While many of the duties in security are well known, it is less commonly realized that when an incident does occur, the involvement of the officer present may not end as the shift does and they will need to make a testimony as a witness in court. Though likely few need to be reminded of the procedures of a courtroom, some of the preparations necessary for an officer to make before their appearance are worth reviewing.
Preparing for the testimony does not begin the day of the trial, or even at the beginning of the incident; in fact the officer must start each shift with the possibility that his actions may be reviewed in mind. Reports made as part of a daily job routine are not considered hearsay and are admissible as evidence. Keeping the record straight from the time of the incident will prevent false memories or outside influences from poisoning the testimony with inconsistencies, which would remove the ability to ascertain the truth and doom the trial to failure.
While opinions on appropriate dress vary by company, our guards do not show up to court in their security uniforms, but instead take a professional civilian look. On the witness stand officers should always react neutrally, only giving facts and not opinions. As with all testifiers in court, security officers should know as much as they can about the opposition’s intentions, and make sure their own notes and talking points follow normal legal guidelines.
One aspect of a security plan that may not be apparent upon first glance is the defensive applications in the usage of lighting. Obviously a dark and unlit property is a more attractive target for intrusion, but how lights are applied has a significant effect on the operation and effectiveness of the physical protection plan.
There are many considerations that need to be made when choosing the type of lights and their location. While it may seem that more lighting is always better, too much in the wrong place can create glare or high contrast shadows that decrease visibility. Some color temperatures are effective at illuminating without reducing dark area visibility, but are not appropriate in all environments.
Special consideration needs to be taken in regards to the display limitations of any camera systems, and to make sure that lights are angled in a way that faces are identifiable. LED technology has fallen in price sufficiently to be today largely preferred over all other types of bulbs due to it’s higher brightness and lower energy consumption, and along with solar charging panels can reduce operating costs to negligible levels. While devices such as motion detectors and IR sensors can help detection in low light levels, it is essential for an area to be properly lit in order to remain secure.
In our recent editorials we have largely discussed concepts behind threat detection, whether from individuals or items they may possess, and in addition much has been said about the importance of deterrence. Today I would like to touch upon the art of creating an environment that can delay or stop an intruder when all other aspects of a protection system have failed.
Many barriers are present on secured properties. Some are obvious in both their existence and purpose, such as fences or locks. However many passive barriers are incorporated into the environment in a way that does not make their purpose clear, such as hedges that block sightlines or walkways that subliminally funnel pedestrians to certain areas. When a higher level of threat dispersion is needed, there are many forms of dispensable barriers that can be activated upon a breach. These can include smoke dispensers, vehicle arrestors, and many more.
The most versatile form of delay barrier is in fact the security officer, who can provide coverage at any point on a property as the situation dictates. A well balanced protection system will include any combination of the three forms of delay barriers, with well thought out placement and application based on the terrain as well as what the objective of a would-be intruder is likely to be.
For more insight into CAP’s doctrine on environmental security, please see our articles on Defense In Depth and Perimeter Security.
The goal of access control for your business or property is to only allow entry by people who have been identified and authorized. In a low occupancy property, this is typically done by a security officer who checks a photo ID against an authorization list. When the location is one that receives frequent traffic, the process is more complicated.
A uniformed employee would need only a minimum of verification to ensure they are who they claim to be. For residents, hotel guests, shoppers, and other unpredictable visitors, the officer will need to use some combination of protocol, sound security reasoning, and common sense to ascertain the legitimacy of their presence. In order to ensure normal occupants are comfortable in knowing that the visitor is supposed to be there, name tags or passes can be issued.
The concepts of access control are not limited to the physical realm, though often the same basic principles apply. As electronic and digital devices are becoming more integrated into the workspace every day, it is more increasingly important for security officers and their vendors to understand the uses and vulnerabilities of these systems.