Frequently Asked Questions about Security Guards
What do security guards do?
Security guards are responsible for keeping property safe and staff secure. They control property access, physically patrol an area or monitor locations through cameras positioned in and around buildings, observe activity and also complete reports about their activities.
These trained professionals are ready-to-act and respond to potential security breaches and emergencies. The actions they can take include detaining potential offenders, removing them from the property, performing first aid for the injured, and securing and restoring order to a chaotic scene.
For a more complete list of guard duties, read What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Security Guard?
What skills do security guards have?
Security officers must possess specific skills in order to manage potentially dangerous situations. They are clear communicators, able to assess and de-escalate situations, and can quickly follow and execute standard security procedures. They are trained to identify and respond to threats, assist during medical emergencies and operate security equipment.
They also possess customer service skills, which is especially important if they are in a role where they interact with the public.
Do security guards need licenses?
The training to become a security officer is specialized and includes standard security protocol, a working knowledge of security technology and equipment, and understanding the process of emergency response, such as providing CPR and first aid procedures.
Most security officers must obtain licensing or certification that meets their state’s requirements. Some professionals, such as corporate security officers are required to complete a higher level of certification, which is also checked and updated more frequently.
What authority do security guards have?
Security officers have the authority to maintain order on the premises that they are hired to protect, but they cannot perform an actual arrest, only a citizen’s arrest. They work closely with law enforcement, which is why respected guard services companies strive to foster good relationships with local law enforcement to develop mutual benefits, such as quicker response times and the easy transition of suspects into police custody.
Are security guards allowed to detain potential offenders?
Yes, but they can only perform a citizen’s arrest. Local police are contacted immediately after completing a citizen’s arrest, after which suspects are transferred into local police custody.
Can security guards search potential suspects?
Security guards do not perform searches. Their job is to observe, report and deter. In cases where a search is necessary, guards contact police so that they can conduct the search.
Can security guards use force?
Security officers can use reasonable force, which is enough force necessary to secure premises, property or individuals — this means that the guard can defend themselves and the property they are hired to protect. For instance, if a security guard encounters a thief, he or she can use holding force to detain the individual. If the offender doesn’t respond to commands, the guard should use reasonable judgement to control the suspect and premises in pursuit of overall protection of the public.
However, whether or not security officers use force as they carry out their duties is typically determined by the guard company and client. Different organizations have different policies and procedures.
What weapons do security guards carry?
Unarmed guards do not carry any weapons at all, including non-lethal weapons, such as batons, stun guns, tasers and handcuffs. Armed guards carry firearms and are also permitted to carry batons, handcuffs and other non-lethal tools in addition to firearms. Armed guards are required to complete a higher level of training and certification to ensure proper use of a lethal weapon.
Are security guards first responders?
Security officers can serve as first responders. Highly-trained guards can perform CPR, first aid and because they have the skills to assess and secure a scene, they are able to respond quickly and appropriately when an emergency occurs.
However, this is not a standard security guard duty, although security officers with this specific set of skills are available on request.
Do security guards have ranks?
There are no recognized ranks among security guards. However, the type of security guard – virtual, on-site, unarmed, armed, warehouse and corporate, may require different training and levels of certification or licensing, particularly for armed and corporate guards. Different security settings and posts require different skill sets, which is why guard service companies strive to match the right guard with the right client.