I don’t like the term security guard. I prefer to use the term Officer, as it better reflects the responsibilities and professionalism required in the security industry today. Yes, we do guard the lives and property of the company and clients we provide service to, but we at Guardian Security & Investigations, Inc. do much more than that. If we use the term officers, we put our employees in a more professional light and hopefully inspire them to live up to the name.
The key is that both management and the officers need to play a role in making this happen. The management team has to refrain from using the term guard, unless it’s being used in a derogatory way because of their work performance. They also have to provide valuable security guard training, which brings us to the second group, the officers themselves. They need to change as well. The officers must step up their performance in order to make the transformation work. If they don’t buy in to the importance of their role as security officers, they won’t make the effort to improve. One of the main differences between guards and officers, is that guards don’t want to do anything more than they need to. So what do you have to ask, or order, them to do to become officers? The answer is simple: you don’t. It is all up to them to want to change and act like an officer, rather than a guard.
At Guardian Security & Investigations, Inc. we feel that good officers don’t always need to have a Bachelor’s degree, or any college experience for that matter. Even if the individual is only a high school graduate, he or she can be an excellent security officer. The key is that they enjoy learning and never stop. Many people ask me how I’ve become so educated in security, not to mention my specialty in customer relations. What happened is that I started learning on my own, and I never stopped. Everyday I would read books as much as possible, especially those focusing on the security industry. By constantly reading, I educated myself. I read whatever and whenever I could, even industry specific magazines on plastics, cardboard, construction, and heavy manufacturing, just to name a few. I still do to this day!
At Guardian Security & Investigations, Inc., we believe the key is to let our officers know what’s going on within the company and industry. Every security company should be doing a basic orientation class and providing an employee handbook, but that alone is not enough. Things will be different when they get out in the field. Still, this early training is important, as that’s how you establish the habits and expectations of a professional officer. We encourage them to read about a variety of topics. If they’re in a plastics plant, provide them with magazines about the plastics and manufacturing industries. If we’re contracted, our officers have to know our client’s business and how it works.
Just because our officers have completed the required hours of training, seminars, or videos, it’s not even close to being enough for training. The difference between classroom training and on-the-job training (OJT) is enormous. OJT is one of the biggest aspects of becoming a professional security officer. While the orientation training is generalized, OJT shows officers the ins and outs of their specific post. If our officers pay close enough attention to OJT and allow themselves to become ‘lost’ in their new facility, then they’ll become intimately aware of most anything that occurs in it, both day and night.
Part of our officer’s education entails learning to understand every single inch of the facility. At Guardian Security & Investigations, Inc., we train our officers to check and report on all the dark corners, doors, creaky windows, storage areas, etc. By learning these things, wandering around, and even getting lost in the facility at first, they will become familiar with every part of it. By doing so, they’ll be able to detect anything wrong and correctly report its location, sound, condition, and so on. But this part of our training is just one step in the process of helping our guards become officers.