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Quality security: selecting officers requires incisive training evaluations.

You need to hire security officers to protect your facilities, but you're unsure how to assess whether the officers are qualified to handle the challenges that are unique to your facility. How do you "size up" prospective officers and evaluate their state of preparedness to cope with an emergency or disaster? How do you evaluate whether the officers will act and respond in a highly professional manner at all times? In short, how do you ensure that the officers that you're considering are quality security officers?

These questions point to the same core issue: security officer training. Very simply, quality security officer training produces quality security personnel and performance. Therefore, it's critical that you properly evaluate the officers' training program. In an industry where there isn't any one standard that defines the specifics of security officer training, it's vital to look below the surface and ask questions many questions of each contract security service provider under consideration. Answers to these important questions will point you to the contract security company with the strongest training program - the company that can consistently deliver quality.

What questions should you ask to assess comparative strengths of different training programs?

* The Importance of Hands-on Experience. First, make sure that the training includes real-life drills, role playing, and practice situations as there is no substitute for hands-on experience. Insist on getting officers who have had a significant amount of hands-on training relative to a particular situation.

* Technique Counts. Second, ask about the techniques used to train the officers. The best security officers have been trained with all three of these proven techniques: experience, observation, and experimentation. Quality training programs employ these different techniques because security officers, like the rest of us, respond differently to different kinds of learning. Some officers learn best by getting involved and using their instincts and common sense. Other officers learn best by observing and through discussion and reading. Still others learn best by experimentation and benefit most from group discussions, case studies, and exercises.

* Flexibility To Match Your Security Needs. Third, ask about the amount of training an officer has beyond "the basics." Sound fundamentals are important, but they're only the beginning. Ask about the level and diversity of training the officers receive. Officer training must not only incorporate different techniques, it must also be flexible enough to accommodate each facility's unique requirements. Flexibility can make the biggest difference to a security service.

Ask yourself: "How involved was the security team in establishing criteria customized to my unique needs?" If the answer is "not much," or you're not sure, then it's likely that the security service will not be very flexible. You can expect connect-the-dots security service, but nothing more. Conversely, if you and your security service provider prescribe specific training requirements and establish an officer profile - together, at the outset - then you can expect quality security service that truly understands the differences between a Class A building and a hospital, or a university.

Be mindful of these questions and apply them anytime you're selecting a quality security officer and you won't regret it. There's a lot that goes into creating and sustaining a quality security officer but, in the end, training is the key. Knowing and asking the kinds of questions that shine light on the training process will not only help you make your selection, but it will raise the overall standards of performance of your security operation.

RELATED ARTICLE: Securing Exteriors

Parking lots. Everyday, news stories point to the crimes that take place in their shadowed spaces. How can buildings professionals be alert to potential security problems? Following are four areas in which to analyze and plan for breaches:

* Provide adequate lighting - everywhere!

* Restrict access to buildings through unmonitored doors, stairways, and elevators.

* Inspect parking lots with a critical eye and eliminate any remote or hidden parking spaces that may put users at risk.

* Be sure to consider both vehicular and foot traffic when evaluating security risks. These are two very different types of traffic, each with its own unique threats.

SOURCE: ALLIED SECURITY

Peter R. Haas is vice president of Allied Security, a Pittsburgh- based contract security services firm with 50 offices located throughout the U.S.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Stamats Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes related article on security measures for exteriors
Author:Haas, Peter R.
Publication:Buildings
Date:Dec 1, 1997
Words:700
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