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  • Earning the most $$$ as a Security Officer

    The years I've worked as a S/O in the Los Angeles area, I've job-hopped from one guard company to another. I've learned that guard companies in California are notorious for underpaying their guards when they work overtime, then claim it was a clerical error when you bring it to their attention. I had learned from the Labor Board (a state agency that handles complaints of pay disputes) that a significant number of complaints of employers failing to pay employees for hrs worked are from guard companies.

    I've also learned that getting an exposed firearm permit, mace, baton, and spending hundreds $$ in buying a Kevlar vest and duty belt accessories, only paid an additional $1 to $1.25 an hour more (than an unarmed guard); and I had to drive at least 20 miles or more to my armed post, often in a high-crime area of Los Angeles (in the guard industry, they use the term "high-activity," so as not to worry the guard that he may end up getting killed). I've also realized it cost more $$ to contract for an armed guard, than an unarmed guard; but clients will pay the extra $$ because they had been stigmatized by an armed robbery, or shooting incident, in the last few months.

    In the Los Angeles area, a business will contract for an armed guard for maybe 1 to 3 months (following an armed robbery incident) as part of the healing process to give customers and employees a feeling of false security, that the trauma they had experienced will never happen again, now that an armed guard is on duty. I say "false sense of security" because I've watched crime reenactments on TV where a bank was robbed with an armed guard on duty.

    I've learned there are 2 ways to earn the most $$ as a S/O; the first is to leave the guard industry, apply for a city, county, state, or federal LE agency and go through their rigorous background checks, then pass their physically exhaustive Academy Training Program, where you're sworn as an LEO after completion of their tax-funded training program.

    In the city of Whittier (outside Los Angeles), there's a junior college called Rio Hondo College that offers a police academy program, which is open to the public. Those who are hired and sponsored by an LE agency have priority, but any vacancies remaining are filled in by students who wish to pay for their own training. If you complete this program, you're ready to be hired by any city police agency across the USA. Here's their link

    http://www.riohondo.edu/LEO/Police%2...tle%20page.htm

    The other option, is in-house security , and this is where the $$ is at in private security. If you're not familiar with the concept of in-house security versus a guard company, I shall elaborate further.

    If you were a business in need of uniformed, or plain-clothes S/O, you can either call a guard company to furnish your security staff, or hire your own staff of S/Os. Each has its pros and cons. Contracting with a guard company to provide you with security service is expensive. In the long run, its cheaper to hire your own staff. However, most companies prefer to call a guard company because it releases their liability risk, if the S/O were to make a bad arrest, or handles a delicate situation in a manner that results in injury, death, or property damage.

    If an investigation concludes that the S/O over-reacted (or under-reacted), and the S/O was negligent in handling the situation, then the employer must pay for civil and criminal damages resulting from the S/O's actions, if he/she were an in-house S/O. This liability risk is why there's not very many in-house security positions. When you contract with a guard company, you're immune from civil and criminal liability if the guard F's-up.

    One of the most lucrative in-house security position today is working as a baggage screener at the airport. Its a federal government position, so it comes with a retirement pension package. Pension is a lot better than a 401K retirement plan, so don't let anyone fool you into believing pension and 401K are one, and the same. Today, only city, state, county, and federal governments offer pension plans; while the private industry had gone over to 401K plans. 401k is cheaper to fund than pensions, but they last as long as there's a balance to draw $$ from.

    In contrast, pension are funded by tax payers, and it will continue to pay until you die. So if you live for another 100 years after you retire at 65 or 70, then you receive $$ benefits until they finally bury you. If you try to apply as a baggage screener, be advised that the testing includes writing out a proper incident report. The "incident report" part of the test is where a lot of applicants are failing. They check spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure of how you had written up your incident report. If you scored well in English when you were going through grade school, then you should look into this high-$$ paying job. There's plenty of overtime involved because there's a shortage of baggage screeners (who can past the written test). Here's their link

