Where security officers work depends greatly on the company with whom they are employed. In general, a security officer is someone responsible for patrolling and inspecting property against illegal activity, terrorism, vandalism, theft and fire. Security officers monitor buildings and people in order to prevent crimes from occurring. Although they are trained to respond or intervene if the situation warrants it, they typically adopt a preventative approach.
Overview of Security Officers
Security officers work in a broad range of environments, including office buildings, retail stores and public buildings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most security officers spend a great deal of time on their feet, either patrolling grounds and buildings or assigned to a specific post. Others may sit for long hours in a guardhouse to a gated community or facility, or they may remain behind a counter. Security officers may also provide around-the-clock surveillance due to rotating schedules of eight-hour shifts.
Responsibilities of Security Officers
Regardless of their place of employment, security officers must remain alert at all times, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Some security officers may be armed, and they may call for assistance from ambulance, fire or police services in the event of a crime. Specific responsibilities will vary from one employer to another. For instance, security officers at nightclubs and bars collect charges at the door, keep under-age people from entering and maintain order among customers. In retail stores, security officers protect equipment, money, merchandise, records and people, and they work with undercover detectives to patrol parking lots, detain shoplifting suspects until police arrive and prevent theft by employees or customers.
Where Do Security Officers Work?
Security officers may also work in art galleries or museums, protecting exhibits and paintings by watching people and inspecting the packages that enter and leave the building. Office buildings, hospitals, hotels and banks may also employ security officers to protect the organization’s property, staff and customers as well as to maintain order within the facility. At sports stadiums, in parks and at universities, a security officer may direct traffic, handle crowd control and supervise seating and parking. Security officers may also work for apartment buildings and complexes, ensuring that residents and visitors are not conducting illegal activity or engaging in otherwise dangerous behavior that could threaten the complex’s residents or property.
More Places in Which You’ll Find Security Officers
Security officers in transportation security screener roles protect freight, transportation equipment and people at train stations, airports, bus stations and other transportation facilities. On military bases, in government buildings and in factories, security officers protect products and information by checking the credentials of vehicles and people leaving and entering the premises. Gaming surveillance security officers mostly work in casino observation rooms, using video and audio equipment for surveying.
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Security guards have a number of responsibilities, include protecting and enforcing laws on an employers’ property and controlling access for employees, patrons and outside contractors. They monitor closed-circuit TV cameras and alarms for signs of potential crimes, and they conduct security checks around specified areas. Depending on the duties of the specific company with whom they are employed, most security officers must also write comprehensive reports detailing what they observed while on patrol. If a crime occurs, a security officer may interview witnesses and be called to testify should the case go to court. Depending on where security officers work, they are also typically trained to detain criminal violators until local law enforcement can arrive.