10 Surefire tips to Hire A Good Security Company

MVP Security Officers providing hotel security

If you ask 10 people who carries the bulk of the responsibility for protecting America’s homeland 8 out of 10 of them would probably blurt out “Police.” While the police do an excellent job protecting our citizens, security officers often go as the unsung heroes!  According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the private security industry is responsible for protecting more than 85% of the nation’s critical infrastructure. In most cases security officers outnumber police officers 2 to 1.  According to the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial fund there are approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers and federal agents.  According to a report prepared by ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security) there are nearly 2 million full-time security workers in the United States.  Experts expect this number to increase by 21% percent through 2020.  To add to these staggering numbers there are thousands of private security firms in the US and new companies are popping up everyday.

With so many security companies to choose from it is important to use careful consideration when selecting a security provider. Choosing the right security firm not only protects your property and your people, it helps to protect your business in cases of litigation (Which can save you tons of money down the line). Choosing the right security firm also can protect your business reputation, which can be severely damaged by even the smallest security incident. History has proven that trying to rebound from an embarrassing security incident can be a very challenging and expensive task.

So let’s go through my 10 Surefire tips to hire a reputable security firm to address your security needs.  The first step in the process starts with doing a google search for security companies in the area or checking with the venue where you will be holding your event. Oftentimes they will have a vendors list.  Next you should send out RFP’s (Request for Proposals) which are formal or RFQ’s (Request for Quotes) which are informal.  Whichever, method you choose should include the vetting of a least 3 vendors. Once you gather the vendors’ information follow my 10 Surefire best practices and you will be well on your way to selecting the best vendor for your job:

  • Vet the prospects’ security experience (with a special focus on the projects similar to yours)
  • Review the prospects’ years in business, past clientele and past performance. Don’t get all excited because the prospect drops a big name (Having a big name client is one thing, but doing a shabby job at it is another).
  • Visit each prospect’s website paying special attention to content, ease of navigation, services and especially the “About Us” sections. Lack of information in a prospect’s “About Us” section should be a sign, “Buyer Beware.”
  • Request information about Professional Associations in which the company and management team are affiliated. Companies who are serious about what they do will usually be associated with associations such as ASIS, ISMA (INTERNATIONAL SECURITY MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION), or IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police).  Board certifications such as the ASIS- PSP (Physical Security Professional), CPP (Certified Protection Professional and the PSI (Professional Certified Investigator are definitely a plus.
  • Request and review each prospect’s executive leadership and management experience.  Proven years in police or security “management”  is always a good sign.
  • Review the prospects’ social media presence to include content, reviews, followers and engagement with current security issues (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Request and review the prospects’ marketing material to include brochures, capability statements, etc.
  • Request and review the prospects’ insurance levels ( 1 million in General Liability is normally sufficient)
  • Inquire about guard training. A good training program should include (observation, report writing, use of force, effective communication, incident management, tort law, arrest law, criminal law, constitutional law, bomb identification and evacuation) and;
  • Consider pricing

Have you noticed that pricing was the last thing on this list? That wasn’t done by mistake.  Pricing is the poisonous apple of doing business with a security firm. Yet, it is oftentimes the first thing that those looking to hire a company considers; sometimes it’s the only thing.  While I understand that the bottom line drives many business decisions, I caution that when the poisonous apple is bitten, it often bites back.  Choosing a security firm based on the lowest price often costs businesses major losses in finances from lawsuits and crime and even more in frustration from complaints of absenteeism and unprofessional and unethical conduct.  Therefore, I strongly recommend against using the lowest responsible bidder process altogether.  Instead, I suggest using the above tips to find the best fit for the job at hand.  More often the difference between the highest bidder and the lowest bidders is usually only a couple hundreds of dollars and to me it’s well worth the money.

My father always told me that it was best to spend adequate money on quality things in the beginning rather than spending more money to replace the bargain products in the end.  In other words he would say, “You either pay the cost or you pay the price.”  In my experience paying the price is almost always more than the cost.  My father is a wise man and I’ve benefited greatly from his advice, so I felt it important to share some of his wisdom you all.

