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Security Officer Manual

In this modern era of terrorism and law enforcement budgetary constraints, the
security officer may be called on to perform many duties that until now were
considered law enforcement functions. The security officer’s job now is much
more than sitting in a guard shack and controlling access to a factory. This
“job” for the retiree or want-to-be cop has become a profession in it’s own
right. However, the image of the security officer has not changed. He is still
viewed as the square badger idiot or want -to - be cop. This image will continue
to persist because of a lack of educational and training standards in the
profession. I have worked in the field ten years and have noticed an alarming
trend in the private security industry to hire the least qualified candidate. This
in and of itself would not be a problem if the industry had a uniform training
standard. It does not. In many cases all the training an officer will receive will
be brief information on the company he is working for and some basic
information on fire control and answering telephones. While those are both
major duties of the security officer, in this day and age, he may be called upon
to handle many more demanding situations. These include but are not limited to
terrorist attack and drug use among employees. The officer not only needs a
clear understanding of the security profession but also needs a clear
understanding of basic law enforcement techniques.

This manual is by no means a complete training manual for the security

professional but it will cover some of the more basic security techniques and
basic criminal justice areas; such as basic criminal law, search and seizure,
arrest, investigation and crime scene protection.

Part I Patrol

Patrol is the most basic security function. No matter what area of security the
officer works in, he may, at some time, be asked to conduct patrols. Patrols
may consist of clock rounds in a factory, foot patrol in a mall, hospital, motel or
hotel or vehicle patrol in an un-incorporated community or gated community.
Patrol is a necessary evil of the security officer‘s job. The purpose of patrol is
to prevent and detect crime, unauthorized activity and safety problems.
The most common type of patrol is the foot patrol. An officer on foot patrol
should be looking for any safety violations such as blocked fire exits, open or
unlooked doors, blocked fire extinguishers and wet floors. He should check all
fire extinguishers to ensure they are fully charged. Also an officer should also
be checking for potential fire hazards. While on patrol, check problem areas,
such as employee parking areas, entrances and exits or other area’s that have
reported problems in the past. If any of these are encountered while on patrol,
the officer should investigate and take appropriate action. For example, an
office door that should be locked after normal business hours is found
unlocked. First investigate the area to make sure no one is working late or
engaged in illegal activity. If nothing is found, lock the door and explain your
actions in your activity log.

While on patrol the officer should avoid walking too close to walls or stacked
boxes and avoid making sharp turns around corners by leaving a few feet
between him and the wall. This will cut down on potential accidents.
Occasionally, if possible, the officer’s patrol route should be altered.

Some client sites may require the security officer to conduct hourly “clock”
rounds. The officer will have a determined patrol route to follow, in this case,
the route cannot be altered. Each key station must be hit in order. In general,
this patrol route will take the officer though areas that the client has determined
to be problem areas. While conducting this kind of patrol it becomes quite easy
to walk through a patrol route with blinders on. Not noticing any other security
problems outside the immediate area of the next key station. Conducting clock
rounds with “blinders on” must be avoided. If the officer walked through areas
that do not have a key station not checking for security or safety issues the
entire patrol is meaningless. While the keys are mainly placed in areas where it
is thought the most security and safety violations occur, nothing is a sure bet
and if the officer isn’t thorough on patrol the entire purpose is defeated.

Vehicle Patrol

Generally speaking vehicle patrol is a special function preformed at the request

of the client. It may also be a service offered to many independent clients. The
purpose of a vehicle patrol is so the officer can cover more area in a reasonable
amount of time.

Before performing a vehicle patrol the car should be inspected to make sure
that all lights and safety equipment (seat belts, air bags and the like) are
working properly before beginning the patrol. Any damage to the vehicle or
non-functional safety equipment should be noted in the officer’s activity log.
All patrol rounds made in the vehicle are recorded in the activity log.
The patrol should be conducted at low speed to allow the officer to thoroughly
observe his patrol area. All suspicious activity should be investigated.
Whenever the officer leaves the patrol car he should call into dispatch or
contact another officer to advice them of his location and the nature of the stop.
The officer should turn off the vehicle and take the keys. Under no
circumstances should the vehicle be kept running.

