Designing a Training Program for your Security Officers – Part 2
This is the 2nd part of this series. It’s a long series I admit, but you can’t afford to skimp on training your security people. If you do, then you’ll regret it in the end and probably end up with union grievances or lawsuits. And you want neither one of those.
Designing, Writing, & Implementing:
The first thing you have to do when DW&I (Design, Write, & Implement) your program is read the details of what the local law requires to be taught. The law in some jurisdictions Require that some things be taught that may not seem like a whole lot of anything. But I can assure you that even the wearing of the uniform is important. If an officer doesn’t wear their uniform properly, then they will be a laughing stock and nothing more than a rent-a-cop. And worse yet, the client employees won’t listen to such a clown very well, if at all.
As an Account Manager for Uni-Guard Security at 2 Pershing Square in Kansas City, I had an officer assigned to me that was no way going to work at my account for long. He arrived for duty one afternoon in a totally inappropriate attire. His uniform shirt was un-tucked and unbuttoned. His pants were hanging off his butt. His shoes were worn, scuffed, & brown (shoes I could have dismissed until payday). I counseled him on the proper wearing of the uniform and he showed up one more day and that was it. I got comments from tenants that he was rude, crude, & ‘stupid’.
There was absolutely no way most of them would have followed what he said or wanted them to do. And the officer I had training him, OJT, informed me that he was lazy and didn’t seem like he cared. I called the main office and he never again showed up.
How to Train:
One of the first things you need to decide on is how you’re going to train your officers. This is just as important as what you will train them in and the demands of their post and the field itself. I don’t believe in sitting them down in a darkened room to watch videos for however long. Nor do I agree with having them read and ‘self-test’ with their manuals.
My firm belief is that your security offices need to be trained with an actual live instructor in front of them. Someone who has worked in the field for a number of years and knows a few things as well as the standard stuff. Things such as un-freezing locks in winter, how to properly check a door and possibly hold a flashlight in a dark warehouse.
The instructor should also utilize 2 methods of teaching when conducting the class. The first is very simple and you’ve heard it before. KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. In other words, if you keep the material simple and easier to understand your officers won’t get as confused or discombobulated in the learning process. If you want to teach a college course in security, then teach them there, not in an orientation class.
The other is one that I’ve also used for ‘decades’. It’s called the Socratic Method. Using this method, the officers are forced to train themselves. The Socratic Method means that you teach them but you also ask them questions and expect them to answer correctly and possibly start a discussion on the subject! This works very well for most people and brings out their intelligence, no matter what you thought before.
If you wish to have people fall asleep and not pay rapt attention to what is being taught, then by all means start showing them videos and turn off the lights. It doesn’t take anyone with having an IQ of a genius to know that someone who stayed up too late the night before class will more than likely fall asleep in your class, no matter how much coffee, soda, or energy drinks they have. The body may function but the brain, which is what you need in class, will not absorb what they’re viewing.
Videos are good to help show what you need to perform. However, they shouldn’t be utilized as the only training method. They should be used sparingly and used to indicate an example of good and bad things.
And lastly, don’t give your officer trainees the answers on the test! When I was with several large national companies, the instructor gave the answers to the trainees so they would pass and that they would all have standardized answers! Giving the answers while you’re teaching is one thing, but giving them the answers on the test or whatever is out of line.
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.
His latest book ‘one is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace violence is available for numerous e-book formats. It helps all organizations to reduce their risk and limit their liability of an incident. And it does this by breaking the rules in several ways, as well as following conventional wisdom in others.
He utilizes his years of field knowledge to give real life examples of incidents pulled from both his own experiences and the news headlines. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page (One is too Many), Here you will see and read about other items related to WPV/SV as well as incidents you may not have heard or thought about.