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Title: Security Guard or Security Officer

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  • Having been part of this industry for close to 30 years, I have witnessed the transformation of the position of "Security Guard" to that of a "Security Officer" of the 2000's.
    Even though Security Officers continue to provide all the basic services a Security Guard provided back in the 70's, 80's and 90's, such as reception and telephone duties, access and egress control, key control, building security, foot and vehicle patrol, advances in technology and personnel education, I believe have given the position far more responsibility, training and respect.
    After 911, industry, business and the general populace realized what a valuable untapped resource security was.
    Policies and processes were mandated by Homeland Security that allowed monies to be allocated to seriously under funded Security department to purchase technology and equipment that would assist in providing a more secure and safe environment for us to all work and live.
    Officers are now trained and responsible for operating and maintaining Automated Access control systems, photo identification of employees and contractors, CCTV systems, telephone recording devices for emergency response, emergency response communication equipment, the list is endless of the new responsibilities of our Security Officers.
    In my humble opinion, security personnel should be recognized as "Security Officers" as they have earned a very large increase in the respect department even though the pay may not reflect the additional education, knowledge and responsibility.

    Comment


    • As you can see from the patch displayed in my avatar, I happen to prefer the term "safety officer" as I feel it is the best expression of the totality of the "all-hazards" role that the private police typically assume within their domain of operation. This role is not only imposed by client expectations and the specific terms of contracts, but also increasingly so by the courts in the case law pertaining to "negligent security" even if the contract is entirely silent about such issues. You cannot, for instance, imagine that under the terms of such a contract, you could simply hum a little tune to yourself while watching a fire engulf the facility without incurring massive liability. "Ah well, your Honor, the contract didn't say anything about fires!"....

      This title has the advantage of skirting pretty widely around any possibility of confusion with terms commonly used to refer to the public police as well. There are, of course, "public safety departments", and while they use the words "public safety officers", they cannot appropriate that phrase for themselves as the criterion for impersonating an officer, as I have explained fully elsewhere. As such, the use of that phrase in and of itself cannot constitute the crime of impersonating an officer. For instance, there is a large hospital located within just such a "public safety" jurisdiction whose officers' badges and patches say "public safety officer" on them, and they are in constant contact with the "public safety department" of the city without a word of complaint from them. Nor would such a complaint have any legal effect anyway, absent the other necessary elements required to support a charge of "impersonation" (for instance, their uniforms and badges are different in many other ways from those of the public agency).

      However, I feel that the use of the word "public" does probably unnecessarily tickle the sensibilities of the public police agency in a "public safety" jurisdiction. In other words, it adds nothing to the term "safety officer", which fully describes the officer's functions without using the word "public", so why use it if it only creates a needless source of tension between the private police and the public police?

      Another perfectly acceptable term, contrary to what some have said here, is "crime prevention officer". My objection to the use of this term is that, unlike "safety officer", it does not really describe the scope of activities that the private police perform, nor the totality of our mission. While crime prevention is certainly a significant aspect of our mission, the term de-emphasizes, at least in my opinion, the other-hazards aspects, which are also significant. "Safety" includes crime prevention, of course, whereas "crime prevention" does not include any other safety issues (fire, medical emergencies, etc.)

      It's as if a physician were to wear a patch that said "prescription-writer", when of course there are many, many other things that they do. Indeed, we use the term "pill-pusher" in a pejorative way that derives its force from the very fact that the term ignores much of what a physician does. So, if physicians encouraged us to think of themselves merely as "prescription-writers" by virtue of wearing such patches, we would hardly be surprised if the public perception of the physician were to suffer, would we? We find this analogy to be ridiculous for the very reason that we know physicians would never do such a thing...nor should we. We might as well wear patches that say "door-knob-officer". "Crime prevention" is merely one aspect of our mission.