Thanks for reading. For more information please feel free to contact me at security_guru@mvpprotectiveservices.com


Written by Melvin E. Key, CPP

CEO, MVP Protective Services


How To Discipline Security Guards

Managing security guards can be quite challenging. Fairly or unfairly, they are sometimes underpaid or not given proper respect and this can create conflict and resentment. No one likes to be disciplined and security officers are no exception. It is always good to follow the below suggestions when one is forced to discipline guards for misbehavior or misconduct:

1) First get their side of the story. It’s quite possible that there is an error in the facts. Before one takes any kind of disciplinary action they must have their facts straight. It’s possible, in other words, that when the officer share their view of what occurred you may change your mind about their wrongdoing.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

2) Always have a witness. This is very important, especially if the misconduct or action taken by the guard is serious. First of all, you have no idea how the officer may react. It’s good to have a backup person who can recite what happened should things get out of control. Moreover, if the officer denies that the conversation ever took place or recounts that it went down in a different way, you have a verifiable witness who can attest to your side in terms of how the conversation transpired.

3) Always write down what happened. Recount the events or ‘misbehavior’ as accurately as possible. Have the officer sign any kind of disciplinary measure that you may take. If the officer refuses to sign then put that in your notes or, if you want, even in the form that the guards will sign. These forms vary in style and content. The form itself should express the word ‘warning’ on it somewhere.

4) Make sure the action you take against the officer is fair-minded and not excessive. There is an article written called Security Los Angeles which can be found online and details the right punishment, as it were, for common offenses.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

5) Make sure Post Orders exist. For those that don’t know what Post Orders are, they are rules an regulations that exist at any given account for officers to follow. They are relevant so that the guards know what is expected from them. Each rule or regulation must be signed by every officer at the account.

The above is simply a short list of how to discipline officers. Always keep in mind their job is not an easy one. Try and have compassion and remember to first hear their side of the story. The officer may end up just admitting to the wrongdoing and practically be more willing to take the criticism.

Source by Scott Dinnerman

5 Easy Steps to Improving Your Security Guard Service

When property managers hire security guard companies they have a picture in mind of what their contract security force will look like, but too often what they get is not what they pictured. What we have found is that most security guard companies are capable of providing the service that property managers want, but too often do not because of a lack of ongoing quality control procedures.

Security guard companies are unlike any vendor that a property manager usually hires. If you hire a painter, you can see whether or not they are doing their jobs by looking at the walls. But when you hire a security guard company, how often can you see whether the guard company is doing their job which includes running background checks and drug screenings, providing good training for your guards, and effectively monitoring and supervising your guards. In most instances they probably are, but it is important to implement a system of verification and quality control to ensure that problems associated with the lack of performing these jobs do not begin to occur.

In this article we will discuss five (5) easy steps to improving your security guard service and achieving what you picture as your ideal security guard force.

Screen Your Guards Qualifications

In many states, guards are mandated to have a specified amount of training before they can begin working as security guards. If your state is one of these states, ensure that your security guard company is compliant.

If you are in a state where there are no state requirements for guard certification, then investigate the type of training that is being provided by your security company and ask yourself does it seem adequate.

Additionally, is your security guard company performing background and drug screenings on all your guards BEFORE they send them to your property? If they are, they should be providing you with verifications. If not, why?

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Another excellent way to screen whether the guard is a good fit for your property is to conduct a short “interview” to get a feel for the guard and to explain your expectations. This initial conversation can tell you a lot about what to expect from that guard and it gives you a chance to request a different guard if you feel that it is necessary.

Assess Guard Training

Although most security guard companies have a very thorough orientation that introduces each guard to the company itself, in many cases the guard’s orientation to his assigned property is not as complete. We call the orientation for the assigned property “Site Specific Training”. Find out what your site specific training looks like:

• Does it occur at your property?

• Who does the training?

• How long is each new officer trained?

• How long does the security company double bank? (Double banking is the process of having a veteran guard working at the same time as the new guard.)

• How thoroughly are your post orders explained?

Determine the answer to each of these questions and make sure that they fit with what you feel is adequate. You should even consider sitting in on your security guard company’s orientation and your site specific training to get an understanding of what goes into preparing a guard to work at your property.

Review Your Guard’s Supervision

Guard supervision is one of the more important factors of good security guard service. When security companies provide poor supervision, there is not enough emphasis placed on preventing mistakes, problems, and complaints. Lack of supervision also removes the opportunity for the guard to learn and better understand their duties. If the guards are not being supervised, they begin to feel that their work is not important and they begin to see themselves as less of a part of the security team. When guards do not feel like part of your team it typically leads to unacceptable practices such as unprofessional behavior, tardiness, and even theft.

