Security officers are primarily responsible for protecting and securing institutions, businesses and residences. While security officers do not have the legal privileges of police officers, security officers can be armed and, in some cases, make arrests. Security officers also work closely with law enforcement and emergency response professionals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, security officers, also known as security guards, protect property, people and belongings while also patrolling property and ensuring that safety codes are enforced. Security officers also work alongside firefighters, police officers, paramedics and other emergency response teams in the case of a medical emergency. Security officers can be armed or unarmed, depending on their training and licensing or the grounds they patrol.
Entry level security officers are responsible for protecting property, equipment and people. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that security officers are either static or mobile, meaning they either monitor the interior or exterior of a property using surveillance equipment or they patrol on foot or in vehicles. Because security officers can be involved in dangerous situations, communication is critical. Security officers use mobile communication devices such as walkie talkies to communicate with other officers patrolling a premises. Security officers must also be able to clearly communicate verbally and in writing to compose accurate written reports, truthfully testify in court or succinctly describe an incident to a supervisor. While security officers don't need to be perform physically demanding tasks, they do need to be in good physical shape in case they need to restrain or otherwise handle a suspect or person invading private property.
Depending on where a security officer works, his roles and responsibilities may differ. For example, a security officer who works in a hospital will be more focused on protecting patients and medical staff, equipment and vehicles, while a security officer at a retail store will primarily focus on preventing theft and shoplifting.