Never Underestimate the Power of a Stereotype
The ‘survival’ brain is conditioned to recognize and remember extremes and aberrations from the normal, so these stereotypes linger in most everyone’s mind. But like cops, security staff are people too. And just like cops, the ones who stand out represent the exception, not the rule.
This page was spawned from a comment on Things Cops Know (and Want You to Know)
I received the following from “Paul N” identifying himself as a private security officer. and Paul makes his point quite well, and gives pause for thought.
Of course I’ll stick in my $.o2 at the end and then invite your suggestions and comments.
Things Professional Security Staff Wants You To Know
Paul N’s View
- Know the difference between a security officer and a security guard: Security officers are required in most states to undergo constant screening, training and certification/licensing.Security guards are often poorly trained (or only trained to sit there in a uniform/badge), in-house employee(s), hired-off-the-street, unlicensed and are only on site to provide the clients/owners of a business a break in the fire/theft insurance.
- Security officers are not cops! They do not have powers of arrest and detention! We are private citizens who have to obey the same laws and rules as anyone else.The job of a security officer is to observe and report! The most we can do is write a parking ticket (which doesn’t cost anything except maybe a short sit-down with your manager or supervisor).
- Not all security officers carry weapons. In fact, most low-risk businesses (like a candy factory) do not want a wrongful death and/or personal injury lawsuit from an accidental or otherwise discharge/use of a firearm, Taser, pepper spray, or even a club. Some security contractors and clients forbid their officers to carry a pocket knife or a even a nail file!
- If you are going to have a late-night LAN party (or any other party) in your office, and you will be consuming alcohol, DO NOT play elevator captain or pull the fire alarm! We do not have the key(s) to recall the elevator or turn off the fire alarm. The engineer(s) and/or the fire department are the ones that have to reset those devices! Also…
- When you do pull the fire alarm, keep in mind that it may cost your employer lots of money in fines and service costs, and possibly jail time/unemployment for you! The only time you should pull the fire alarm is if there is an actual fire that can’t be easily extinguished! And…
- We will not buy the excuse that you “accidentally” bumped the fire alarm! Most alarm stations operate with a lever that you pull! You cannot “accidentally” pull an alarm!
- I do not care if you are the V.P. of Hiring and Firing, or even the President, CEO, and Sole Owner; You cannot smoke in your office if the building is non-smoking! That also includes the vestibules and stair-wells! If you don’t like the rule, then might we suggest building your own building or working out of your home! But, if you do build your own building, those fines may cost more than those Cohibas or Montecristos that you puff on!
- We are not butlers, maids, gardeners, janitors, window washers, furniture movers, painters, interior decorators, or limo drivers! Yes, we are the “help”, but our jobs are specific: Observe and report; We do not serve coffee or take your suit to be dry-cleaned! You will have to hire separate help for that! (BTW: Most of us are union and the rules specifically do not allow us to do that even if we wanted to. You wouldn’t want want a plumber to cook you a roast Peking Duck after he/she fixed a toilet, would you?)
- We do have names, and they are not “You”, “Garçon”, “Boy”, “Young man/lady”, “Security”, “Guard”, “Dog Breath”, “$#!+ head”, etc. We are human beings, believe it or not!
- Not all of us are rejects from the police academy or the military. Some of us are retired professionals like engineers, doctors, police officers, even executives who just want to keep busy. Others are looking to make extra money (like the teacher during summer break). Others do work in security as a career. The ones that are like “Barney Fife” or “Tackleberry” from the Police Academy movies usually do not stay in the security field for very long.
- Delivery drivers: Please do not scream, yell, threaten and give us an attitude because you feel we are holding you too long at the gate. Also, do not come to the security office and tell us how to do our jobs. We realize that you are on a tight schedule. But, what puzzles us is that you have enough time to cuss us out. We need your truck/delivery vehicle info in case your vehicle damages property, gets damaged, stolen, hi-jacked etc. or if you get injured while on site.
- If there is an emergency (fire, injury, intruder, etc.) Do not call 911 from your cell phone! Valuable time is wasted having to open a gate, dispatch an officer, and trying to find out why emergency vehicles need access to the property! If there is an emergency, please let us know! That way the liability is on us and we can get emergency services to a specific area ASAP! We are trained for emergency situations that require police, fire, and/or paramedics. Plus, any and all incidents involving emergency services require a report!
- No, we do not chase people or vehicles! Nor do we throw people out! We leave that to the police!
- Please keep in mind, that on Bring Your Child To Work Day, we do not provide baby sitting and/or diaper changing services! If you have an important meeting or project on that day, you may want to hire a baby sitter or look at a day camp.
The Eggman’s View
Attention Building Owners and Managers
Too many employers and building managers think of their security staff as a necessary evil.
They fail to recognize that security staff is often the first point of contact for their visitors, patrons, suppliers, customers, clients, prospects and staff.
If you think pimply faced kids in ill fitting uniforms make your customers and/or staff feel secure, you’re wrong!
Relationships are often made or broken by first impressions. If the first impression of your business is a rude, unprofessional, inarticulate, incompetent and/or or surly security person, it’s hard to discount the idea that the same attitude might well exist throughout your organization.
In today’s highly competitive and increasingly security conscious business environment, an attitude adustment is suggested.
Embrace your security staff. Give them training! After they are trained and proven, give them the pay and benefits that a position as trusted guardian, diplomat, messenger, giver of directions, sales-person and overall projection of your company image deserves.
That’s the view from Egg Manor,
<– His Mark