SECURITY OFFICER OBSERVATION AND REPORT WRITING
STOP! LOOK! LISTEN! In a sense, security guard/proprietary private security officers are paid observers. As a security officer your role should be PREVENTION. When an offense has been committed, your responsibility should be to OBSERVE and REPORT. You may be required to:
➢Report to the police
➢ Write a report for your employer
➢ Testify as to what you saw, heard, and did
The above direction is a suggestion and at the discretion of the employer. Some employers may want their security personnel to be more proactive as long as they stay within the parameters of what is lawful regarding private persons (citizen’s) arrest.
FACT vs. CONCLUSION. You will need to know the difference between a fact and conclusion.
A FACT: is what has actually happened, or is known to be true.
A CONCLUSION: ➢ is a judgment or opinion formed as a result of the facts. Peace officers and your employer are interested only in the FACTS. With proper facts, they can reach their own conclusions. For example:
FACT: As I came around the corner, I saw two men kneeling at the door. One was holding a crowbar. The door had markings around the lock.
CONCLUSION: ➢The men are burglars.
FACT: A man was walking inside of a fenced area, looking at the loading dock.
CONCLUSION: ➢ A man was wandering around looking for something to steal
FACT: A young man was weaving back and forth and almost fell down twice in the two minutes I observed him.
CONCLUSION: ➢ He was drunk and couldn’t even walk right.
FACT: A Woman got into the car and tried to start it
CONCLUSION: ➢ She tried to steal the car.
FACT: A girl picked up the necklace, examined it, placed in her purse, and walked directly to the north exit
CONCLUSION: ➢ After she stole the necklace, she tried to get away by the north exit.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! It will take practice to become a good OBSERVER and to be able to REPORT facts instead of conclusions. When you write a report, remember to include these six facts: 1. Who 2. What 3. Where 4. When 5. How 6. Names of witnesses.
AUTHORITY TO QUESTION AND BASIS FOR MAKING DECISIONS A SECURITY OFFICER’S AUTHORITY TO QUESTION PEOPLE
A Security Officer is an agent of the owner of the private property and, in this role, can exercise the owner’s right to ask people on the (owner’s) property what they are doing there, who they are, etc. If they refuse to answer the questions or if their answers are not satisfactory, the Security Officer may ask them to leave. If they do not leave, the security officer may arrest (citizen’s arrest) them for trespassing, and should call local law enforcement without unreasonable delay.
When on property and not employed as a Security Officer, your authority is no greater than any other person’s. On the other hand, your authority to question people is greater on property where you are on duty as a security officer.
WHAT ARE THE PROPERTY OWNER’S RIGHTS?
The owner of the property has the right to establish certain rules on his property that may not be a part of the Penal Code. For instance, if an employee shows up for work drunk, he may be violating a company rule. The client may want the employee sent home or may intend to fire the employee. How this situation is handled is between the employer and the employee, and has nothing to do with the police or public law. A SECURITY OFFICER MUST KNOW WHAT THE EMPLOYER’S POLICY STATES.
Trying to enforce company policy could, however, result in a violation of public law, by you or by the employee. For example, if the employee is asked to leave and refuses, he may be arrested for violating the public law against trespassing. On the other hand, if the Security Officer uses unnecessary force in removing the employee from the premises, the Security Officer may be arrested for committing assault and/or battery.
HOW SHOULD YOU HANDLE VIOLATIONS?
As a Security Officer, acting as a representative of the owner on the owner’s private property, you can physically prevent a person from entering an area - but only as a last resort! Be sure to check with your employer regarding the way to handle a violation of company rules, as well as how to handle violation’ of certain laws.