There are many things to consider when protecting your business from intruders, but one of the easiest remedies is to hire off-duty police officers as security guards. Having on-site security is crucial when you run the type of business that needs personnel and asset protection, especially if there are periods of time after normal operating hours where your building is unoccupied.
Protecting your assets from theft and break ins might not be the only role your guards play, either. You may also want their expertise and reliability during high-stake workplace scenarios that might result in violence.
Before hiring someone to provide security in your business, you should consider their skills and experience. Security guards and off-duty law enforcement are typically readily available for hire, but they differ in capability. Let’s explore what you can expect from each.
What a Security Guard Does
The basic requirements for a person to become a security guard depends on the employer. Their contracts or agreements with clients define their powers and responsibilities. Primarily, a security guard protects people and private property from criminal threats and emergency hazards. Many employers don’t insist on formal education, but some require a high school diploma. Guards must have attained the legal age and possess sufficient physical strength and fitness for their job.
The duties of a security guard include:
- Enforcing company rules and policies
- Protecting employees, guests, and property
- Responding to emergencies and ensuring life-saving measures are provided
- Controlling access to buildings
- Performing security checks
- Monitoring surveillance systems
- Writing activity and incident reports
- Placing phone calls to emergency services when situations require additional assistance
On the other hand, police officers protect neighborhoods and communities through law enforcement. Being a successful security guard doesn’t guarantee an individual admission to the police academy, but training as a police officer does tend to improve one’s skills as a security guard.
Benefits of Hiring Off-Duty Police Officers
Unlike most other employees, police don’t have a typical day job that stops at 5 p.m. Whether they’re on duty or off, police officers typically carry their powers 24/7 in their jurisdiction. That means they have the legal authority to stop crime at any time.
Due to this privilege, security companies often engage off-duty officers to take advantage of their extensive training and security experience. There are many circumstances for which an organization may hire off-duty officers. Read on to understand why they are best suited to protect businesses.
1. They are highly trained and experienced.
Police officers go through the police academy and attend ongoing training and certifications. Their training covers local and state laws, police ethics, emergency response, crowd control, first aid, and firearms, among other topics. While many security guards may end up interested in law enforcement, being a guard is not a shortcut to becoming an officer.
2. Police officers are armed.
Signed into law in 2004, the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act allows qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to move around with concealed firearms. That means they are free to carry guns anywhere in the country so long as they have appropriate identification. An officer who has clocked out or is not on official duty can thus still carry a firearm, which means they can also provide security for businesses and respond to threats more sufficiently than security guards.
3. They’re helpful during tense employee terminations.
While terminating workers is never enjoyable, it’s sometimes inevitable. Unfortunately, such situations can escalate into violent altercations between disgruntled (soon-to-be-former) employees and the management. If you suspect a forthcoming employee termination could turn dangerous, consider hiring an off-duty police officer for on-the-scene support. Police have sufficient training and experience to counter high-pressure situations and mitigate interactions with irate people, and their presence can even dissuade said people from behaving erratically.
4. They have the authority to perform lawful duties.
Going “off the clock” doesn’t strip police of their power: They cannot just watch a robbery take place and do nothing simply because they’re not on duty. If a potentially dangerous situation occurs, off-duty law enforcement at the scene can make arrests or call for backup, making them optimal guards for companies that are worried about theft or break ins.
5. Police can help diffuse workplace violence.
There are four categories of workplace violence, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These include:
- Criminal intent violence
- Worker-on-worker violence
- Customer/client violence
- Personal relationship violence
- Examples of violent incidents at workplaces include assaults, confrontations, property damage, armed robberies, hostage situations, and sexual harassment. If such events happen at your work premises, an off-duty officer can neutralize them or escort offenders off the property. Experience in emergency response or hostage negotiation enables police to thwart criminal threats without endangering everybody else around them.
6. They’re great for escorting courier service drivers.
Transporters of high-value items like jewels, money, documents, paintings, and even retail packages face the risk of hijacking and armed robbery. If your business requires frequent courier processes, you will likely find that it is vital to protect your employees and goods in transit from criminals. On top of helping with the usual cargo theft prevention measures, off-duty police can escort your drivers from area to area to provide an extra security layer.
7. There is a difference in the presence of police over guards.
Officers have a demeanor about them that many ordinary guards don’t have. Some of the qualities that set them a apart from the average guard include:
- Critical thinking
- Problem-solving skills
- Devotion to community
- Communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Strong moral character
- These qualities help off-duty police to solve situations with minimal disturbance at the workplace. They know when to use force, and they usually warn suspects before doing so. Moreover, law enforcement officers must uphold discipline, integrity, and morals in their private lives. Exemplary behavior is a requirement to protect the public image of the entire agency. Unlawful or morally questionable conduct can lead to their dismissal.
8. Police know a lot about asset protection.
Do you have valuable merchandise, technology, information, furniture, or equipment at your business premises? Or, conversely, would you like executive and VIP protection for your high-profile clients and guests? With armed off-duty police as your security personnel, you can rest assured that your assets, staff, and customers are safe round the clock. These officers know how criminals’ minds work and can often plug holes in your security efforts before you even know those issues exist.
9. They are knowledgeable on local laws.
Although security guards may be conversant with some local laws, police officers must learn and understand the law to enforce it. That immersion in their everyday jobs means they can easily tell when someone is in the wrong and deal with them appropriately.
10. There’s no one better for onsite security during shutdowns.
Significant and sensitive facilities like biomedical labs require protection from the slightest breaches. The same applies to factories or warehouses storing high-value products that are attractive to thieves. off-duty police officers and law enforcement officers can combat theft attempts on-site even when such facilities have a shutdown.
Get Ready to Deter Crime More Effectively
If you’ve been struggling to keep your company or specific business department safe against the potential for theft, whether physical or intellectual, it may be time to consider hiring appropriately trained security services to take back control of your business environment. Having properly experienced security personnel on your side could mean the difference between making the news for a security breach and ensuring you’ve provided every possible deterrent to keep your staff, assets, and customers safe.
Would you like to deal with crime and security issues in your business premises quickly and effectively? Contact SMART Security Pros today to discuss with an expert about any questions you might have about hiring off-duty police officers for your Washington D.C. company’s protection.