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Personnel professionalization.

ONE SEGMENT OF OUR INDUSTRY that has been neglected is our uniformed security officer force. It needs the dignity and respect that we as managers possess. We must provide it with the proper leadership so that security officers can become security professionals as well. This can be done by * forming effective policies and procedures for the security department; * ensuring that our training concepts, programs, and approaches are realistic and reliable; and * sensitizing and educating non-security employees and the public on the value of our security personnel.

An effective security staff begins by working under sound policies and procedures that promote good training and management. If your organization has an in-house security officer force, you should have proper policy and procedure statements reflecting specific training requirements and management.

If your organization employs contract security services, then its policy and procedure statement should lay the foundation for quality service in your tendering process. The tender should be preceded by a prequalification questionnaire. The questionnaire should be designed to ensure that agencies that don't care about service, training, supervision, or management eliminate themselves.

The need for quality training is all around us. The long-term effects produced by ineffective training-or the complete lack of it-have come to a head in recent years. Successful lawsuits and resulting financial penalties against our industry have grown dramatically. Acts of negligence lead some organizations to train personnel because they have to, not because they want to.

In some cases, state legislation on officer training has been enacted. Most states, however, have none. The sad truth is that we security professionals, not the legislatures, should provide the leadership to implement training.

In Canada, through the Canadian General Standards Board, a 40-hour security program has been established, and most tendering of security officer contracts calls for preemployment completion of the 40-hour program. Britain and New Zealand are now taking steps toward including training in their standards to upgrade the security officer industry.

When training our security officer force with a goal of professionalism, we should try to keep our programs realistic. We should not try to educate security officers to the extent criminal justice degree holders or Certified Protection Professionals are educated. This is simply unrealistic. Yet, we do want to ensure they receive a level of training that gives them the attitude, motivation, and knowledge essential to perform the duties entrusted to them.

In developing a proper attitude and motivation in security officers, we should recognize that many new officers lack the education and life-skills training necessary to do the job we ask of them. Therefore, the training should address those concerns continually.

Some key topics that should be discussed during training include the legal authority of security officers and the security profession as a career. Other topics that provide a necessary foundation for security officers include patrolling; report writing; handling bomb threats, alarm systems, and disturbed persons; understanding types of fires and extinguishers; and implementing emergency procedures.

Also, training programs should not be designed along traditional education methods, where students are taught the information and then given an exam to test what they have memorized. Instead, key information should be reinforced so that students can be comfortable and confident with the material.

While life skills and formal education may be lacking for many potential security employees, these individuals may be sincere, honest, and quite capable of being taught to perform the necessary duties of security officers. If we are sensitive to them, we can assist them in reaching their potential by training them according to their background and experience.

At the end of proper training, students will have not only a good foundation but also an opportunity to examine their strengths and weaknesses and develop in an environment suitable to their own aptitudes.

Training, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg, considering the presence a security department holds in relation to an organization overall. No matter how high the training standards are, training cannot stand on its own as an assurance of effectiveness. It cannot exist in a vacuum. The benefits of training should also be promoted.

We must continue to promote the concept that a skilled and trained force is an asset of and a profit center for our organizations. Without this recognition by other employees and our own executives, it doesn't matter how well trained our own security personnel are we will continue to be viewed as a nonproductive entity.

We must reach out beyond our own departments and make our professionalism and training known to our colleagues and superiors. We must prove our value and win the authority, respect, and support of our organizations. This can be done by making the value of security real, personal, and valuable to nonsecurity employees and by taking an active rather than reactive approach to loss prevention in serving organizational needs. About the Author . . . John C. Grady, is president and owner of Security Training Academy International Inc. in Vancouver, Canada. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:security personnel
Author:Grady, John C.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Mar 1, 1991
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