FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton

Randy Sutton is a 33-year law enforcement veteran, a trainer, and the national spokesman for The American Council on Public Safety. He served 10 years with the Princeton (N.J.) Police Department and 23 years with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, retiring at the rank of lieutenant. He is an author who has published multiple books on law enforcement.

Security Policy and the Cloud

Ask The Expert

Mark Rivera

FBI-CJIS Security Policy Compliance Officer

Mark Rivera, Customer Retention Manager and CJIS Security Compliance Officer with Vigilant Solutions, served for sixteen years with the Maryland State Police, retiring at the rank of First Sergeant with thirteen of those years at the supervisory and command level. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Management from The Johns Hopkins University and Secret clearance through the FBI, Baltimore.

June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)

Rent-a-Cops, Wannabes, and Scabs—Oh, My!

Security guards are often dismissed, maligned, and disparaged—and underused.

July 11, 2008  |  by - Also by this author

There's no shortage of disparaging terms by which people sometimes refer to security officers. And while some may, in fact, be incompetent, many are not. It's one reason that I bristle when I hear cops being so dismissive of security officers. Perhaps the only other workforce groups to get badmouthed as often by cops are correctional officers and firefighters.

You'd think that as people engaged in a profession that is no less broadstroked by the public, cops would have more empathy. Ironically, many security officers will either become police officers, or are retired cops working to make a little extra. Some are even active LEOs making a little money on the side.

The fact remains that security officers have a very dangerous job, as well. In many ways, they may be even more vulnerable than police officers. Most don't get anywhere near the level of training the average officer does. Many don't have ballistic vests, or even so much as radio communication. Yet they are expected to prevent crimes.

Many do; even if they occasionally fail to prevent a crime, they may yet save lives. Richard Jewell is a prime example. The security guard was a hero who saved lives prior to the detonation of a deadly bomb at Atlanta, Georgia's Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Olympics. Unfortunately, the FBI and the press had a field day implicating him as responsible for planting the bomb in the first place. At least he had some measure of vindication before his death nearly a year ago.

Yet despite all he'd been through, Jewell was supportive of law enforcement officers. He's hardly an exception. Security guards are among the first to lend assistance to officers when they most desperately need it (think: getting their ass kicked), make good and often sympathetic witnesses (think: "Yeah, the cop kicked that guy's ass—and the SOB had it coming"), and have engaged active shooters ("It seemed like it was me, the gunman, and God," said security guard Jeanne Assam, reflecting on her feelings after she confronted and killed a multiple murder suspect who charged into her Colorado Springs church firing a weapon).

Security guards can also be valuable sources of intel. One motel interdiction officer made a point to develop excellent rapport with motel security. When a security guard heard a shotgun being racked as he passed a hotel room, the first thing he did was notify the interdiction officer. Absent the rapport, it is possible that he might have been less conscientious about getting in touch with the officer.

While some leave their mark on history—the vigilance of one Watergate security guard ultimately led to a President's departure from office—most security guards blend into the background. Store security often serve as informants on petty theft crimes; apartment security has time and again proven to be first witnesses on everything from domestic violence to car burglary rings.

But then, security guards often work at or near high crime venues, and are often themselves targeted. Those working at night clubs are particularly vulnerable. While threats of retaliation are often made by 86'd patrons, thankfully, most are not played out. But they do happen.

True, some security guards are dirtbags. Names like Tim McVeigh and Kenneth Bianchi come to mind. But then, despite all manner of background checks and psych exams, the law enforcement community still has its fair share of sociopaths.

So get to know your local security guard. Find out what he's about. Because even if he does turn out to be a first class screw-up, shouldn't you know that, as well?

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Zip Code:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine