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Unarmed Security Exam Preparation

Table of Contents
Click on Chapter to Navigate

1. Fact or Conclusion
2. The Power to Arrest
3. Avoiding the Nuisance Arrest
4. The Implications of the False Arrest
5. Security Officer Arrest Procedures
6. Must Have Items for the Unarmed Security Officer
7. The Importance of Site Directives
8. Field Reporting
9. Going to Court
10. Trespass and Access Control
11. Interview Posture
12. Observe and Report
13. The Basics
14. Bonus Section - How Should Security Handle
15. Radio Use
16. Maintenance, First Aid and Fire Prevention

2014 -
2 Unarmed Security Officer
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1. Fact or Conclusion
M ost everyone knows the famous Dragnet line, Just the facts, maam. This sentiment should
be reflected in the unarmed security officers reporting of an incident.

He must know the difference between fact and conclusion. This fact also potentially represents the
target of more than one question on the security officers unarmed test.

This is important!

The officer must be able to discern between fact and conclusion. He must also only write facts
inside of his report narrative. A fact is an observable event that actually takes place. A conclusion is a
belief a person reaches based on observing the various facts.

The officers report should reflect the who, what, when, why, where and how of the situation.
When attempting the meet all of these criteria the officer must avoid any temptation to inject his
personal opinions or conclusions and simply communicate facts.

Consider the following four questions from the practice test.

1. Select the conclusion from the following statements.

A. The customer opened and drank a beer.

B. The trespasser said he never saw the no trespassing sign.

C. The vagrant intended to steal the cell phone.

D. Five vehicles drove off of the property.

2. Select the fact from the following statements.

A. The customer opened a bank account.

B. The child was trying to find something to steal.

C. The gang members wanted to tag our property.

D. The police officer was going to try to get my security license

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3. Select the narrative which expresses fact.

A. SO Johnson could smell the strong smell of alcohol as he

approached the subject.

B. SO Johnson approached the drunken subject.

4. Select the narrative which expresses a conclusion.

A. Ten gang members walked across the property.

B. The individuals walked across the property. Most of the

individuals wore clothing with colors similar to those worn by
area gangs.

As the reader probably knows by now, the answers to these questions are C, A, A, and B.

Answer B to the first question brings into question the stating of fact or conclusion within another
individuals statement. At times it is important for an officer to include these types of statements in his
narrative. This in no way verifies or validates the third partys statement. It simply documents what the
officer was told. When a witness to a crime attempts to inject his conclusion the conclusion must be
clearly attributed to the witness and not the officer.

There are certainly potential consequences should the officer mistakenly include conclusion in his
narrative. For example, a conclusion that is mistaken as fact may cause law enforcement to mistakenly
react to the conclusion. This could cost valuable time and resources. It could also potentially enable a
guilty party at the expense of someone who is innocent.

Additionally these conclusions could very much hurt the credibility of the officers report in a
courtroom setting. Lets assume the officer snuck a conclusion or two into the report. Months later the
guilty party has been caught and is being tried. The officer must submit to a routine deposition in the
case in what should be a very easy testimony. But, his credibility comes under fire when the defendants
attorney exposes some the false conclusions in the officers report. Not only is this embarrassing for the
officer but could seed doubt in the minds of jurors and might be a tool to set a guilty party free.

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Even if the conclusions are true, the attorney may attempt to challenge the officers judgement.
For instance, consider the third question listed above. Should the officer have put statement three into
the report then an attorney could have questioned the officers judgement. He could have asked if the
officer had given the subject a sobriety test. Of course he had not. So, how could the officer prove the
person was drunk? He cant! He can only say that he could smell the alcohol.

The applicant for a security license should ensure he can distinguish fact from conclusion before
sitting for his security exam.

2. The Power To Arrest

Does the security officer have a special power to detain or arrest another individual? A study of
the arrest powers of the licensed security officer should take up a significant portion of the officers
training as the unarmed exam will likely contain multiple questions oriented around the officers power
to arrest and the limitations on that power.

The officer must know that his arrest powers are the exact same arrest powers held by the average
citizen. That is, he may make a citizens arrest. In many jurisdictions a citizens arrest may be made
subject to the following circumstances:
1. The person being arrested was observed by the officer committing a crime. It does not matter
if the crime was a felony or a misdemeanor. The officer may make an arrest when he observes the
commission of a crime; or
2. A third party informs the officer that the person to be arrested has committed a felony offense.

Based on this description consider the following questions. These question are simmilar to the ones
found on the security guard practice test.

1. Which statement best expresses the arrest powers of the licensed

security officer in many jurisdictions?

A. The licensed security officer can never make an arrest.

B. The licensed security officer may temporarily detain an

individual without arresting him.

C. The licensed security officer has the same arrest powers as

t h e a v e r a g e c i t i z e n a n d m a y m a k e a c i t i z e n s a r r e s t .
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D. Because he has a license, the security officer has the exact

same detention officers as law enforcement.

2. Under what conditions may an officer make an arrest of an


A. The officer observes the individual commit a crime or is told

b y a t h i r d - p a r t y t h a t t h e i n d i v i d u a l h a s c o m m i t t e d a f e l o n y.

B. The individual insults the officer by muttering rent-a-pig as

h e w a l k s a w a y.

C. A third party tells the officer that the individual should be

arrested because he broke curfew the night before.

D. The officer works for an apartment complex and is requested

by property management to arrest a tenant because the tenant is
in violation of a court ordered payment plan.

3 . W h i c h s t a t e m e n t d e s c r i b e s t h e b e s t p r a c t i c e f o r t h e u s e o f t h e o ff i c e r s
a r r e s t p o w e r.

A. The officer may keep crime at bay by constantly reminding

people of his right to arrest them should they cause trouble.

B. The officer should make at least three arrests each week in

order to show the client that he is working hard to keep the
property secure.

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C. Before the officer makes an arrest he should call the police

to get permission.

D. The arrest power should be used in limited circumstances

when it is necessary to detain a person to protect the public and
t h e o ff i c e r.

4. Which statement best describes a felony offense.

A. A felony occurs when the offender cusses and expresses hate

while committing the crime.

B. A felony is best described as a violent crime resulting in

physical harm to the victim.

C. A felony involves more than one offender while a

misdemeanor is a crime committed by just one person.

D. A felony is generally an offense punishable by more than one

year of incarceration.

5 . W h a t t y p e o f o ff e n s e m o s t l i k e l y c o n s t i t u t e s a m i s d e m e a n o r.

A. Person A viciously assaults person B causing significant

i n j u r y.

B. The guest at a motel refuses to pay his bill for long distance
c a l l s m a d e d u r i n g h i s s t a y.

C. A group of hotel guests create a loud disturbance in the hotel

parking area and the boardering public sidewalk while drinking

D. The winning bidder at a public car auction refuses to pay for

the vehicle he just agreed to purchase at auction.

C is the correct answer to the first question. As previously described, in many locations the security
officer does not have any special arrest powers. This means he may make a citizens arrest but does
not usually have the right to detain a person without making an arrest. There are certain exceptions. In
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some cases the security officer may be granted a special police license. This form of privatized police
authority may convey the right to detain pending an investigation. In these cases the security officer does
have additional authority that may prove valuable in the effort to determine the truth of a matter without
necessarily incurring the liability of a false arrest.

On to the second question, as previously discussed, the officer can only make an arrest when he
observes a crime or has been told that someone has committed a felony. Answer A is the correct answer.
Practically speaking, the officer would never make an arrest based on another persons word unless
the alleged felon was a flight risk and it did not appear he had the luxury to wait on the police to arrive
and make the arrest. Obviously answer B is incorrect. The officer must always keep his emotions under
control. He makes a big mistake when he uses his arrest power because he has been personally insulted
as part of the exchange. Answers C and D get back to the issue of a third party attempting to solicit the
officer to arrest someone based on either a misdemeanor offense or a civil law matter. Neither of these
provide enough latitude for an officer to effect a citizens arrest.

Answer D represents the correct answer to the third question. Even though the officer may legally
effect an arrest he should defer that action when at all possible. The arrest power should be used
sparingly and when it is necessary to protect the public or the officer. This isnt to say that the officer may
not used the threat of an arrest to deter a developing security incident. But, this card should be played

Answer D is also the correct response to the fourth question. A misdemeanor is an offence punishable
by less than one years incarceration. A felony offense generally includes a possible punishment of
a year or more. It isnt realistic to expect an officer to know exactly what constitutes a felony vrs a
misdemeanor. But, it is important for the officer to know this basic rule of thumb.

Finally, on the fifth question, answers B and D are best adjudicated as civil matters and would not
likely receive consideration for prosecution as a criminal offense. The security officer should never
attempt to enforce civil matters by making an arrest even when requested to do so by his companys
client. This is especially important in instance where the client frequently engages in civil lawsuits. A
good example of this is an apartment complex where property management may attempt to evict clients

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based on failure to pay rent. There is a civil legal process through which the management company may
effect an eviction. While the security officer may serve the non-paying tenant with papers he shouldnt
attempt an eviction without the local sheriffs department and certainly shouldnt try to require the
tenant to pay overdue rent under the threat of arrest.

