Do you have guards or officers–Part 2

This is the second and last part of this series on attempting to turn your guards into officers. It won’t be easy and you will be labeled a hard ass but…it is necessary.  To over haul the industry in a time of dangers never before thought of in this perilous world. As security professionals we need to maintain a security watch on people, property, & assets like never before.

We can start with our security force and ensure that they are officers not just rent-a-cops and guards of yesterday going back 5, 20, or longer ago…they were little trained, with even less motivation in most cases. Hopefully these posts will assist you in beginning to turn your guards into professional officers.


  • Testing


Training is a good first step, but testing is a mandatory 2nd. After training someone, whether it is orientation or On-the-Job, you need to test them. If you don’t test, how do you know whether or not they learned, and retained anything? How can you correct any issues that come about because of a lack of understanding if you don’t test?

Written tests should be administered at the end of any training class. The written, not just T & F or multiple choice, forces the officer to think out their answer and put it in writing.

When you see them in the office or on post, ask them a question about their assignment. And require them to answer you in as detailed answer as the two of you have time for.

Both of these tests will keep them on their toes and keep them thinking and learning about their assignment. Additionally, it will keep them up-to-date on their post, client needs, as well as the industry and company news. Which to be a professional they should know that as well, not all but most.


  • Field supervision


When you, or your staff, are out conducting post inspections, you need to be doing more than just shooting the breeze. Delve into their knowledge of the post, security, post orders, and other such items. After the breeze has been shot, leave them with something to think about, a motivational thought or security tidbit.

This will also help to get them into the idea that they need to be an officer not a guard. Your field level supervision needs to be the official presence of the company and uphold the industry and company standards.

Guards see field management as a royal pain in the butt. But to an officer they will see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, whether within the industry or company, and learn from a more experienced officer.

Should your field managers become friendly with the officers and be personable? Why not? As long as the delineation of roles are carefully defined… You can’t just walk onto a post and be all business and bluster. Whether they are guards or officers they will see that as a ploy to fire them rather than assist them in becoming better at their job. Shoot the breeze all you want as long as both understand that it is also a business conversation.


  • Be curious and paranoid


Yes paranoid. Does that mean call someone every time they hear a sound? Of course not. What it means is that they should take nothing for granted and be hyper vigilant. If you hear a noise in a dark facility, no matter what kind, then don’t think it’s just a rodent, it could be a criminal. And curiosity killed the cat, but it won’t kill the officer… unless you’re in a horror movie!


  • Customer service


I know what you are thinking about providing customer service in the security field. There are many levels to customer service and your new officers must be proficient in learning how to deliver it. There is so much more to customer service than smiling and being respectful to others. Customer service is not an act but a habit. Therefore, in order to make your officers into customer service extraordinaire, you need to make them effective, efficient, & train them in the skills they need.


Did you get to your level of expertise by sitting and doing nothing? More than likely you put in years and study to become the professional you are. There isn’t a magic elixir to take to make you a security genius. Nor is there a metal helmet you can put on to attract the universes knowledge. So, that leaves one thing and one thing only. Observe and learn!

Have your officers learn and keep learning about everything. Have them observe everything and record it mentally and in their pocket notebooks, mandatory,. If you can get them to change their perception of themselves, and the client, management, & employees changes their perceptions then you are on the way to having officers not guards. And if you can do that, then your officers will gain and be respected as such.

Here’s an interview for a podcast that I did. I hope you enjoy what I have to say about how observe & report is obsolete and the wrong way for security officers to complete their duties;

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses & schools to safeguard the lives of their employees & students to lessen their risk of violence as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his website, twitter@robertsollars2, or by e-mail at


Robert is the author of 2 books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses:

Never to Grow-Up: Preventing Violence in our Schools and

One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence, both available on Amazon.

His upcoming book will be available in May, watch for more details on

Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention

                       I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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