In the past decade, there have been far too many situations where security guards (and sometimes, police officers) use their guns in extremely inappropriate ways! Often, these are times in which guns are completely unnecessary for the actual scenario. And, many times, these incidents have ended terribly. Now, to be honest, there is a very very fine line between when it is and is not appropriate for a security guard to draw their gun!
The reality is, each situation. location, and individuals involved are different. This is why it is imperative that security firms hire the most competent individuals, require rigorous/continuous training, and help their guards. (Which is something most security firms do not do.) That aside, there are some very obvious situations where it is not appropriate for a security guard to draw their gun, and this is what we are going to discuss.
Before we dive in, we need to make it very clear that we were not present during this situation. Our knowledge is based solely on the public court documents. We are using this court case to point out some extremely ridiculous behavior.
One day, the security guard was at his usual post near the entrance of the parking garage. He was not anywhere near where the vehicles were exiting. On this day, at this time, there happened to be a long line of cars waiting to leave the garage. The wait frustrated one of the drivers, so he drove over a parking cone in order to expedite his exit.
At this point, the guard claims that he feared for his life (though he was not in the way of the vehicle, and would not have been hurt), then ran over the the car, stood in front of the vehicle (to not allow him to move), and held the driver at gunpoint until the police were able to arrive.
- There are additional pieces of information:
- The security guard was not licensed to carry a gun
The security guard held his finger on the trigger the entire time
A LOT went wrong in this particular scenario. Sure, the driver should not have run over the cone to exit the garage, BUT the security guard had absolutely NO REASON to follow through with any of the actions he chose to make.
Where the Security Guard Went Wrong
Number One – Where the Guard Went Wrong
Rules and regulations will often vary from county to county, city to city, and state to state. Some require that armed officers carry a license, where others do not. Top security companies will require it regardless of the local regulations, (this is something that we do here at BPS Security). In this particular case, the security officer did not carry a license, and in this particular location, the regulations state that he needs a license. So, first things first, the guard should not have been carrying a gun!
We will touch on this more below, as this is also the fault of the security firm.
Number Two – Where the Guard Went Wrong
The guard himself was not in any danger. Sure, the noise could startle anyone, and yes, the driver was out of line. However, the fact that the guard claims his life was in danger, is just inaccurate!
Pro tip: Again, this is why training is so critical! Most individuals need to have real life experience to train their fight, flight, or freeze reactions.
To handle a situation like this, a guard can write down the license plate (if they cannot see it, the security footage will capture it). Then, the security officer should notify the police, at which point, the individual can get in trouble for property destruction.
Just to reiterate, the driver’s actions were not okay! But there was NO NEED for a security guard to draw their gun!
Number Three – Where the Guard Went Wrong
If the guard was afraid for his life, why would he run in front of the vehicle? This just does not add up. In fact, by running in front of the vehicle, he was putting himself in danger.
Regardless of the fact he “ran in front of the vehicle”, he really didn’t need to stop the driver for the destruction of a parking cone. Cones are replaceable and inexpensive! (Check out ULINE’s pricing for traffic cones!)
Also, in this particular case, no one else was in danger!
Number Four – Where the Guard Went Wrong
Holding the driver at gunpoint. This is absolutely, without question, unacceptable. There is no reason this should happen with a situation like this based on the facts in the court documents.
Number Five – Where the Guard Went Wrong
No one, for any reason, should ever EVER put their finger on a gun’s trigger unless they are ready to shoot. This is one of the very first best practices in any gun handling course. If the slightest thing had startled the guard (the beeping of a car unlocking, the police arriving and tapping on his shoulder, a dog barking, etc.) he could have accidentally pulled the trigger and killed the individual.
Where the Security Firm Went Wrong
Number One — Where the Security Firm Went Wrong
Hiring an individual to fill the role of an armed security officer that does not have the license to be an armed security officer. As stated above, rules will vary based on location, however in this particular county, the officer was required to have a license.
Unfortunately, many security firms will often place guards in positions they should not be filling.
Why? Well, when a new client comes knocking, they are so eager to fill the role, and make money. Thus, they do not do their due diligence when hiring staff.
Number Two — Where the Security Firm Went Wrong
Training, or rather, lack thereof. Frankly, this is a shining example of what happens when a security firm hands an untrained/poorly trained security guard a gun and gives them some authority.
Sadly, there is an increase in the number of “security guard schools” popping up all over the United States. These schools are proud of their “ability” to pass students in as little as 48 hours. So sure, they may have “training”, but a two day program cannot train an individual to act appropriately in situations.
So when is it appropriate for a security guard to draw their gun? As we said in the beginning, there is a very fine line between appropriate and not appropriate. It takes training and experience for an individual to learn the difference. So there is no clear cut answer to this question.
But ultimately, there are ways to help prevent situations like the case we discuss in this article from ever happening, it just requires effort from the security firm. In the majority of our articles, we stress the importance of hiring security officers. Why? Well, this is a MAJOR PROBLEM IN THE SECURITY INDUSTRY. Too often, firms are irresponsibly hiring individuals to fill security positions that should not be guards. Security is not an easy job. A guard has a lot of responsibility when taking the position to not only the company they are hired to protect, but to the general public. Realistically, most people cannot hack it!
Should this particular situation have ever happened? No. Was it avoidable? Yes.
What is the major takeaway? The security industry as a whole needs to raise the standards. And that is what we are working to do!