Answer A is clearly a felony offense. This leaves answer C as the correct question. Answer C
actually could describe several potential misdemeanor offenses including public intoxication, disturbing
the peace and open container. Based on this fact, the security officer likely has a good deal of latitude to
deal with the situation as necessary.

3. Avoiding the Nuisance Arrest

Security officers should never get into that habit of calling out police officer for little nuisance
arrests. This is especially true in large cities where law enforcement has its hands full with drive by
shootings and gang-related crime. No officer wants to be taken away from wrapping up an investigation
of a serious crime because a hyper-intense security guard has made an arrest over a minor issue. Worse,
upon arriving on site, perhaps the security guard goes out of his way to overly socialize with the police
officer. These types of interactions are just annoying as the officer is just trying to do his job and wrap
up his shift for the day.

In larger cities, criminal-type instances that may seem big to the security officer could appear
minor to the police officer. The police officer is the one who has to transport the arrested subject to the
jail, wait on the detention officers to process the offenderand complete the requisite paperwork and he
isnt going to be happy if the arrest if for less-than substantive reasons.

The security must use good judgement when deciding who to arrest. When the officer arrests
an otherwise law abiding citizens for a technical breach he absolutely risks losing the respect of the
responding police officer who not only has to do the paperwork but also knows that the jails have space
reserved for much more deserving individuals. These are the types of interactions where the police
officer will likely try to get out of having to transport the individual to jail and will just write out a
ticket for the offense and leave the site muttering under his breath about the security guard who called
him out for this matter.

On the other hand, the police may learn that they can depend on the companys security officers to
only make good arrests. They know that when a call is dispatched from one of the companys sites that
they will arrive on scene to find an arrestee who is genuinely deserving of transport to the local jail.
These types of incidents allow them to build confidence in the officers and know that it is less-than-
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likely that they can make a case against the security company for incompetence.

The security officer should keep this concept in mind. When a person commits a minor infraction on
his property then perhaps it is best to through document the infraction and then remove the person from
the property. In this way the security officer takes care of the problem on his own without the need for
ever calling the police.

4. The Implications Of The False Arrest

Its probably every security company owners worst nightmare. One of his officers makes a citizens
arrest only to have the police show up on property and refuse to take custody of the person. The security
officer either arrested the wrong person or arrested someone for an offense that was not a crime. The
security company now must fear being sued by the arrested person. Worse in an extreme case the security
officer who made the bad arrest could potentially face criminal charges.

Consider the following question.

What are the implications of arresting an innocent person?

A. There are no implications.

B. The person arrested may bring a civil action against the

s e c u r i t y c o m p a n y a n d t h e s e c u r i t y o ff i c e r.

C. The government could file a criminal charge of kidnapping

a g a i n s t t h e s e c u r i t y o ff i c e r.

D. Both B and C are possible outcomes.

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In order to obtain licensing the security company probably had to purchase general liability
insurance. While the insurance should pay for the attorneys fees and possible settlement of the case
the action may raise the premium of the company. The damage to the companys reputation could
be considerable. This story of the bad arrest and the settlement will spread and competing security
agencies may use it against the security agency when bidding for business from new clients. The
company could easily lose the business of the client upon whose property the bad arrest occurred. In
fact, the client may discharge the company simply to protect itself against possible liability.

Additionally, a complaint against the officer could be filed with his licensing authority. This might
place the officers license to work in jeopardy. Even if the officer survives an effort to remove his
license he could still receive a reprimand or other punishment that may count against him should he
make a mistake in the future.

In the most extreme cases, the local district attorney could potentially prosecute the officer for
illegally detaining the arrested person. This charge would only likely be prosecuted should the officer
have very much out stepped the bounds of logic.

For example, lets assume the officer arrested a person based on his mistaken belief that he had
seen the individual commit a crime. It the mistake was made in good faith it is highly unlikely for the
officer to undergo criminal prosecution.

However, perhaps the officer become emotionally involved in a confrontation and aggressively
battered the arrestee while placing him under arrest. Now, the chances for criminal prosecution on
multiple charges have most certainly increased. The officer could be prosecuted for everything from
kidnapping to battery.

When taking all of these facts into consideration it becomes clear why most security companies
prefer their officers to avoid making arrests unless absolutely necessary. Security officers are frequently
trained to observe and report and refrain from taking physical action to end a security situation.

This does not mean there are not occasions when an arrest is warranted and has merit. And, it
doesnt mean an officer cant use the threat of arrest to shore up a deteriorating security situation.

Many officers will go through an entire career in the private security industry without making a
single arrest. They should however ensure that they are aware of and up to date on their rights and
responsibilities as they related to the power to effect a citizens arrest.
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5. Security Officer Arrest Procedures

The security officer should apply best practices to any arrest attempt. When the officer makes a bad
arrest he brings liability to his company and his license. In addition to ensuring he understands his arrest
powers and only effects good arrests, the officer must also apply best practices when he does make an

Check out this question.

What steps should a security officer take after making an arrest?

A. Interrogate the person arrested until he confesses to the crime.

B. Immediately contact the police and give the person into their
c u s t o d y.

C. Inform the arrested person that he is under arrest and search

him for weapons.

D. Both B and C are correct answers.

Answer D is correct. The officer must contact the police as soon as practical. Any delay in contact
the police could be seen as an attempt to detain the individual for other reason such as interrogation
or intimidation. Worse, what happens if a friend of the arrestee become the first to call the police. This
paints the security officer in a very bad light. If at all possible he must be the first to call in the arrest and
ask the police to transport the arrestee.

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The person under arrest should be told that he is under arrest. This takes away his excuse for
providing any resistance. State law may require this; for instance, in California state law requires the
arrestor to tell the arrestee of the arrest.

For the officers safety it is important that he handcuff the subject. The officer should receive a
handcuffing certification from a licensed security school. This training will teach the officer how to
place the handcuffs on the subject without doing harm. The officer should also receiving training on the
proper tightness of the cuffs.

Of course, any arrest must be accompanied by a search for weapons. As part of handcuffing class
the private security school should provide the trainee with the basic concept of searching a person for
weapons while use the back of the hand. Another important part of this training provides the trainee
with an overview of dealing with pocketed items such as needles and how to remove them from the
arrestee without becoming infected.

The handcuffing class may be included in the basic training provided to security officer. Or, it
may be offered as an elective class. For sure, the officer should take the elective course and receive
a certification for handcuff use. This will provide legal protection in the event the arrestee claims the
officer hurt him by inappropriately applying the handcuffs.

Invariably an arrested individual will complain to the security officer regarding the tightness of
the handcuffs. When this occurs the office should take the complaint serious but proceed with great
caution. Consider this question from the practice test.

Following arrest, the arrestee loudly complains that his handcuffs are
too tight. What should the officer do?

A . Ta k e t h e h a n d c u f f s o f f o f t h e a r r e s t e e a n d p u t t h e m b a c k o n
o n l y l o o s e r.

B. Tighten the handcuffs and tell the arrestee to stop


C. Check the handcuffs by inserting two middle fingers between

t h e h a n d c u ff s a n d t h e a r r e s t e e s w r i s t a n d c a r e f u l l y l o o s e n i n g a s
n e c e s s a r y.

D . M e a s u r e t h e d i s t a n c e b e t w e e n t h e a r r e s t e e s a n d t h e
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handcuffs using a police standard divining rod and carefully

l o o s e n i n g a s n e c e s s a r y.

C is the correct answer. If the officers middle two fingers can not fit between the arrestees wrist
and the handcuffs then they are too tightly attached. This provides merit to the individuals claim and the
restraints should be carefully loosened.

Lets consider another question from the sample test.

A hotel security officer arrests a tenant after noticing a significant

amount of drugs sitting on the nightstand i n t h e p e r s o n s r o o m . A f t e r
arresting the person and placing him in the security car what should the
officer do with the drugs while awaiting the arrival of the policy?

A. Immediately flush them down the toilet to keep them out of

reach of children.

B . Ta k e t h e d r u g s t o t h e c a r w i t h t h e a r r e s t e e i n o r d e r t o g u a r d
them and the arrestee from one location.

C. Leave the drugs in the room and ask the hotel clerk to re-
initialize the lock so no one can gain entrance to the room.

D. Pocket the drugs to keep them from getting lost.

C is the correct answer. Whenever possible the officer should leave evidence in the exact same
position he found it. This protects the officer from the claim that he planted or manipulated evidence to

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the detriment of the arrestee. In this example the officer should ensure the hotel clerk re-initializes the
romms lock to keep people from sneaking back into the room and taking the evidence. Once the police
arrive they will take the evidence into custody with the arrestee.