Depending on the structure of your contract, on-site supervisors may not be included. If your contract does not require on-site supervision, how does your security guard company remotely supervise its guards? Outside of the normal security company field supervisor spot checks, the two methods of remote supervision that prove most successful are:

1. Officer Tour Tracking Systems

2. Officer Check-Ins

If your guards are required to make rounds of your property, then a system for tracking them while on duty is essential. Officer Tour Tracking Systems provide a remote way of monitoring the guards while they are on your property. These tracking systems allow the security guard company to monitor the time and log the activity of the guards while they are making rounds to various areas on your property. Most Officer Tour Tracking Systems can generate reports that enable the security guard company to quickly get an understanding of whether the guard is making rounds. The property manager should also be provided with an abridged version of these reports. Manufacturers of such systems include Deggy and Timekeeping Systems, Inc.

In addition to Officer Tour Tracking systems, we have found that having a system for guards to check in regularly with the security guard company provides a way of making sure that each guard is safe and alert. By having guards check-in regularly with the security guard company, at least every 30 minutes, guards feel that their safety is important and that being awake and alert is an important part of their job.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Inspect Your Guards

After hours inspections of your guards are always great ways of finding out exactly what is happening with your security while you are not there. During these inspections, make sure to ask your security guards questions about their duties and responsibilities to ensure that they understand their jobs. In fact, we suggest having your security guards audited regularly, formally (i.e. post inspection) and informally (i.e. secret shopped) by a licensed security consultant as part of your ongoing security program.

Firms like Asymmetric Strategies provide a free service aimed at doing exactly that. Remember, when choosing a security consultant be sure that the consultant is not actually a security guard company. If so, your audit is sure to turn up problems with your current security guard company.

Meet with your Security Guard Company Regularly

The fifth and easiest step is to regularly meet with your security company. Without providing regular feedback to your security guard company, property managers are missing out on opportunities to achieve incremental increases in efficiency. Topics such as tenant feedback, guard attrition, feedback from any remote supervisory systems, and any security audits should be discussed during these meetings.

For property managers, getting the security that they want is sometimes just a matter of putting the right processes in place to make sure that all parties understand what is expected. The five easy steps that we outline here are just a few for you to consider. For more ideas or suggestions, please feel free to contact us by email at info@asymmetricstrategies.com or contact a licensed security consultant in your area.

Source by Courtney Sparkman

Armed Security Guards: Training, Benefits, and Posts

Armed security guards are guards who handle firearms or other weapons and use them to protect an individual or property against potential danger. These guards are highly trained and skilled for handling weapons before they are deployed to their perspective employers. In order to be eligible for an armed guard job, these individuals must pass strict requirements such as a comprehensive background check and the legality of their age. Tests such as fingerprinting and even DNA testing may be included in the screening process.

How Armed Security Guards Differ from Unarmed Guards

Armed officers carry a firearm with them at all times. This weapon maybe used in the aid of securing an individual or property. Unarmed guards on the other hand do not carry weapons. Their duty is to observe and report to a higher authority. Armed guards receive higher pay when compared to unarmed security guards. In part due to the amount of training that is required as well as the cost for firearm’s licensing. Due to the risks associated with using a gun, armed security guards also have higher insurance premiums than unarmed ones.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Training for Armed Officers

Armed officers are trained in all facets of protecting a person or a property. Often, the security company that hires and manages these security guards provides the needed training. The training includes operating a surveillance system, the use of firearms and doing street surveillance.

Before being deployed, Texas law requires that armed security guards, who are not currently policemen, will have completed 30 hours of required training. Additionally, they would have to undergo an 8-hour refresher course in training every year that they are on the job. Current police officers, or even retired ones, are some of the few who are exempted from taking the extensive trainings. Also included in the exemptions are licensed private investigators, peace officers and some military staff. For certain work environments, some additional training might have to be taken. For instance, armed security guards who are assigned to prison will have to undergo training on dealing with angry prisoners and on how to deal with prison riots. Armed security guards may have to be trained as well on company policies and ethics.

Benefits of Hiring Armed Security

A number of businesses employ armed security guards to protect their properties and employees. For business locations that have high incidents of vandalism, theft or robbery, armed security guards can provide better protection to individuals and properties. They are also ideal for businesses or properties that have alarm systems or video cameras installed, as they are well trained in operating these kinds of systems.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Armed Security Officer Posts

Armed security Officers are trained to perform their duties serving many different posts. These might include, government buildings, banks, jewelry stores, political events, and even personal protection services. Personal protection services might include protecting dignitaries, CEO’s, and movie stars. They can also be assigned to man and operate closed circuit televisions (CCTV) as they are trained and knowledgeable in operating these systems. Of course, there are also the standard patrol duties as are often found in apartment and mall security. Armed guards have a large spectrum of clients and locations to protect creating quite a varied job.

