The difference between a security guard and Security Officer

by todaystrainingblog

In my opinion there is a difference in the terms. And being totally honest I don’t really give a big fat rat’s ass about what licensing authorities say about it. Most will say that if you’re armed you’re an officer. If not then you’re a guard, which to me is an insult.
Does someone who’s armed deserve more professional recognition and credit than someone who is unarmed? No they don’t. I’ve seen armed guards that didn’t even deserve the title of watchman. And I’ve seen unarmed officers who deserve to be recognized throughout the entire industry for their courage and bravery.
I never explain, very often, why I’m against the idea of using the term guard instead of officer. That answer is fairly simple. I hate the word guard. I believe that it down plays the importance and significance of all 3 million security people in the United States. Why?
The term guard was popular in the 50’s thru now. Just as the word ‘watchman was popular from the 1850’s until the mid-30’s. And back in the 19th and early 20th century (until the 30’s) security guards could also be known as strike busters, carrying fence posts, rifles, and all kinds of implements to bloody those who were foolish enough to be on strike.
Back then, the people entrusted to secure the facility didn’t do a whole lot. They sat in their shack and smoked, drank coffee, and sometimes slept ignoring their duties or even worse, they were thugs in uniform with a pistol. In today’s modern world, security officers do so much more than just sit.
We are charged with so much more than just the front gate and watching for smoke from a fire! We have to monitor fire alarms, burglary alarms, cameras, make extensive patrols through hazardous areas, provide customer service, be alert and observant, and depending on where we work entrusted to, literally, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of assets for the company/client. They need a professional officer who can act and think above a ‘guard’.
Let me ask you this question or two. In a magazine, decades ago, there was an advertisement that showed a dark and dank alley way i.e. New York City slums, and it said “You wouldn’t go in there for a million dollars. Cops do it for a lot less”.
Now how many people will walk through a dark warehouse filled with chemicals that could literally kill them if it spilled or was inhaled? Officers do it as part of their job and don’t think twice about it. They also, like cops, do a lot of other things that can be dangerous and don’t think about it and why? Because it’s their job and it has to be done.
If you can’t tell, I’m fairly well in the corner of the millions of security officers that are out there every day. And most will work Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, and their birthdays because they are scheduled for it or the company needs them. I’ve worked these days on post as an officer and as a manager.
I’ve always been accused of backing the officer rather than management and its gotten me disciplined and fired a time or two. And that’s perfectly okay. I’d much rather be accused of backing up my officers no matter what, unless they are wrong then…, instead of being a ‘company man’.

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, 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.