Security is a job that most of the time people get into either because they are retired Law Enforcement or they are trying to get into Law Enforcement. Very few make it a career because let’s face it, the pay isn’t very much on most of the contracts that each Security Company has. So if you are looking to get into Law Enforcement, this is for you.
Being observant is a key part in security. Not only will it help you do your duties as a Security Officer but it can also save your life. Noticing what people are doing will help you catch people not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. When you catch someone doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, if it warrants police involvement, look for clothing identifiers. Particularly look at the shoes. Most people think to change their appearance by changing shirts, maybe their pants or shorts but most people forget to change their shoes. Look for tattoos, scars, birthmarks, anything to help positively identify the individual when the police get there. Also it will help in report writing in case you have to go to court as a witness. The military helped me develop my observation skills and my current security contract helped me hone my skills. Here’s an article to help you learn about it. Its the same as what I learned in the military.
Having a tactical mindset isn’t about strategizing warfare maneuvers. It’s about building habits that make you more aware and giving yourself a way out of a bad situation. Have you ever wondered why 95% of the time when you see a Police vehicle parked, it’s normally backed into a spot? When cops go out to eat, especially in uniform, they always have their backs to a wall and positioned in a spot to provide them the best visibility of the area? Those are habits built to protect them and others. When I am in uniform and I have to stop to go to the restroom, I never go into a public restroom and use the urinals. I go into a stall to urinate. If I have to go for an extended period, where my duty belt would have to come off, I find a private bathroom where no one can reach under the stall doors to grab my duty belt with my weapon and radio. When I approach a situation, I look at body language, listen for verbal cues, watch hands instead of eyes; all providing me valuable information on how to deal with the situation whether it is to calm a person down or go hands on. When you get good enough at being able to communicate with people you can usually calm them down to not have to go hands on.
Quick story, I had a lady who was threatening two patrons with a knife. I approached the lady and directed her to put the knife down. She didn’t want to listen to me. I told her again. This time I showed her I was serious by placing my hand on my taser and getting it ready to draw. Luckily for both of us, she dropped the knife. Now, I would have been justified in the court of law to use my gun. I also could have used other tools like pepper spray. So why would I choose a taser? Well, I didn’t want to have to go lethal if I could help it. I figured I would much rather use another tool or go hands on first before going lethal as it was only a knife and I’m a decent sized guy who could have wrestled the knife away if I had to. I decided pepper spray would have been a BAD idea, however. Using pepper spray would have probably blinded her, yes, however then I would have a more erratic person with a deadly weapon swinging wildly at anyone and everyone instead of her targets being focused to the two patrons and me. So I went for the taser as my option if I was going to use anything. Like I said, luckily I didn’t have to use it. But that is a good way to think about things.
When interacting with people, it is very important to remain calm and collected. If people perceive you as a person in charge, most of the time they will act accordingly. If they don’t the situation can get out of hand quickly.
While interacting with people, I have found it best to be as direct as possible. When I go to work, I get myself in the mindset that my nearest back up is possibly a half hour away. When you think like that, you kind of have to put on a face that is strict, fair, and consistent.
One time I found an open container of beer on the site I happened to be. I threw the open container away along with the other food that was right there. About an hour later, I was approached by an individual who asked me if someone threw his lunch away. I told him I did because of the open container of alcohol. He called me an asshole and started going off on me about how inconsiderate I was and how he was homeless and how he didn’t have the money to buy more food, etc. etc. The entire time, his voice kept getting louder and louder. I cut him off and started explaining to him the policies of the site we were on and the law that he had broken. He did not want to hear it. So I told him that he basically just confessed to drinking in public, and on my property by claiming the food that I had thrown away. I also went on to explain that because of the policies and the law that he had broke, he was lucky I wasn’t trespassing him from the site, I also explained that afterwards, he became disorderly and was disturbing the peace by the way he was talking to me. I told him if he refused to calm down and behave, I would call the police and press charges on trespassing, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and the drinking in public. After that the guy called me an asshole again then took off.
I took charge of the situation while at the same time being fair and consistent while providing opportunities for the person to walk away without having to call for Police. Part of the security job is to handle situations on site that can be handled without involving Police. That allows Police to not have to come deal with some petty crap that can easily be handled by Security. If it is outside of my realm of duties and responsibilities, of course I would call the Police. For example if the guy tried to fight me, I would have handled that accordingly and once the person was restrained, called the Police.
Report writing is huge in any sort of Law Enforcement field. Using your observation, and your tactical mindset as well as having a good composure when dealing with patrons will make it very easy to write a report. You’ll have everything you need to write a good report that could potentially be used in court. Remember, do your best to be as articulate as possible. Being articulate in your report writing, the ability to be able to say what you did and why in a well-written way, will also help you when interacting with people as well. It will carry over and being able to tell someone why they can’t drink alcohol in public or why they need to leave your property is a skill well worth having especially if you are looking to get into Law Enforcement i.e. Police or another Agency.
Be as detailed as you can. That will help in being a good witness when things happen and Police become involved in an incident on your site. Looking for things that stand out will help aid in prosecution when you are able to give a description that is specific from head to toe including shoes, tattoos, and scars.
Remember, Security is not about being the Police. Yes, do your best to help mitigate the Police call volume, but be a better witness than an involved party if you can. Police have much better training.