Source by J. Singletary

Security Guard Facts

Security guards make up an increasingly large portion of the security and guarding detail that is done on a daily basis today, yet most people do not understand the job or its duties. The facts about the job and its duties may surprise you.

Security Guard Name History

During the middle ages in Europe, watchmen were employed to look after valuables as well as to observe and report on any incoming attacks. Later on in America they became known more predominately as night-watchmen before their title evolved to a more general and inclusive title such as security guard, private patrol officer, or security officer.

Can Security Guards Make Arrests?

Yes, and No. Guards do not have the power, or are required to make a criminal arrest. They can however make citizen’s arrests or act as an agent of law enforcement officers in restraining individuals when told to do so by a law officer.

Can a Guard Carry and Use a Gun?

Security officers can be deemed as either and unarmed guard or a armed guard. An armed security guard that has passed and completed the unarmed guard training can then go and complete the training to become an armed security guard. Armed guards are then permitted to carry and use a gun if necessary, although it will still be a last resort and only used in defense. A gun though must usually be worn in a visible manner unless you have obtained a concealed weapons permit.

Can You Become a Security Guard if You’ve been Arrested?

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The regulation and licensing of guards is handled differently from state to state. Most states will not permit anyone who has been convicted of a felony to become a security guard. Many states will not allow misdemeanor convictions as well. Depending on the arrest you may be still able to qualify as a guard but you should check the specific laws in your state.

Do You Need an Education?

Just like the regulations in each state concerning arrests and guard training, education is dependent on where you will be applying to become a guard. Most states though do not have strict education requirements and do not require a college education. Usually a potential applicant will have to complete a certain amount of required guard training through a state approved training facility before they can begin work as an official guard.

Do Guards Need to Be Strong and in Shape?

While most guard jobs do not have any fitness requirements, a guard should not be completely out of shape. They also do not need to be overly strong or in shape. Most of a guard’s job involves observing, reporting, and communicating. Very few times are physical strength actually needed for a situation.

Is being a Guard a Good Career?

Yes! Security Officer jobs are growing at a rapid rate with no sight of slowing done. The benefits of having a guard on duty and the heightened sense of security that most places are in today are creating a growing need for more guards everyday.

Source by Alex Wallst

Unarmed Security Guards: Requirements, Training, and Job Duties

Unarmed security guards are guards who protect properties and or individuals without the use of a fire arm. An unarmed security guard’s main job is to make rounds on a property, monitor and report any abnormal happenings that have been observed. Aside from these basic functions, they can also assist in giving proper directions around the facility to citizens who need help. In some cases, unarmed security guards are even tasked with receiving packages and signing papers on behalf of the employer while on duty.

Requirements to Become an Unarmed Security Guard

The most important asset to look for when hiring a person for a security position is the ability communicate clearly and quickly. A nice presentable appearance is another basic requirement for the job. Some high school education is also required; however a high school diploma is not necessary. The applicant must also pass a drug test and be physically fit. He or she must also be able to pass criminal background checks.

Training for an Unarmed Guard

Training an unarmed guard is very different from training an armed one. As they don’t deal with firearms, the unarmed security guards’ primary weapon is effective communication. Thus, proper training in effective communication is a must for these kinds of guards. On-the-site training is given to the guard by a supervisor. This would include walking with the guard throughout the facility and working with him for a few hours. Training on how to operate some electronic equipment may also be provided by the employer. Employers might also provide additional training on particular company ethics, as well as company policies. An unarmed security guard has to complete 45 hours of training, which should be completed on his first 100 days of work. Within these first 100 days, he or she should also be able to pass a proficiency examination in order to receive a training certification for the job.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Typical Job Situations for Unarmed Security Officers

Some typical assignments for unarmed security officers might include apartments, parks, construction sites, and malls. They can be assigned to do either static or patrol duties, or even both. Patrol duties are situated towards the particular venue. Patrols might be done while walking, riding horseback, or from a motorized vehicle. Aside from their most common service, to guard establishments and people, these guards can also serve at help desks. As they are trained to communicate effectively, they will be effective in providing customers and citizens with information regarding the company that these guards work for.

Benefits of Hiring an Unarmed Officer

Unarmed security officers offer lower salary expenses for the employer, as compared to armed security guards. These guards are good for businesses which are situated in relatively peaceful environments. Hiring security that is armed could put some stress on the residents of these areas, which is why it is sometimes a better solution to place unarmed officers. With these security officers, there is little to no issue on the safety of guns in the workplace as there are no guns involved. Unarmed security guards also contribute to a more relaxed environment both for the clients and the people in the area.