There are of course exceptions. Weapons should always be immediately secured by the officer to
ensure they are not in the arrestees purview of possible use should there be any threat that the arrestee
could access the weapon.

At times the officer may have to take possession of controlled substances. This occurs when the
officer isnt confident that he can keep them out of the control of others. For example, in some cases
answer B might be a better fit. What if the hotel room was filled with party guests and friends of the
arrestee? Ideally the officer would evict the party, arrest the responsible party and secure the room. But,
if the room has multiple entrances that can not be quickly secured then perhaps he must transport the
drugs to the security vehicle with the arrestee in order to prevent the evidence from disappearing with
one of the party guests. This could lead the arrestee to claim there were never any drugs and the officer
made a bad arrest.

Here is one final question from the sample test regarding the use of the Miranda rights.

Why shouldnt the security officer mirandize the arrestee upon


A. There is no requirement that he do so.

B . A c i t i z e n s a r r e s t b y a s e c u r i t y o ff i c e r d i ff e r s f r o m a n a r r e s t
by a police officer and isnt subject to the same standard.

C. Because Miranda notices are normally provided by a

police officer the arrestee might claim the security officer
impersonated a police office by giving Miranda rights when he
wasnt required to do so.

D. All of the above are correct.

The answer is D. There isnt a requirement for the security guard to mirandize anyone. In fact,
should he attempt to do so he not only risks getting it wrong since after all he hasnt been trained to
give Miranda rights but might even come under attack for impersonating a police officer. He should
simply stick with telling the arrestee why he has been arrested and let the police officer mirandize the
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arrestee when he prepares to transport the arrestee to jail.

6. Must Have Items For The Unarmed Security Officer

The security officer presumably contains a set capacity for the tools and items with which he
accomplishes his job on each and every shift. Keeping this in mind, he clearly must prioritize which of
these objects he will encumber himself with during a given shift. Remember, a number of posts require
the officer to conduct sometimes lengthy foot patrols. No officer wants to become encumbered with
clunky items he will never use. As an aside, this is especially true for those horribly bulky key clocks that
some companies make their officers carry. Those companies who fail to innovate their tracking model
beyond the use of a key clock do a real disservice to their officers.

Back to the subject at hand, consider this question from the practice test.

Which list best represents items that should be carried by an unarmed

security officer while on foot patrol?

A. Binoculars, gloves and a Swiss army knife.

B . N o t e p a d , f l a s h l i g h t , c e l l p h o n e a n d d i g i t a l v o i c e r e c o r d e r.

C. Concealed handgun, clipboard, extra badge and laminated

pocket-sized list of client contact numbers.

D. Raincoat, map of patrol route and copy of the post orders.

In this case the best and therefore correct answer is B.

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An officer must always keep a notepad with him. This allows him to immediately record
observations such as suspect descriptions, vehicle tag numbers or items that he will later place on
his shift report. The flashlight is essential for those who work at night. The voice recorder provides
the officer with the critical ability to record interactions with individuals. This allows the officer to
avoid being drawn into a situation where his word is the only proof for what actually transpires while
dealing with those who are causing a security incident. And of course the cell phone provides essential
communications capability. Even when the officer has been assigned a radio the cell phone represents a
backup tool for when the radio doesnt work or its battery dies.

Fortunately each of these items can be found on a basic smart phone. The office can use a note
taking app such as Evernote to take and sync notes. Even better than a notepad, the phone also allows
the officer to attach pictures and audio to his note as well as locational geodata. The officer can also
use an app to use his smart phones camera flash as a flashlight. Although the app might not produce
a light that can compete with a mag light it will give the officer enough light to get by should he only
occasionally need a flashlight. Numerous apps provide voice recording capabilities.

The other lists in the test question may contain useful items but they are either unnecessary for
many uses or could violate policies and laws. In actuality, the only other item from these lists the
unarmed officer should consider carrying are the gloves. The numbers on the contact list should be
inputted into the phone. The knife may be useful but may be against policy. The post orders should
remain at the office and wouldnt normally accompany the officer on foot patrol.

To sum it up, the officer should always have a way to make notes while in the field. He should
always be prepared to create a recording for an interaction and able to communicate when he needs

7. The Importance Of Site Directives

How exactly does the security officer receive specific directives for his post? Consider the
following question from this sites practice test. This one isnt very hard but it is likely to appear on the
exams state governments and security schools ask security officers to take prior to permanent licensure.

What is the commonly accepted name for the directives governing the
conduct of an officer while on duty?

A. The Prime Directive

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B. Post Orders

C. United Nations Agenda 21

D. City Charter

The new security officer must know that the specific instructions for his post should be available
via a set of post orders. This document may contain a series of both generic instructions and well as
specialized orders for the specific post to which the officer has been assigned.

During his first shift the officer will likely be asked to read and become familiar with the post orders.
While they may seem cumbersome and even unnecessary these orders actually provide the officer with
the protection of a written policy to which both the security company and the client who hires them have
agreed. By putting these policies into writing the company provides the officer with specific directives.
When an emergency arises the officer who follows the directives can point to the post orders as justifying
the action that he took.

Perhaps the officer notices the post orders have grown out-of-date and are no longer are relevant.
Or, maybe the site itself has evolved and now incidents are occurring not originally envisioned by the
post orders. When this happens the officer is likely the first to notice since after all he is on the ground
where the action is. It is paramount for the officer to request an addendum or an update to the post orders
to ensure their relevancy. He should not be afraid to point to the shortcomings of the existing orders and
offer constructive suggestions for an addendum.

Some security companies may hesitate to put too much nuance into their post orders. They may wish
to empower the security officer to make his own decisions without interface from the company or may

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just fail to properly customize the orders to the specific site. Absent specific orders the officer should
judiciously approach each situation and ensure he can properly explain the reasons for his actions.

Many post orders are accompanied by a signature sheet. Upon taking his post the officer must
attest to the fact that he intends to abide by the post orders. He does this by affixing his signature as a
signatory to the document.

8. Security Guard Field Reporting Strategies

Report taking represents one of the key components of the security officers training. The
officers report will be the first document produced after the occurrence of a security incident. The
report must be professional in appearance and accurate. It must also create a comprehensive view of the

The report provides the security company and the companys client with a first impression of what
actually occurred. It sets the stage for future investigations, possible adjustment of post policy and the
adjudication of the incident. The report could be used as evidence when the client files an insurance
claim or as part of a court proceeding should the matter end up in court.

When the officer writes the report he must remember that his target audience isnt just the security
company or its client but potentially the attorneys, court officials and jurors who sit in judgement of
what occurred. No security officer wants to deal with the fallout of having his report proven inaccurate
in a legal hearing.

Keeping this in mind, what are the overriding guidelines the officer should apply when developing
his report? What are the elements that must be included in the report?

Take a look at this question which will almost certainly appear on the security officers exam.

What components of an incident should a well-constructed report


A. The specific identity of witnesses who were not involved in

the incident.

B. The number of people involved in the incident as they related

t o t h e l o c a t i o n o f t h e s e c u r i t y o ff i c e r.
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C . T h e w h o , w h a t , w h e n , w h y, w h e r e a n d h o w o f t h e i n c i d e n t .

D. Both A and B

The test-taker should not be thrown or confused by possible answers that contain certain elements of
a good report but do not reflect all of them. In the sample question the reader will note that only answer C
contains all of the elements.

A standard incident report should have data input fields allowing the officer to enter all of the known
details matching the criteria in answer C. The report must also allow the officer to provide a written
narrative describing the incident. Much of the boilerplate incident form should contain space for the
written narrative.

Lets start with the who. The report should detail who was involved in the incident and the specific
contact information for those parties. Oftentimes this information can be placed into the data collection
fields of the standard incident report. Additionally, witnesses to an incident may need to provide their
own statements which appear on a supplemental witness statement form. These supplemental statements
should be attached to the master incident report.

The what should appear within the written narrative. The officer must succinctly describe the event
and what transpired.

A blank incident report will contain a data entry field for entering the time the incident took place.
This field will detail the approximate time and date of the incident. When the officer can only provide an
approximate time he must make it clear that the time is approximate. Some companies may prefer their
officers to use military time. Regardless of the type of time used, the officer should ensure he consistently

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applies either military time or civilian time and ensure he does not accidently shift between the two of
them. This accounts for the when.

The why will appear within the officers narrative. This is the tricky one. When an incident
involves individuals the officer must not insert his conclusions regarding the individuals motives. The
why should only describe clear causations were the why is a matter of fact and not a guess on the
part of the officer. Alternatively, the officer may insert the statements of witness for why an incident
occurred. That information should be clearly attributed to the witness. For example consider the
following sentence from a narrative.

The victim stated that he had been punched because he insulted the the responsible partys

Note how the statement has been clearly attributed to the victim.

The where is oftentimes one of the easier data points to collect. It should be placed into one of
the standard data fields. Again, any approximation of a location should be clearly identified as such by
the officer.

