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  • What a cop thinks about security........article

    Interesting Article, what do you think?

    Just a Security Guard?
    The deception of perception
    http://www.officer.com/web/online/Operations-and-Tactics/Just-a-Security-Guard/3$37584

    Updated: August 28th, 2007 05:06 AM PDT


    Most Read Most E-mailed E-mail Article Print Article

    KEITH R. LAVERY
    Security Strategies Contributor
    Officer.com

    Remember the old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover"? I think it is safe to say that most of us still do, even though we are supposed to be "trained observers" or think from an investigative perspective. However, I have experienced that when law enforcement officers (LEOs) interact with security officers, the police types seem to shun those not driving a black and white.

    As I look back over my police career, spanning the last 17 years, I can vividly recall responding to incidents where the local security officer was at the scene first. After clearing the call, officers I worked with would make snide remarks toward the security officer, such as "wannabe," "just a (expletive) guard," or something negative to that effect. I also remembered when I was in college and working part-time as an LEO I decided to work with a private investigator for additional hours so that I could make ends meet. This particular PI was a former police sergeant for a decent-size Ohio agency who told me, and evidently I have never forgotten it, "You will either get into security and then police work, or retire from police work and then go to security." The PI told me that one is a natural extension of the other. He left public service for the private sector because he had a wife and three kids; he doubled his salary. He wanted to give his family what he never had growing up, and he found out that the private sector was a lot more lucrative than working rotating shifts for the city. If you have done the job long enough and are like most cops, you can probably recall chasing bad guys on foot through dark alleys at "zero dark 30" in the morning for what seemed like nickel and dime compensation. Heck, I can remember doing just that for $6.00 an hour, and that was in 1993.

    So why do cops treat security officers, or "guards"--whatever you want to call their occupation although I think the term "guard" is most often used rudely--as a "lesser than"? Is it because LEO's have clear statutory authority? We protect the public, and they protect buildings? Training standards for uniformed physical security are generally lower than those than police? Maybe it's none of the above, or all of the above and then some. Personally, I think it boils down to ignorance on behalf of the cop, coupled with good old-fashioned police ego...if I am allowed to generalize. This is my article, so therefore, I will. Now, remember, I am still a police officer, so before you fire off thousands of hate mails my way, keep reading. I would argue that as human beings there is a natural tendency to believe what we see, no matter how well we are trained to be critical thinkers, and that is dangerous.

    That's the danger of perception; it's shallow in depth. Therefore, it is limited in truth.

    Remember being angry when you overheard someone say at the local dinner or coffee shop that "cops must not do anything because they are always sitting here" and you just arrived to eat your lunch four hours overdue and after you answered 15 calls within the last three hours? The public's perception of you can be nothing more than pure stupidity, right? The truth is that citizen who was judging you simply does not know your job, what you are trained to do, what you just did, and how you account for your every hour of your tour. They just saw you sitting there drinking coffee. Now, how many times have you been judgmental to others? I know I have been, too often.

    At some point in your career as a cop, you will stop being a cop. We will not carry the badge forever. You will either retire with a full pension, partial pension, or disability. Then what do you do? Well that is up to you, but as that old PI once told me "...one is a natural extension of the other," and when the private sector can pay in the six figure range for well qualified security managers, who wouldn't want to make that transition? My wife and I recently returned from vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. While at the resort I thought, "what is would be like to be the security manager here, waking up in paradise every morning, earning double what I made as a street cop?" But how would you get there if you wanted to make that change? What's required? Say, for instance, that you did not want to work in the security sector that focuses on a lodging environment. Are there other venues? You bet. There are many different aspects to working as a professional within the security industry. I will not cover them here; this is just the beginning.

    Keith R. Lavery, M.A., is a full-time criminal justice educator teaching secondary education and having taught law enforcement, criminal justice and security courses at the post-secondary level. Keith had a very diverse police career for over 17 years, working in urban and rural law enforcement settings with assignments ranging from patrol to specialized functions, and to stay current in the field, works part-time as a patrol officer in Northeastern Ohio. Keith is currently the Law Enforcement Liaison for the Cleveland, Ohio, Chapter of ASIS International.
    "You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em."
    (Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC, Marine, 1962.)