Vehicle overhead lights are commonly used for high visibility patrol functions,
such as hospital shift changes where there is a high volume of employees
entering and exiting.

The main purpose for this type of patrol is visibility, for this reason, the vehicle
should not be parked in one place for long periods of time.

Bike Patrol

Bike patrol is something quite common in my area of Myrtle Beach. Many of

the hotels here are too large to conduct a thorough patrol on foot, yet too small
for vehicle patrol. Generally speaking bike patrols are used for this exact type
of situation.

The patrol itself should be conducted at a slow pace to ensure officer safety and
to aid him in monitoring the patrol area.

Patrol Tips

While patrolling inside a building or complex move quietly, try not to advertise
your presence. If the area is well lit try to walk in the shadows. This allows the
officer to observe the area without being seen. Stop from time to time to listen
for strange noises, also note any safety or fire hazards.

One of the major issues a security officer will face on patrol is complacency.
Patrol can become routine and boring. Keeping patrol interesting depends on
the officer’s attitude. If he feels that patrol is a waste of time and effort on his
part, he will become bored and possibly injure himself or miss safety problems.
Each area of a client site is unique. An officer must take the time to get to know
the patrol area and all its specific problem areas in order to analyze and identify
potential problems and check for safety, fire and security hazards. Patrol can be
interesting. The long and short of keeping patrol interesting is the attitude of the
officer conducting the patrol. The more professionally the officer conducts his
patrols and himself, the more respect he and the security profession will

Types of Patrol

There are two distinct types of patrol, proactive and reactive. Both types can be
used at different times depending on the situation.

Proactive patrol involves wearing a uniform and driving a clearly marked patrol
car. The purpose of proactive patrol is to be seen. Be as conspicuous as possible
while on proactive patrol. This is the patrol choice when your purpose is to
prevent crime and disturbances.

“Proactive patrol is the usual purpose of security. If you are observant and
curious and appear to be everywhere at once, you will: Prevent more crime
Detect more fires, water damage, intruders, thieves, vandals, and other dangers
Help more people Be professional because you‘re doing a through job.”1(see
site below)

Reactive patrol will involved the security officer trying to draw as little
attention to himself as possible. If a vehicle is used it will not be clearly
marked. While on foot patrol, the officer should use shadows and darkness to
his advantage. If the officer notices something suspicious on patrol he should
allow the suspicious party to make the first move. “Reactive patrol is the choice
when there is a need to observe without influencing a situation or actions of
individuals.”2(see site below)

Patrol Safety

The most important aspect of patrol is the manner in which it is conducted.

Conducting a patrol in a casual and inattentive attitude is a waste of time and

Preparing for Patrol

Before starting a patrol the officer should check to make sure that he has all the
equipment that he needs for the patrol. The officer should also mentally prepare
for the patrol. He should try and clear his mind of all distractions. An
inattentive or distracted officer can lead to injury.

Techniques while on Patrol

Each officer has his own method of patrol, no one method is better than
another. It depends on the preference of the officer. All that should be
remembered while patrolling is to completely cover the area being patrolled, no
cutting corners. I once worked with an officer that in an effort to shave a few
minutes off patrol would take the elevator to the top floor, walk down one
flight of stairs then take the elevator to the next floor, he would alternate
walking and taking the elevator. This made the patrol shorter but what if
someone was being assaulted in a stair well that he did not check or if a fire had
been set? He would have missed it. Remember be thorough but a patrol does
not HAVE to be conducted in the same manner by each officer unless
demanded by the client i.e. clock rounds.

Five Senses on Patrol

The most important tool an officer has to rely on during a patrol are his five
senses. The security officer should train himself to use and react to all five of
his senses while on patrol. Looking for things that appear out of place.
Listening for noises and smells that are not common to the area. The sense of
touch is the most important of the five senses. If the officer smells something
out of the ordinary and believes it may be a fire or receives a fire alarm, he
should check the door and make sure it is not hot before opening it. If the
officer finds something out of place he should take steps to correct the problem
and report it in his activity log.

