Role of a Security Guard
8 Hour Pre-Assignment Training
Course for Security Guards
NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Public Safety: Copyright 2009 (June 2009) 2.1
Lesson Title: Section:
Role of a Security Guard Unit 2
Prepared by: NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services
Office of Public Safety
Security Guard Program
Approved by: NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services
Office of Public Safety
Security Guard Program
Method of Presentation: Date Duration:
Lecture 06/2009 1¼ Hour
Upon completion of this section, the student will be able to:
1. Identify the functions of a security guard and the responsibilities that accompany the position.
2. Define the concepts of detect, deter, and report.
3. Identify the duties typically performed by security guards.
C. Lesson objectives.
II. Functions of a Security Guard
A. The role of a security guard is to provide their client/employer with professional protective services and is dedicated to the principle of maintaining order and security within the area of their control. A security guard must be firm but fair and cognizant that their actions are geared to the safety of people and their property. The primary responsibility of a security guard is to protect persons and/or property from harm. But keep in mind, that a security guard has no greater task than the protection of persons and property.
B. Public relations.
1. Public relations have become an important part of a security guard's job. A security guard is often under the watchful eyes of the public they serve. Therefore, they must conduct themselves in a manner that is above reproach. The actions and appearance of a security guard will have a great deal to do with the amount of cooperation and respect they receive from the public and co-workers within the workplace. A security guard must treat all persons with courtesy and tact. They must be firm but polite and carry out job responsibilities to the best of their ability.
1. A security guard company should be honest, well disciplined and loyal to its customers and/or the people that it serves. Since security guards are the custodians of company/client employees and property, there is a need for strength of character. Failure to prevent damage or theft of property, acceptance of bribes or fees, permitting violation of company policies and procedures, or engaging in unlawful activity of any kind should not occur or be tolerated. Moral courage is required to report fully and accurately all violations of company rules and to enforce all laws, policies, procedures, rules and regulations on company property. Alertness is essential, and might mean the difference between life and death for a security guard and the people that they protect.
2. Due to the routine nature of some duties security guards perform, such as patrol, they tend to become somewhat monotonous. However, since the very purpose of conducting such "routine" responsibilities is to protect persons and the facility and may involve an element of danger, security guards must constantly be alert for the protection of all involved.
1. Attitude is another function of a security guard, as they are often the first contact a visitor or employee has with the organization. The manner in which the visitor or employee is greeted or dealt with may greatly affect their appraisal of a company/organization and their subsequent attitude towards it. It is important to remember to be courteous, it is the expression of consideration for others that eliminates friction and makes personal associations pleasant.
2. By demonstrating constant consideration for others, the security guard can obtain the cooperation of everyone, which is essential. However, a firm attitude does not require belligerence. For example, repeated questions from a visitor or employee, even when such questions appear ridiculous, should not result in curt or discourteous responses. Security guards should be instructed to act without haste or undue emotion, not to use abusive language, not to become argumentative and to avoid using force unless absolutely necessary. Security guards should be trained to perform their duties without assuming a threatening attitude, and they should be instructed to be impersonal in carrying out their assignments at all times. Integral to developing a proper attitude, a security guard must be genuinely interested in their job. Unless they take an interest and get satisfaction from their performance, their attitude towards the public and employees that are served may be poor.
1. Security guards follow two types of security programming; they are the "hard" and "soft" approach of security orientation and application. The hard approach utilizes a police type uniform and training of a paramilitary nature. This approach has been historically used in the private and governmental sector. In recent years, the shift has been to soften the approach and demeanor of security guards and to alter their appearance to a blazer, slacks, shirt and tie which in certain environments, is more conducive to a cooperative and/or professional public relations posture. With the exception of undercover security guards, they must be immediately identifiable as security professionals and further be aware that their appearance is a reflection upon their client/employer. Since good personal appearance is generally accepted as a counterpart of ability, each security guard should be clean and well dressed.
2. Appearance is important because visitors will gain a good impression of the organization. Employees in the facility will have more respect for the security guards and for the security organization. An individual security guard can influence, either favorably or unfavorably, the opinions of a large segment of people.
F. Knowledge of the job.
1. Learning is a never ending process for security guards. For example, requirements or rules as well as locations and areas requiring protection, change frequently. It is vital that the security guards be thoroughly familiar with the facility if they are to do an efficient job of protecting it. In addition, they must have complete knowledge of the organization/company so that they can perform the public relations aspect of the job such as giving information to visitors or employees. They must be familiar with all state and local laws, company/client rules and regulations, safety, fire and emergency plans and first aid guidelines.
