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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.

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How Private Security Can Help Law Enforcement

On-site professional security personnel can provide a wealth of information to law enforcement officers responding to a call.

May 31, 2012  |  by Louis Perry

I've worked in private security for many years, and in my experience there are certain steps people in this profession can take to better help law enforcement investigate incidents. Police officers I have worked with have told me they appreciate this. But more importantly, aiding in solving crimes that occur on an employer's property is a vital extension of a security officer's job.

If you work in private security, I suggest you incorporate these suggestions into your job. If you're a police officer, passing these tips on to private security firms you have occasion to work with might improve your working relationships when you encounter their employees during investigations.

Here is what police officers prefer to encounter when they arrive at the scene of a crime and need to speak with security personnel:


Be respectful of police officers. On approach, address any law enforcement officer as ma'am or sir, and politely answer any questions you are asked. If you show respect, more respect will be shown to you.

Neat Appearance      

Law enforcement officers' uniforms are expected to be spotless. Yours should be too. It's another way to present yourself as a professional and command respect. Always wear a clean shirt, tuck in your pants and wear a belt, and wear black socks and well maintained black shoes appropriate for a security detail.

Clear Communication

Speak slowly and directly so you are sure to be understood, and make eye contact with the responding officer. Provide facts and not opinions. What you have observed, you must report.

Assistance When Needed

Offer your assistance and make yourself readily available the entire time law enforcement officers are on site.

Knowing Your Role

Simply observe and report. Understand a security officer is not the same as a police officer. Police officers don't expect you to respond as they would. Introduce yourself and offer your assistance, and then step aside. Police do not like encountering the "wanna-be" cop types of security guards. You don't want to become more of a liability than an aid to law enforcement by interfering.

Site Knowledge

You should know as much as possible about the place where you work. Be able to show police officers the location of stairwells and tell them where they lead to and from, as well as the location of a fire life safety system. Know how many levels there are in each building, including the number of parking levels, as well as how many access points lead to the building and where there is roof access. You should also know who is in the building at all times. Being able to answer these types of questions will let a police officer know you are a professional, and will aid in the investigation.


Be sure to thank the law enforcement officer for responding to a call. This simple sign of appreciation will always go far.


Always strive for professionalism. Many people are depending on you to do so. You are there to protect your employer's assets and to be forthcoming and knowledgeable about your work site when the need arises for you to assist law enforcement.

Are you a professional or not? Whether security personnel follow these tips will determine how law enforcement officers will perceive them.

 Do you have other tips to add? Write them in the comment section below.

 Louis Perry is the president of Kadima Security Services in Los Angeles.

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