For most business owners, their first attempt at hiring a security guard usually involves choosing a man that is big, burly, and who looks intimidating. While large stature and looking physically threatening goes a long way towards deterring potential criminals, there is no substitute for trained and qualified security guards in a serious situation with the skills and intelligence to successfully navigate the challenge.
Unfortunately, many business owners never do the proper research to learn what a security guard can do and how he or she can help protect a business. That’s why it is so important to work with a reliable security guard company like Ranger Guard with the experience to keep you safe.
What is a Security Guard Authorized to do?
What security guards can and can’t do is not federally regulated. Instead, activities are controlled by each state. For example, in Texas, that means security guards must submit an application for a license issued by the Department of Public Safety. To get licenses, after paying the application fees, all recruits are required to undergo a training program on what they can and cannot do. It is essential to hire licensed and credentialed security guards such as those employed by Ranger Guard. Failing to do so creates enormous security risks. These requirements can vary state by state, though it usually involves some sort of licensing.
In general, here are the powers they have:
1. Detain Suspects
Security officers have the right to hold suspects until police can arrive. A security guard can detain an individual if they witness a felony offense. For example, if a security guard at a retail store sees someone picking up, concealing, and leaving the store with merchandise, they have the right to ask that person to stay back for questioning. If the person refuses, the guard is allowed to detain the individual in a ‘reasonable manner.’
They can use the following techniques if they deem it necessary:
- Request identification from the suspect.
- Put the suspect in handcuffs.
- A pat-down of the suspect to determine if they have a weapon. It is also permissible to request identification from the suspect who has been detained.
All of these actions can only be taken in a “reasonable manner.” This means the security guard must follow proper handcuff use, and avoid choking, foul language, verbal threats, discriminatory slurs, or causing any physical pain. At Ranger Guard, all our officers are trained in a range of verbal de-escalation techniques as well as customer service, in addition to the licensing requirements of the state. Our guards only use force as a last resort and are equipped to calm situations wherever possible and proceed with courtesy.
Private Security guards are not empowered to arrest anyone themselves. Guards are required by law to contact the police as soon as possible where a criminal act is taking place, to alert them so they may come to make the actual arrest.
2. Carry Weapons
There are generally two types of security guards: commissioned and non-commissioned. Commissioned guards have the right to carry guns while on duty. Armed security guards must undergo a much more stringent set of tests and evaluations than unarmed security guards. It’s up to you, the business owner, to decide if your company requires armed or unarmed guards. This may depend on the type of operation you are running and where it is located, which will help you make an accurate assessment of the risk level. Make sure you do the necessary research and ask the questions you need to ensure you’re hiring the right type of security guard. Ranger Guard has both armed and unarmed security officers available and conducts a free security assessment with all new clients to help you discover the best solution for you.
3. Conduct Searches
Security guards have the right to search personal property where relevant. This empowers guards to search customers’ bags as they’re leaving a store and check the person’s receipt against the contents of their bag. The goal is to make sure nothing has been shoplifted. This is one of the most effective and popular ways to use security guards in business, especially if it is a retail shop where items are available for sale on shelves. Even knowing that these checks are conducted acts as a significant deterrent against shoplifting.
Guards can also search unattended property in suspicious circumstances. For example, if the security guard notices a bag has been left unattended for some time, they can look through it to make sure there is nothing dangerous or illegal. Guards can also search the personal property of an individual in an emergency situation, such as to identify an unconscious person.
4. Evict Trespassers
A large reason why many people hire security guards is to be able to evict unwelcome individuals from the property to keep customers safe and prevent property damage. Security guards are empowered to ask someone to leave and to use reasonable force to evict someone from a property they refuse to comply with instructions to leave. Nightclubs, casinos, hotels and other establishments with high numbers of guests often rely on private security guards for this purpose.
Reputable private security companies will only hire licensed and trained guards. By vetting your security company appropriately, you can ensure that the staff which will protect your business are adequately trained and licensed.
Functions of a Security Guard
Corporate security guard functions are far more extensive today than simply checking doors were locked, modern corporate security guards have many more duties. Unfortunately, as random acts of violence have become much too common in the workplace, contemporary security guard services require anti-terrorism training, verbal de-escalation techniques, and much more. Their role combines ensuring safety with acting as a public face of the company.
