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Security guards are trained professionals hired by individuals and private organizations to prevent crime and to safeguard their persons and property. Although not an official member of law enforcement, security guards have duties similar to that of police and share a common interest in upholding the law. Specific duties of security guards differ depending on the employee.
Like many law enforcement officials, security guards are required to patrol the grounds over which they have responsibility, such as an office building, a private residence, or a college campus. While on patrol, the guard will maintain order and look out for irregularities.
Security guards are generally responsible for investigating all irregularities that come to their attention, such as after being notified a visitor or through the activation of an alarm. The guard should try to determine the cause of the irregularity and then take appropriate action.
Maintain Security Systems
Security guards must also maintain all security systems, including burglar and fire alarms, motion detectors, and anti-theft devices. This includes turning on the systems when required and keeping them in proper working order.
Notify Visitors of Rules
Security guards are also expected to apprise visitors of appropriate rules of conduct. This can include areas that are off-limits, dress codes, and inappropriate behavior. The guard should also make clear the consequences of violating these policies.
If a person has violated a law within their jurisdiction, it is generally the responsibility of the security guards to apprehend them, using force if necessary. For this reason, most guards are generally required to receive training in the use of force, as well as laws governing private apprehensions.
Notify Police, Fire Department, and Medical Personnel
In the event of a crime, a fire, or a medical emergency, the security guards should notify the relevant municipal agency and provide them assistance if required.
Control Building Access
One of the primary duties of security guards is to control access to buildings. Many security guards are positioned near entrances so they can regulate the flow of visitors. In the event that a visitor needs special access to a locked facility, the guard is often the person who will provide it.
Security guards will often inspect packages or parcels entering and exiting a building to prevent the admittance of weapons and to limit theft.
Write Reports of Activities
At the end of each shift, most security guards will submit a written report detailing their activities and any events of importance that occurred.
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.