Security officers are a type of law enforcement officer who have less training and authority then police officers, yet still have a regulated amount of authority within the area they are supposed to be working security. There are specific rules and regulations that security officers must know when working so they do not do anything illegal when trying to apprehend someone who is breaking the law.
Private Security Officers
When a security officer is hired by a private company (like an individual, a corporation or an institution), he is responsible for protecting human lives and physical property. Security officers' main duty is to enforce the rules, regulations and procedures of that specific institution as laid out by their employer, control or prevent public access to certain areas or people, and generally dissuade people from engaging in criminal activity on the premises. While security officers are sometimes armed with guns once they have attained the proper permits, they have little more arresting power in the private setting then an everyday person making a citizen's arrest. Most security officers should detain the person of interest or suspect of a crime and call law enforcement officials to make the arrest. Sometimes state law, in specific locations, allows security officers to make arrests with the proper authority.
Public Security Officers
Security officers employed by public places have a different set of rules and regulations then private security officers. These security officers keep watch over public parks, landmarks or public entities. Public security officers are often given the authority to make arrests and have more equipment and training to do this. However, public security officers are encouraged to call law enforcement officials when given the chance, so they do not put themselves in harm's way when trying to make an arrest.
Private security firms and the officers they employ have certain licensing requirements that vary from state to state. Licensing requirements may include, but are not limited to, basic training courses, a written examination about proper procedures and even an interview, to gauge personality. There will also be a background check, a check of the company's liability insurance and certain licensing fees. However, all of this varies from state to state, with some of these requirements being more rigorous in some places than in others. Private security officers who are in business for themselves are also required to have these licensing requirements and must pay for their own liability insurance, with a policy minimum of $1 million in many cases.
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