Patrols and Front of House
Any kind of large office or complex needs guards. Whether you have a large industrial complex, office building, or other facility, corporate security guards on regular patrol will keep out trespassers and secure the building. Most of these facilities require guards posted on duty at the main entrances and exits. One of the best ways to make any area safer is to use randomized patrols and surveillance methods during all shifts, including those after regular business hours. By doing so, your corporate security officer will patrol different areas at various times using many different routes and methods, often varying between foot and vehicle patrols. This, when paired with state-of-the-art surveillance methods including cameras, makes it quite hard for anyone to know where a security guard may be at any given moment. This gives the impression of total security coverage, deterring criminals. If you have had problems in the past with vandalism, stealing, or other illegal activities at your workplace, the right security staff can turn the situation in your favor.
Special events with large numbers of guests require a more complex security plan. Since there are often many high-level executives and others present at these events, it is important to have well-trained security guards on duty to ensure everyone’s safety. Guards make sure only those on the guest list can enter and keep the event area clear of any weapons or other dangerous items. This may range from managing a registration desk at the front, to patrolling the event and evicting trespassers.
Prominent individuals require personal protection. Any senior business leader, celebrity or privately wealthy individual is at risk when traveling alone. At Ranger Guard, this is a specialty area for our security business. Ranger Guard prioritizes hiring guards with many years of experience as police officers, with Homeland Security, or in the military police for these roles. High level bodyguards need good judgement and high-level training to react to any situation which comes with years of field experience. In addition, they are trained in such areas as firearms, first aid, high-speed driving, defensive tactics, and other areas that may come into play in response to a dangerous encounter.
Loss and Fraud Prevention
Sometimes employees steal, often in inventive and difficult to track ways. These may arise that require careful examination in terms of possible illegal activity. However, this does not mean police need to be initially involved. Professional loss prevention specialists and security agents can examine problems without letting the public know, ensuring negative publicity won’t accompany the process. This may include detailed accounting, inventory checking and plain-clothes loss prevention officers placed onsite. Insurance companies often require certain security measures to be in place before they will pay out in these cases. Afterwards, guards can report their findings and work with employers to come up with appropriate solutions. To ensure these matters are handled correctly, make sure the guards at your disposal have previous experience in law enforcement or other federal agencies, which is what we emphasize here at Ranger Guard.
Different security situations have different requirements for officers which requires specific training. In a large corporate office this includes overseeing evacuation procedures, assistance with elevator entrapments, emergency communications, and many other areas. Professional guards need formal training in multi-floor evacuations, how to safely evacuate those with various handicaps or other disabilities or illnesses, and how to coordinate an evacuation with emergency personnel who will be responding to the scene. Because command centers are often set up in emergency situations, all guards assigned to the site should also have training in how to coordinate their efforts with first responders who will be in charge of operations at these centers.
At other venues, such as large music venues or sports stadiums, crowd control and access management is essential. Security Guards also often double as part of the front of house team and may be required to help with directions, access control, escorting guests to specific rooms etc. Courtesy is a must in those situations, which is why good security companies like Ranger Guard ensure all our guards are trained in customer service. We know their image reflects on our clients. Arriving at work each day wearing clean and pressed uniforms, polished shoes, and sporting neat haircuts and other aspects of their personal hygiene and appearance, all guards assigned to your site will be able to perform their duties in a professional and courteous manner. When we place guards for a client we ensure they have the relevant site-specific training, as we have the experienced staff to match any scenario. Think of us as your company security department.
Accountability and Respect
Finally, when you are in the process of placing a job alert for corporate security services, always make it a priority to choose a company that places accountability and respect at the top of its list. In doing so, you can be sure of having guards at your company who not only have the highest levels of training and experience, but also take their jobs seriously. Ask your security company about the methods it uses to select and hire its corporate security guards. At Ranger Guard we use a combination of security-related aptitude tests, in-depth background checks, and multi-tier drug tests to make sure all our security guards are serious, sober, and capable of taking on the responsibility of a security role.
Schedule a Consultation
When putting together your security policy, it is important to schedule a consultation as soon as possible with experienced advisors. Ranger Guard offers a free consultation and risk assessment to help design the right security plan for your business. That way we will be able to find the right security professionals for you.