Source by J. Singletary

Security Officer Professionalism – Do You Have What It Takes?

Security has come a long way since the late 40’s and 50’s up to the late 1980’s where it was the norm for ex-servicemen and ex police to take on ‘watchman’ or ‘security’ roles in industrial, commercial and government complexes. The industry has expanded almost beyond belief with technology that, until recently, was exclusively in the hands of major powers and governments and new laws that directly and indirectly impact upon our profession. Our threat levels and risks have changed, bringing new challenges. The type of person now being attracted into the security industry has changed as a consequence; they are a more youthful, dynamic, person who sees the industry as a career.

Business and the public now have expectations of security that the industry must meet and exceed. Of course there is a compensator for this level of professional service. The industry and clients must recognize that the higher skill levels required and the superior level of service demanded by clients must also be reflected in the financial reward afforded the officer through their wage or salary.

With increased skills and responsibilities comes the reward through increasing the pay levels. The industry must be prepared to reward officers and guards with a livable wage or salary commensurate with their qualifications and skills that they are offering to provide the client. The old adage still runs true that ‘if you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys’.

What then do we demand of the Security Officer or Guard? What standards must they meet?

The security officer of this millennium must be well educated, articulate, smartly attired and professional in every way. Surveys conducted in Darwin (Australia) revealed that business and the public demanded stricter selection criteria and higher standards of professional behavior for those employed in the security industry. There is no doubt that these expectations are reflected in most other cities and towns in Australia and overseas.

In Australia, Certificate II and III in Security should be seen as just a start point for security training. Individuals must take every opportunity to enhance their professional training through specialist subject workshops, academic studies or even overseas training programs, available by correspondence. Diplomas in Security & Risk management and tertiary education courses are becoming more common both overseas and in Australia and are an excellent tool for gaining the edge in knowledge.

Individuals must have a sound working knowledge of all laws in which the security industry operates and highly developed inter-personal skills to complement their technical skills in security.

Contract as well as proprietary security staff operate in a wide range of working environments. This ranges from government work to hospital security, industrial security, commercial security, retail security, mining security, hospitality security and loss prevention in all its forms along with many other working environments where protective security is provided. The Security Officer of the new millennium must be aware of their role within these various environments and be trained accordingly.

It is imperative that officers get to know their clients business and understand its underlying culture. This knowledge will stand them in good stead when decisions have to be made quickly without having time to brief the client. By understanding the business and its culture, decisions can be made taking all into consideration ensuring that the clients’ best interests are always being protected.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Security knowledge should encompass physical security, administrative security (laws, policies and procedures etc), risk management, computer security and crime prevention strategies. Knowledge of business practices, administration and financial procedures is a definite bonus.

By having this overall knowledge professional security officers are positioned to take on advisory roles in business making them an attractive return on investment for any employer or client. One of the major complaints made by small businesses approached on the subject was that security staff did not communicate with their clients. There was no two-way communication and in many cases small business did not know what service security was actually providing apart from their physical presence.

By communicating with clients and offering advice based on in-depth security or crime prevention knowledge, the Security Officer increases their value to the client and to their employing company. In many cases they are the first person a business may see when a problem occurs. Security will make an appreciation of the incident and decide on further action, which may or may not involve Police attendance. As such their knowledge and experience is invaluable in assisting the client, thus maximizing their return on investment.

On the other hand the poorly trained Security Officer will often take one of three options:

Make the wrong decision and escalate the situation,
Do nothing and await advice from the client or their contracting company, or
Bluff their way through relying on luck to see them through the situation.

In any of these cases the temptation for the client to terminate their contract for security, based on lack of trust in the abilities of the officers’ concerned, is greatly increased.

What then must we look for in our Security Officers? They must:

be well educated.
be appropriately trained in their roles and duties.
be honest and confident in their abilities and knowledge.
be service orientated.
be curious and observant.
be mentally attuned to responding to critical incidents, without warning.
be loyal to their client as well as their employer.
have pride in themselves’ and their role in society.
have ready access to qualified and experienced Supervisors to provide mentoring, advice and guidance on situations out of the officer’s experience, thus gaining quality advice to maximize the learning value of the experience.

All the above rely on one important ingredient: training.

Training then is the cornerstone to the development of the professional security officer of this millennium.

