The reality is, individuals either have the personality and wherewithal to be an incredible security guard, or they do not. Therefore, security firms need to be extremely selective when hiring guards. Therefore, it is critical that companies contracting security firms do their research before hiring a security guard!
Unfortunately, within the past 50 years, security companies have grown lazy. The industry now has a reputation for having loose (if any) hiring standards above and beyond the counts/state regulations (which are pitiful at best). Additionally, these firms provide little incentive for their guards to perform their best! They often pay below living wages, demand unrealistic hours, and offer little to no benefits. These firms burn through employees with the expectation that, “there is always another one.” Why? Well, it is pretty easy to become a security officer. (Now, it is hard for guards to work at reputable security companies, but those are few and far between.) And as a result, there is an influx of security “training” programs with a weekly group of “new graduates” all willing to take the first opportunity.
So here is the thing. Though security officers are often picked on, hiring a great security guard can keep properties and data safe, prevent injuries and death, and save millions of dollars in litigation fees.
The Status Quo
But many companies do not hire great security guards, take the time to train them (not just once, but ongoing), and/or thoroughly go through what they are and are not supposed to do based on what their client is hiring them for.
There is a pending court case involving a security firm and guard that was hired to protect a research establishment. The contract between the security firm and the retail establishment had a written clause explaining that the guard was not to leave the property. However, this did not happen.
One day, this guard chased a suspected shoplifter off the property. During the chase, the suspect ran into a lake in efforts to get away. Exhausted, the suspect drowned and died. This could have been prevented if the security guard did not leave the property in which he was hired to protect and notify the police!
In most states and counties, an individual must be at least 18 years old to work as a security guard. In the example above, at the time of the chase, the security guard was 20. Therefore, this individual could have had, at maximum, two years of experience!
Clearly, hiring a security guard is a little more complicated than one might think!
Experience and Training
Can both a new and young security guard be great? Absolutely! But that guard must go through extensive training and have clear protocols. Though both physical and text-book training are important, there has to be more! Training needs to include enacting real life situations, where the trainee is given the chance to put their new knowledge to work.
We all know the flight, fight, and freeze tendency that individuals will have in given situations. In many cases, a person’s reaction can be different one day to another. So, not only does a guard need to KNOW what to do in certain situations
Just “having any security guard” there does not protect a company/person/property in all situations. Hiring a security guard needs to be taken seriously. If your company is looking to contract a guard through a security firm, ask questions such as, “What kind of training does your company provide?” and “May we see your firm’s records?”
Here at BPS Security, when hiring a security guard to work for our company, we will not hire just anyone! We have a very strict hiring and training process. Additionally, we walk both our guards and clients through the contract and expectations! And lastly, our guards will go through evolving training and are continuously tested to make sure they are able to think and act!