Everybody in our industry can explain the importance of post orders as a means to clarify roles and responsibilities between parties involved. The most commonly used definition is: Post orders are written documents that clearly outline duties, responsibilities, and expectations of security guards. The client, service provider and security professional fulfilling the role can find out what is expected by looking at the post orders. Often the post orders become extensive and complex. Some sections can be used as a manual in non-urgent situations, while other parts are essential and describe actions that need to be taken in emergencies. To ensure guards know what to do, they should be trained and quizzed regularly. The use of quick reference cards has proven helpful and can also be used as instructions for short term assignments. It is also important to explain the logic behind the procedures. If it makes sense to someone, it is easier to follow and remember.
Even when guards are well trained and know the post orders, they can fail. Specifically in situations when instructions are not fully detailed in the post orders or when it differs from the normal course of action.
On December 19th, 2016, an unexpected tragedy shook the diplomatic world; Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov was assassinated at an art gallery exhibition in front of several TV cameras. Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty police officer, shot him. Although the post orders apparently outlined how to act in a situation like this, the security officers got confused. They should have refused access and inquired with managing authorities before letting the off-duty police officer in. Instead, they were intimidated by the police badge and let him through.
Another example is seen in the film Snowden, when Edward Snowden makes copies of confidential files and exits the CIA building with the files. At the risk of a “spoiler alert” I will refrain from revealing further details, but the post orders were not followed thus leading to an international scandal.
In short, post orders are essential and should be followed to the letter. Training and testing are essential to keep security officers on their toes. Moreover, when in doubt, no access should be given until further verification has been confirmed.
Security is an industry that will never go away. With all the potential threats in today’s society, more and more businesses are in need of help to protect their property, assets, and people. However, it is a profession that is not addressed often enough.
Almost every form of business utilizes security, and the duties of a security guard can vary drastically depending on the employer and assignments. It is for this reason, hiring the right guard for the right position is critical to the success of the security provider and the security professional.
Over the course of my fourteen-year career in security, it has been rewarding to work with so many interesting and talented people. Some for only a few years while pursuing their education for another profession. About 7 years ago, a security guard I worked with got accepted into dentistry school. He worked with us for three years to make ends meet, and every free moment he would be studying. When I found out he got in, I was so proud of him. I was pleased that we were able to provide him with a schedule and site that would work for him. I find there are many reasons why people apply to become a security guard. However, these seem to be the most popular:
- Immigrants trying to find stability in Canada
- Ambition to get into law enforcement
- Stop gap measure while pursuing their aspiring career
- Employees choosing security as their profession
As a manager, it is so important to understand the goals of our employees and place them in positions where they will succeed. It is so gratifying employing security professionals that stay employed at ASAP as their chosen career. However, it is just as rewarding seeing our security personnel pursue their dreams whether it is in law enforcement or another industry.
I read an article from the Toronto Star last week that sparked my attention. The article was about an immigrant that came to Canada and worked as a security guard while pursuing his career. I found his story inspiring. He was working as concierge security in a condominium while taking courses to as a journalist/writer. Mayank Bhatt eventually wrote a book titled ‘Belief’, and it is now available at Indigo. I went out of my way to buy this book, as I wanted to support this former security guard.
Getting to know the people that work on the field is such a gratifying part of my career.