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What is a Security Officers Proprietary Job?



A security Officers/proprietary is assigned to protect specific people and property. This may include detecting some of the same offenses that would cause a peace officer to act, such as a fight or burglary. But it would not include other offenses such as motor vehicle traffic violations or prostitution. This decision is at the discretion of the security officers, employer.

For example, if you were on duty at a plant gate and you observed two teenagers having an auto race down a public road, you would not try to arrest them. You may decide to report it to the police if a telephone is nearby. But you were hired to protect the plant -not to arrest speeders. (In fact, you should be suspicious of any activity that may draw you away from your post. It could be a plan to draw your attention away from your duties.)


Peace officers are law enforcement officers such as Sheriffs and their Deputies, Constables, Marshals, members of city police forces and other officers whose duty is to enforce the law and preserve the public peace. If a law is violated, peace officers are required to pursue and apprehend the person responsible. This is not required of a security officer/private investigator/alarm agent responder! REMEMBER, a peace officer’s responsibilities are different from a security officer’s responsibilities. ➢ SECURITY OFFICER/PROPRIETARY only protect specific people and property as directed by their employers. ➢ POLICE (PEACE OFFICERS) protect all people and all property and enforce laws.


A security officer/proprietary may be responsible for maintaining certain company rules established by his/her employer. These could include: ➢ Requiring employees to show their badges when entering the property; ➢ Inspecting lunch pails as employees leave the plant; or ➢ Monitoring safety standards and reporting hazards, blocked exits, fire safety, slippery floors, etc. A security officer/proprietary supervisor or employer most likely offer instructions on helping employees observe company rules and policies.

2. PREVENTION IS THE KEY The security officer/proprietary primary role should be to protect persons and prevent damage or destruction to property.

PREVENTION is the key word. For example, if you spotted some people trying to climb a fence to enter private property, you should shout at them or turn on the lights. Do anything lawful that would discourage their trespassing, don’t wait until they cross the fence so you can arrest them. Another typical situation might be, a person intends to steal from a store, but suddenly sees a uniformed security officer/proprietary on patrol. The person leaves the store without stealing anything. The security officer/proprietary, simply by being in uniform, has prevented a crime.

3. OBSERVE AND REPORT If you can’t prevent an incident, the proper action should be to observe and report. You should: ➢ Observe carefully and ➢ Report immediately to local law enforcement and/or your supervisor.

4. GET HELP If a serious offense, such as robbery, burglary, or assault with a deadly weapon, has been committed, you will need help to apprehend the suspect.

CALL THE POLICE IMMEDIATELY. Even police who are trained to make forcible arrests are encouraged to call for help in dangerous situations.

Examples: #1: You are patrolling the grounds of a factory at 2:00 a.m. and see two armed adults entering the stock room. What should you do? (You should call the police, then observe and report.)

#2: While you are guarding a sporting goods store, a man runs out of the store. Ten seconds later, the owner runs to you and says there has been a robbery. What should you do? (Have the owner call the police, then observe and report.)

#3: You are patrolling a store parking lot. A shopper loads Christmas gifts into a station wagon parked in the lot and goes back to do more shopping. The windows of the wagon are open, and three boys are gathered around the station wagon looking in. What should you do? (You should try to prevent a possible theft by making your presence known.)

#4: You are on security officer/proprietary in a jewelry store. An employee showing diamond rings to a customer is called to the telephone. The customer is left alone with the display box of diamond rings. What should you do? (You should try to discourage a theft by making your presence known.)

The above direction is a suggestion and is 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.

RELATIONS WITH LOCAL PEACE OFFICERS OR LAW ENFORCEMENT Your job is made easier if you have a good working relationship with the local peace officers. ➢ NEVER play “cop.” You don’t have the training for it and you don’t have the legal authority to do the same things a peace officer can do. Also, playing “cop” may antagonize the local law enforcement and hurt your company’s working relations with them. Impersonating a peace officer is a felony.

DON’T MISLEAD PEOPLE. Because of your uniform, badge, hat or other gear, some people may think you are a peace officer. DON’T do anything to encourage this false idea. Whenever the opportunity arises, make it a point to let them know that you are NOT a peace officer, but a security officer.

DURING AN EMERGENCY, you may not interfere with peace officers who may be on the scene even if they are on the private property of your employer or client. You must cooperate to the extent possible with these peace officers or you may be subject to arrest. However, if called upon by a peace officer to provide assistance, you should do so.

REMEMBER: Your roles are different! A peace officer is charged with the enforcement of laws in a city or county. A security officer/proprietary is responsible for protecting only the specific people or property he is hired to protect.

The above direction is a suggestion and is 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.


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