When you think of dangerous jobs what pops into mind? Construction workers? Commercial Fisherman?Factory Work? Farming? Police work?
What about being a security officer?
"How hard can it be to watch a building all night?" you might say. They walk the fence once an hour and look for any suspicious activity. If an officer sees anything he just makes a phone call. "What could go wrong?"
How hard can it be to “monitor and report.”
It is late at night and you are walking the back fence of a large distribution facility. This place specializes in shipping cigarettes. Basically cigarettes are easy to steal, transport, and resell.
The security officer has to be alert. He has to be looking for any holes in thefence, shoe prints, or for any damage to any of the trailers. If he sees anything he better get to a safespot and make a call to the police ASAP.
Can you imagine having to sit in a car in the middle of the shipping yard? You have to remain alert and pray you don’t see anything. Not too mention you can imagine how hard is it to stay alert when for the past sixty days the only action has been crickets chirping.
If a thief breaks in how far are they going to go? What will they be willing to do? The officer is alone in the middle of a 30acre industrial facility, will anyone hear anything?
A common post assignment is a hospital. Hospitals are unique places. First, people are in hospitals because something isn’t right and chances are they aren’t in the best of moods. Second, many of the hospital staff are female. Third, hospitals bring together members of the family during stressful and emotional moments.
All of these elements combine to form a potentially potent cocktail. It is going to take someone with a physical presence and a quick intellect to make sure nothing gets out of hand.
Let’s take your average midrise office building with an attached parking garage. This building is right off the freeway and not too far from downtown. An officer’s duties might include walking the grounds, patrolling the parking garage, and watching the lobby.
In this scenario you would want to watch out for transients in the parking garage. Especially in the winter homeless people like to hang out in parking garages and get out of the elements. There can be one, two, or an entire group. Large groups like this can quickly create a safety, trash, or biological issues.
Another common duty is for the officer might be called to walk tenants out to their cars late at night. After a long day of work people might not be as aware as they should be. They might have other things on their mind as they walk out into the almost empty parking garage just hoping to get home.
An officer is assigned to walk around a large apartment complex. It is late and most people are asleep, but there is loud music coming from a top floor apartment. As the officer is walking up the stars he passes two people that give off a strong alcohol odor heading down the stairs. How will the people in the apartment react to a request to turn down the music? Is there going to be one person, or will it be an entire party?
A guard could be patrolling an apartment complex when he sees a late model F150 pickup truck pull up to the front gate. The passenger gets out with a pair of bolt cutters and promptly cuts the gate’s chain and rolls it aside. The security guard sees this as he is walking on foot. How close does the officer want to get? If the officer gets the license plate of the truck what are the chances it is stolen.
Security officers often work in remote locations, late at night, and in situations that can turn volatile in a hurry. There are long periods of utter boredom punctuatedby extreme excitement. An officer has to keep their head in the game or things can turn ugly fast. Theft, physical harm, or worse can happen in a hurry.
It isn’t easy manning a post alone late at night. It isn’t easy remaining alert when nothing has happened for months on end. And it definitely isn't easy dealing with conflict with strangers that you don't know how they will behave!
Give the guy standing in the corner a little respect. His job is harder than you realize.