Night Patrol

The security officer should carry a flashlight while on night patrol and use it in
areas that are not well lit. Other than that the flashlight should be used
sparingly, remember darkness and shadows are your best friend on patrol, you
do not want to draw attention to yourself.

When investigating suspicious activity, the officer should try to use the cover
of darkness. This will allow him to observe the activity without being seen. It
will keep the officer from placing himself at risk. One other thing to remember,
in most cases, the officer will be working alone, usually late at night, what the
security industry calls “off shifts” normally the four P.M. through midnight
shift or the midnight through eight A.M. shift. Help can be a long way always
so the officer should make every attempt to keep himself out of trouble and stay
out of situations that may turn dangerous. Many clients frown on the security
officer calling the police and the police don’t want to be called to nuisance
complaints. If the officer sees a situation that could potentially be dangerous, I
advise, this is the same procedure I use while on patrol, call a company
supervisor. Many security companies in my area have what are called patrol
routes. The officers on patrol are supervisors call one of them and advise him
of the situation. If at all possible they will arrive to assist with the situation. If
that isn’t possible or the officer is working for a company that does not have
patrol officers and is working alone, call the police non-emergency number and
advise them of the situation. This way if the officer finds himself in trouble
help may not be that far away.

Approaching Suspicious Persons

A suspicious person should be approached on foot in a casual manner. For

safety purposes the officer should leave a few feet distance between himself
and the subject. When talking to the subject the officer should use tact and
courtesy. The lone officer should never box a subject in or make him feel that
he is trapped. Subjects should be left a means of escape. This is for the officers’
safety. If the subject runs, he runs, as long as the officer is safe. If the subject
does run the officer should get a good description of the subject and the
direction he left in and notify the police. If the officer feels he may be entering
a dangerous situation, he should notify other security officer (s), if possible, or
dispatch or the police and wait for backup to arrive before taking any action.

Report Writing

Report writing is, in the eyes of the client and the company the officer works
for, the most important aspect of a security officers’ job. But in the opinion of
the officer,the least important aspect of his job. Why is the report so important?
It is a written document detailing an event (incident) or the performance of
normal duties (activity). A report should be clear and brief containing all
information and facts pertaining to a given situation. It should also flow in a
logical and concise pattern. The report should be written in a manner, where
someone not present at the time of the incident or activity, could clearly
understand the events that took place.

Reports are kept brief by only containing relevant information from the
beginning to the end. Either from beginning to end of a shift or beginning to
end of an incident. There are six basic questions that will be answered by a
properly written report,each will be answered relevant to the situation: Who-
the names of all individuals involved in the situation. For example, Mr. Smith
(complainant), Jack Jones (witness), Andrew Thomas (accused). What was
involved in the incident. If something is stolen, what will describe the object
taken. For example, the object stolen was a black day planner. It had a zipper
on the side and two compartments that could hold small papers. It contained
Mr. Smith’s identification. What- should identify the nature of the event then
identify the action taken by the officer. This officer notified management for
their authorization to continue further investigation. When- did the event begin,
the date and time and when the event ended. Start-November 30, 2003 0935
hours, End November 30, 2003 1000 hours. Where-this question will be
answered by describing the exact area the event took place in. Another question
to be answered by the question of where, is where were the witnesses in
relation to the event. For example, Mr. Smith’s day planner was stolen from his
office, it was left on Mr. Smith’s desk. Mr. Smith left his office at 0930 and
returned at 0935 at which time he noticed that his day planner was missing
from his office. At 0932 Jack Jones saw Andrew leave Mr. Smith’s office
looking through a small black day planner. Mr. Jones was five feet from Mr.
Smith’s office and had a clear view of those entering and leaving Mr. Smith’s
office Why-this question can not usually be answered until a full investigation
is completed. How-how did the officer become involved or aware of the
problem or event, the method used to solve or respond to the problem, the
conditions in which something was found. For example, Mr. Smith notified me
by phone that someone had taken his day planner out of his office. After
speaking with Mr. Smith and witnesses, this officer notified management for
authorization to continue with the investigation. Mr. Smith’s day planner was
found in the possession of Andrew and returned to Mr. Smith in good

Field Notes

The officer should carry a field notebook while he is on patrol. It should

contain everything that occurred on patrol that needs to be written in an activity
or incident report. An officers’ field notebook should be small, so that it can fit
in a pocket, so as not to be in the way while on patrol.

