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Useless Until You Need Us: Life In Security

Posted May 8th, 2014 at 11:16 PM by Phantom

"Security is taken for granted until something happens. Until then, you roll your eyes at them. You give them lip and disregard their orders."

Pigs. Rent-a-cops. Wannabe cops. Academy drop outs. Mall cops.

I've been in the security for five years now. I've done every job imaginable within the industry; access control, crowd control, 'guarding precious cargo', bodyguard work, protecting assets and property, patrol positions, posted positions, specials, strikes, parties, and bouncing. It's not a job I would force upon just anyone.

It's the least rewarding job in the world, but I'm proud.

It's a thankless job, and that's because we deal with thankless people on a daily basis. Security is seen the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to any position.. and man... are we are treated like it. I've been called every name in the book in the past five years, all for doing my job and doing it right.

Let's look at what a security guard or officer is. A security officer is a person who is contracted to protect property or people. It's their job to respond to emergencies, enforce property rules, and finally to observe, report and document any and all incidents that occur on the property. If there is a security officer on property then that means that it is private property and they are there to protect it and the people that are on it.

Ask any guard and they'll tell you a different story. Sure we protect the property and enforce rules and respond in emergencies, but that's only a part. The rest of it? Dealing with people who don't want to be dealt with. Just yesterday I was told I was 'worthless idiot' by a suit because they forgot their access badge and I would not allow them on property until they were properly checked in. Did I retaliate? Nope. I just stood my ground and politely told them the proper policy... over and over again before finally threatening to call their supervisor. But if that person were to have a heart attack later that day? I would be the first one to respond, and maybe save their life.

There are some things I want you to remember.

Security personnel are highly trained individuals by law. Security officers go through hours of mandated training per year in order to keep their jobs. These classes are things like First Responder training, basic CPR and AED training, Verbal Judo, PPCT or some form of hands-on training. Officers need to have basic profiling skills. They need to be able to remember small details. They also needed to be trained in the programs and technology of the industry; i.e. camera systems, fire and alarm systems, and more. These things are required to work on-site and to keep their license. Many are former or current military, part or full time police officers, or are in school for law enforcement.

Any security officer that has taken verbal judo would be able to talk you out of anything, seriously. (I love that class.)

Officers have the right to make a citizen's arrest and to detain a suspect until police officers arrive. They also have the right to 'trespass' a person, meaning that the person is banned from coming onto the property for a set amount of time; usually a year.

Security officers are risking their lives every day when they come to work. Think of it for a moment. If something happens on property, bomb threat, fire, active shooter, any emergency, who is the first on scene? It's not the police, the fire department, or EMS, it's security. You never know what each day might bring. Hell, the things I've seen in just my five years alone are testimony to that. Many officers have died in the line of duty protecting the people they work with every day. Protecting lives of the people who most of the time are rude to them, or don't even bother to return the greeting the officer gives them every day when they come in for work. They died doing a job that barely pays above minimum wage.

In 2012 a public notice was released of the actions committed against security officers that year. There were 37,000 assaults made against security officers, as well as 13,700 injuries that were the result of those assaults. And that year there were 114 security officers killing on the job, just in the US alone.

For the record, the deaths were result of the following:
•54 Shot
•11 Stabbed
•19 Trauma/Assault
•10 Car Accidents
•6 Industrial Accidents
•14 Unclassified.

This is a current list of officer deaths from this year so far, and it's not even all of them.

Security officers are people, just like you. If you worked a job where people verbally and physically assaulted you every day... That list up there? It doesn't include the eleven officer suicides.

That guard that you pass every day on the way to work? The one you ignore, that you called stupid under your breath as you passed? I bet they'd run it through their head. I bet they've thought what would happen in a emergency situation. They know how to respond, how to act calm in a dire situation.

Security is taken for granted until something happens.

Until then, you roll your eyes at them. You give them lip and disregard their orders.

Thing is, we know what you think of us, but that wouldn't stop us from trying to save your life if something happened to you or if someone tried to damage or steal your property. We prevent shoplifting and damage to property. We keep order, yet still help a lost child find their parent.

A few months ago there was a young woman at my work. Her abusive ex had shown up at the property and tried to see her but was stopped by security. For the next month I escorted her to her vehicle every day to make sure that she got there safely. She thanked me later, one of the few who ever did.

Last summer a disgruntled employee threatened to return with a gun and kill most of his coworkers. We increased security and patrols, hired extra guards, and he didn't dare come back. Hell, he wouldn't have been able to get into the building.

A year ago a woman called me to ask if I could let her husband in to take her to the hospital. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed me to call 911, she said no... but thanks to my training I knew sometimes a lot of people deny help when they really actually needed it. I called 911 anyways and had responders there within three minutes. She was actually having a heart attack but didn't want to believe it. I very well may have saved her life that day.

One hot summer I remember standing outside by a car that had a dog locked in it by a neglectful owner. As I waited for the police to come and deal with the dog, I was pouring it water through the window trying to cool the poor thing down.

One day after work on rainy morning I found a tiny kitten underneath my car, muddy and crying. I took it home cleaned it up, and, long story short, I now have a cat.

I once was hired as a personal bodyguard for a wedding in order to protect the bride from an abusive father.

Two years ago I was escorting a drunk homeless man off property who decided to turn on me with a knife. I was able to disarm him and get him in handcuffs. When we searched him we found he had a gun too.

This is not even close to all the things that have happened to me while working. These sort of things are EVERY DAY. (I get called a ♥♥♥♥♥ daily, I sort of look for it now.)

Next time you see someone in a security uniform, thank them. It will make their day to know that at least one person in the place appreciates them. You never know when you might need them.
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  1. Old Comment
    An excellent entry Phantom, I've been in the cadets for around four years (3 Army, nearly 1 in the Air Force). We don't carry guns or protect people but they teach basic discipline and the respect that our parent services demand of their members. Thank you for doing your job, even if it is seen as lowly by many. 99% of the population in this country do NOT carry firearms, if any psychopath did start shooting it would be up to you to protect us carefree, woefully ignorant individuals.

    Being a security guard is a very brave and selfless thing to do, even if the risks seem less than a soldier deployed in Afghanistan they're still there, and you'll be ready to deal with a situation if something goes wrong. As a civilian you aren't entitled to a salute but you definitely deserve one :)

    I used to want to be in the police/military, now I don't know what to do with my life...
    Posted May 9th, 2014 at 4:51 AM by