Technology and a New Caliber of Security Officer

The training and technology used by guards varies by sector


In this era of technology, a security officer must adapt to evolving industry requirements to rank among the top contract personnel.
Requirements for security personnel are as varied as the companies they serve. The term “generic” no longer applies to the role of security officer. Rather, each is an individual who reflects the sum-total of their training and experience. It benefits the contract security industry to recruit the most competent personnel and to carefully match their abilities to customer needs.

The work of security officers in a range of industries throughout the country has become more specialized and refined as industry technology has evolved and been tailored to specific environments. There is tremendous value in the collective efforts of the contract security industry to protect a range of businesses and institutions throughout the United States.

Changes in the security market are being driven largely by technology, but underlying security needs have not changed. Technology merely provides important tools to meet those needs more effectively, efficiently and economically. As technology improves the security marketplace, so should demand for a corresponding improvement in the quality of security personnel.

Sector-Specific Skills

It is critical that security personnel working in various business sectors have specialized knowledge. One contributing factor is the need for increased compliance with government regulations, which often outline sector-specific industry requirements. Here is an overview:
Colleges and Universities: Security officers must be aware of the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act’s campus crime reporting requirements. The act, also known as the Clery Act, ensures that information reflecting the effectiveness of campus security efforts is readily available. Compliance with crime reporting requirements is mandatory for an institution to receive federal student financial aid. Requirements include maintaining a public log of reported crime and providing timely warnings of crimes that represent a threat to the safety of students or employees. Thus, it is important for public safety officers to be aware of how their work relates to federal compliance mandates. (Editor’s Note: Details of the Clery Act and other regulation impacting school security can be found in this month’s Compliance Scorecard column, on page 49 of this issue.)

Chemical Plants: Security personnel may be required to help ensure compliance with Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, which are comprehensive federal security regulations for high-risk chemical facilities imposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Security officers may be asked questions about security measures as part of the federal inspection process.
Critical Infrastructure: Security officers employed at critical infrastructure locations may be part of yet another group of specialized teams. DHS has identified 18 critical infrastructure sectors — including agriculture, food, emergency services and cyber-networks — that it considers “critical” because if they were compromised or incapacitated, it would impact national security, the economy, or public health and safety. Security officers working at these critical locations must undergo the specific training and exercises required for these industries.

Medical Facilities: Security officers at hospitals and healthcare facilities should be versed in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements, which include specifics related to the security and privacy of health data.
Requirements for Joint Commission health care specify the need to ensure that patients are provided a safe and secure environment, including training of staff.

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