  • #2
    I don't know if it's snobbery, egotism or ignorance... but the fact that many LEO's retire and gravitate towards the Security Industry would make you think they'd be more understanding towards the SO's role

    In my dealings with local LEO's I've not noted this 'attitude' though that's not to say it's not present (as I'm still relatively new to this field)
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill

    Comment


    • #3
      After I finnished reading the article I felt it was more or less a recuiting article for LEO's to consider Security work as post-retirement emplyment option than it was a let's give security a break article
      ~Super Ninja Sniper~
      Corbier's Commandos

      Nemo me impune lacessit

      Grammical and Spelling errors may occur form time to time. Yoov bin worned

      Comment


      • #4
        That was somewhat refreshing to see. But so very true.
        " We are determined that before the sun sets on this terrible struggle, our flag will be recognized throughout the world as a symbol of freedom on one hand and of overwhelming force on the other" - General George C. Marshall

        Comment


        • #5
          He makes a point of discussing retiring from cop work and getting a job as a security manager with a raise in pay. Very nice but he misses the majority of us who have never been cops, don't want to be cops and are making far less than the money he expects when talking about doubling his salary. There's a big difference from working in management and sitting in a tiny booth with no climate control at a construction site for minimum wage. I bet everyone here who drives around in a beat up patrol car bought at a police aution or who is wearing a uniform they had to buy out of their own pocket would like to wake up in paradise every morning too. The fact is we wake up and go to work in malls full of vandalizing juvenile delinquents, hospitals full of distraught family members, section 8 housing projects full of armed criminals and industrial sites where we bust our butts signing in employees and lifting hoods and searching trunks of every greasy, dirty truck or car entering our gates. We drag ourselves through our 8, 10 or 12 hour shifts then go home to clip coupons, get a little sleep and try to figure out how we are going to pay our bills on the paltry wages so common in the industry.
          I appreciate what he was trying to say (can't we all just get along) but I don't think he got the right message across.
          Just my 2 cents.
          Hospital Security Officer

          Comment


          • #6
            Appluads EMTGuard
            ~Super Ninja Sniper~
            Corbier's Commandos

            Nemo me impune lacessit

            Grammical and Spelling errors may occur form time to time. Yoov bin worned

            Comment


            • #7
              Preach it brother!!

              Comment


              • #8
                The most important thing the guy said was the part about perception.

                And given how many "lowest common denominator" companies there are out their (for which I was a Security Sgt major for one of them lol), how many S/Os their are out there who really are wannabe cops but can't make it to the big show (i know several) and how many S/Os out there who are not interested (and not paid enough) to care about the image they project, is it any wonder that "the whole" is painted with the same ignorant brush as "the few"?

                The bad perception of private security isn't JUST ingorance and misperception on the part of the outside observer (and I'm one of those who started on the private side before I went public). The bad perception of security is at least partly a self-inflicted wound. Private Security allows itself to be seen negatively, and thus it is seen negatively.

                The same goes for Public Law Enforcement (by not policing itself well enough, there are just enough bad/stupid cops to make all cops look bad) and my own slice of the LE pie, Campus Police. There are just enough "John Wayne" campus cops who are more interested in trying to play street cop and throwing their weight around than protecting their campus (and carrying forward the mission of education) to make the whole lot of us look like stupid incompetant wanna-bes by association.

                Are public perceptions of us (protective workers) totally fair? HELL NO, in fact those perceptions are mostly incorrect. Sometimes people are just stupid, or bigots (yes you can be a bigot against a profession), or too lazy to find the truth, or watch too much TV. But when we HELP REINFORCE (or allow others in our line of work to reinforce) the negative perceptions of our respecitve fields (public or private), we are partly to blame for it.

                -----
                Lastly and I'm Not trying to be insulting here, but I've seen people on this forum have real bad hard-ons against cops as much and in some cases more so than the cops have against security , and I say "check yourself" first.
                Being mad at cop's anti-security bigotry when YOU are an anti-cop bigot is REALLY hypcritical. Understanding isn't a one way street.......
                Last edited by Black Caesar; 08-31-2007, 12:55 AM.
                ~Black Caesar~
                Corbier's Commandos

                " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here are a few unorganized comments I have; if it weren't 3am in the morning I'd try to be a little more coherent:

                  1) One of the reasons why people complain about those who perform a "private-police" type role is this: the companies are trying to recruit people who have the same interests, skills and qualities as one would expect from potential LEOs, and expect them to perform a role quite similar to law enforcement, but pay them (in many cases) a lot less, no benefits, less job security and less respect. Given that law enforcement application requirements focus a lot more on life experience and your character than education/work experience, it's very difficult to find people who would be tempted by the security job but not the law enforcement job.

