Security Operations Manuals for the post-Part 1

Some people who are reading this will say a manual is too complicated for a stupid rent-a-cop to understand. If you believe that then you are woefully uninformed what it can do for them, the site, and their intelligence. With these 3 posts I will give a formula that will accomplish several things. It is intended to help you and your officers carry out your responsibilities in a manner with no lingering doubts about their competence or intelligence.

I undertook this duty, more than 30 years ago, when I noticed how horrible, or non-existent, the orders were at most of my client sites. When I started, some of the post orders hadn’t been updated in more than 5 years, if there were even any written orders. That made it difficult for any officer being assigned to a new post to understand what their duties were. Most of the time, the post orders were full of deletions, corrections, revisions, deletions, and not to mention the revisions that easily confuse anyone. Then take the orders and place different ones in places they shouldn’t have been and some simply on post it notes…

Making it even worse, if that was possible; the amount of White-out and multi colored ink marks throughout was even more befuddling to a new transfer or hire. In some sets, there was more blacked out that was printed! It made the post orders look like testimony to a Select Senate Committee on Encounters with little gray men from Alpha Centauri! More was redacted than was visible.

When I started calling them Security Operations Manuals instead of simply post orders it had the effect, after the complaints of changing things, of making both officers and clients think that the officers were actually better than they had thought previously. And in doing so, it helped to make the officers take more pride and take the assignments more seriously, because it took their duties with seriousness. It also showed them that they were worthy of the extra time and effort to produce it.

For several reasons I kept it simple and readable at an 8th grade level:

#1 was ease and simplicity in finding something that needed to be accomplished.

#2 was so that if an officer had to work an account with little or no training, then they could read the post orders and quickly, effectively, and efficiently work the post. With a standardized format they could easily find what they needed.  It wouldn’t be perfect (nor is the idea of only a couple hours training), but it would, in most cases, suffice.

#3 falls in with #2. If they were simplified then they could be easily understood by anyone reading them. From supervisory and management to client personnel who needed a quick overview.

#4 writing to a 8th grade level ensures that the comprehension level is acceptable for anyone and understood by even a knucklehead, which the field is, unfortunately, replete with.

Opening section:

This first section allows for context for the rest of the manual. Obviously other items can be placed in here.

  • The 5 W’s & H of the company or client. It is important for the officers to know these things in order to understand how important their role in protecting the client actually is.
  • General Orders. If you have none, then devise some, making it like a handbook in short numbered form, generalized what is allowed and not
  • Policies & Procedures for both the client and company pertaining to security
  • The company, client, and site team mission and vision statements. By adding these it helps to clarify and focus everything they do for the site
  • Code of Ethics/conduct. Yes, this is important to include because it makes everyone a little more professional in their conduct by implication if not implementation
  • Templates for report writing,  daily/shift and incident as well as other necessary forms not site specific
  • Sexual Harassment & Equal Employment Opportunity policies for the client and company…explained in detail with examples to avoid any confusion and who the company officer is to address these issues to.
  • Laws, regulations, and other necessary items, if the officers deal with such intricacies
  • Emergency call lists for all utilities, emergency services, and facility personnel. You don’t want the officers fumbling for numbers or calling someone to get them, especially if no one answers the phone on a holiday
  • Anything else that may have been necessary for the post/assignment in a generalized format not site specific


This will start off your manual with a good format and then however you wish to organize them is up to you. Every company/client has different priorities when it comes to how they were organized.

The next part of this series will focus on exactly what the site specific section should entail. It again will depend on what you want covered and the organization. For those of you that is skeptical about my methods…

I started using this system in the 80s and perfected it in the 90s. When First Response Inc. took over one of my accounts, from Allied Security, Inc. 6 years later, they were still using the same set of orders although it looked like the proverbial set of redacted documents from the Senate Select Committee.

(The 2nd part of 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 with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming new website or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                  I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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