Importance Of Good Public Relations:

Earlier in this chapter, we talked about the importance of creating and maintaining a good environment in which to operate. If your role in the organization is to protect, doesn’t it make sense to have a good relationship with the people you are protecting? In order to be effective, the security officer must understand the environment and the people in the workplace. If the officer works in an office building for example, then it might be important for him/her to know the work habits of the various tenants and their employees. If the officer knows that one of the tenants has several women who work late into the evening, then an extra effort must be made to observe them as they leave the safe confines of the building. If the officer sees suspicious activities around one of the firms, it might need to be brought to the attention of the supervisor, who should then notify building management or the tenant directly.

A smart tenant will appreciate the fact that the security officer is watching out for their employees and business interests.

Changing The Perceptions

While the security industry has made great strides in the past 10 years, there are still those who think of security officers as they did in the old days. Indeed, many in our industry still think of themselves as nothing more than a watchman. The officer who refers to himself as “just a guard” or “I just work security” is the worst enemy of the security profession. To hear security people refer to themselves in such a self-effacing way is unfortunate. How can others be expected to understand and respect the value of the security profession if those who are a part of it do not?

The first order of business is to understand the importance of the security officer. If you weren’t important, you wouldn’t be there in the first place. Companies don’t hire security officers because they like the way they look in their business. Security officers are hired because they are needed to perform a valuable service. If you don’t believe that, you are wasting your time in this profession and should begin looking immediately for another line of work.

Secondly, people will show respect for you only when you have earned it. The ways to earn it are to show respect to others, do the best job you possibly can in the environment in which you work and demonstrate a positive attitude in carrying out your duties.

Finally, learn to communicate with people. In order to change people’s perceptions you have to know and understand them. This doesn’t mean making small talk with them or engaging in idle conversation. It means asking them what their security needs and expectations are, what special security problems or concerns they may have, or how you can work together to maintain a quality level of security. Done effectively, this will provide a better understanding of their needs and will demonstrate your interest in providing a quality service.

By the same token, the people you serve need to understand your responsibilities. The more they know about security, the easier it is for them to recognize your value. While it is inappropriate to talk about sensitive material or information, it is very appropriate to answer people’s questions about the security function and your responsibilities in their environment. Don’t be afraid to explain what you do, or to ask people to let you know when something is suspicious or out of the ordinary. When someone asks you about security, take advantage of the opportunity to tell them how important it is for them to let you know when something suspicious is going on.