    https://tsacareers.taleo.net/

    Community and private colleges have in-house security. I attended Mt.San Antonio College (in Walnut, CA), and the guards are well paid, and intend on staying with the college until they retire, or go into LE work with a government agency. Besides these two, other in-house security employers are retail stores like Target, hospitals, and casinos. They don't pay as well as TSA or some colleges, but their pay and benefit packages are a lot better than what private guard companies are offering. To find out which companies offer in-house security in your area, pay close attention to the S/O's logo patch. Say the company is Walmart, the S/O's shoulder patch will say "Walmart Security." In my area, the only Walmart in-house security post is Lakewood, CA (zip 90712). All the other Walmarts had contracted with outside guard companies like Securitat.

    At one time, shopping malls were in-house security. I few years back, I heard some shopping mall guard over-reacted and was charged with excessive use of force with either his mace or baton. After that one incident, every shopping mall across the USA got rid of their in-house and went to an outside guard company.

    If you do succeed in landing an in-house security job, do not F-up and give your employer reason to get rid of his in-house staff, and go with a guard company !! I think its better to under-react, and just "observe and report;" than to over-react, and find yourself (and your employer) getting sued for negligence by your actions.

    Shopping malls in California all got rid of their in-house security after some guard F-up, and used his baton on someone. The S/O had allowed his emotion to take over, had used excessive force on a suspect, resulting in a huge settlement paid by the shopping mall. This incident prompted a lot of malls across the USA to get rid of their in-house security.

    If you're having a hard time getting hired on with a government LE agency, research and see if prison guards' training program meets POST (Police officers' standards of training) standards in your state. In California, DOC (Dept of Corrections) is always hiring prison guards because they have a high turnover rate, which is caused by guards who will use DOC as a stepping stone into becoming a LEO. Cal-DOC's academy training complies with POST, and prison guards will work for 2 or 3 years, then quit and transfer to a city police dept. If you're a California S/O, and would like to become a prison guard with DOC, here's their link.

    http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Career_Opport...POR/Index.html

  • #2
    Just a couple of points that I had a problem with.....
    I've learned there are 2 ways to earn the most $$ as a S/O; the first is to leave the guard industry, apply for a city, county, state, or federal LE agency and go through their rigorous background checks, then pass their physically exhaustive Academy Training Program, where you're sworn as an LEO after completion of their tax-funded training program.
    If you leave the guard industry then you are no longer earning money as a S/O. That's like saying, the way to make the make the most money as a taxi driver is to quit and take a job with the transit authority driving busses or subway cars.

    One of the most lucrative in-house security position today is working as a baggage screener at the airport.
    It's hard for me to to equate federal TSA employees with what is commonly regarded as In-House security. More accurately they are federal employees assigned to specific airports. Since they don't actually work for the airport I'd hesitate to list TSA screeners as In-House.

    If you do succeed in landing an in-house security job, do not F-up and give your employer reason to get rid of his in-house staff, and go with a guard company !! I think its better to under-react, and just "observe and report;" than to over-react, and find yourself (and your employer) getting sued for negligence by your actions.
    I try not to F-up in any job I hold. I don't see how one employee Fing up would result in an entire department being replaced by contractors. That's like saying, one mechanic Fed up so the plant replaced all of the mechanics with contractors. More than likely the employee who Fed up will be fired and replaced.

    After that one incident, every shopping mall across the USA got rid of their in-house and went to an outside guard company.
    I'm sure there are quite a few shopping malls around with their own in house guards. Cortana Mall here in Baton Rouge comes to mind.

    If you're a California S/O, and would like to become a prison guard with DOC, here's their link.
    I was a State prison guard for 6 years. I have nothing against the job but again I think you are saying that to make the most money as a Security Officer you should do something besides be a S/O.