III. A Security Guard's Primary Directives
A. Detect - This includes diligent patrol, utilizing good observation and perception skills. This is known as taking a proactive approach to the performance of duties.
B. Deter - This is accomplished by maintaining high visibility, high profile uniform appearance and random patrol. The most detrimental action that a security guard can take is to fall into a pattern or routine in performing their duties. Deterrence can be looked upon as preventing a crime or incident from occurring.
C. Report - Record information. All pertinent information must be reported in order to protect persons and/or property from harm, theft and/or related activity on the employers' and/or clients' property. Report methods such as written, verbal and electronic should detail the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of an incident.
1. Positive continuum cycle – constantly detecting, deterring, reporting.
2. Proactive vs. reactive.
a. Proactive – activity that prevents crime from occurring.
(1) Patrolling to seek out criminal activity.
(2) Access control.
(3) Motivation to deal with the situation is internal.
b. Reactive – response to criminal activity.
(1) The situation controls the response.
(2) Motivation to deal with the situation is external.
IV. Security Guard Duties
A. The duties and role of public law enforcement officials are becoming more specialized in nature, creating a void in the more commonplace or routine tasks historically performed by them. The era of the untrained, watchman type security guard is no longer realistic or effective in accomplishing the mission of protection of life and
property. Today's technology and the ever changing needs within the varied industries that employ security guards demand that security personnel adapt in order to properly serve their needs. Some of the regular duties involved with
the security guard operation are patrol, pilferage and theft control, access control and maintaining general order.
B. Security guards must have knowledge of the facilities being protected, such as:
1. Policies and procedures of the employer/client, post assignments and the security guard operation.
2. Demographics and layout of the facilities and hours of operation.
3. Safety and fire regulations.
4. Alarm and fire fighting procedures.
5. Notification procedures for Police/Fire/EMS response.
C. General tasks of security guards include:
1. Escort service.
2. Alarm response.
3. Crime prevention.
4. Constant localized patrol.
e. Closed circuit television.
5. Crowd control.
6. Traffic control.
7. Customer/client service.
8. Basic investigations (information gathering).
9. Any others, as assigned.
D. Site specific tasks of security guards.
1. Examples of site specific tasks that require a security guard to detect, prevent or deter are:
a. Theft - to include pilferage committed by visitors, vendors, salespersons, and other employees. A security guard can
circumvent these occurrences by being aware of delivery schedules, visitors’ policies and access level of persons in
and around the facility.
b. Substance abuse - this condition places the employee and coworkers in possible jeopardy depending upon the work
environment. Narcotics in the workplace allows for the proliferation of criminal activity.
c. Employee theft - a major portion of theft from an employer can be attributed to employees, whether it was in the form of theft of property or theft of time.
d. White collar crime - sabotage, bribes, coercion, kickbacks, payoffs, computer fraud and embezzlement.
E. Emergency situations.
1. Fires & explosions.
a. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
(1) Chemical dispersal.
(2) Biological dispersal.
3. Bomb threats.
5. Civil disturbances.
6. Strike/picket actions.
7. Hazardous material accidents.
8. Natural disasters accidents.
9. Medical emergencies.
10. Evacuations (where applicable).
a. Security guards must be prepared to handle these situations and still provide other services as called upon by an
employer/client. Security guards must always be cognizant of the fact that they are acting pursuant to their employment
and that they are NOT police or peace officers.
b. Security guards perform their duties as private persons and must realize their limitations in carrying out duties. Security guards should be familiar with all department policies, procedures, rules and regulations, the policies of
their clients, as well as the applicable Federal, State and local laws that may govern their actions. Security guards
may be required to take additional instruction in industry or site specific areas to serve their employer/client in an informed and professional manner. Therefore, all reference materials such as training and operational manuals,
post orders and policies and procedures should be made available and routinely reviewed.
A. Review objectives.
Healy, Richard and Walsh, Timothy. The Protection of Assets Manual. Santa Monica, CA: The Merritt Company, 1994.
Purpura, Philip. The Security Handbook. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers Inc., 1991.
New York State Office of Public Security. Homeland Security Strategy. March 2004.
United States Department of Justice. Emergency Response to Terrorism Job Aid (2000)
United States Department of Justice. Emergency Response to Terrorism (2002)
Satterfield, P.M. Security Officers Field Training Guide. 1988.