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5 Reasons Why Security Guards May Play a Critical Role in Future Law Enforcement 

Security guards play a critical role in protecting people, property, and assets. With crime on the rise, security officers are in high demand and always will be. This blog post will specifically shed light on five reasons why security guards may act as an essential part of future law enforcement in helping protect business, property, assets, and other essential places. 

Cutbacks at the State and Federal Levels Where More Private Security is Needed

With the development cutbacks at local law enforcement agencies, the expansion of private security is needed. The blending of police and private security is nothing new. It will probably continue to expand as our society becomes increasingly complex as we utilize security resources on a contractual or outsourcing basis more and more.

With this new development, law enforcement leaders must recognize the world of law enforcement is changing. They must look for ways to change with it to provide public-safety moving forward successfully. One potential alternative is the employment of Security guards to respond to low-priority matters traditionally assigned to police officers. These types of tasks that do not require a sworn law enforcement officer working can be performed by a civilian instead and provide the right strategic partnership solution for many police departments. Security officers generally fall into this category of private citizens. A "citizen's arrest" is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as follows: "A private person as contrasted with a police officer may, under certain circumstances, make an arrest, generally for a felony or a misdemeanor amounting to a breach of the peace."

Because security guards are not police officers, they have the same authority as citizens unless some circumstances exist. For example, specific local ordinances may grant confident police and or arrest authority to the security officer. Still, it's best to check with what state laws and regulations apply to where you are working. For some agencies, it may make sense to considering a strategic partnership with private security, and changes in the composition of their staff may be the right solution moving forward for many police departments.

Companies Have Their Own In-House Security Guards

The role of any security guard is that of protecting people and assets. Security officers play an essential role as they are often the ones protecting people and assets. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the security industry is poised to grow by 130,200 jobs (12 percent) by 2022. With the rising threat of workplace violence, organizations have already begun to contract with private security to supplement their protection needed. The situation can include domestic violence, bomb threats, and violence by customers. If a security officer works in a known "high probability of violence occurring" profession, they know a greater probability of an incident. Actual threats should always be taken seriously and responded to immediately. When there is not a real threat, judgment and senses should be trusted. The "gut feeling" that one gets when talking to people should be respected. If one feels that someone is dangerous, take the proper precautions.

Therefore, it is essential that the security guard understands this reality and that they must be prepared for such an incident in their particular organization should one occur. Circumstances are ripe for private security providers to be considered a more effective and affordable solution.


Security Guards Have an Impact on Loss Prevention

The security guard can have a significant impact on loss prevention. They can deter and displace theft. When security is tight, thieves look for another place to steal. Thieves will recognize that adequate professional protection is in place and generally avoid the risk of detection that would proceed with an illegal act directed against the store. Many business enterprises are on the verge of going out of business through these tough times, and preventing theft can save many jobs. Many companies have policies and rules about the type of items that can be brought onto company property, and the security guard needs to know the company rules.

Observation is essential in the security guard's job, and considerable time is spent monitoring security cameras, conducting surveillance, and investigating suspicious activity. A security officer is not licensed to search a person without their express permission. Even if the security guard suspects the person possesses stolen property, searching another citizen's person or property is not allowed. The power to search is highly restricted due to the Federal statutes, and the United States Constitution protects the rights of the individual concerning searches. The authority to search personal property is typically limited to the police or conducted with a warrant or consent.

Private security personnel frequently conduct searches for suspected stolen property, recover merchandise, collect evidence for internal investigations for prosecutions, and gather information for clients. There are four instances in which a search would be permissible for private security:

1. Actual consent by a person

2. Implied consent as a condition of employment or as a part of an employment contract (e.g., a union contract).

3. Incidental to a valid arrest

4. incidental to valid detention

If the security guard has reason to suspect the person has a weapon, they may search and disarm the person while making a citizen's arrest.

In cases where permission has been granted by contract, such as by employees of a company where the company has required signed contracts stating such search may be conducted, the security officer has permission to search. The main goal of a security officer is to reduce the opportunity for criminals with malicious motives to strike and to prevent criminal acts. 

The Security Guard Protects an Organization's Assets, Including People, Property, Information, and Image

The security guards can provide a valuable service in the facility's overall emergency preparedness plan. Fire prevention, asset protection, and policy enforcement are among the tasks charged to the security guards. These are many everyday duties like access control, general safety, and the monitoring of properties. Security operations are moving toward a response to medical emergencies too.

Every year more than 4000 Americans die, and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented. Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.6 billion annually. The security officer may face various emergencies, including medical emergencies, fire or civil disturbances, riots, and strikes, to name a few that can present a unique security challenge. A company may encounter these emergencies and consider some general guidelines that can help ensure a more effective response.

The American Society for Industrial Security has developed guidelines for a business emergency plan which begins with the following:

•Defining an emergency in terms relevant to the organization doing the planning

•Establishing an organization with specific tasks to function immediately before, during, and after an emergency

•Selecting a method for utilizing resources and for obtaining additional help during the emergency

•Providing a recognizable means of moving from normal operations into and out of the emergency mode of operation

To better prepare for emergencies, the security guard should practice emergency response, a critical part of readiness. In real trouble, valuable time will be wasted if the security guard must track down the plan and read what is written while carrying out their responsibilities. Therefore, to be most effective, emergency response training should occur at least once every three months and include all employees. Significant areas that need to be practiced and tested the most are internal communications, external communications, resources, systems, safety, coordination, record keeping, and legal issues. Once simulated emergency scenarios are practiced, and response plans were written out, the security officer and the company should be better positioned to respond if and when an actual emergency occurs.

Security Guards are Professionally Competent and Have a Wide Variety of Skills

More than any time in our history, the security guard must be professionally competent and have a wide variety of skills. What this means is that the security officer must be able to not only detect abnormal or suspicious behavior, but they need to be able to properly articulate that abnormal or suspicious behavior to their supervisor and law enforcement. The security guard must understand that emergencies can happen anywhere. They must plan if there is ever an emergency and what they would do if any disaster or threat happens. The best advice I can give security officers is not to obsess about an emergency happening where they work or live. Still, instead, the security officer must be ready at all times in case such an event occurs.

The key is for security guards to know their area of responsibility, distinguish what is "normal" for the site, and understand the warning signs of activity that could be deemed suspicious.

7 Things to Remember:

1.Be vigilant at all times, and don't put yourself in a bad situation. 

2.Call for support when suspicious of a person or area.

3.Use lighting to your advantage. When patrolling an area at night, walk behind any ground-mounted lights so that they illuminate your room of observation without highlighting your presence.

4. Use all of your senses. Often, the purpose of smell or hearing will give away a potential threat long before it is seen. 

5.Control the situation. Try to control the situation and be mentally prepared for all situations.

6. Understand the distance from the observer. 

7. The larger the item is, the further away the observer will recognize it.

With the trends of diminished budgets and limited resources, considering a strategic partnership with private security may be the right solution for many cities and organizations as an alternative solution to their security needs to work closely with police and emergency services to secure public safety. 

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