Field notes should be complete, clear and accurate because these notes will be
the basis of your incident or activity report. Also if an incident is taken to court
and the security officer is called to testify, his field notes will serve as a
reminder of the incident. An officer should record details in his notebook such
as date, time, location, license plate, descriptions, sequence of events, names
and addresses, reminders to follow up. All facts that will be needed in a report.

I’ve seen it suggested that an officer should carry a small note book while on
patrol but his actual field note book should be a three ring binder and field
notes should be type written. The purpose of this is if an incident is brought to
the attention of the police and it goes to court, the officer’s field notes may be
entered as evidence. With a three ring binder, field notes will look more
professional and only those pages relating to the incident at hand will be
entered as evidence, not the officer’s entire field note book.

Traffic Control

Traffic control is another basic function of the security officer. While on traffic
control duty, the officer needs to make himself highly visible by wearing a
reflective vest and standing in an area where he can clearly be seen. This is for
the officers’ safety and the benefit of the vehicles and pedestrians he is trying to

Hand Signals

When the officer is using hand signals to direct traffic, he must look at the
person he is signaling. This is done to ensure that he has the drivers or
pedestrians attention before giving them any signals and that they understand
the meaning of the signal and comply with it Before giving any further
directions, the officer must ensure that the intersection is clear of other vehicles
and pedestrians.

Bomb Threats

Bomb threats can be received in a variety of ways; by phone, through the mail
and via email. The written bomb threat can yield the most information
regarding its origin. Because of this, every effort must be made to preserve it’s
evidentiary value. After opening the letter and determining it to be a threat, it
should be handled as little as possible and placed in a clear plastic bag or other
clear container. This will preserve the letter as evidence but it can still be read.

Telephone Threats

If the bomb threat is received via phone, the officer that takes the call should
alert another officer( if possible) so he can also listen to the call. Every effort
should be made to keep the caller on the phone as long as possible. The point of
this is an attempt to answer several important questions. Each security post
should have a bomb threat check list (one will be included at the end of this
text). This check list contains several important questions to ask the caller
about the placement of the device. It also contains several important questions
the officer should ask to identify the caller and perhaps also from voice
characteristics be able to determine age, sex and education. of the caller.

When receiving the call, the officer should initially be concerned with the
following: Who the caller is? Where the bomb is placed? When it is set to
detonate? What it looks like? Why it was placed there? What is it made of ?

The Search

A search conducted in response to a bomb threat should be conducted in teams

of two. The search should begin outside the building or structure unless the
caller has indicated that the device was place inside the building. The search
team should begin at least twenty-five feet from the building exterior and work
in ward. An interior search should begin on the bottom floor and work up.

Room Searches

To begin a room search, it should mentally be divided from floor to ceiling.

The first area searched is from floor to desk height. The next area is from desk
top height to approximately six feet. The final area to be searched is from six
feet to ceiling.

If a device of suspicious origin is found, it should Not be Touched or Moved.

The police and fire department should be notified ASAP.

Law and the Security Officer
Constitutional law is not a subject that security officer gives a lot of thought to.
Since they are not public law enforcement officers, many do not see how these
laws apply to them. The simple fact is that many of these laws do apply to them
and an officer that is not aware of them opens himself up and his company and
possibly the client to litigation.

A constitutional amendment of particular interest to the security officer is the

14th amendment added in 1868. The amendment reads:“Nor shall any state
deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor
deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of the laws.”

Another amendment that is important for a security officer to know is the

fourth amendment. “The right of the people to be secure in their persons,
houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall
not be violated and no warrant shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported
by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and
the persons or things to be seized.”

Probable cause is a concept that only applies to public law enforcement. In

security it is called reasonable grounds to believe. If you hand a case over to the
police, they will need all the information an officer has to show sufficient
reasonable grounds to believe in order to give them probable cause.