                  2) I hear a lot of complaints about "wannabeism". However, it becomes very difficult to describe exactly what wannabeism is. In many cases, it's seen as overagressiveness/persistence. That in itself does not make someone a wannabe. I also hear a lot of people say that security guards often go outside of their expected roles. Well, I would agree this is true, but it is also true of many other occupations, such as policing. As a police officer, one would often perform many roles, including babysitter, counsellor, medical assessment person, psychologist, social worker, etc that they are not trained for and which unlicenced practice could be illegal. Is it because the police officer, for example, wanted to be a psychologist but couldn't make the cut. No, they do it because sometimes things need to be done. It's not the best solution, but it works.

                  3) Sometimes I think we have unrealistic expectations about security guards. If someone doesn't give a damn about their job they're stereotyped as a "lazy guard". If they actually care about their job and put in a lot of effort they're considered a "wannabe" or "robocop", no matter what they're actually doing or how it fits into the security framework. I think that much of the "wannabe" accusations are made by fellow security guards, who are content to treat their job as a rest period and don't want to disturb the status quo.

                  4) Unfortunately, policing tends to create an insular personality. In many cases due to elements of the job (such as being at constant risk for attack and constantly being lied to) LEOs tend to create an "us vs them" framework, with law enforcement being at one side and everyone else at the other. That is why it can be difficult for them to fit security guards into that framework (ie "they aren't one of us, so are they one of them?")

                  5) If you look at policing (and I'm referring to the broad academic sense) it used to be much more of a decentralized thing. Communities would have volunteers out there keeping the peace, the police were more attached to their communities, and their existed more informal, social methods of enforcement the laws and customs of the land. Only in the mid-to-late 20th century did all forms of enforcement slowly shift to an autonomous, centralized agency, the various police forces. In many ways, the "private police"-type work is an effort to decentralize policing and bring it to the communities again, which is partly in response to the failure of the centralized model. Natually, the police are up in arms against this, as their belief by and far is that the best hope is to bolster and enhance the centralized model (ie more police). As such, they often consider new models a threat.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bigshotceo View Post

                    2) I hear a lot of complaints about "wannabeism". However, it becomes very difficult to describe exactly what wannabeism is.In many cases, it's seen as overagressiveness/persistence. That in itself does not make someone a wannabe.
                    I don't see it that way, a true "wanna-be" of any type stands out, their frustration at not getting to where they want to be is evident in inappropriate actions that have little or nothing to do with their assigned jobs.

                    Heck, I darn near wrote a novel about one not long ago in this Thread.

                    I also hear a lot of people say that security guards often go outside of their expected roles. Well, I would agree this is true, but it is also true of many other occupations, such as policing. As a police officer, one would often perform many roles, including babysitter, counsellor, medical assessment person, psychologist, social worker, etc that they are not trained for and which unlicenced practice could be illegal. Is it because the police officer, for example, wanted to be a psychologist but couldn't make the cut. No, they do it because sometimes things need to be done. It's not the best solution, but it works.
                    But you have to look at the intent of the person. If the person is taking an action because of a reasonable and urgent need, then yea, what you say makes sense. If the person is doing it "just because they want to", or to make themselves look good, or to prop up their ego, then thats differant. I could tell even more stories than the one I posted in that thread, hell i could post Campus Police stories nearly as bad.

                    3) Sometimes I think we have unrealistic expectations about security guards. If someone doesn't give a damn about their job they're stereotyped as a "lazy guard". If they actually care about their job and put in a lot of effort they're considered a "wannabe" or "robocop", no matter what they're actually doing or how it fits into the security framework. I think that much of the "wannabe" accusations are made by fellow security guards, who are content to treat their job as a rest period and don't want to disturb the status quo.
                    That may be true in some cases, some people are just that petty.

                    Caring about the job doesn't make someone a wanna-be cop, trying to do someone else's job when they don't need or want you to, that you have no authority or training to do and that you do while you ignore your own job does make that person a wanna-be.

