For most of us, the most trying part of our day is the traffic on our daily commute, or normal workday stress. Short of a freak accident, we will soon be in our homes with our families, to live our lives as we please. However, one out of every fifty members of the United States Armed Forces who served during a war gave up their lives, usually far away from home, so that we can have the opportunities here that aren’t available anywhere else in the world. The security that they gave and continue to give us requires sacrifices and hardships that we can barely comprehend, and they should be remembered not just today, but every day that we exercise the freedoms we have as American citizens.
A change in property ownership creates an uncertain period in the lifetime of a property. Many details and tasks from the routine to those that are difficult in the best of times can or do get lost in the multitude of responsibilities that are now or will be handled by new people. In this environment a property can be at its most vulnerable.
Every building has some value, even a demolished pile of rubble contains materials formerly part of infrastructure that can be valuable as scrap. Few targets can entice potential criminals or vandals like an unsecured building, with uncertain ownership making reprisal seem unlikely.
Ideally all procedures and precautions will be set in place before any transaction takes place. However when this isn’t possible and when the access to a property isn’t at least monitored a criminal activity or liability event can occur.
One of the most valuable resources to come from the use of security guard services are the reports which document a large body of information. However as the value of any asset is only as great as the return it creates, security management must file, sort, and pass on the reports as appropriate in order to use the information to its potential.
As entries regularly maintained during the course of regular business, a daily security officer report is exempt from being classified as hearsay and is admissible as evidence in court. Aside from the obvious benefit in the case of a severe incident, this is frequently useful in arbitration and litigation cases, especially when there is no other evidence of the event. Clients who use security services can also use these logs to establish or confirm facts that may be uncertain otherwise, such as the precise timing of an event or the presence of an individual at the location.
The security management is responsible for overseeing and documenting the logs, as well as making sure that they are created with the proper amount of detail to be useful. As local management should not have to be expected to study every report that is made, it is usually the responsibility of the security company to bring to their attention any observances that they should be aware of.
The job description of a security officer can vary widely depending on the needs of the location that they are protecting. At every location with guard services, security and local management create a list of post orders, tailor made for each site, that details every action that the officer is to perform.
Post orders need to be well detailed, and also easy to understand with no room for interpretation. Each order should only cover a single subject, and for a particularly complex site or for officers expected to be able to cover multiple sites a thorough and cross-referenced index can be created in case a specific order needs to be reviewed quickly. In addition to all daily duties, such as specifics on rounds or door locking procedures, all information that is relevant or may be needed by the officer should be included; such as emergency procedures and contact information, or evacuation plans.
Post orders should be available for consultation at any time. If the location has a guard shack or similar main office that the officer is posted, that is the most logical choice. If a patrol vehicle is operated on site, that is another ideal place to store post orders. If there is no viable option to store orders on-site, one solution is to issue photo-reduced copies to each officer to carry in their uniform.
When on a patrol or in the normal course of their daily duties, a security officer will observe a large amount of information. When properly documented and passed on, this provides an incomparable account of what is happening at a location and the activities of the security operation. And though too much information is always preferable to not enough, if the guard reported every irrelevant event or inconsequential item that was encountered, it would be impossible to find important information within the mass of data entries.
Many events give no doubt in the need to be reported; unsecured doors and entrances, broken windows, or hazards such as broken pipes which will lead to property damage are examples of obvious issues that demand to be tended to. Many notable incidents may seem much less straightforward; while an officer guarding an empty area would find any person on-site suspicious, someone guarding a trafficked area would need to keep an eye out for more subtle clues such someone in a coat on a hot day, one who takes pictures or recordings in unusual or restricted areas, or exhibits a suspicious amount of interest in security procedures.
Lastly, when observing and reporting a security officer must always remember the difference between a fact and a conclusion. Facts are to be documented and stated exactly as they happened and only based on what the officer experiences. Any judgments or conclusions made by the officer based on these facts, such as a person’s intent or effect of property damage should be kept to themselves.
Upon arrival at a location, a security officer should take a few minutes to familiarize himself with the area; even if it is a post he has worked frequently before in case there are any situational changes. If the officer is relieving another they should be comprehensively debriefed and both should be aware of every relevant event that took pace during any preceding shifts.
The first actions on a site will vary based what the client and management desire the post orders to be, and should always take into consideration the characteristics of the environment. For instance an opening patrol may be necessary if the officer cannot view the entire area to be secured from his post, but may be impossible if the officer is required to remain in one area with a high activity level.