This training can be gained through the traditional courses, tertiary studies, in-house training, mentoring, workshops and seminars or through researching published material and security trade magazines such as the one you may be reading now. All are a valuable source of knowledge.

The Security Officer or Security Manager who has the skills, knowledge, and experience back up with qualifications and excellent communications and interpersonal relationship skills will be seen as an excellent investment for any business or client.

Professionalism…. It’s more than a word. It’s an attitude that enhances capability and credibility.

Source by Raymond Andersson

Security Questions for Security Guards

People have assorted reasons for the need to hire a security guard. Perhaps you need security for your business or are planning a special event such as a wedding, anniversary party or fund raiser. Security guards are commonly hired to protect property, individuals or material goods. Most commonly you find them at banks, government offices, hospitals, museums and retail stores but they can be found in limitless locations for any reason. No matter your reason for hiring a security guard there are certain questions you will need to have answered before choosing the one for you. Will they be monitoring a room, patrolling a property or conducting surveillance via security monitors?

Generally you will go through a company in your search. Many companies employ former military or police officers because the job requires honesty and an aptitude to for remaining calm in any situation. These people are the first to respond in the case of a robbery, medical emergency or any type of disturbance. An ability to recognize trouble and deal with it promptly and efficiently is crucial. Whether you hire through a company or do the hiring yourself be sure to have the following questions answered before making your decision on the person you will trust to keep things running smoothly and safely.

What is their training? Are they former military or a former police officer? If so, they have had excellent training and you need not worry. If not, get details on how and where they received training.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Ask about previous experience and why they want you to employ them. What type of security work have they done and what experiences have they had. Was crowd control required or guarding objects? What experience have they had in the past that qualifies them for the job? How does this correlate to your needs and the job requirements?

Why did they leave their previous employment? What were the circumstances and how long were they at their previous employment. This will help determine dependability and loyalty based on how long they keep a job and how they speak about their previous employer. Applicants should be comfortable and relaxed when discussing previous employers and employment.

Give them a scenario to solve relevant to the job. For example: A security guard hired to be present for a large house party – ask what action they would take if they notice a guest searching through the file cabinets in the library? See how well they evaluate and respond to the scenario.

Have they ever had a Criminal Background check done? Is it current? If not, require them to have one.

Do they have experience in basic or armed security? Do they have a license to carry a gun? Has there ever been a need to use it?

Are they a Registered Security Guard? This requires a high school diploma, completed security training and licensing which is good for two years.

These questions should get you the answers you need to make an informed decision when hiring a security guard.

Source by Joe M Baker

Essentials of Effective Security Policies and Other Security Documentation


This document is prepared and presented as a basic overview of contemporary best practices regarding written documentation — primarily security policy – needed within an effective security program. It is generic in that it is developed without a specific application or facility in mind. As such, all or parts of this information may not be appropriate for every building or facility. The intent is to provide fundamental information for non-technical and non-security readers.

Security documentation is the written material used to govern all aspects of a security program. Such documentation would include, at minimum, the following;

• Policies

• Standards

• Guidelines

• Emergency Plans

• Training Material

• Informational Material


It can be said that there are – in essence – only 3 reasons for performance failure in an organization’s security program;

(1) The is NO policy and procedure addressing the issue;

(2) There is a policy and procedure addressing the issue, but it was not followed;

(3) The policy and procedure addressing the issue was followed, but the contents were inadequate to properly address the circumstances of the particular situation.

In the triad of architectural, technological and operational security, the policies and procedures are the foundation of the later and are easily the most overlooked and most important aspect of a comprehensive and effective security program.

An organization’s policies and procedures are dynamic in that they must be continuously updated and constantly refined. Perhaps no other single aspect of an entity more clearly reflects its culture and philosophy than the body of written policies and procedures by which it governs.


Easily, the most common obstacle in any attempt to develop security policies and procedures is the failure to have the full support of top management. At the very least, the direct approval of the top position is necessary. Ideally, the policies and procedures should be reviewed and approved by the governing body – such as the Board of Directors – or a committee thereof. This support from the top of the organization must also be clearly reflected in the document itself.

Additionally, management must support the effort through “example”. This means that the policies and procedures must apply to everyone, regardless of their position within the organization. If exceptions are to be allowed, the exceptions should be stipulated in the policy and procedure document.


