Teachout Security Solutions


How to Stay Safe as a Security Officer

While suspicious or antagonistic civilians pose a serious threat to many uniformed officers, psychological and sociological studies examining latent aggression provide new tools in keeping law enforcement safe in all environments, from public security to private security. Studying offenders, officials, and communities, experts have found subtle changes that can keep everyone safer.

Community Communication
While many recent confrontations are attributed to negative racial relations between neighborhoods and police forces, studies show that racial diversity in a police force or security patrol is only half the battle. Open communication and familiarity—often in through school, community, or charity events—offers positive first impressions and creates a platform from which to nonviolently resolve later conflict. Communities that see uniformed officers as fellow neighbors and not enemies are less likely to react aggressively.

The Right Uniform
First impressions function as a catalogue, allowing a person to interpret who another is, what they do, and, often, if they can be trusted. Uniforms play a vital role in first impressions. A study of authoritative uniforms—including police, security, and military worldwide—published in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin concluded that monochromatic dark uniforms create immediate impressions of “aggression and corruption,” while citizens described light-colored uniforms or mixed uniforms as “honest, helpful, competent, and friendly.” A measure as simple as changing a uniform color can make citizens more receptive and reduce risks to officials.

Professional Conduct
First impressions play a role for those seeking assistance as well as those seeking to do harm. In an interview, prison inmates who had murdered police officers described a methodology for “sizing up” their victim; an officer’s unprofessional mannerisms, even a disorganized duty belt or wrinkled uniform signaled complacency and therefore vulnerability. By contrast, professional conduct and an organized appearance signaled an attentive attitude that translated to competence, thereby discouraging opportunistic violence.

Concealed Weapons
While firearms can be a vital defensive asset, studies show that visible firearms draw aggression. A study performed at the University of Wisconsin examined participants’ reactions in several settings when firearms were present. The results, dubbed the “Weapons Effect,” showed that participants unwittingly acted more aggressively towards an agent of the study when firearms were present. 56 subsequent studies duplicated the reaction, showing that security officers may benefit more from the diplomatic effects of weapons concealment over the intimidation of open-carry.
Shootings, riots and even mobs across the U.S. including Charlotte, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Dallas, Fresno, Baton Rouge, and many more have resulted in deaths and injuries to citizens and officers alike. The police-community powder keg creates dangerous situations for all uniformed officials, but key efforts in tactical resolution, both subtle and direct, can make everyone safer.

Call 1-800-747-0755