Physical Descriptions

General Information

The ability to describe a person accurately is invaluable to a security officer. This ability is not present in most persons, including security officers. For the most part, security officers have previously received little training in the way to accurately identify persons.

To fully identify a person, the following background information should be obtained:

  • Names, Aliases, and Nicknames– The full name should be obtained and not simply the initials. The varied spellings of the different aliases should be included.
  • Social Security Number(Note that new privacy laws may restrict the use of Social Security Numbers. Check with your supervisor or employer.)
  • Military Serial Number
  • Present & Former Address
  • National Origins– A good way to more accurately describe a person is to include identification of their national origin, if known. For example: describing a person as African-American, Asian-American, Italian-American will assist an investigator in identifying witnesses or suspects.
  • Scars & Marks– Birthmarks and tattoos that are visible are valuable identification points. Both visible and covered scars and marks should be reported when known.
  • Physical Traits– Significant physical habits are important.
    • Walk– The manner of walk is highly individual. Such terms as the following are commonly used: athletic, limping, shuffling, bowlegged, flat-footed, and pigeon-toed.
    • Voice-The voice may be high or low-pitched, loud or soft, or it may be between loud and soft.
    • Speech– The obvious trait of speech is the local characteristic of enunciation or how people speak. Speech differs between a New York Italian and a Southerner from Alabama. “Educated and uneducated” speech can also be distinguished.
  • Personal Habits– Unless a person was to attempt a disguise, the personal habits that characterize how a person dresses are rarely changed.
    • Dress– Type and style of clothing.
    • Other Habits