                    With respect, the things I quoted above seem like excuse making for wanna-be's to me. You your self said in your post the LE and Security attract the same types of people. But the truth is LE is hard(er) to get into, where as rank and file security isn't (the higher you go on the corporate ladder it is hard, and some rank and file jobs like government contracts or high profile privte concerns are VERY hard, but almost anyone with a clean record over the age of 18 can walk in off the street and get an unarmed O&E guard job, I know, i did it like 4 times from the time I was 20 till i was 23 lol).

                    The fact is there are LE rejects in private security, and private security is a popular refuge for cops who got tossed because they got introuble and got fired. I personally know 7 (2 former campus cops I worked with, 1 guy I went to the academy with and 4 former city cops) who now work security or LP. As a member of my department's hiring board i've reviewed applications from guys who were ex-cops (most with thick internal affiairs files lol) and the only "after-LE" job that was near as popular with these failed former cops as Private Security was Construction (and no we didn't hire any of them lol).

                    They (cop wanna-bes) are a tiny minority (and almost always work for companies that put them in "hard" uniforms, i didn't meet any "wanna-bes when i worked focompanies that put us in soft uniforms), but their stupid actions bring attention to them that far outweigh their numbers. As long as industry standards and so disasterously low, it will reamin so.

                    If you say that most of the wanna-be accusations are false and unfair, i'd agree with you, but the fact is there are just enough wanna-bes and used-to-bees in private security to give at least shallow credance to the Sterotype.
                    Last edited by Black Caesar; 08-31-2007, 06:07 AM.
                    ~Black Caesar~
                    Corbier's Commandos

                    " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      *claps wildly* Way to tell it EMTGuard!
                      Apparently a HUGE cop wannabe...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm not denying that the "wannabes" exist, I'm commenting on how the label comes to exist and how it is often too broadly applied. I have no doubt that you can pick them out, Black Caesar. Indeed, I think that the people stand out most in this respect are not "wannabes", but in fact simply nutcases. They're not trying to be cops, they're just out there doing stupid things.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bigshotceo View Post
                          I'm not denying that the "wannabes" exist, I'm commenting on how the label comes to exist and how it is often too broadly applied.

                          I agree it's too broadly applied, but I (slightly) disagree with you (and the author of the article) about where it comes from. I also disagree about the difficulty of telling who is a wanna-be and who isn't, the guy who'se put in dozens of applications to PDs and been rejected every time so he decides to take his auction bought crown vic on the highway and pull people over with a hair dryer is clearly a wanna-be (being a wanna-be and being a nutjub aren't mutually exclusive).

                          I believe that focusing on the external (some cops bigotry regarding private security) keeps us from from proper review of the internal causes of the sterotype. In most of you guys cases, it's the actions of the private security industry that causes the bad perceptions, in my case it's the actions of various nimrods in campus police uniforms who are secretly and internally pissed about the fact that no decent paying city PD will hire them (so they find excuses to do things like conduct traffic stops a mile from campus which, while legal here in Texas because we have County wide Jurisdiction, just isn't something we should be worrying about because we have a campus to defend and that's Dallas PD's job down the street).

                          Ultimately, the only things we can control is ourselves, and if we do that, THEN we can complain fully about unfair characterzations by outsiders, but until our own houses are in order, complaining about the complainers makes us hypocrites.

                          and yes I know I'm wandering, but it is 6am in the morning lol.

                          --------

                          funny lil side note:

                          I was watching "The Guardian" the other night, and earlier that day i'd dealt with a somewhat rude Dallas cop.

                          Not going to spoil this excellant movie for anyone who hasn't seen it (you really should), but at one point Kevin Costner is talking to Aston Kutcher after an incident with some Navy guys and says (paraphrasing) "They look down on us because they are combat oriented and we're about protection 1st, but we're all military"..

                          ......Which is a point of friction between campus cops and municipal police also (and I figure private security feels the same way).....

                          I laughed, because I realised that the United States Coast Guard is the "Campus Police" of the Military .
                          Last edited by Black Caesar; 08-31-2007, 07:40 AM.
                          ~Black Caesar~
                          Corbier's Commandos

                          " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I remember seeing that movie, and getting a kick out of that line also.
                            "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

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                            • #15
                              Our Department prides itself on its professionalism and generally hires accordingly. All my dealings with local LEO's have been decent enough. I actually had a few guys almost apologize to me because I had to deal with a drunk technically outside of the property I protect which would be their problem not mine. Our Security Director is an ex-cop of many years so he keeps us trained well and the local LEO's know it.
                              -Protect and Serve-

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