If a “perfect” policy and procedure document could ever exist, even it would be of no value if the person’s subject to its contents and responsible for its implementation and enforcement are not aware of the details. Traditionally, binders of printed documents were reproduced and widely distributed so as to be accessible to the workforce. Today, fewer printed copies are prepared and there is a greater reliance on electronic media. A best practice is for the security department to have its own website on the organization’s intranet. Among the many benefits of this is the ability to make the security policies and procedures readily available for reviewing and downloading, ideally in the Adobe.PDF format.

The essential contents of the policies and procedures should also be presented during employee orientations and included in an employee handbook.


Typical security documentation can be described as follows:

POLICY: The organizations stated security objectives and the requirements in general terms. Policy also establishes departmental responsibilities and cooperative interaction where issues may overlap. Most importantly, it conveys authority. Policies address specific issues, however, the statements are usually very broad and without detail.

STANDARDS: Standards establish minimum performance parameters. These are statements that are usually “actionable”, “measurable” and/or “observable”. Standards are more detailed that Policies, and can often be the same as or similar to technical specifications.

GUIDELINES: Policies and standards require writing in a very precise and special way that avoids misunderstanding. Because it is not a narrative style that most people are accustomed to reading, some helpful explanatory notes can aid in comprehension. Guidelines serve this purpose but are not “requirements” in themselves.

PROCEDURES: Procedures are directed at persons responsible for taking action under the various circumstances and conditions, or in response to certain events. These are very specific and step-by-step to the extent practical and reasonable. Where Policies and Standards may apply on an enterprise-wide basis, there will always be a large portion of the Procedures that must be specific to each individual location or facility.

EMERGENCY PLANS: Generally, a given facility will have need for several emergency plans, each addressing specific events. Emergency plans are constructed – in part – so that they may be referenced in real time during an event. The most common emergency plans are in response to such things as a fire or bomb threat. Additional plans may be needed for other events such as an attack or when the threat of attack is elevated. Procedures within Emergency Plans tell people “where” they will go and “what” they will do when the get there.


A key aspect to a good manual is that it is relatively easy for any user to find the information they are seeking. Because a policy and procedure document is continuously revised, a conventional, single document with sequential page numbering would be less than optimal. Additionally, it is desirable to numerate the contents other than through the employment of page numbers, since these tend to change during revision. It is also very desirable to facilitate later reference to individual “provisions” within the document, similar to the manner in which government laws are numerated. An example structure might be something similar to the following:

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

1 = Chapter

1.01 = Subchapter

1.01.01 = Section = Subsection

It is advisable to create a standard format or template for the pages in order to facilitate the replacement of pages with revisions, and for readability. The template should incorporate a place for the title of the chapter and a place the date of the most recent revision. The document should contain a Table of Contents and a word index is a great enhancement.

Typically, an organization would have a general or master body of policies and procedures that are universally applicable across the entire global enterprise. Entities with multiple facilities will likely need to reserve certain subjects for further individualization for various locations such as different cities, states or countries in order to accommodate variations in applicable laws.

Additional policies and procedures will usually be needed based upon the specific nature of the organization, such as the business or industry in which it falls. Government regulatory compliance can be a major element of the document in some operations.

Where the policy manual is separate from the procedure manual – as is generally recommended – the relative procedures should reference the corresponding policy.


There are a myriad of subjects that might be addressed in a comprehensive set of security policies and procedures. Many of the common subjects will overlap with areas commonly addressed by the Human Resources department, and sometimes with other units as well. It is strongly recommended that legal counsel review and approve all policies prior to dissemination.

Typically, policy is written in a narrative and semi-general format and the only “rule” is that the message be clear and unambiguous. Each policy would generally state the organization’s position on the subject, and most importantly, it should delegate the necessary authority and responsibility for developing the corresponding procedures for execution and enforcement.

Procedures are typically written in a “step-by-step” format. As a guide, security procedures for security officers should be developed with a new guard on his or her first day on the job in mind.


If policies are important, than adherence to policy must be equally important. The policy MUST set forth appropriate consequences for violations of any policy, in the form of disciplinary action. Failure to consistently enforce policies might tend to negatively impact the legal enforceability of all policies. Where an organization lacks the collective will to act to enforce a policy, that policy should be changed or abolished. No policy should ever continue to exist for which enforcement action is not instituted consistently.