Finally, the how is one of those areas where the officer should not insert conclusions. It is fine to
describe the obvious mechanics of how an incident occurred but these must be factual.

Consider the following statement describing the how of an incident based on the clear
observations of the officer.

The perpetrator used a can of red spray paint to tag the fence.

The previous sentence contains fact. This juxtaposes with the following statement which contains
conclusions made by the officer.

The perpetrator used a bunch of spray cans of paint to tag the fence.

Perhaps the officer made this conclusion based on his observation of several empty spray cans at
the scene of the tagging. Instead of declaring that the perpetrator used a bunch of spray cans the officer
should just note that presence of the cans. Perhaps his statement should look like this.

Upon arriving at seen, I noted the presence of 10 empty spray cans.

21 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

This is important! Its probably not the least bit material to the case but because the officer can not
prove the tagger used the cans he shouldnt claim that he did.

Under examination in a courtroom setting the officer could come under intense scrutiny because he
put a conclusion into the report as fact. He doesnt know for sure how to incident happen. He didnt see it
happen did he? Then how can he state that it happen that way? He cant! Thus everything the officer says
in his report and as a witness in court now become suspect.

In some cases, there simply isnt enough data that can be collected after an incident to fulfill all six
of the criteria. That is fine. It is better for the officer to submit a simple report containing the factual
information he can prove then to enhance the report with conclusion.

The potential security exam test-taker must memorize, who, what, when, where, why and how. He
must know that when he receives his security license, and when he writes his first incident report, he
must include these items in a factual manner without drawing conclusions.

9. Going To Court
One of the security officers worst nightmare goes as follows. He responds to an incident in which
a very bad person commits a criminal act. He puts a lot of time into creating a quality incident report and
does a great job dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. However, the justice system works extremely slowly.
Months later the officer is deposed by the defendants legal team. Months after that he appears in court.
By that time has forgotten the nuances of the incident and when aggressively pushed by the defendants
attorneys the officer inadvertently makes several inaccurate statements that conflict with his original
incident report and his deposition.

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With his credibility shot the officer retreats from the witness stand and stands by as the jury acquits
an obviously guilty person. Not only must the officer live with the guilt but now may have placed his
job and reputation in jeopardy as well.

How does this officer avoid this situation?

Of course the officer must have taken the time to get his incident report right in the first place.
Presumptively, in this case, the officer did a great job and wrote an accurate report. Keeping this in
mind consider this question from the security officer exam.

What steps should the security guard take before he goes to court for
either a deposition or witness stand testimony?

A. Call the attorney for the defense and ask for an advance copy
of all questions that will be asked.

B. Review the incident report and all subsequent documents that

i n c l u d e t e s t i m o n y a b o u t t h e i n c i d e n t f r o m t h e s e c u r i t y o ff i c e r.

C. Request multiple delays in the court hearings until the

defense gets tired and gives up.

D. Carefully coordinate testimony with the prosecution to ensure

everyone is on the same page.

At first glance, answer D doesnt sound like a bad option. But, its inappropriate for the officer to
coordinate every nuance of his testimony with the prosecution. The officers job is to simply tell the
truth and let the court system figure everything else out. Keeping this in mind, answer B is obviously
the correct answer.

The security guard will escape court just fine provided he gives testimony which is consistent with
both his report and any subsequent testimony such as a deposition. The defense might argue the merits
of their case based on what the officer put into his report but at least the officers credibility wont be
easily placed into question.

When the security guard does not do his due diligence and when he fails to prepare for court by
going over his incident report and previous testimony then he risks making mistakes while serving in
the capacity as a witness. When the officer makes a conflicting statement it opens up his testimony and
23 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

credibility to question. The defense may work very hard to do exactly this.

Lets consider another question from the security guard exam.

W h i l e o n t h e w i t n e s s s t a n d t h e o ff i c e r s a n s w e r s t o q u e s t i o n s s h o u l d b e
as follows:

A . L e n g t h y a n d d e t a i l e d s o a s t o p r o v i d e t h e o ff i c e r s i n s i g h t s o n
each nuance of the case; or

B . O p i n i o n a t e d a n d p a s s i o n a t e t o c o m m u n i c a t e t h e o ff i c e r s
opinion about the case to the jury; or

C. Clear, concise and correct to convey honest testimony while

not opening up an avenue for attack from the defense; or

D. The officer should refuse to testify whenever questions make

him uncomfortable.

This question really gets to the importance of the role played by the officer while on the witness
stand. Those who answer by selecting answer B may believe the officer should inspire the jury to convict
the defendant. This simply isnt the officers job. The prosecuting attorney may use passion and emotion
in his presentation to the jury but the officer must only state the facts. The jury must perceive that he is an
impartial arbiter of the facts and they must believe that he hasnt allowed his personal emotions to taint
his testimony.

The defense may attempt to ask provoking questions in an attempt to make the officer become

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emotional or lose his composure. This tactic can easy be avoided if the officer simply responds to the
questions with short, concise and factual answers. Answer C is correct!

Heres another tactic used by the defense. Build up the officers ego with a series of questions in an
attempt to get him talking. When the officer talks for lengthy periods of time he provides the defense
with plenty of material that he can use to poke holes in the testimony. Answer A is very wrong! The
answers must be short and concise while answering the question but not providing a lot of unnecessary
information the defense can subsequently present out of context.

Following each question, the officer should take a deliberative pause and formulate a short concise
answer which is consistent with his incident report and previous testimony.

Here is another test question.

Security Officer Johnson takes the stand to testify in an emotionally-

charged case where he witnessed a violent subject pull a knife on
his security guard partner who subsequently shot at the subject. The
defense asks SO Johnson this question. When the knife came out was
your co-worker scared? What is the best answer?

A. Of course he was scared! Why do you think he shot at the


B . I c a n t s p e a k f o r h i m . Yo u w i l l h a v e t o a s k h i m .

C. He wasnt scared. He isnt scared of anything!

D. He didnt have time to be scared. He instinctively responded

to a deadly threat based on his training.

Remember, this is a very emotionally charged case. Answer A is very tempting. But, it is very
much the wrong answer!

Answer D is a great answer. But, it is only an appropriate answer for the security guard who
pulled his gun and fired a shot. Answer B is the correct answer. A witness should never guess at the
mental state or the thought processes of an individual he witnessed as part of an incident. If the defense
attorney really wants to know what that person was thinking then he needs to ask that person.
25 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

The defense could use answer A to make it appear as if the security guard was scared, trigger happy
and out of control. How would the witness feel if his testimony was used against his partners action?
Remember, the defendant might be adjudicated by the court and may proceeded to file a civil suite again
the guard who shot at him. In this case the officers testimony that his partner was scared might prove

The officer must carefully review his reports and any previous testimony before providing any
additional testimony. He should answer questions with short and concise answers and he should never
attempt to convey the state of mind or mental condition of any other participants in the incident.

10. Trespass And Access Control

Many security officers are assigned to positions designed to control access to their clients
property. This may take the form of a bouncer at a club whose job it is to escort intoxicated
troublemakers off of the property. Or, perhaps the security guard must man an access gate at a large
factory ensuring that those who enter are employees who really do belong on the property.

Now, lets take a look at some of the various access and trespassing questions that are found on the
security exam.

W h a t s t a t e m e n t b e s t d e s c r i b e s t h e s e c u r i t y g u a r d s a u t h o r i t y t o p r o t e c t
h i s c l i e n t s p r o p e r t y ?

A. As the official representative of the property owner the officer

c a n d e n y a c c e s s a n d e v i c t p e o p l e f r o m t h e p r o p e r t y.

B. The officer has no authority to ask someone to leave the

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p r o p e r t y.

C. The security officer can deny access to a property only when

he is wearing a gold or silver metal badge that says Security
Enforcement Officer.

D. Prior to an eviction the security officer must notify local


When taking the security exam the test taker must keep an eye out for red herring answers such as
answer C. This question provides nuanced detail that has been designed to cause the test taker to start to
thinking that the answer must be true.

Answer D isnt correct but it makes it does bring on the specter of involving the police. Law
enforcement officers do not enjoy the task of responding to the a call from a security guard to evict
someone from the property. These matters are always best resolved when the person agrees to leave of
his own volition.

Answer A correctly describes the arrangement that gives the officer the power to control access
to the property. Of course, this power must be subject to the policies of the property including verbal
directions from the property owner and post orders. An officer who capriciously refuses access to a
property risks endangering the relationship of his company with the owner of the property.

Lets take a minute to address a question about access points that may be found on the security
exam. This easy question insults the intelligence of the exam taker but easy questions like this one are
the friend of the test taker.

Which bests describes a logical location for an access control point?

A. A commercial kitchen emergency fire exit, a dormitory roof

h a t c h a n d a c l a s s r o o m w i n d o w.

B. A parking garage entry gate, the front lobby desk to an office

complex and a driveway to a hunting lodge.

