PUBLIC RELATIONS (Lesson 2 of 33)
Public relations is the way in which a security officer acts and interacts within an organization. It is measured in the amount of cooperation he/she gives and receives from others while carrying out responsibilities for prevention and protection. The essence of public relations is creating and maintaining an environment in which you can operate effectively.
For many years the security officer was viewed as the inept sleepy night watchman who stood by while all manner of crime was perpetrated against his employer. The typical stereotype was that of the elderly, often “retired” gentleman working a night watch to supplement his income. Besides this poor image, the guard was thought to be poorly trained, poorly supervised and not given adequate instructions on what to do or how to do it. Typically, the watchman’s duties involved a periodic walk-through, punching a watch-clock, locking and unlocking doors, checking for fires and turning out lights. Little was asked or expected, and consequently, little was received.
Over the past 10-15 years, that image has slowly begun to change. The old night watch, fire detection and other functions are being done electronically. The security officer is now being given more responsibility for interacting with other employees, taking incident reports, investigating unusual incidents, providing crime prevention information, controlling access, and operating sophisticated computer driven security monitoring stations. Indeed, the “watchman’s” job has evolved into that of a professional security officer. More often than not, in a crisis situation, the security officer is viewed as a leader and looked upon to resolve issues and conflicts.
Instead of hiring their own watchmen or guards, more and more companies are hiring professional security managers and contract security agencies with well managed and trained security officers to meet their security manpower needs. The security industry has taken great strides in screening and training security officers. Security professionals now have advanced degrees not only in security and law enforcement subjects, but in business and administration. The state regulatory agencies are beginning to do a better job in licensing and regulating the industry to discourage the opportunists and encourage professionalism.