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Projection of Authority, Fear, Resentment

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  • Projection of Authority, Fear, Resentment

    Ok, I'm going to try to hammer out something I just thought about, and see how others feel about this.

    For some elements of society, the uniformed presence of a law enforcement officer creates a modification of behavior. They may slow down abruptly when speeding upon seeing the police vehicle. They may be quieter - not so boisterous or stop using profanity, when on the street. If they are mistreating, or have the perception they are, a person - they will stop and start acting friendly towards that person.

    However, we add a uniformed security officer. Public perception is that the uniformed security officer has less power than the private citizen - usually the average private citizen does not know their own rights and powers - and therefore, a resentment comes up.

    The speeder, having identified the cruiser as anything but a sworn officer, will usually race by it - angry that it dared make them slow down. I have seen speeders do this to park rangers and state wildlife officers (Who then proceed to pop them as state officers), and to other security companies.

    The person is public is now resentful of this person's lack of appearant authority - they feel tricked by the uniform and resent having been made afraid by what appeared to be a "sworn officer". They will usually then harass or otherwise interefere with the security officer. Sometimes, this ends up with a confrontation and an arrest/detainment by the security officer for disorderly conduct, battery, or a trespass warning issued.

    When you add firearms and other duty gear, the public may feel even more resentful. Why does this person get to carry a gun, but I can't? It usually ends up with an arrest/detainment, or trespass warning issued.

    Alot of companies believe the answer to this is soft uniforms, or corporate enviornment uniforms. People no longer feel resentful of the "false authority" that the police-style uniform gives, and ignore the security officer. Those who would harass the officer usually will simply ignore them, and may not engage in behavior that warrants the officer taking enforcement action.

    However, when a soft uniform or corporate uniform takes enforcement action, there's immediately initial resistance - your a security guard, you can't do anything to me, I know my rights. This has happened with a simple, "Could you stop yelling," or "Please leave." At that time, there is no fear factor on the part of the rule/law violator, and it is an uphill battle to restore order to the situation. Calling the police initially for every rule violation is not the answer, as then there is absolutely no purpose for the client to have uniformed security, as the police will quickly report to the client.

    So, any suggestions on how to manage the fear of public authority, and the resentment that security officers in hard uniforms "fake" that public authority?
    Last edited by N. A. Corbier; 11-05-2005, 12:59 PM.
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

  • #2
    Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
    So, any suggestions on how to manage the fear of public authority, and the resentment that security officers in hard uniforms "fake" that public authority?
    I do not think that other people's emotions are something for us to manage. People will naturally harbor feelings of fear and resentment toward anyone in a position of authority...anyone. I've found that these negative people tend to be the trouble makers: bullies who resent teachers and faculty, crooks who hate cops, stoners who hate the clinicians that drug test them, prisoners who hate the correctional officers, and the list goes on.

    What is your concern? Should we not treat these people the way we do now? In essence, should we coddle them? I am not sure what your point is.

    By wearing my uniform I do not intend to cause anyone harm. If someone perceives this..then that is their perception...but it is not my intention. If someone has psycological issues then I think that they should get them taken care of.

    If someone were to constantly feel in fear and resentful (with no provacation) then I would be more than happy to assist them by referring them to the Mental Health Services section of the Yellow Pages.


    • #3
      Ah, but, to decrease liability, companies ARE trying to manage the fear of others. Look at companies such as Weiser Security, who prohibit hard badges in lieu of soft badges, so not to have people think they are a public agency.

      Look, also, at other steps that they take. Prohibition of duty gear, etc. All of these things, especially from client point of view, are to "minimize problems."

      That's what I'm getting at. What methods should be used to manage the emotions behind a threat group - those who are "troublemakers" and harbor resentment - who then engage in activity which may result in liability issues. USC Title 18 SS 1983 suit, excessive force claims, arrest by police for force, worker's compensation claim by employee...

      These are the things running through the insurance company's mind.
      Some Kind of Commando Leader

      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law


      • #4
        Well, speaking of my personal circumstances, my company has us wear regular tin badges with the words "Security Officer" incscribed. We also wear duty belts.

        To best answer your question. I think that we can manage behaviour better than emotions. Emotions are largely selective to each individual.

        I agree that people can feel resentful toward a Security Officer as he may bear a slight resemblance to that of an official from a public agency.

        This has happened with me a few the request of the property manager, I asked vagrants to leave. They thought that because I wasn't LE..that I had no right to ask them that. I confirmed that I wasn't LE and I told them that if they wanted to avoid legal remedies that they should leave.

        My point being..we still have will always bother someone. But we can not just refuse to use our authority because people feel negatively about it.
        Last edited by ; 11-05-2005, 05:32 PM.


        • #5
          Honestly, these feelings will always be there. Personally, I don't think the uniform is really the problem... it's the whole package. If an Officer approaches someone with the wrong attitude (a certain video springs to mind), then how professional his uniform looks is a moot point. On the flip side, an Officer with proper training, and a good professional attitude could approach someone, while wearing a shoddy, unkempt uniform, and have problems as well. Over the past 8 months that my department has existed, simply having a uniformed Officer patrolling the property has dropped PD's calls for service on our property by over 60%, and it continues to drop every month.. Yes, there are some people who will get confrontational when they realize a person is not a sworn LEO, but with an Officer who looks AND acts professional, those people are few & far between...

          Corbier's Commandos - "Stickin it to the ninjas!"
          Originally posted by ValleyOne
          BANG, next thing you know Bob's your Uncle and this Sgt is seemingly out on his a$$.
          Shoulda called in sick.
          Be safe!


          • #6
            As I understand your question; Are there a lot of people mad because they thought you were a cop then discovered you weren?t?

            From my experience in both private and public sector, I think your misplacing some people?s hostility. There are many people who automatically resent authority, which is what the uniform and badge are representing. With most of these people, it really doesn?t matter if you?re public or private, the will try to push your buttons. They are all after the same reaction, whether conscious of it or not, to see you lose control. When you get mad, they figure they won somehow. It is up to the individual on how far they push. There are those who WANT a beating in an effort to get a lawsuit or notoriety.

            How you deal with all of these, no matter if your badge says ?Security? or ?Police? is professionally. Your professionalism is your approach, your uniform, and your contact. If you present a great level of professionalism, most of these problem people will become cooperative and comply with your requests. There will be exceptions, but that is when you call for back-up to help CYA and deal with the subject.


            • #7
              That is why confrontational management is so key to either private security or public law enforcement. When you lose your professional aire, the otherside wins.
              AASC, you and N.A. Corbier understand the pulse of humanity. Good going guys!
              Enjoy the day,