C. The interior closet door in a motel room, several large

windows on the thirty-third floor of a commercial office
b u i l d i n g a n d a c o n s t r u c t i o n s i t e s l o c k e d g a t e o p e n e d o n l y f o r
the passage of a few large vehicles.
27 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

D. The commons area located in the center of a large apartment

complex, the security office located in the basement of a
s h o p p i n g m a l l a n d a s m a l l d e s k l o c a t e d i n s i d e o f t h e p r i n c i p a l s
office in the interior of a middle school.

D and B are the only answers that make any sense and the test taker presumably quickly realizes that
access points should be established on the perimeter of a property instead of the interior. The candidate
for licensure should expect to see a similar question to this on the security exam. B is the correct answer.

A person quickly walks through and sets off the metal detector at a small
school. When asked to stop, the person declares this is a public building
and he can not be denied access.

A. This is true, this school is a public building and as a taxpayer

a person can not be denied access. This is why many schools do
not use metal detectors because they are pointless.

B. This is false, law allows the school to set an access policy and
s e c u r i t y m a y e n f o r c e t h a t p o l i c y. F a i l u r e t o c l e a r a m e t a l d e t e c t o r
allows the school security officer to deny access.

C. This is true, but the person must provide a copy of his identity
before proceeding. He must also pledge to not use any weapons on
his person to cause harm once allowed access.

D. This is false, the security officer can deny access but only
after checking with the local police.

Security officers who chose to work for government clients such as schools and other public

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buildings may encounter additional objections in their attempt to secure a property. But, even
government clients may establish an access policy. That policy should be well defined and the officer
must become familiar with it. As a taxpayer, a member of the public does have the right to expect that
any policy will be applied in a universal and fair manner. However, a policy may deny access to a
public building for security purposes and the security guard is well within his rights to enforce it. This
denial applies to members of the public even though they are footing the bill for the building, the metal
detector and the security officers salary. Answer B is correct.

So, what happens when the officer encounters a person who isnt supposed to enter the property?
Trespass laws are the security officers best friend. These laws allow him to enforce the property
owners authority in the event a person refuses to leave upon request or returns after eviction. Since
these tresspassing laws vary from state to state the officer should study and gain a basic understanding
of his states specefic tresspass law before he takes the security exam.

Take a look at this sample question.

Trespassing laws vary from state to state. Keeping this in mind, which
of the following best describes trespassing.

A. A person tresspasses when he ignors clearly posted no

trespassing signs or ignores a verbal warning from the property
o w n e r o r h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e t o s t a y o f f t h e p r o p e r t y.

B. Someone trespasses when they hop a fence and walk onto a

p r o p e r t y t h a t h a s a f e n c e a r o u n d t h e e n t i r e p e r i m e t e r.

C. Trespassing occurs when a person quickly walks unnoticed

past a manned access point.

D. A trespasser is someone who refuses to pay the fee at a

p a r k i n g g a r a g e e x i t w i n d o w.

Answers B and C may meet the definition of a trespass under the laws of certain states. But,
addressing answer B, just because a person hops a fence does not mean he was aware that the property
was a no trespass property. This is different if the fence contains a no trespassing sign every couple of
hundred feet or so. Some states may also have purple post laws. In these venues a post that is painted
purple may suffice for a no trespassing sign. This is a superior system as it is much hard for someone to
steal a fence post than a no trespassing sign.
29 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

Now, on to answer C, it is mighty difficult to prove that someone who walks past an access point
meant to trespass. To prove the act was intentional the propertys ownership almost needs surveillance
footage of the person clearly attempting to circumvent the access point by intentionally avoiding the
security officer. Even then it is hard to prove intent as the person may claim they didnt realize the venue
featured controlled access.

Answer A clearly best defines the act of trespass. For a trespass to occur the person must know that
he is trespassing. A verbal directive to stay off of the property and/or a posted no trespassing sign should
suffice under many state laws.

Keep in mind that just because the officer can make a trespassing arrest it doesnt mean he should. In
many cases the threat of a trespass arrest should provide the officer all of the leverage he needs to end a
security situation and ensure that the problem causing party does not return to the property.

Lets take on the next sample question about trespass.

A stadium security officer guards an access point to a stadium. He asks

a visitor to open up her purse so he can check for weapons. She refuses
and insists she has a constitutional right to not allow the search.

A . T h e v i s i t o r i s c o r r e c t a n d t h e o ff i c e r m u s t a l l o w h e r t o e n t e r.

B. The visitor is incorrect and the officer can conduct a search

r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e v i s i t o r s r e f u s a l t o a l l o w i t .

C. The visitor is correct but the search can be mandated as a

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condition of access to the stadium. If the visitor does not

provide permission then she may be denied access.

D. The Constitution and subsequent court interpretations have

provided the officer with the right to search the purse in the
p r e s e n c e o f a l a w e n f o r c e m e n t o ff i c e r.

The officer does not have a right to search the purse should the visitor refuse to let him. An
aggressive officer who becomes offended, emotionally involved and continues to insist on searching
the purse very much oversteps his authority. However, the visitor must know that the search is an
condition of entry. Her refusal means she can not enter with the purse. She must find a location outside
of the stadium to store the purse or can always exercise her right to to go somewhere else and not enter.
Answer C is right!

Here is one final sample trespass question.

The owner of a truck stop hires a new security company to crack down
on the prostitution problem in the parking lot. On his first night, the
new officer asks three presumed prostitutes to leave the property and
tells them to not come back. The next night he notices one of them
s n e a k i n g o n t o t h e p r o p e r t y a n d t r y i n g t o s o l i c i t a t r u c k e r. W h a t c a n h e

A. Make an arrest for prostitution.

B. Make an arrest for trespassing.

C . A s k t h e p e r s o n t o l e a v e t h e p r o p e r t y.

D. Both B and C

This is a very real scenario. Truck stop security officers fight these types of battles on a nightly
basis. Proving prostitution is almost impossible. Unless the solicited party wants to testify to that fact,
and serve as the arresting citizen, the officer shouldnt try to make this arrest based on a prostitution
argument. But, the trespass issue provides the officer with the card he needs to get a handle on the
problem. By identifying those individuals who clearly do not have a valid reason to be on the property
the officer can evict with the warning that if the evicted party returns to the facility she will be arrested
31 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

for trespass. This shouldnt be an idle threat. The evicted party will likely return to the property in the
future just because this is her place of business, it is worthwhile to take the risk of being caught and she
likely assumes the officer made an idle threat. However, a trespass arrest or two should put enough of a
dent in business that the prostitute moves on to another truck stop where security isnt as restrictive.

This question demonstrates the fact that the trespassing issue gives the security officer a great deal of
latitude to take control of a bad environment and restore order and security. Even law enforcement does
not have this power.

If the officer understands all of these questions and answers then he likely has a very clear grasp
on the section of the exam related to access control and trespass issues. The officer should keep this
knowledge and not forget what he has learned as he starts work in the private security industry. As
previously mentioned, a working knowledge of trespass law provides the officer with an invaluable
trump card that he can use to bring an end to security situations.

11. Interview Posture

The posture of the security officer is one of those intangible factors that separates the security
officer from the security guard. Believe it or not, a question about interview stance could likely appear
on the security officer exam. The officers appropriate posture during interactions with the public places
him in a strong position to react should the need arise. This makes good posture a matter of importance
to the point that it becomes a part of security training and possibly the security exam. Take a look at this
question from the practice exam.

While on patrol an officer approaches a suspicious acting individual.

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A . F i r m l y a r o u n d t h e s u s p i c i o u s p e r s o n s a r m s t o p r e v e n t

B . I n s i d e o f o ff i c e r s p o c k e t s .

C. In front of the officer in an interview position.

D . A t t h e o ff i c e r s s i d e .

The officer should never get into the habit of placing his hands inside of his pockets. This
practically screams a lack of professionalism. When the officers hands are cold he should wear gloves.
Hands that are in pockets are not prepared for a security incident. It doesnt matter if the officer is
armed or unarmed the officers hands are his primary weapons for immediate response should it
become necessary. When his hands are locked into his pocket he can not respond immediately.

The correct choice is C. When the hands are positioned in the interview position between the
interviewing officer and the interviewee they provide a first line of defense against an attack. This
also demonstrates confidence and creates the perception that the officer is in charge and leading the
interview. Should the officer need to rest his hands he should place them on his duty belt while still
keeping them in the front of his body where they can quickly intercept an attack.

This next question addresses the same type scenario but mixes it up a bit. What is your answer?

A security officer conducts a vehicle patrol. As he drives on site he

observes a clearly angry individual rapidly approaching the security
c a r a n d n o t i c e s t h a t t h e i n d i v i d u a l s r i g h t h a n d l i e s h i d d e n u n d e r h i s
sweatshirt. What action proves most advantageous to the officer and
the security of the site?