No policy and procedure manual can be completely written in advance that will be applicable to any organization without customization and modification. The following is a list of basic subject areas – not in any specific order – that should be considered for inclusion in a security policy and procedure manual;

1.0 Statement from Executive Management

2.0 Security Department Mission, Purpose and Objectives

3.0 Security Department – General

3.1. Organizational Structure

3.2. Policy Enforcement

3.3. Investigations

3.4. Reporting

3.5. Background Investigations

3.6. Use of Force

3.7. VIPs

3.8. Communications

4.0 Security Department – Management

4.1. Authority

4.2. Qualifications

4.3. Liaison with Government Agencies

4.4. Periodic Departmental Reports

4.5. Security Awareness Training of Non-Security Personnel

4.6. Responsibilities

4.7. Staff Performance Appraisals

5.0 Security Department – Staffing

5.1. Qualifications

5.2. Uniforms

5.3. Equipment

5.4. Training

5.5. Post Orders

6.0 Security Department – Duties and Responsibilities

6.1. Policy Enforcement

6.2. Investigations

6.3. Response to Criminal Acts

6.4. Suspicious Persons

6.5. Emergency Conditions

7.0 Information Protection

7.1. Document Storage for Business Continuity

7.2. Document Destruction

7.3. “Clean Desk” Program

7.4. Trash Removal

8.0 Lost and Found

9.0 Courtesy Escorts

10.0 Cash Handling

11.0 Parking and Traffic Control

11.1. Vehicle Registration

11.2. Signage

11.3. Vehicle Removal

12.0 Security Responsibilities of All Employees

12.1. Reporting Incidents & Suspicious Situations

12.2. Cooperation in Investigations

12.3. Privacy and Consent to Search

12.4. Contacts by Governmental Agencies

12.5. Contacts by the Media

12.6. Cooperation during Emergencies

12.7. Protection of Assets

12.8. Prohibited Items

12.9. False Reporting Prohibited

12.10.Employee Conduct

13.0 Lock and Key Control

14.0 Material Passes

15.0 I.D. Credentials

15.1. Employees

15.2. Visitors

15.3. Vendors / Contractors

16.0 Workplace Violence

17.0 Ethics

18.0 Medical Emergencies

19.0 Fire and Life Safety

19.1. Systems Inspection & Testing

19.2. Unsafe Conditions

20.0 Audits of the Security Department

21.0 Access Control

22.0 CCTV

22.1. Overt Surveillance

22.2. Covert Surveillance

23.0 Security Screening

23.1. Pedestrians

23.2. Vehicles

23.3. Parcels and Packages

24.0 Emergency Conditions

24.1. Preparation of Emergency Plans

24.2. Incident Command

24.3. Drills and Exercises

Source by Michael Minieri

Contract Security Vs In-House

1) Increase in Competition. With more and more companies competing for market share and doing so with enhanced technology,it is imperative to have a workforce that is almost exclusively focused on improving a company’s core business offering. For example, a computer chip company probably won’t improve its position in the computer chip market due to the efforts of its in-house security officers. Top managers are deciding to utilize reputable contract security firms to be their security experts so they can focus their personnel on being computer chip experts.

2) Increased Cost/Liability. Payroll taxes and fringe benefits have skyrocketed to a national average of 48%. As our society becomes more and more litigious, the risk of liability from in-house personnel-related issues is steadily increasing. Areas of risk to consider include: Workers Compensation, unemployment, discrimination, sexual harassment and general liability. Lawsuits are costly and time-consuming. Due to this ever-increasing expense and risk of greater hidden cost, companies are choosing to protect themselves by outsourcing functions like security.

Many Directors of Security fear that switching to a contract provider will mean they are of decreased value to their company, and could potentially lose their jobs. However, a shift to a contract security can have the opposite effect. Security Directors who outsource their security program often find they no longer have to spend long hours dealing with day-to-day minutiae of managing security officers and instead they are able to offer their skills in the more prominent and visible areas of security consulting and analysis. This increases their value to the company while decreasing their headaches, as they can defer security personnel functions to the contract security firms management team.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The other cause for hesitation by some companies to switch to contract security is the perception of a lack of quality security companies. While finding a reputable firm in the massive sea of the security industry can be a challenge, there are some companies who operate on a very high level. These are companies that conduct background checks and have a rigorous process for personnel selection. Quality companies also offer competitive benefits and wages and benchmark-setting training and employee development programs. In addition, switching to contract security does not mean losing your well-established security force, contact companies will usually retain as much of the existing staff as you desire.

Cost) In most cases, the cost of security program is comparable to a company’s in-house budget. However the additional protection provide, combined with the elimination of other hidden cost actually serves to reduce a company’s long term expense. Additional cost can include overtime wages, uniforms, recruiting and background checking expenses, training, administration personnel for payroll services and depreciation of equipment.

Source by Brandon L Blue