    I think you missed many ways that someone in the Private Security industry can move up the pay scale.
    Hospital Security Officer

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    • #3
      After that one incident, every shopping mall across the USA got rid of their in-house and went to an outside guard company.
      Actually, I work for a security department at a United States mall and we are in-house.
      111th PAPD Class
      Bravo Platoon 4th Squad

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      • #4
        Here are a few examples why you shouldn't give-up on California private Security:
        • US Protect - $26 per hour with benefits, contract security
        • Pacific Gas and Electric - $34 per hour with benefits, in-house
        • Southern California Edison - $29 per hour with the best benefits, in-house
        • Pacific Eagle - $27 per hour with some benefits, contract security
        • Akal Security - $31 per hour with benefits, contract security


        There are many more like this, all you have to do is look around. Most of the security guys I work with cleared 80k last year and expect more this year. Public work is capped and you will only ever make so much, the private industry is completely what you make it and what you are willing to accept. I have been in the California security industry for over ten years and I think its great. My first security job in 1997 was working at a Taco Bell, contract security, for $19 per hour having a great time talking with interesting people.

        In the private business world here in America, you can become whatever you want. The whole world is open for you and its just what you are willing to work for and what you are willing to settle with. Try not to be discouraged.

        California Security Blog
        Domain Registration Services

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        • #5
          Good points, with one exception: armed government contracts. They pay around $17-$26/hour in the San Diego area.
          Police Officer

          Experience: Bouncer, EMT, Theme Park Security, Money Transport, Armed Guard

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          • #6
            Another non-security related thing. Your Cali-POST certificate won't get you anywhere outside of California. You will still need a POST certificate in the state you're working for.
            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

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            • #7
              Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
              Another non-security related thing. Your Cali-POST certificate won't get you anywhere outside of California. You will still need a POST certificate in the state you're working for.
              When Rio Hondo makes the claim that the certification is good across the USA, they are telling the truth for the most part. All states and Puerto Rico and DC allow certified peace officers from other states "challenge" their State Peace officer exams.

              When I as considering moving to Georgia, I checked with GPOST about this (the last thing I want to do is go back through a full police academy, once is enough lol) and was pointed to their website's FAQ section.

              http://www.gapost.org/faq.htm

              If you are certified in another state or were a federal peace officer and have not had a more than three (3) year break in service, you may be eligible to exempt portions of the Georgia Basic Law Enforcement Training Course. If you feel that you meet this requirement, you may request an equivalency rating. In your written request, you must include:

              1. Basic Course Completion Certificate

              2. Copy of State Issued Certification, and

              3. Law Enforcement History (Resume)
              This is the web page for out of state LEOs coming in to Texas.

              TCLEOSE Out of State Peace officer requirements

              And the one for out of staters moving to California...

              http://www.post.ca.gov/faqs/become.asp

              #6.
              I have completed a basic course in another state, can I transfer my training to California?

              California POST does not have reciprocity with other states, nor do we have a challenge process. California POST has a Basic Course Waiver (BCW) process for individuals who want to become California peace officers and have completed at least 664 hours of general law enforcement training (including a general law enforcement basic course of at least 200 hours), and have at least one year of successful sworn general law enforcement experience. The BCW is a 4-step process that includes: self-assessment/application; POST evaluation; written and skills testing; and issuance of a waiver letter. Once the BCW process is successfully completed, the applicant receives a waiver of the California Regular Basic Course; however, acceptance of the waiver is at the discretion of the employing agency.
              (BCW = the same thing most states do.)

              A Peace officer's license from one state is NOT an automatic "in" in another state, but it is a major major short cut. You still have to take their peace officer exam, but you usually don't have to go through a whole Academy again.
              ~Black Caesar~
              Corbier's Commandos

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

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              • #8
                When I moved from Ohio to Arizona - I had to be re-certified, they did not recognize any other state's certification. I had to go through the academy.
                Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
                  When I moved from Ohio to Arizona - I had to be re-certified, they did not recognize any other state's certification. I had to go through the academy.
                  How long ago was that? Arizona has a waver program like California's, but I don't know how old it is.