A. Pull up to the individual and interview him through a half

o p e n d r i v e r s s i d e w i n d o w.

B . Te l l t h e i n d i v i d u a l t o s t o p w h e r e h e i s , s t o p t h e c a r, q u i c k l y
get out and conduct the interview from a standing position.

C. Ask the individual to have a seat in the passenger seat of the

s e c u r i t y c a r.
33 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

D . H i t t h e g a s a n d s p e e d a w a y.

The officer should never attempt to conduct an interview with a hostile person from a sitting
position. This places him at a great disadvantage to an aggressor. The officer must conduct interviews
with potentially hostile individuals from the standing interview position.

Should the individual attempt to use a weapon against the officer then the vehicle offers little cover.
In this instance answer B allows the officer to approach the individual on a one to one basis from the
interview position. This doesnt mean that answer D might not be the best approach when the individual
clearly has hostile intent. But, presumably the officer will have to deal with the situation at some point
since the disturbed individual is on the site to which the officer has been assigned to secure. An armed
officer obviously has more latitude to deal with a situation such as this. An unarmed officer should
exercise answer D with greater frequency than an armed officer.

Lets sum up the recommendations from this chapter.

The security officer must keep his hands between himself and the subject whenever possible. He
should never attempt to conduct an interview from the sitting position. He should always interview
potentially hostile individuals from a standing interview position.

12. Observe and Report

Its become a commonly recognized saying almost synonymous with the unarmed security officer
- to observe and report. In other words it is the job of the officer to ensure he is in the right place at
the right time and in that way serves as a primary witness of and deterrence to the security incident. The
statement also infers that the officer does not become directly involved in the incident. Take a look at the
following sample exam question.

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The term observe and report reflects the expectation that the unarmed
security officer will:

A . Av o i d b e c o m i n g p h y s i c a l l y i n v o l v e d i n a s e c u r i t y i n c i d e n t
unless absolutely necessary to protect and assist an innocent
party; or

B. Make important observations that will later lead to the

apprehension of those who commit crimes; or

C. Quickly leave the site when any nefarious activity takes

place; or

D. Both A and B.

The unarmed security officer primarily serves as a trained witness of nefarious activity. He deters
crimes simply because of is presence as a witness. His job isnt usually to stop crimes committed
against property. There may be a time when it becomes appropriate for an officer to attempt to
physically stop a physical crime against a person who is an innocent party. These are the types of
situations where the average citizen regardless of occupation has the moral responsibility to help
protect another person. Answer D is the correct answer. Keeping all of this in mind check out the next
question from the practice test.

In which of the following situations should an unarmed security officer

attempt to directly and physically intervene?

A. A small fire has been set in the commons area of an

apartment complex.

B . Tw o l a r g e i n d i v i d u a l s a r e b r e a k i n g i n t o a c a r.

C. A flash mob of teenagers is looting a convenience store.

D. An armed robbery has been committed and the suspected

robber is running from the premise.

With the exception of answer A each of these answers involve situations where the unarmed officer
35 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

probably best serves as a witness and not as someone who intervenes. In the case of answer A the officer
could potentially save the property from an enormous amount of damage by putting out the fire while
taking on little physical risk to himself. Of course, in this specific example the officer should beware
that the fire may have been set as a distraction while someone commits a crime in another part of the
apartment complex.

The officer must keep in mind that his presence may serve to end an incident. In the case of answers
B and C should those perpetrators realize the security officer has arrived on scene they will likely flee
the area without committing any additional damage. However, the unarmed security officer is usually not
encouraged to attempt to detain or arrest these individuals.

Here is a similar test question.

In which of the following interactions should an unarmed security officer

attempt to stop the actions of a perpetrator?

A. Someone fills up his car with gas, quickly jumps in his car and
prepares to speed off site without paying for the gas.

B . Tw o d r u n k e n i n d i v i d u a l s h a v e l o u d a r g u m e n t a n d g e t i n t o a
f i g h t i n t h e p a r k i n g l o t o f a b a r.

C. An individual walks up to a parent with a small child and

attempts to tear the child away from parent.

D . Tw o r i v a l g a n g m e m b e r s t r a d e g u n f i r e w h i l e s h o u t i n g i n s u l t s
a t e a c h o t h e r.

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What do you think the answer is? In all of these instances someone could get hurt. But, in what
instance must the unarmed security officer get involved?

In instant A, the officer might be able to stand in front of the drive off attempt. But, is it worth
the risk that the desperate gas thief will run into the officer with his car over just $40 of gas? Some
might suggest that the officer could intervene by pulling his patrol car in front of the escaping car in an
attempt to block the car in and prevent the drive off. But, what happens if the person slams his car into
reverse without looking behind him? It is unlikely that the security officers involvement will make
substantive difference and it is likely that by forcing the issue people could get hurt. The best thing for
the officer do to in this scenario is to observe and record the license plate number.

In instance B, a club bouncer must decide if he should get involved. This may be an instance where
the two subjects arrive at an outcome without the bouncers involvement. Since the fight occurs in the
parking it is less likely that others get hurt. However, should one person gain the upperhand in the fight
and start to harm the other it may be necessary for him to come to the aid of the weaker person and
keep serious harm from occurring. In fact, while it might seem like a stretch, a person who is hurt in
a fight might attempt a civil action against the bar should the officer not come to his rescue. But, this
answer does not best fit the description of an incident where the officer must get involved.

Answer C best describes an incident where an officer must get involved. A potential kidnapping
of a minor represents an instance where even an unarmed officer must not hesitate to intervene. This
proves there is an exception to every rule. In this case observe and report goes out the window. This
also highlights the importance of the officer being mentally and physically prepared for this type of an
incident to occur.

In the case of answer D, an unarmed officers role should be to contain the situation by keeping
innocent bystanders from becoming involved as best possible. Of course he should also get a
description of the gang members, their vehicles and tag numbers. Usually one of these shootings takes
place within just a few seconds as one party attempts a hit and run on the rival gang. Even after the
hit and run has taken place the officer should be very wary of additional gunfire as the victim may
indiscriminately return fire even after the attackers have left the scene.

Look at this question.

W h y d o e s t h e u n a r m e d o ff i c e r s e m p l o y i n g s e c u r i t y a g e n c y w a n t h i m
to observe and report instead of taking a more proactive role in
mitigating security incidents?
37 SecurityOfficerHQ. com

A. This minimizes the civil liability of the company and the

b u s i n e s s w h i c h h i r e s t h e c o m p a n y. A l s o , t h e u n a r m e d o f f i c e r
does not have the tools or training to make an arrest. And, the
company wants to protect the health and safety of the officer and

B. Clients who pay the company for unarmed security are usually
cheap and they dont deserve the services of a highly paid armed
officer who has the capacity and training to bring an end to
security situations.

C. Unarmed officers make great eye witnesses.

D. There is so much crime that it just isnt practical to try to

stop all of it.

The best answer to this question is the first one. These three concerns are a big deal to the security
company which has to to pay general liability insurance and doesnt want those insurance rates to
increase because the company is sued after the officer gets involved in a security incident. And, if the
officer gets hurt on the job the companys workers compensation insurance may skyrocket.

The other answers may present some valid viewpoints but dont answer the question as well as
answer A.

12. Tactical Communications

The security officer must understand the concept of tactical communications prior to taking his
security exam. This is one of those areas of security industry subject matter that the officer should
attempt to build on throughout his security career. In actuality, an officer who isnt good with tactical
communications shouldnt receive an assignment where he will frequently work in the public eye.
So what exactly are tactical communications? Lets take a crack at the questions about tactical
communications from the security guard practice exam.

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Which statement best describes tactical communication?

A. Issuing emergency directives such as, All customers should

move to the center of the store at this time when a tornado

B. The artform of defusing an emotional situation and achieving

voluntary compliance through tactful and strategic conversation.

C . C o m m u n i c a t i o n s b e t w e e n o f f i c e r s a b o u t s t r a t e g y.

D. Conversation over a company issued radio system.

Despite its name, tactical communications do not refer to security response strategy or radio
communications. Answer B correctly describes this important concept. As previously mentioned,
possessing an understanding of how to speak to emotional people and leading them to the officers
desired outcome comprises one of the most important talents an officer has.

Far too many officers do not possess the people skills needed to strategically communicate with the
public. These officers are best situated in posts where it is unlikely they will encounter those who must
be talked into doing the right thing. Other officers have a fantastic talent that allows them to defuse
even the most emotional of situations. These officers are invaluable and can quickly adapt to varried
security climates.

While people skills come naturally to many, the artform of tactical communications is learned
through experience. Whenever an officer must make an arrest or an eviction from the property it is an
admission that the officers communications skills were not able to end the situation without having
to exercise his nuclear option. Understandably, there will be instances where the officer will be forced
to make an arrest or eviction and he has no choice but to do one of these. However, there are many
situations where the officer can defuse the situation by listening to the concerns of an emotionally
distraught or angry person. He may firmly and clearly address those concerns while providing the
person with options to defuse the issue as much as possible.

