Thursday, April 15, 2010

Guns & Guards

A security guard was shot and killed in a shopping mall in Tennessee. A circumstance that seems to be happening more and more frequently. Security in shopping malls in the USA seldom carry guns, because the mall owners are too afraid of the liability in having armed officers around the customers. Yet, the only way to stop an armed suspect is with a gun.

Mall owners need to worry more about protecting their customers and worry less about the possibility that a guard with a gun may turn out to be the problem. There is no reason why private security guards cannot be screened, hired and trained and supervised to the same level or better than the local police. None of this is particularly expensive, and if the company will invest in the training of the guards, then the potential for liability will decrease as will the turnover.

Some places security guards will turn over 200% of their staff every year. By paying the guards a decent wage, and screening and training them this can be reduced significantly. Guards don't have to be as good as police in every aspect of what they do at work. Guards don't have to be good at high speed pursuit driving, or vehicle code enforcement, or do much investigation. Those are jobs for the police. With all the concern about terrorist attacks on malls, having armed officers there on site can save lives. They don't have to be police but private security can provide reasonable armed security at a far lower cost than police, and do so with limited liability to their employers; that's what the SGT Says.


Bob G. said...

MY take is that reserve officers or even retired officer can make DAMN fine security...but that's an "ideal" scenario.

I also believe that with very few exceptions, EVERY "security guard" (and we're not talking about the inept "rent-a-cop" stereotypes) SHOULD be packing, especially in large populated areas such as MALLS.

The opportunity for numerous crimes there (even by the neophyte criminal) can be too enticing to pass up.
But the guards also have to be properly screened AND trained like you stated.

Even in a "solo" warehouse situation, having a gun and being able to use it properly can often deter the types of theft that costs ALL of us money.

Very good points made.

Stay safe.

Bunkermeister said...

I favor having several levels of guard. Unarmed, for the night watchman role. Basically just a warm body to unlock the gate and call the PD if something happens. Nothing wrong with that, a valuable service. Unarmed, but with high PR skills, able to handle the public, and maybe first aid, lost kids, etc. Then armed guards, who have training similar to police; at least as far as use fo force. Finally, private police, who have the same training, screening as public police and limited police authority.

Protect_and_Serve said...

Bob, off-duty and retired cops make terrible security officers. In the case of off-duty they have already worked 40+ hours when the get to the job, they are scared to take any action that may hurt their "real" job and the last thing they want to do is arrest someone and have to go to court for free. Retired officers tend to be just that, retired. Again, after 20-30 years of doing the job they are looking for "easy money" and are unlikely to be proactive on the job. I worked in private security and owned my own security company for several me on this one.

Bunkermeister said...

The training of police officers is excellent compared to most security, but it does not always translate to performance when working guard jobs.