Never underestimate something as simple as a bit of recognition and a genuine “thank you.” Take a moment to share what you appreciate about the security officers you may see regularly. Does her smile greeting you in the office lobby help to brighten your workday mornings? Is he the type of person to always go above and beyond the job duties with little things like holding a door open when your hands are full? This type of recognition could be verbal or written through a thank you note.
International Security Officers Day
For Protos Security, International Security Officers Day, recognized on July 24 each year, is one of the most important days of the year. It’s a chance to recognize the security officers who are working on the front lines, keeping us safe every single day. These are people who often don’t get recognized for the truly difficult work they do, including facing challenging situations to protect others.
Safety and Security is Not the Default
In many areas today, a sense of security and safety is expected as the norm. We are so used to having a security presence that it can be easy to forget that people are putting in the effort to make this happen. Security officers spend time looking for and addressing threats so the rest of us never have to think about it (unless the situation directly involves us).
When a site is safe, security officers operate almost as if they’re behind the scenes. Security officer roles can be laid back at times, with functions like collecting visitor information for access control, standing post to act as a deterrent or patrolling to check for potential threats. In fact, many people walk into an area without even realizing there is a security presence surrounding them. Maybe there is a plain clothes loss prevention agent patrolling the store, an officer monitoring CCTV in a back room or a concierge officer wearing a suit while greeting visitors in the lobby. Even a security officer in a visible location wearing a clearly marked uniform can begin to feel like part of the scenery as we rush about our day.
Despite this calm impression, security officers put on their uniforms each day knowing that not every day is “business as usual” when you’re working in an essential role. Security officers are often the first responders for any incident that occurs at their assigned site. This could include crimes in progress, medical emergencies, fires, motor vehicle accidents, active assailant incidents and a variety of other potentially hazardous situations. As a result, they need to be prepared to execute their post orders and follow their emergency response training while additional help is on the way.
Security Officer Jobs are Only Getting Tougher
Recently, beyond the usual possibilities in this role, security officers have also faced the risks associated with continuing to provide security during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost overnight, they needed to learn how to use new types of personal protective equipment (PPE) and even take on new job duties, such as checking temperatures and enforcing mandates like masks or capacity limits for public places.
In the worst scenarios, security officers not only faced fears related to COVID-19, but they also faced outrage from the public. Rather than being met with an understanding that they are executing in accordance to state and local guidelines, they were sometimes met with resistance for enforcing the new protocols. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic is just one example of tragedies that have affected individuals in these roles.
Another example can be found through Mulligan Security, a Protos Company, which maintains a public record of all the Mulligan security officers who lost their lives at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. During both the height of the pandemic and the aftermath of 9/11, essential workers and first responders were placed in the spotlight, but the exceptionally difficult times are not the only times when they deserve recognition. Today and every day, it remains important to share our ongoing appreciation for everyone keeping us safe.
The 24th day of the 7th month was chosen to represent the nature of security roles. There are always officers working to keep us safe 24/7 and many sites need round-the-clock security services.
There are many difficult scenarios that security officers may face. While others are running away from danger, security officers are working to observe, report and react as dictated by their post orders. There are also many heroic actions that security officers have undertaken simply as part of their jobs. A few examples of real incidents where security officers have saved lives include performing CPR on a victim of cardiac arrest, talking a suicidal individual down from the ledge of a roof and keeping an armed assailant calm until police arrived. Each of these brave actions, amid exceptionally high-stress scenarios, filled the gap before more specialized help could arrive and people are alive today because of the actions these security officers took.
Security is – out of necessity – a sensitive topic. Most organizations don’t want potential thieves to know the details of their security programs and they avoid disclosing the details of incidents that happen at their sites. Some of this protects individuals as well, especially in a scenario like a medical emergency where the individual may want privacy. The need for this level of discretion is just one factor that results in less recognition for officers. However, even if we can’t always know the individual contributions of each security officer, it’s important to remember that they play a critical role in keeping people, organizations and communities safe.
Our cultural perception of security officers also reduces recognition by creating and perpetuating myths. Hollywood has made security officers out to be significantly less than the highly trained frontline workers they are. The reality is that security officers are likely to be passionate about what they do, and many of them have ties to the military and police. Plus, with clients demanding more training for officers, they have more skills and technical knowledge than ever.
There are unfortunately few recognition programs for security officers, but a few do exist. For example, the Ralph Day Memorial Security Officer Heroism Award through ASIS International recognizes just one individual per year, although many more deserve this credit. Specifically, this award recognizes “a private security officer [who] risks his or her life or personal well-being to save another person.” The ASIS website offers a bit of information about the latest recipient and submissions for the award are typically submitted each spring.
Due to Protos’ unique approach to security, we may not directly employ the number of officers that other security providers do, but we know the work they do is incredibly important. Whether the officers you’re celebrating are ours or another provider’s, Team Protos is happy knowing that they’re getting recognized for what they do.
Celebrating International Security Officers Day
1) A Simple “Thank You”
2) Social Recognition
Post on social media using the hashtag #thankyousecurityofficers. This form of recognition also helps get the word out about International Security Officers Day and reminds others of the important work that security officers provide in order to keep our communities safe every day.
3) Educate Others
Share this blog and other content about security officers’ roles with people you know to help educate others and dispel some of the myths about security officers. Your support can help make a difference in the lives of those who are working every day to help keep us safe.
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