                  http://www.azpost.state.az.us/

                  If the applicant served honorably as a peace officer in another state or with a federal agency and he/she meets all of the Az POST requirements for eligibility, he/she may utilize the AZ POST Waiver Process and, if successful, be certified as an Arizona peace officer without being required to attend and successfully complete an academy.
                  I had a buddy who worked with me at Wackenhut in '97, he had retired from the Army after 20 years and had just completed his Academy Training, and got a job with a Sheriff's office here in North Texas. Well, his wife (who also had just retired from the Army after 20) got a better job offer in the Phoenix area. He applied with Phoenix PD and was told he had to go through the entire academy, but a couple other places (I think one of them was Maricopa County SO) told him all he'd have to do is apply for a waiver. Last I heard from him he'd got one with some suburban PD and didn't have to go to an Academy. I think individual departments can choose whether or not to take a waiver applicant.
                  ~Black Caesar~
                  Corbier's Commandos

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Black Caesar View Post
                    How long ago was that? Arizona has a waver program like California's, but I don't know how old it is.

                    http://www.azpost.state.az.us/



                    I had a buddy who worked with me at Wackenhut in '97, he had retired from the Army after 20 years and had just completed his Academy Training, and got a job with a Sheriff's office here in North Texas. Well, his wife (who also had just retired from the Army after 20) got a better job offer in the Phoenix area. He applied with Phoenix PD and was told he had to go through the entire academy, but a couple other places (I think one of them was Maricopa County SO) told him all he'd have to do is apply for a waiver. Last I heard from him he'd got one with some suburban PD and didn't have to go to an Academy. I think individual departments can choose whether or not to take a waiver applicant.
                    It was 1979 and I was with the AG's office. It's good to see they've lightened up.
                    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
                    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

                    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
                      Another non-security related thing. Your Cali-POST certificate won't get you anywhere outside of California. You will still need a POST certificate in the state you're working for.
                      Yeah, like here in MN, where we're "hoity toity" and yer too damn dumb to be a cop unless you go to college (anyone else ever worked with the 4 year degree idiot that didn't know their head from their A$$?)... I think there should just be a federal standard of training. That way, no matter where you go, you know the same thing as the people that have been there for a couple years. Of course, I don't know how practicle that would be.....
                      Apparently a HUGE cop wannabe...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sgtnewby View Post
                        Yeah, like here in MN, where we're "hoity toity" and yer too damn dumb to be a cop unless you go to college (anyone else ever worked with the 4 year degree idiot that didn't know their head from their A$$?)... I think there should just be a federal standard of training. That way, no matter where you go, you know the same thing as the people that have been there for a couple years. Of course, I don't know how practicle that would be.....
                        http://www.dps.state.mn.us/newpost/faqs/faqs.htm#III

                        I am an officer in another state. How can I become eligible for a Minnesota license?

                        Generally, if you have been a law enforcement officer in another state and have worked for three years and have a post-secondary degree; or have worked for five years, you may be eligible for Reciprocity.
                        Not too hoity toity to me it seems.
                        ~Black Caesar~
                        Corbier's Commandos

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

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                        • #13
                          I am an officer in another state. How can I become eligible for a Minnesota license?

                          Generally, if you have been a law enforcement officer in another state and have worked for three years and have a post-secondary degree; or have worked for five years, you may be eligible for Reciprocity.
                          "You may be eligible". They look at it on a case-by-case basis. As everyone should know, experience does not automatically result in expertise.
                          Last edited by davis002; 02-20-2008, 10:00 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

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by OMG_Ihatethisjob View Post
                            At one time, shopping malls were in-house security. I few years back, I heard some shopping mall guard over-reacted and was charged with excessive use of force with either his mace or baton. After that one incident, every shopping mall across the USA got rid of their in-house and went to an outside guard company.
                            I am a Shift Supervisor/Sergeant for an in-house mall security department. Another mall that has in-house security is Mall of America.


                            Sometimes I wish our mall was contract as the company that runs us doesnt know how to do security.
                            "I am not a hero. I am a silent guardian, a watchful protector"

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                            • #15
                              Earning the most...?

                              I always thought doing your job was a good way to make more money. I dunno, it seems to work for me.

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