engaging the person in questioning, etc. It may even mean making an arrest (which a security officer has the power to make under the citizen’s arrest law). In the instance that someone commits a crime they are supposed to observe and report said crime to proper authorities. Often a citizen’s arrest is made, but following this, the security officer would need to file a report, or give a report to police officers for proper prosecution.
One of the most important security officer duties (besides being visible) is to report thoroughly on events and criminal activity, and even suspicious activity. It is important for on duty security officers to carry a notepad a pen with them at all times so as to jot down relevant information that they may otherwise forget (license plate numbers, people’s names, phone numbers, descriptions, etc.). Another security gear item that may come in handy for documenting is a cell phone equipped with a camera. This is an easy way to get documentation of all kinds of important information to fulfill your security officer duties.
Stay visible, remain attentive, question suspicious activity, always be observant and report the things you see. These are the primary duties, and key objectives laid out before a security officer. Security officer duties are vital to the inner-workings of the business and public sector, so take your security officer job seriously and stay committed to being the best security personal you can possible be.