      As a secondary objection, I find that "safety officer" presents a much more positive image (i.e., promoting safety) to the lay public than "crime prevention officer" (i.e., preventing crime) does.
      Last edited by SecTrainer; 01-04-2007, 02:21 PM.
      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

      Comment


      • Originally posted by SecTrainer
        As you can see from the patch displayed in my avatar, I happen to prefer the term "safety officer" as I feel it is the best expression of the totality of the "all-hazards" role that the private police typically assume within their domain of operation. This role is not only imposed by client expectations and the specific terms of contracts, but also increasingly so by the courts in the case law pertaining to "negligent security" even if the contract is entirely silent about such issues. You cannot, for instance, imagine that under the terms of such a contract, you could simply hum a little tune to yourself while watching a fire engulf the facility without incurring massive liability. "Ah well, your Honor, the contract didn't say anything about fires!"....

        This title has the advantage of skirting pretty widely around any possibility of confusion with terms commonly used to refer to the public police as well. There are, of course, "public safety departments", and while they use the words "public safety officers", they cannot appropriate that phrase for themselves as the criterion for impersonating an officer, as I have explained fully elsewhere. As such, the use of that phrase in and of itself cannot constitute the crime of impersonating an officer. For instance, there is a large hospital located within just such a "public safety" jurisdiction whose officers' badges and patches say "public safety officer" on them, and they are in constant contact with the "public safety department" of the city without a word of complaint from them. Nor would such a complaint have any legal effect anyway, absent the other necessary elements required to support a charge of "impersonation" (for instance, their uniforms and badges are different in many other ways from those of the public agency).

        However, I feel that the use of the word "public" does probably unnecessarily tickle the sensibilities of the public police agency in a "public safety" jurisdiction. In other words, it adds nothing to the term "safety officer", which fully describes the officer's functions without using the word "public", so why use it if it only creates a needless source of tension between the private police and the public police?

        Another perfectly acceptable term, contrary to what some have said here, is "crime prevention officer". My objection to the use of this term is that, unlike "safety officer", it does not really describe the scope of activities that the private police perform, nor the totality of our mission. While crime prevention is certainly a significant aspect of our mission, the term de-emphasizes, at least in my opinion, the other-hazards aspects, which are also significant. "Safety" includes crime prevention, of course, whereas "crime prevention" does not include any other safety issues (fire, medical emergencies, etc.)

        It's as if a physician were to wear a patch that said "prescription-writer", when of course there are many, many other things that they do. Indeed, we use the term "pill-pusher" in a pejorative way that derives its force from the very fact that the term ignores much of what a physician does. So, if physicians encouraged us to think of themselves merely as "prescription-writers" by virtue of wearing such patches, we would hardly be surprised if the public perception of the physician were to suffer, would we? We find this analogy to be ridiculous for the very reason that we know physicians would never do such a thing...nor should we. We might as well wear patches that say "door-knob-officer". "Crime prevention" is merely one aspect of our mission.

        As a secondary objection, I find that "safety officer" presents a much more positive image (i.e., promoting safety) to the lay public than "crime prevention officer" (i.e., preventing crime) does.
        It wouldn't help in Quebec. French is the offical language here. Sécurité means both security AND safety.
        I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
        Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by HotelSecurity
          It wouldn't help in Quebec. French is the offical language here. Sécurité means both security AND safety.
          Actually, "safety" in French is "sûreté", not "sécurité".

          However, more to the point...I'm afraid that for practical reasons some of my remarks have to be directed to the majority of members who are working with the English language, English common law, etc. Unfortunately, it's impossible to for me try to cover all the other possibilities.
          "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

          "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

          "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

          "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

          Comment


          • I just wanted to point out that in Minnesota, using "public safety" is prohibited. Does that mean you will be arrested for impersonating? I honestly don't know...

            MN § 326.3384, Subd. 1 is amended to read: [Prohibition.] No license
            holder or employee of a license holder shall, in a manner that implies that
            the person is an employee or agent of a governmental agency, display on a
            badge, identification card, emblem, vehicle, uniform, stationery, or in
            advertising for private detective or protective agent services:
            (1) the words “public safety,” “police,” “constable,” “highway patrol,”
            “state patrol,” “sheriff,” “trooper,” or “law enforcement”; or
            (2) the name of a municipality, county, state, or of the United States, or
            any governmental subdivision thereof.


            Source: http://www.dps.state.mn.us/pdb/Resou...ssion_Chgs.pdf

            Up until late 2005 you could in fact use "Public Safety", but they opted to change that. I don't know of many companies that use(d) the title other than malls or hospitals, and a handful of universities. But of course, they are in-house and not contract, so the change to the law doesn't really apply to them.