When commencing a dialog with a troublemaker the officer must set a tone from the start of the
conversation that is designed to result in a desired outcome. Take a look at this question.

Security Officer Johnson, a security officer at a hotel, approaches a

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tenant who holds an open can of beer and is talking loudly and creating a
bit of a disturbance in the hotel courtyard. Which dialog best represents an
i n s t a n c e w h e r e S O J o h n s o n u s e d t a c t i c a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n s s u c c e s s f u l l y.

A . S O J o h n s o n : Yo u c a n t h a v e a n o p e n a l c o h o l i c c o n t a i n e r i n a
p u b l i c p l a c e . I t s a g a i n s t t h e l a w ! Te n a n t : W h a t a r e y o u g o i n g t o
do about it big man? SO Johnson: If you dont put it away I am
going to have to arrest you!

B. SO Johnson: I apologize, but the hotel has a policy about

d r i n k i n g o u t s i d e o f t h e b a r a r e a . Wo u l d y o u m i n d t a k i n g i t b a c k
i n s i d e t h e b a r o r y o u r r o o m ? Te n a n t : T h a t s a d u m b p o l i c y ! S o
Johnson: A lot of people dont like it but I get in trouble if I
d o n t e n f o r c e i t . Te n a n t : I t s a l r i g h t m a n . I a m n o t g o i n g t o g e t
you in trouble. Ill go back in.

C . S O J o h n s o n : Yo u a r e b r e a k i n g h o t e l p o l i c y . P o u r t h a t b e e r o u t
r i g h t n o w o r w e a r e g o i n g t o e v i c t y o u ! Te n a n t : M a k e m e !

D . Te n a n t : W h a t d o y o u w a n t ? S O J o h n s o n : W h a t d o y o u m e a n
w h a t d o I w a n t ? Yo u a r e t h e o n e w h o i s b r e a k i n g t h e l a w . I w a n t
you to obey the law!

This one shouldnt be hard to pick out. In scenario B the officer flips the table on the tenant and turns
into the sympathetic figure. Intoxicated individuals can feel a variety of emotions and in this case the
security officer has found a way to take advantage of the fact that the tenant didnt want to get the officer
in trouble. Becoming a sympathetic figure isnt an easy thing for many officers. The security industry
contains a lot of big egos. The officer whose ego gets in the way of tactical communication strategies
cant be nearly as effective as one who can put his ego aside and do what it takes to end the incident.

Scenarios A and C potentially result in an arrest. Neither outcome is good. The police dont want to
show up on a private property to arrest someone for an open container law offense. In fact, they probably
wont transport the subject to jail and will just write a municipal ticket for the offense. Now, once the

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police are gone, the officer still has to deal with the tenant who is angrier than ever before because now
he has a big ticket to pay. Scenario C might result in an eviction. But, then the officer has to let the
tenant go get his stuff out of his room and hope that he doesnt just lock the door and close it.

As the reader can see, the culmination of an event in a desired result without an arrest or an
eviction makes everyone a winner. Tactical communications allow this to happen.

13. The Security Test Basics

The security exam taker can expect that his security exam will include several questions about
the basics of the unarmed security officers responsibilities. These questions are designed to ensure the
officer has a basic understanding about the occupation. These are some of the easiest questions on the
test and shouldnt prove too challenging to the test taker who has invested in even the most minimal
level of study.

Lets take a look at some of these questions.

Which statement best defines the role of the unarmed security guard?

A. Provide protection to people, property and information

by providing security assistance and observing and reporting

B. Protect the owner of the property to which the officer is

assigned but not his tenants.

C . E n f o r c e s t a t e l a w, l o c a l o r d i n a n c e , s i t e p o l i c e a n d p o s t

D. Only enforce laws when the violation of which is a felony


First and foremost the security guard isnt a law enforcement officer. His responsibilities entail
many important duties but he isnt compelled to enforce every violation of state law and local
ordinance that he observes. Thus, answers D and C simply do not accurately reflect the role of the
security guard. There will be times when the guard takes action to effect an arrest based on a clear
violation of law. But, this does not constitute his principal responsibility. The guards foremost duty
compels him to protect the property, people and information at the site to which he is assigned to
protect. The unarmed officer often accomplishes this task by conducting patrols, making observations
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and reporting those observations to the appropriate personnel. Answer A best reflects this fact.

Hopefully the test taker didnt check answer B. In many environments the officer not only protects
the property to which he has been assigned and also provides protection to the those who use that

Now, consider the following question. This question emphasizes the shift transition process and
highlights the importance of communication between officers.

What actions should the security guard take upon arriving on post and
replacing a security officer whose shift has ended?

A. Ask the outgoing officer for a briefing regarding the security

s t a t u s o f t h e p r o p e r t y.

B. Go on break to get prepared for the shift.

C. Conduct an inventory of shift reports, incident report and

timesheets to ensure the proper forms are available for the
upcoming shift.

D. Conduct a patrol of the site to ensure the outgoing officer

hasnt been goofing off during his shift and allowing bad things
to happen.

Many times the outgoing officer just wants to get off site and go home. He may not be inclined to
properly inform the incoming officer. This puts the impetuous for communication on the incoming officer
who shouldnt forget to ask about any ongoing security or maintenance conditions that may need the
officers attention. Answer A best fits the bill as the proper answer.

Answer D isnt a bad answer either. Most likely post orders will require that many officers conduct
a periodic patrol of the property. If this is the case, the first patrol is one of the most important patrols
the officer will conduct during the shift. This first patrol allows him to benchmark the conditions as he

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inherits them. From this point he can compare the conditions found on future patrols with the way the
property appeared as of his first patrol.

During his shift, the security guard must practice situational awareness.
Which statement best defines situational awareness?

A. Situational awareness occurs when a security guard asks his

s u p e r v i s o r w h a t h e t h i n k s o f t h e g u a r d s o n - t h e - j o b p e r f o r m a n c e .

B. A situational awareness is a self-assessment process designed

to ensure the officer is prepared for security incident.

C. Situational awareness dictates that an officer constantly

monitors his surroundings and is aware of his conditions.

D. A situationally aware security guard should always know how

to isolate a situationally aware individual.

Test takers shouldnt be confused by attempts to make situational awareness appear to be

something it isnt. Situational awareness is exactly as it sounds - the art of always knowing the
surrounding conditions and circumstances. This isnt as easy at it seems. Many security sites are
absolutely monotonous with little occurring during each shift. It is all too tempting for the assigned
officer to become very comfortable and accustomed to this environment and in so doing lose situational
awareness. When this happens the officer may fail to notice a change in the security environment until
it is too late. Situational awareness dictates that the officer constantly checks and rechecks the site and
its conditions. Answer C is correct.

Which term best defines the conditions that must be noted by the officer
upon arriving at the scene of a crime.

A . We a t h e r c o n d i t i o n s

B. Conditions of circumstance

C. Transient conditions

D. Solid conditions
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When the officer conducts a patrol, and subsequently notices a crime scene there are actually a set of
observations that he must make as priority observations. Transient conditions are those factors that are in
flux or may change before law enforcement investigators arrive on scene. Check out this question.

Upon arriving at the scene of a break-in which are the most important
factors the responding security officer should first take note of.

A. The description of a teenager rapidly walking away from the


B . We a t h e r c o n d i t i o n s a n d c l i m a t e .

C. The method used to effect the break-in.

D. A and B

This is probably the hardest question out of the set of basic-level questions. It tests the officers
ability to judge transient conditions. On its surface answer B does not seem that important. But, weather
could prove to be a major factor in an ensuing investigation. Rain may wash away fingerprints or wind
might blow away evidence. Of course answer A is the most important transient condition. Thus answer D
is the best answer to this question. Answer C includes an important part of evidence but not necessarily a
condition that will change before law enforcement arrives.

Now, here are a couple of the very easiest questions the test-taker will possibly encounter on his
security exam.

The general public judges a security guard by:

A. Attitude

B. Speech

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C. Appearance

D. A, B and C

Dont mess this one up! The answer is of course D. Here is a second very easy question the exam
taker might notice on his exam.

The security guard meets a primary responsibility when he:

A. Observes safety hazards.

B. Observes security violations.

C. Reports on safety hazards and security violations.

D. Does all of the above.

Again, this is super easy and the answer is D. These types of questions brings attention to the
officers responsibilities as they pertain to safety and maintenance issues as well as security concerns.
It may be easy for the officer to overlook his responsibility to monitor a site for safety and maintenance
concerns in addition to the more traditional role of security guard. It is a mistake to overlook this part of
the industry because it will likely become a part of the security exam. Answer D is the correct answer.

These are some of the easiest questions the test-taker will see as he completes his exam.

