Confessions of a Female Security Guard
"What are you going to do if someone attempts to rob this bank; you don't even carry a gun," asked a customer. I replied, "I'm skilled and trained with other defense options." But I was thinking to myself, "A phone is my only line of defense. So, I'm going to be the first person out the door. And I'll observe and report from the parking lot." I am merely preventive maintenance. A security guard's job is to remain visible as a deterrent to criminals or undesirables. The guard's eyes and ears must always remain alert for suspicious activities and sounds.
I had the pleasure of becoming a security guard in California, where you must undergo training and pay to obtain a guard card -- which I believe is utterly ridiculous. After paying $250 for my guard classes; I walked into a room with individuals I wouldn't let guard a dog house. But I guess their money is as good as any.
Ready to go!
I suited up in my crisp, Army-green uniform after receiving my guard card via mail a month later. I got an A+ for appearance and attitude! My first official post was in San Pedro, Calif. My training officer clearly stated to me, "Watch the dog owners; they will stuff small dogs in handbags and pretend they don't know how the dog got there." She had one customer tell her her dog was human. Her response to her was to get that four-legged human out of there. Only seeing-eye dogs are allowed. It's the rule unless a manager OKs it. That was the excitement for that day. I walked into a career full of boredom with spurts of excitement.
But excitement comes with a cost: Out-of-the-ordinary events require extra paperwork called an incident report, followed by numerous faxes and telephone conversations with the proper authorities. The first person on the scene patrols and inspects the site for broken windows, graffiti, or anything that looks suspicious or unsafe. Once the site opens for business, everyone becomes a possible threat -- employees, customers, even little old ladies. No one is exempt from criminal behavior. Yet, we mask our faces with smiles and give no hint that we think you may be the one to set it off.
Shh -- don't tell!
Daily tasks vary per post, but one constant is the daily activities report (DAR), an itemized record detailing your rounds, which are sometimes fabricated.
I'm guilty of doing such, after being horrified on a post. I took a graveyard shift after my first assignment ended at a rental car warehouse. I stayed in a guard shack all night and performed foot patrol every 30 minutes. I was instructed to patrol inside the building and the perimeter. My medium-sized flashlight gave me no security as I attempted to patrol the pitch-black warehouse. I couldn't see jack and my hearing was magnified by 120 -- I could hear every noise! I heard something drop to the floor and I could swear someone other than me occupied the building. My heart rate instantly rose and I shot out of there, speed-walked back to the guard shack, locked the guard doors, and refused to place another foot inside that warehouse. Yet my DAR stated that I'd completed that portion of my foot patrol every 30 minutes.
Your duties as a security guard are not only to deter criminal activities; you also act as a greeter or assist customers while analyzing their objective. Remember everyone is a suspect.