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Duties & Responsibilities of a Watchman Security Officer

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Nearly every office building, store, school and government building you enter has a security guard. Many of these individuals sit behind a desk or stationed by the front door. This provides the basis for the image most people conjure when thinking of a security guard. There is more to the job than that, the public just may not always know about those duties.


Sometimes called security officers, night watchmen, watchmen or patrolmen, security guards all essentially share the same responsibilities. The general purpose of a security guard is protection of the people and property of the organization where they work.

Guards will routinely inspect the property for any suspicious activities. This is to head off would-be criminal or malicious activity, such as vandalism, arson, theft and illegal drug deals. Security guards often are private employees of the property manager or the owner of the business.

Since security guards and watchmen are the first law enforcement personnel on the scene, some guards carry arms. Therefore, they must comply with all gun safety regulations. Watchmen are also responsible for communicating with agencies such as fire and ambulance services in cases of fire or personal injury.

Desk Work

There is also an administrative part of this position. At the end of each shift, or as deemed appropriate by individual corporate policy, each security guard must write and deliver a report of their day. This covers all observations, altercations, law enforcement interactions or other developments which may have occurred.

When detaining suspects for law enforcement authorities, security guards must work closely with prosecutors to testify in court if necessary. Security guards also conduct interviews of witnesses and file case reports.

Static or Mobile

The job may vary depending on where the security guard works. If the work requires the watchman to sit at a front desk, such as in a bank setting, he will spend most of the shift at one location. This requires attention to details such as regular visitors and regular deliveries. He must pay attention to the property itself and employees of the organization. Some static security guards must monitor security cameras focused on areas that not visible from that location. These include areas such as loading docks, elevator banks and other entrances or exits of the building.

Another option is a mobile patrol. The security guard regularly patrols a specific part of the property, on foot or in a vehicle, watching for suspicious activity. In this situation security guards locate and detain violators, respond to calls for assistance and monitor traffic for violations.


Stephanie Steensma began writing in 1998 as a radio news reporter. Her work has appeared in print publications such as "Engineering Today" and "Dome Magazine" as well as online. Steensma has a Bachelor of Arts in communication and journalism from Western Michigan University.

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