Choosing a Security Company. How to Shop for Security Services.

Are you currently looking for a security service provider? Here are some tips on what to consider for when evaluating professional security companies.

Table of Contents

Part A – What to Look for in a Security Company

Experience & Leadership

It goes without saying that a Security Agency should be led by professionals with years of relevant experience. Security done correctly is a specialized skill set that requires years of practical experience from Security Officer to Field Supervisor to Security Director and beyond. 

The Necessary experience must also be coupled with hundreds of hours of formal training and education to achieve mastery. Agency leaders must be formally trained in the full-scope of private Security principles to effectively manage high-quality operations. 

Professional courses and certifications are often a great way to support a leader’s level of expertise and display their dedication to continued education.

Security Service Offerings

When choosing a Private Security firm, it is important to ensure the firms under your consideration have experience providing the specific type of security or protection you require. 

All security agencies will offer general guard services and sometimes patrol services (site-checks). That said, not all agencies will be truly capable of performing the other common specialties at an acceptable level. 

Examples of other specialties include: 

  • Retail Security
  • Corporate Complex Security
  • Construction Site Security
  • Commercial Building Security
  • Residential Security
  • Healthcare Security
  • Nightlife Security
  • Public Transportation Security

In-house Training & Development

The agencies in your consideration should have a well-designed training & development program for their Officers.

The program must have relevance, in that it supports real day-to-day security operations.

Relevant Course Include:

  • Customer Service & Officer Conduct
  • Legal Considerations
  • Officer Safety
  • Legal Use of Force
  • De-Escalation / Physical Incident Response
  • Medical Incident Response
  • Report Writing
  • Radio Procedure

Firearms training is much more exciting than workshopping appropriate verbal de-escalation techniques. However, it’s much more likely an Officer will use the latter skill regularly.

Part B – Evaluating Professional Security Officers

Skills, Knowledge, & Professionalism

Security Officers should be trained to monitor and manage surveillance equipment, patrol properties in vehicles and on foot, and control both general & critical access points. 

Security Officers must understand the appropriate use of emergency services like 911, Fire Rescue, and EMS. Officers are trusted to maintain certification in first aid and play a vital role in ensuring the rapid response of EMS and law enforcement during emergency situations. 

Security Officers are tasked with providing useful guidance and information to employees, residents, tenants, guests, and contractors on each assigned property. A professional agency supports those competencies with structured and regular in-house training.

Traits of Highly Effective Security Officers

  • Communication skills
  • Customer Service Oriented
  • Humbly Assertive
  • Integrity
  • Maturity
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Calm Under Pressure
  • Decisiveness
  • Professionalism

Relevant Security Experience & Background

Depending on the service level requirement, experience can have quite a large range, with 1-3 years at the bottom and 20+ years at the end. 

Prior to entering the private security world many Officers serve as State or Local Law Enforcement Officers, Correctional Officers or Military Personnel. These serve as excellent launching pads to successful careers in private security.

Part C – Licensure, Compliance & Insurance

State Licensed Officers

Verification of Officer licensure is an essential part of selecting a Private Security Firm. Both armed and unarmed Security Officers must possess specialized state licenses to legally conduct security and protection operations. 

Common topics covered during state licensure include; 

  • Legal Aspects of Private Security
  • Role of Private Security Officers
  • Security Officer Conduct
  • Principles of Communications
  • Observation and Incident Reporting
  • Safeguarding Information
  • Physical Security
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Safety Awareness
  • Medical Emergencies

Licensure & Adequate Insurance Coverage

Contracting an unlicensed or uninsured agency to conduct security services will expose you to avoidable risk and liability. Verifiable licensure is the most critical consideration when shopping for a security provider. 

A firm should have all required licenses for operating a security agency within each state they originate services. Their insurance policy must meet or exceed the minimum general liability coverage. In addition to verifying an agency’s licensure and appropriate insurance coverage, it’s also essential to verify that the Officers being tasked with carrying out security duties are fully covered under the policy as well.

Compliance with Local Laws

Engaging the security services of an agency incapable or unwilling to operate within the confines of applicable laws is one way to be exposed to unnecessary and avoidable risk. 

Unfortunately there are many unprofessional security firms who operate without necessary licenses and insurance. They hire unlicensed and unskilled security guards, and offer services they have little or no expertise conducting. Ensuring the provider has a record of compliance with federal, state, and local laws is a prime consideration while evaluating agencies.

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