Probable cause is defined as the facts and circumstances sufficient to lead a

reasonable person to believe that a crime has been or is being committed and
that the suspect has committed or is committing it. Beck Vs. Ohio (1964).
While the probable cause doctrine does not apply to the security officer courts
have applied the principle of reasonable grounds to believe in cases where a
security officer was involved.

Plain View Doctrine

If the police accidentally see incriminating evidence in plain view, in a place

they have a right to be and for a proper reason, they can seize it. Coolidge Vs.
New Hampshire(1971).

Exigent Circumstances
Police officers are sworn to protect and serve the public, because of this, they
are expected to act immediately in emergency situations. When an emergency
situation arises, the police don’t have time to obtain a warrant or ask permission
to enter a dwelling. Mincey Vs. Arizona (1978). This doctrine holds true for the
security officer within the client’s premises. As soon as possible, the officer
should write a report that explains why he thought immediate action was

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a warrantless search of a home
is unconstitutional without exigent circumstances . Payton Vs. New York.
(1980). To arrest a third party requires both an arrest and a search warrant.
Gold Vs. United States (1981). An officer may make a reasonable search of the
areas within the suspect’s reach or distance. Necessity demands that that officer
protect himself. This search will allow the officer to determine if the suspect
has any weapons or items that would assist in the suspects escape. Any search
beyond that would require a warrant.

When a security officer acts, he must have reasonable grounds. The action must
be fresh, meaning that it must relate to an event that is occurring or has JUST
occurred a short while ago. A short while ago means minutes NOT hours.

Fruit of a Poisoned Tree

“Fruit of a poisoned tree is the principle that legal evidence gathered illegally is
not admissible as evidence.

This exclusionary rule has been eased somewhat in recent years. Once enough
to invalidate a warrant, now if an officer acts on information believed true, but
if turns out not, the United States Supreme Court, states in United States Vs.
Leon, 486 US 896 (1984) that the officer acted in good faith.”3(see site bellow)


In most states the security officer does not have the power to arrest. An officer
should check with his company or state statue before taking any actions that
may be construed as an arrest. If your not sure, ASK first, it’s better to ask than
be sorry later.
An arrest is a restraint or denial of freedom of movement. It happens when a
person feels that they are in an officers’ custody or not free to leave. Once a
person is or believes they are denied freedom of movement an arrest has been

“But a security officer can detain a person while investigating a situation. A

detention is the holding of a person pending confinement or release. You have
the right to maintain the status quo while you are checking a situation.”4 (see
site below)

Search and Seizure

This can be a tricky situation for the security officer. Here are some of the
basics the officer should know. If the employer provides a locker and key to the
employee but keeps a key to the locker, with the employees consent, the locker
can be searched. If the employee provides the lock and key, the interior of the
locker could be considered private property by the court. If the officer has
reasonable grounds to believe that the locker contains some kind of contraband,
he should contact the police and let them determine if a warrant should be
applied for.

Case law has stated that a desk is an employee’s private property if it is

assigned to only one employee, if however, it is a community desk it’s fair

United States Vs. Katz (1967) states that protection extends not only to the
building, but also to its curtilage, the open areas immediately adjacent to a
dwelling, the area around a home to which the activity of home life extends.
However, it does not offer protection where one cannot reasonably expect
privacy such as open fields or public places.

The officer should ask a subject’s permission to search. An officer should try to
get such consent in writing. If the subject refused to give consent, decide
weather there is reasonable ground to hold the subject for the police.

Like the police, if the security officer has a right to be in an area, any evidence
or contraband in plain view can be seized.

One of the advantages the security officer has over the police is he is not an
agent of the government and is on private property. With due notice, the officer
has the right to search whatever he likes. If the client has a sign posted that all
packages are subject to search, the officer is good to go. If someone refuses to
consent to the search, the officer can deny him entry onto the grounds.

Interview and Interrogation

The security officer probably won’t find himself in a situation to conduct an

interrogation but can find himself conducting interviews. The difference being:
an interview is an effort to develop information from a reasonably cooperative
person. An interrogation is a discussion with an unfriendly and uncooperative
person, either the accused or a co-conspirator. This person will normally have
something to hide. If they try to be cooperative with investigators, this may be
an attempt to conceal deception. When conducting an interview or interrogation
, the officer should stand in a position that translates into a defensive posture.

