Throughout the course of your day you have to watch out for theft, safety violations, and possible child abductions and that is on a good day. Never mind you have to keep an eye out for possible gang activity, terrorists, and crazed gunmen with a death wish. Welcome to the world of private security where the hours are long and the work always has the potential to be dangerous because you’re always first on scene. During your career you may never be in a life or death struggle, but don’t ever think it can’t happen to you. Whether you have gun on your hip or just a radio you need to be ready for close combat.
For legal and insurance reasons most licensed security guards are restricted in the weapons they can carry and you’re limited in the level of force you can employ. In New Jersey for example guards can carry batons, but only if they have a permit to carry a firearm. Laws vary state by state, so before you start your first day find out exactly what the rules are for your job, and what your company’s policies are when it comes to the use of force. Legally you might well be within your rights to stop and hold a shop lifter, but if the client doesn’t want a scene you could end up in a lot of trouble. So, keep your eyes open and never hesitate to call for help if you think you need it, and remember someone else’s property is never worth your life.
For the most part if you catch someone stealing or if you stop someone at the door and they don’t have the correct identification the incident probably won’t turn violent, but you have to be ready for the rare time when it does. You might be trained as a martial artist, but evaluate what techniques would work best for you on the job. Will your Taekwondo help you against someone with a box cutter, and do you really want to take the fight to the ground if you don’t have to? You need to train for realistic scenarios beforehand, and you need to have skills that will work in a variety of situations. Most people will give up when caught or simply run away, but you have to be ready for those who want a fight.
Security guards have prevented school shootings and terrorist attacks by being vigilant, so never think your job isn’t important. It isn’t easy staying awake if you’re doing a double shift, but if you’re not careful you could end up being the first casualties. Serial killer Ted Bundy drove passed a guard shack on a college campus with mangled body of a coed in his back seat and none of the five guards noticed because they were too busy talking. Be aware of your surroundings and follow the rules and you’ll be fine. You might want to be come a police officer or just want to pickup some extra hours, but make no mistake you’re on the frontline so you better be prepared when you’re on post.