Is your security officer training effective and efficient? – Part 1

Security officer training is one of my biggest pet peeves within the security industry. When officers are not trained properly and correctly, and then blamed by management for doing something wrong, that just really irritates me.  And the worst part of this is that management will fire the officer for the companies doing things on the cheap, blaming someone else for their lack of foresight and miserliness.

It doesn’t matter whether you own a security company or whether you are a proprietary department; it can apply to everyone and every company who uses security officers. You want professionals for liability and protection so you call them guards for insurance purposes and don’t train them well to save a few dollars.

By not training them effectively, if you own a company means that you could end up in a multi-million dollar lawsuit against you and the client. If you are in charge of a proprietary department… the results can be the same. Training is no place to cut your budget no matter the dire financial straits of the company.

In most states a private company, security or otherwise, no longer has the latitude to train how or what they want to train their security officers in. Their state licensing authority mandates what the company will teach, how long it will be taught for, and when they’ll teach it. Fortunately, or unfortunately in some circumstances, they don’t mandate how it is to be delivered.

Far too many security companies refuse to train their officers to be anything but ‘guards’. And they will do it so slip-shod; they might as well not even train them.  They’d be better off many times, as would we! Not fully training them in what they need to know only increases their indifference to the job, client, and their co-workers. None of those items are effective and efficient models to run a business, before, during, or after hours.

It can lead directly to financial loss for the client or company. That loss can be because of theft, fraud, or workplace violence. In any event just look at the innumerable lawsuits against security companies & their clients for; * * * Inadequate training

  • Inadequate supervision
  • Inadequate security.

In Arizona I know of security companies conducting the mandated orientation training for their ‘guards’ while conducting the post on-the-job training at the same time with a field supervisor. This is basically double duty for the guard and the supervisor.  And if an issue comes up somewhere else and the supervisor is needed? Is that very effective or efficient?

This short-changes the officers who want to do a good job at protecting the client’s property and assets, in exchange for a quick buck. Should I even go into how it short-changes the client as well? Let me ask you a quick question?

How can you train someone in an 8 hour mandatory orientation training program, per Arizona Department of Public Safety, AND train them the intricacies of their new post all at the same time effectively and efficiently? The simple answer is you can’t. You can’t expect them to retain and comprehend what they’re being taught to any degree of success.

So, what should you be training your security officers to do in their duties and how? It’s not just as simple as following your states mandated training. These laws should be considered only a guideline to follow. There is nothing that states that you can’t go further and train better than what is mandated, is there?

The training program that I developed back in Kansas grew from 2 hours to 8 hours over the course of a year. Part of that were my methods of training. Another part was the amount of time it took to cover everything the new officers needed to be effective and efficient in their duties and responsibilities.

The training program before I arrived there was only an hour in length and had been dropped for lack of interest and someone to train effectively. I was told by several clients and officers that it was the best training and had the best trained officers in the Kansas City area. Was that true? I would certainly like to think so.

(The next post in this series will be next week)

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page,, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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