If the security officer finds himself in a position of taking witness statements

from more than one person at a time, all witnesses should be separated and
interviewed separately. They should be kept apart to keep them from creating a

Bias on the part of a witness does not automatically mean they are lying, part of
human natures is to shade the truth. Truth changes color in different light. It’s
called selective memory.

During the course of an interview or interrogation a witness’s body language

and facial expressions may tell an investigator more than what he or she is
actually saying. For example, a strained facial expression might imply that the
person might be holding back or it might mean that he or she just doesn’t
remember. If the officer or investigator asks the right questions, they can prod a
witness’s memory or catch them off guard.

“The principles of getting information from someone are: Be objective Keep

yourself out of the incident Be positive Listen carefully to answers Never
suggest answers Avoid conflict Verify statements Be adaptable Be reasonable
and understanding Never embarrass the subject”5(see site below)

Information gathered during an interview is for report purposes. If the officer

takes written statements, witnesses are less likely to change stories at a later
date. After the statement is taken, ask the witness to sign it. If they refuse, it
should be noted in the report. The officer should then ask the witness to initial
the report.

Interviewers should be adept at reading body language. If a witness is hiding

something , they may lean back with their arms folded . Someone whose arms
are open and they are leaning forward attentively may be more eager to help or
are telling a lie. Also an interviewer may communicate thoughts or feelings
with body language and gestures.


While the security officer should not find himself in a position to conduct
interrogations, the need for him to conduct one may arise, so here are some of
the basics on how to conduct an interrogation.

The officer should remember that a principle psychological factor in a

successful interrogation is privacy while conducting an interrogation. A person
is much more likely to confide in someone when they are alone. However, if an
officer is interrogating someone of the opposite sex, they may want to have a
witness present.

Many suspects that have committed crimes against individuals will be

emotional. Those who have committed crimes for financial gain will usually be


Fire is a primary concern for the security officer no matter where he is working.
While on patrol the officer should be on the look out for anything that may
cause a fire or be a safety hazard Such as smoking in unauthorized areas, oily
rags left next to a heat source, boxes stacked up and blocking fire exits or fire
sprinklers, over heating machinery and the like.

If while on patrol, the officer smells something he thinks may be a fire, sees
smoke or receives a fire alarm notice, before opening a door leading to the area
of the fire, he should feel the door for heat. If it’s hot he shouldn’t open it. The
officer should never assume that a fire signal will be received at the local fire
department. If fire is found, he should CALL the local fire department.. If at all
possible, the officer should notify a second officer, this officer should wait
outside the facility and direct the fire department to the area with the fire. The
first officer should remain where he is and assist with employee evacuations
and keeping the fire contained (this should only be done if it can be done

An officer on patrol has found a fire. Now what does he do? Using the
appropriate fire extinguisher can be the difference between keeping the fire
contained while awaiting the arrival of the fire department, putting the fire out
(even if the officer is able to put the fire out, the fire department should be
called and they should check the area just to make sure it hasn’t spread) or
making the fire worse.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Class A- Wood, cloth, paper, trash. Extinguishers marked A contain water.

Class B- Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, paint, solvents. Class B

extinguishers may use co2 foam, halon, or dry chemicals.

Class C- Electrical equipment. This type of extinguisher may use dry

chemicals, halon or co2. Class D- Combustible metals such as magnesium and

It is important that the officer know what extinguisher to use on what type of
Dangerous Drugs

While the security officer is by no means expected to be a narcotics officer, he

may come across employees using illegal drugs or encounter someone on them.
So it is important to know what these drugs are and how they are defined. This
section is by no means a complete listing of narcotics.

