Post Orders: Writing them effectively & efficiently
One of the many duties, and skills, that I acquired in my 20 years working with several security companies was the task and idea that the post orders for every client needed to be either Written or updated. So, when I was assigned to do it, I began by standardizing each book and calling it a manual instead of post orders, which had negative connotations to many officers.
This wasn’t always an easy thing to do. Some sets of post orders hadn’t been updated in more than 5 years. That made it difficult for any security officer assigned to a new post to understand what was going on. And worse, the amount of White-out and red/black/blue marks through outdated paragraphs was even more confusing. In some books, there was more blacked out that was printed! It made the post orders look like testimony to a Select Senate Committee on Aliant Encounters. More was redacted than was visible. Now how the hell are officers supposed to learn with that?
I standardized the post orders for every single post we had. From Wells Fargo with 15, to Allied with 45, and First Response with 35. And the ones I revised with Allied were still being used 10 years later when First Response took over an Allied account. Which shows I did something right while I was there.
What to Utilize:
I stopped calling them post orders after I left Wells Fargo. I began calling them Security Operations Manuals for … This made the officers/client think that they were actually better than they were before. And in doing so, it helped to make the officers stand a little taller and take their assignments a tad more seriously. And in this aspect, it helped for them to be more respected by the client’s employees and the client, because of the professional look. They were placed in a new binder with client/company graphics/logo on the front.
As with training classes, I utilized the KISS method when writing the post orders. I kept them simple for several reasons. #1 was ease and simplicity in finding something that needed to be accomplished. #2 was so that if an officer had to take over and work an account with only a couple hours of training, then they could read the post orders and quickly, effectively, and efficiently work the post, it wouldn’t be perfect (nor is the idea of only a couple ours training), but it would suffice, in most cases.
- General Orders
- Policies & Procedures for both the client and company
- Code of Ethics/conduct. Yes this is important to include
- Laws, regulations, and other necessary items, if they deal with such intricacies
- Emergency call lists. Not just for emergency services but for the facility personnel
- Anything else that may have been necessary for the post/assignment
So now we come to the actual post orders themselves. What do you include in there and where? Again, it should be a very detail oriented, leaving nothing to chance or misunderstanding in normal circumstances. But writing them like that it is very effective and efficient after it’s been completed;
- Access control
- Visitors and visitor control. And yes it was separate
- Cameras, monitors, recording devices, and etc. This was used when necessary and sometimes with alarm panels and other electronic controls – all which had their own section
- Emergency procedures. Broken down into the likely disasters that could befall the client and the different procedures for each.
- Trucks, trailers, and pick-ups/drops of same. This included a separate section for deliveries of various materials
- After hours maintenance
- List of all equipment on post
- Diagrams of the equipment, maps of the facility, usually broken down into separate maps for fire extinguishers, fire hoses, alarm pulls, lighting controls, and etc.
And these won’t be the only things in your Security Operations Manuals either. There may be thing sin your facilities that need their own sections. I’ve worked at heavy manufacturing plants before and special care had to be shown for the chemical tanks and other hazards.
So, as with many posts I write, I’m giving you the generalized guidelines to make your security officers more effective and efficient. You will always have to write your own and tweak them to the needs of your company/clients. Despite what some people want you to believe, there is no one size fits all in security, no matter how many places are alike; they have to be treated differently.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues.