There are approximately 1.2 million private security officers in the United States. These security officers work for retail stores, private businesses, warehouse facilities, transportation hubs, public-use areas and much more.
While private security officers often have access to pepper-spray, tasers and other non-lethal weapons, they don’t have access to the same equipment as police officers. On top of this, private security officers don’t have the same level of immunity as regular police officers. Because of this, private security officers have to be very careful when detaining members of the public. If a private security officer injuries an individual, a company may be liable for personal injuries.
For example, many retail stores have significant issues with shoplifters. In the average U.S. retail store, approximately two percent of merchandise is lost to theft each year. If a loss prevention officer injures a shoplifter while detaining him or her, the retail outlet may face millions of dollars in legal fees and injury compensation.
To avoid these issues, many security officers attempt to mimic the appearance of a traditional law enforcement officer. In the United States, touching or hitting a law enforcement officer is a felony. In addition, attempting to elude a law enforcement officer is a felony. Both of these crimes may involve significant amounts of jail time.
The best way for private security officers to avoid issues is through the use of the right uniform. Through the eyes of a lawbreaker, the word of a private security officer has less power than the words of a law enforcement officer. While it’s illegal to impersonate a law enforcement officer, many local and state governments allow private security officers to wear uniforms that are very similar to those of traditional police.
A private security officer uniform should have all the marks and emblems of a law enforcement uniform. Slacks should be a dark blue and should be matched with black boots. A button-up blue shirt with lapels, shoulder emblems and other insignia should complement the outfit.
A security officer outfit should have badges that are similar to those of law enforcement officials. As long as the badge clearly states that an individual works for private security, there shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s also important to have the appearance of someone who can project force. Excluding armored truck drivers, most private security officers are not allowed to carry firearms. However, they can carry pepper spray, batons, high-beam flashlights, lasers, tasers, stun-guns and other less-than-lethal weapons.
When wearing a security tool belt, it’s a good idea to appear as if one is carrying a gun. A stun gun should be placed in a holster that has an appearance similar to that of a regular gun holster. In some cases, tasers are designed with a profile that is similar to a regular gun.
Most important of all, it’s pivotal that security officers maintain a clean-cut appearance. Long hair, beards and ruffled cloths can impact the level of respect that miscreants will have for a security officer. With the right outfit, it’s possible to maintain order in a professional, courteous and effective way.
By: Granner Smith