The controlled substances act define drugs as: Narcotics: opium, morphine,
cocaine, heroin and methadone. Depressants: chloral hydrate, barbiturates,
methaqualone. Stimulants: amphetamines, phenemrazine, methylphenidate.
Hallucinogens: LSD, mescaline, amphetamine variants, phencyclidine,
phencyclidine analogs. Cannabis: marijuana, tetrahydrocanabinol, hashish and
hashish oil.
The controlled substances act also places drugs in schedules based on their
medical usage and potential for abuse. Drugs included in schedule I are those
with high potential for abuse and no common medical usage such as, heroin,
marijuana, and LSD. Drugs listed in schedule II include those with high
potential for abuse and some medical use, such as opium and cocaine. All
substances listed in schedules I and II are illegal. Schedule III drugs include
barbiturates and codeine; schedule IV drugs include phenobarbital and valium
and schedule V drugs include everything else.

Symptoms of Drug Use

Alright now that we’ve covered what makes a drug illegal, now what? Well
during the course of his career a security officer might come across someone on
drugs. So now, we’ll take a look at some of the common symptoms a drug user
my exhibit.

Symptoms that may point to drug use by an employee may include radical
changes in work attendance, changes in normal abilities, inattention and dress
and personal hygiene changes, unusual efforts to cover the arms and association
with known drug users.

Indicators of an intravenous (IV) drug use are tracks or needle marks on the
arms, pinhole pupils, frequent scratching and loss of appetite. The abuser may
be drowsy after a fix and restless with sniffles and watery eyes before a fix. The
security officer should look for a syringe, bent spoon, small metal bottle,
glassine bags or tinfoil packets on the subject.

Depressants cause behavior similar to alcohol intoxication. The officer should

watch for sluggishness or difficulty in thinking, slurred speech, bad judgment,
impaired motor skills and falling asleep at work.

Stimulant effects include exhilaration, hyperactivity, loss of appetite, repetitive

non-purposeful behavior, dilated pupils and chronically runny nose. Users may
have straws, small spoons, mirrors and razor blades .in there possession.

Hallucinogens cause wide shifts in behavior and mood. A user may sit quietly
in a trance like state or appear terrified. They may also experience nausea,
chills, irregular breathing, sweating and trembling hands. PCP ( phencyclidine)
users are likely to be uncommunicative, exhibit a blank stare with their eyes
moving quickly from side to side, have increased sensitivity to pain and
experience amnesia.

Marijuana users may exhibit signs of intoxication such as lethargy, impaired

motor skills and disordered sense of time and distance.

If the security officer suspects that an employee is using drugs, he should notify
management but take no action. Until advised, wrongly accusing someone of
abusing drugs can open the officer and client up to lawsuits. The employee may
have a reasonable explanation for why they have what appears to be ellicit
drugs in their possession.


The purpose of a security officer’s investigation is to:

Identify the guilty party and events which occurred. Locate the guilty party or
cause of the problem Provide evidence of guilt or cause to management who
must then decide the next step.

A successful investigation will meet the following criteria:

All available evidence is compactly handled All witnesses are interviewed.

Suspects are effectively interrogated and given a chance to tell their side of the
story. All leads are properly developed.

The officer should remember that there is more to a successful investigation

than following a prescribed set of rules. A good investigator will have a natural
curiosity to recognize what could be an unusual lead. Thinking outside the box
during the course of an investigation can be a very good thing. A good
investigator also needs to understand people, products and situations.

Since the security officer may be the first person at the scene of a crime, he
must remember not to disturb anything because that may effect its’ evidentiary
value. When the officer arrives on the scene and sees a victim, he should look
for a route into the area that will disturb as little of the scene as possible. He
should not touch or move anything and note his actions from the time he
arrived on the site. The officer should not allow anyone but emergency
personnel and the police into the scene for fear of disturbing any evidence.

This manual by no means is complete. It is meant to be a brief overview of
what a security officer’s job may entail. Each officer should know that while he
may not be a sworn police officer, his job is no less important that that of a law
enforcement officer. The security officer is encouraged to seek an education in
criminal justice or a related field and apply the knowledge gained to the
security profession.. Only through education and better hiring practices is the
profession of the security officer ever going to be taken seriously.
Works Cited

Clede, B. 1993. Security Officer’s Manual.(work used for sites 1-5 in this
paper) Nation Wide Security. Training of Essential Security Techniques. Vol.