Keys are usually carried by a security officer during patrols. Many departments have restricted the number and type of keys a security officer possesses while on patrol. A good rule of thumb is for the officer to carry with him only those keys required to effectively conduct a patrol and respond to requests for doors to be unlocked. Some persons may argue that a security officer should carry an entire set of keys so that in any situation, at any time, access to a particular area could be gained. However, a greater likelihood exists that keys will be lost or misplaced, thereby compromising the entire key system as opposed to a devastating fire that went uncontrolled because a key to unlock an area was not at immediate disposal.

It is important for security personnel to know the key system so that undue delay and embarrassment does not occur because the officer was struggling to find the right key to unlock an area. In addition, serious credibility problems may exist for the security department when a security officer misplaces the keys or accidentally takes the keys home. Many departments place a large key ring around all of the security keys to decrease the likelihood of loss or misplacement.

Radio Communication

Two-way radio communication is also essential and commonplace in most security departments. Radio communication provides quicker response to a problem and affords added protection for a security officer should an injury occur or other problem develop.

It is essential that security personnel be properly trained in the use of two-way radio equipment. Additionally, proper radio etiquette must be practiced by security personnel while using two-way radios. Persons who are unfamiliar with radio etiquette tend to verbalize and babble. This impoliteness appears as unprofessional and creates embarrassment to both the security officer and the entire department. Two-way radio communication may be a shared process with other departments. One must always remember, you never know for certain how many other people are listening to the conversation. When speaking on the radio, a person should assume he is speaking in public. Items of sensitive or confidential nature should be discussed on a restricted channel, or better yet, over the telephone or in person.


Security personnel should always carry a small notebook and pen with them while on patrol. Anything of significance should be noted in this notebook as a patrol is conducted.


In order to properly view all areas when patrolling, at least a minimal amount of lighting is required. A security officer needs to know what lights are to be turned on or off during off-shifts. If lighting is extremely poor, a handheld flashlight will be required. Some departments require security officers to provide their own flashlights. Officers must know if they are permitted to carry large flashlights which may “double” as nightsticks.