Designing a Training Program for Your Security officers – Part 1
Security officer training is another one of my bug-a-boos in the security field. I don’t have many peeves, okay so I have a lot, but when officers aren’t trained correctly and then blamed by their own management for doing something wrong, that just really irritates me, mainly because I’ve been done that way and been blamed, this comes from personal experience at the field level. And the worst part of this is that management will fire the officer for the companies screw up, blaming someone else for their lack of foresight!
It doesn’t matter whether you own a security company or whether you are a proprietary department; it can apply to everyone and every company.
In most states a private company (security or otherwise) no longer has the latitude to train how or what they want to train their security officers in. Their state licensing authority mandates what the company will teach how long it’ll be taught for, and when they’ll teach it.
Too many, far too many, security companies refuse to train their officers to be anything but ‘guards’. And they will do it so slip-shod; they might as well not even train them. They’d be better off many times, as would we! Not fully training them in what they need to know only increases their indifference to the job, client, and their co-workers. None of those items are good to run a safe business. Before, during, or after hours.
In Arizona I do know of security companies training their ‘guards on post with a field supervisor. This is basically double duty for the ‘guard’ – which is all they’ll ever be in my opinion – as well as the ‘field supervisor’ (and if an issue comes up somewhere else and the FS is needed?). They have to do their normal orientation training and OJT at the same time. For the officers who want to do a good job, this is short changing them as well as the client in exchange for a quick buck. Let me ask you a question. How can you train someone in an 8 hour mandatory training, per Arizona Department of Public Safety, AND train them the intricacies of their new post all at the same time? You can’t. At least not effectively and safely and expect them to retain and comprehend what they’re being taught.
So, what should you be training your security officers to do in their duties and how? It’s not just as simple as following your states mandated training. These laws are only a guideline to use. There is nothing that states that you can’t go further and train them even better than what the state/municipality mandates, is there?
The training program that I developed in Missouri for First Response, Inc. grew from 2 hours to 8 hours over the course of a year. Part of that was the way that I taught. Another part was the amount of time it took to cover everything the new officers needed to know. The training program before I arrived there was only an hour and had been dropped for lack of interest. By the time I left I like to think we had the best trained officers in the Kansas City area.
The next post in this series will talk specifically about what is needed to have a fully operational, effective, efficient, and comprehensive training program. Be watching for it soon.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on workplace violence prevention and other security issues. With numerous interviews, blogs, articles, and 2 books he has proven himself in the security arena for more than 31 years, and 23 studying workplace violence issues.