            I know one of the major reasons for the change was due to the fact that a number of police & fire departments have merged to become "Anytown Department of Public Safety".

            As far as the arguement regarding being arrested for impersonating... In Minnesota you might, but I don't see a LEO arresting a rank and file security officer to prove a point. That LEO could simply bring it to the attention of the Department of Public Safety | Private Detective and Protective Agent Services Board for corrective action.

            MN § 609.475 IMPERSONATING OFFICER. Whoever falsely impersonates a police or military officer or public official with intent to mislead another into believing that the impersonator is actually such officer or official is guilty of a misdemeanor.
            Last edited by davis002; 01-04-2007, 09:49 PM.
            "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill." Sun-Tzu

            Comment


            • Originally posted by SecTrainer
              Actually, "safety" in French is "sûreté", not "sécurité".

              However, more to the point...I'm afraid that for practical reasons some of my remarks have to be directed to the majority of members who are working with the English language, English common law, etc. Unfortunately, it's impossible to for me try to cover all the other possibilities.
              Actually sécurité ALSO means safety. (Check Google tranlation). Our Fire Department is called the Service de la sécurité Incendie de Montréal. In this case it means safety not security. And to complicate things more sûreté can also mean safety AND security. For example the security at Montreal Airport & the Université de Montréal use sûreté. By the way I was not looking for an arguement with you I was just mentioning that I even thought it might be a good idea in some places, it would not help here in Québec.
              I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
              Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by HotelSecurity
                I was not looking for an arguement with you
                I never regard healthy debate or differing views as argument.
                "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

                Comment


                • Originally posted by SecTrainer
                  I never regard healthy debate or differing views as argument.
                  Except it wasn't a debate or argument. I was pointing out a fact!
                  I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                  Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                  Comment


                  • Interestingly, sûreté is also a term used by police; la Sûreté de Quebec, for example, is Quebec's provincial police force.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by bigshotceo
                      Interestingly, sûreté is also a term used by police; la Sûreté de Quebec, for example, is Quebec's provincial police force.
                      La Sûreté in France is the investigation division of the French Police, nothing to do with safety!
                      I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                      Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                      Comment


                      • They can call me anything they want. But I do prefer to be called that guy in the corner with the 40 cal on his hip and the crazed look in his eyes. Or sir is ok also.
                        THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A 911 CALL IS FOUR MINUTES
                        THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A .357 MAGNUM ROUND IS 1400 FEET PER SECOND?
                        http://www.boondocksaints.com/

                        Comment


                        • When I was younger and starting out and had a bit of a chip on my shoulder, I was all for the Security Officer tag. Now that I have been in the business for 15 years and grown up quite a bit and have seen my salary climb, I couldn't care less what people call me as long as my paycheck clears.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by CorpSec
                            When I was younger and starting out and had a bit of a chip on my shoulder, I was all for the Security Officer tag. Now that I have been in the business for 15 years and grown up quite a bit and have seen my salary climb, I couldn't care less what people call me as long as my paycheck clears.
                            And I second that!

                            Comment


                            • I prefer security officer

                              I prefer security officer...every time I hear security guard it makes me think of that fumbling old security guard from the andy griffith show...the old guy at the bank with the revolver that fall into pices when he tried to fire it or was asleep most of the time.

                              Comment


                              • Definition Guard: A pair of eyes and ears and not much else, poorly paid, not trained, a lot of negatives a bad representation of our industry.

                                Definition Security Officer: Trained to some standard: History of Security, Uniform Standards, Legislative Process, Introduction to the criminal justice system, legal term usage i.e. Alford Doctrine, Chip Smith Charge, Ejectment, and so on, Licensing Law P.A. 04-192 and subsections thereof, Statutory and Common Law, State and Federal Constutitional Law, Use of force and related laws, Weapons Study including covert, Domestic and Foreign Terrorism Studies, United States Federal Codes Criminal and Civil Rights Title 18, Introduction to state and federal government, Corporate Espionage, Police & Security Relations in depth study of both professions, Field Officer Safety and a lot more.

                                Now ask yourself what are you?
                                I am proudly a Security Officer

                                Comment

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