14. How Should A Security Guard Handle An Eviction

The right to evict represents on of the security officers most important powers. When properly
used, this power provides the guard with leverage to bring an end to a security incident. When used
unwisely the eviction attempt can result in an embarrassing fiasco bringing the officers judgement into
question and potentially costing his security company the patronage of the client.

The right of the property owner to control his property is an important tenet of law. As the official
representative of the property owner a security guard can leverage this power to entice badly behaving
occupants to end their inappropriate behavior. Even law enforcement officers do not have the power to
evict a person from private property without the consent of the owner. This power actually provides the
security officer with a unique tool not available to police officers.
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The officer should know that his primary mission should be to bring an end to offending behaviors
without needing to use the power of eviction. When the officer evicts someone from the property he is
admitting that his skills as a negotiator were not sufficient enough to end the conflict without having to
resort to his nuclear option.

The possibility of eviction should be brought up an a soft spoken but firm manner. It should be
communicated to the person who is responsible for the disturbance and communicated privately if
possible. No one wants to lose face in front of their friends. If the officer loudly declares his intent
to evict in front of the responsible person and his friends he is upping the ante and forcing the issue.
However, by communicating on a one-on-one basis with the responsible party the officer provides the
person with the lee-way to back down and not lose face.

Of course there will always be incidents where the officer will never be able to negotiate away the
disturbance. And, there will be instances where the violation or potential for harm is so strong that the
guard shouldnt even try to end the disturbance without an eviction. Often times this happens when
the person causing a disturbance is severely inebriated and has lost control of his judgement. In these
instances the officer must find someone who will accept responsibility for the offending parties actions or
almost immediately evict from the property.

The officer must remain cognizant of the liabilities of evicting drunken individuals. If the evicted
person attempts to drive off of the property then he will be putting lives at risk. At times like these it may
be necessary to seek help from law enforcement officers who should have the ability to temporarily hold
the person according to the departments public drunkenness policies.

What happens when the disruptive party is asked to leave the property but refuses? Most
security officers should attempt to isolate and contain the situation while requesting assistance from
law enforcement if possible. In extreme cases, provided the disruptive party has received clear and
unambiguous notice of the need to leave the property but has refused the request the officer may affect a
citizens arrest for trespassing.

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Either way, it is the officers first duty to resolve the situation with minimal disruption and without
an eviction if at all possible.

15. Radio Use

Many security companies still require their officers to use a radio while on duty. This means the
officers basic training may include training on radio use. The security exam could feature a couple of
questions about radio use. Prior to taking the security exam the test-taker should review a handful on
the most commonly used 10 codes. Not all security companies will required the use of these codes.
And, codes do vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The means that any 10 code questions featured on
the security exam will likely only highlight the most commonly used 10 codes. Are you ready to try a
10 code question? Take at look at this one.

T h e d i s p a t c h e r r a d i o s i n s t r u c t i o n s t o a n o ff i c e r. T h e o ff i c e r r e s p o n d s
by saying, 10-9. What should the dispatcher do?

A. Write, Officer arrived on scene, on the dispatch log.

B. Call the shift supervisor and let him know that one of his
officers has abandoned post without prior notice.

C. Repeat the instructions.

D. Either give the officer permission to go on break or ask the

officer to stand by until relief arrives.

Answer C is correct. 10-9 indicates that the communications were not understood and need to
be repeated. The security officer may hear this particular code over and over again when using radio
networks with poor connections. Answer B would only be relevant if the officer called in 10-7 or
off-duty. Answer A could actually be a 10-97 code. 10-97 means arrived on scene. However, in some
locations the code for arrived on scene is 10-23. And, at least one location uses the 10-9 code for
arrived on scene. Now, it should become apparent why there probably wont be too many 10 codes on
the security exam. There is simply too much variation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

A basic Internet search should reveal a listing of the various 10 codes.

Here is another radio-related question.

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ABC Security requires its officers to communicate via radio. In which

situation should the ABC Security security officer not use the radio to
request help.

A. While on a foot patrol the officer notices a trespasser cutting

a c r o s s a n o r m a l l y s e c u r e d p e r i m e t e r.

B. The officer needs to go on break and wants to tell the

dispatcher that he will be unavailable for the next 15 minutes.

C. The officer walks around the corner of a building and comes

face to face with what appears to be a sophisticated explosive

D. The company patrol car has a flat tire and the officer needs
assistance in locating the spare tire.

Security officers are trained to not use their radios in the presence of explosives. There is a fear that
the radio could actually trigger the explosive. Answer C is correct.

Review this question.

A right-handed armed officer must use a radio to communicate with

dispatch. In what hand will he place the radio?

A. The officer will always use his primary hand to hold the radio
thus allowing him to instantly and instinctively access the radio
i n a n e m e r g e n c y.

B. The officer uses his right hand to hold the radio. This allows
him to turn the radio into a weapon if suddenly accosted.

C . T h e r a d i o w o u l d b e h o l s t e r e d o n t h e o ff i c e r s l e f t s i d e . H e
would use his left hand to hold the radio.

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D. Both A and B are correct.

This question tests the officers understanding of how his hands relate to his weapons. A right
handed armed officer knows that whenever he uses his right hand to effect an action he is potentially
tying up his ability to use his weapon. A right-handed armed officer will holster his weapon on his
right side and the radio on the left side. An officer who frequently uses his radio frequently will need to
purchase an external microphone and speaker which he can attach to his uniform shirt on his left side.

16. Maintenance, First Aid and Fire Prevention

Maintenance, first aid and fire prevention arent necessarily what someone thinks of when they
think of a security guard. But, the fact of the matter is, the security professional is the first authority
figure who responds to many emergencies simply by virtue of the fact that he is likely located onsite
when one of these incidents takes place. This means the officer should be prepared to address a wide
variety of unexpected circumstances.

Certifications such as the American Red Cross CPR certification are important for the officer
to obtain and update as required. These certifications are not necessarily required as a condition of
licensure but should be provided to the officer by the company for which he works. It is possible that in
certain venues first-aid related questions will comprise a part of the security exam but it is unlikely this
subject matter will consume more than a question or two.

The security officers responsibilities as they relate to maintenance issues are most likely a subject
matter for which he will receive on the job training. Because there are so many different types of
security sites it becomes difficult for licensing authorities and private security schools to train and
test officer candidates for specific maintenance knowledge. In one venue the officer might be required
to monitor the pressure of a large boiler system. In another, he may need to watch for icy conditions
on sidewalks and parking lots and apply ice melt. Or he may respond when an maintenance alarm
system has been triggered and need to shut down equipment as necessary. Each of these types of duty
are subject to post requirements. Training for handling these instances should be provided by training
officers or client representatives.

And, then there is fire suppression. The security exam taker must assume that he will experience
several questions about this subject. Specifically, these questions are designed to ensure the officer
knows which suppression equipment to use based on the type of fire he attempts to put out. Check out
this sample question.
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Upon assignment to a new site, the security guard notices that all of
t h e s i t e s f i r e e x t i n g u i s h e r s c l a i m t o s u p p r e s s C l a s s C f i r e s . W h a t i s t h e
source of a Class C fire?

A. Class C fires are caused by rain.

B . A C l a s s C f i r e i s a f i r e s t a r t e d b y e l e c t r i c i t y.

C. Class C fires are started by wildfires as they rage out of


D. Class C fires are those with wood as a fuel source.

Perhaps the following question will also appear on the exam.

A grease fire has started in the kitchen of a large restaurant. The security
guard grabs a fire extinguisher and rushes to respond. What class of fire
extinguisher will put out a grease fire?

A. Class A

B . Wa t e r

C. Class C

D. Class K

These questions test the officers knowledge of the types of fires and the suppression needed to put
them out. Oftentimes fire extinguishers contain a label with color codes and describing the types of fire
they are designed to put out. The officer should become familiar with the different sources used to start a
fire and the matching suppression resources.

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In the above examples answer B is the correct answer to the first question and answer D correctly
answer the second question.

Class C fires are fires that have as their source an electrical component. This contrasts with Class A
fires which are fueled by ordinary combustibles such as paper or wood and Class B fires that are fueled
by liquids and gasses. Answers A and B to the first question are completely irrelevant and answer D
would be be correct if the question was about a Class B fire instead of Class C.

The second question is extremely important for an officer who works at a site where there is a
commercial kitchen. He must know that he should never attempt to suppress a grease fire with water.
Commercial kitchens should contain Class K extinguishers. These extinguishes are specially designed
to handle oil and grease fires.

Here is one final sample question.

What are the three components of fire?

A . S p a c e , a i r, w i n d a n d w a t e r.

B. Heat, fuel and oxygen.

C . S t u p i d i t y, c a r e l e s s n e s s a n d c r i m i n a l i n t e n t .

D. Hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen.

This test-taker should expect to see this question on the test. The correct answer is B.

That concludes this series of articles about the unarmed security exam. Please keep an eye out for
additional tutorials and other materials from You should receive notice of
these materials through your email account by which you received this book.