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What's the answer?

What's the Answer?

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR Industrial Security has long been the front-runner in efforts to upgrade the image of the industrial security field. However, that effort and its progress has largely been confined to the management level of our industry. While many ideas have been bantered about on how to upgrade the security officer, little has been accomplished.

With rare exceptions, professional security officer training is confined to the large in-house proprietary security forces. Generally, contract security companies lack professional-level training for their employees--and some contract security companies provide no training at all. The excuse usually heard is that clients do not want to pay the price, that they are satisfied with an ill-trained or untrained guard. I disagree. Clients of security companies should be more than willing to pay for the services of a professionally trained security officer--but not for an untrained, unprofessional guard.

Perhaps one means of ensuring a client gets what he or she pays for is to develop an extension of the Certified Protection Professional (CPP) program, such as an ASIS Certified Security Officer Training Program (CSOTP). The result of such training might be the ASIS Certified Professional Security Officer (CPSO) designation.

I propose the ASIS establish the criteria for such a program. All contract security companies and all companies with proprietary security would be eligible to participate. The minimum amount of training hours in an ASIS-certified curriculum could be as follows: dedicated training guided by an approved curriculum--40 hours; on-the-job training under close supervision--40 hours; first aid and CPR training--16 hours; and firearms training, if armed--8 hours.

Companies wishing to have an ASIS CSOTP course would be required to submit their proposed training curriculum and schedule to ASIS for approval. Once a company has been certified to conduct the training, it would submit documentation of individual officer training for certification by ASIS. The combination of the ASIS CSOTP and the ASIS CPSO would be a giant step forward for our industry and provide the needed leverage to gain a respectable pay scale for certified security officers.

However, one additional step must be taken to put the frosting on the cake. Let us make it clear to the business world that there is a distinct difference between a security officer and a security guard. The title of security officer should be bestowed only on the individual who has earned that title by virtue of the ASIS Certified Security Officer Training Program. Those who work for a noncertified company or who do not want to become an ASIS CPSO would continue to be known as guards and would most likely take home smaller paychecks. When individuals earn their designation as an ASIS CPSO, they would be provided with a distinctive emblem of accomplishment--a patch or lapel pin--clearly identifying them as professionals.

The final move I propose is for state governments to require certified training as a prerequisite to licensing companies and individual officers. If companies were given, for example, a one-year grace period to comply, this action would not only ensure the upgrading of our industry, it would also rid the industry of companies and employees who have no interest in professionalism.

This proposal addresses the basic idea for an ASIS certified training program and ASIS certified professional security officers and admittedly leaves considerable room for improvement. I hope this article will generate the level of interest needed to justify further study by ASIS and industry representatives. I also hope it will be a vehicle for the refinements necessary for a progressive and professionally satisfying program.

About the Author . . . Albert S. Greene is the facility security supervisor at the Emulex Corporation in Costa Mesa, CA, as a contract employee from Guard Systems Inc.
COPYRIGHT 1989 American Society for Industrial Security
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:training & certification for security officers
Author:Greene, Albert S.
Publication:Security Management
Article Type:column
Date:Feb 1, 1989
Previous Article:Crisis, disaster, catastrophe: are you ready?
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