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Security Officers: How Changing Titles Changes Perceptions

Posted 12/01/2017 by Scott Savoie


Change titles, change perceptions

This blog post was originally published in June 2014. Please enjoy an updated version below.

When I hear the term “security guard” used in popular culture, why does it personally elicit a reaction of disappointment for me? As Chief Administrative Officer for America’s largest security firm, how our security professionals are perceived is part of my job. Words have the ability to shape our perception, and when I hear the term “security guard,” I feel  that the important role our security professionals play is diminished.

My company believes the word “guard” does not convey the level of respect, professionalism and training necessitated of today’s security professionals. The terms "security officer" or "security professional" are universally used in all of our internal and external references. I am proud that Allied Universal has established this standard of respect for security professionals. Indeed, it is great to see that many other security companies have followed suit and abandoned verbiage that highlights the use of the word “guard.”

Security officers are hard-working, highly trained men and women who are our country’s first responders. Security professionals have a wide range of skills – from the sensitivity to deal with lost children to the ability to respond to and effectively address significant incidents. Security officers are often put in high-risk situations as they confront and detain criminals engaged in theft, trespassing, gang activity, and every other manner of unlawful behavior that occurs where many people congregate on a daily basis.

I invite you to evaluate your perception of security professionals and think about the critical role that they play in keeping us all safe.


Scott Savoie, Chief Administrative OfficerScott Savoie is a Chief Administrative Officer at Allied Universal.






27 Comment(s)


  • asdfdsa
    5 days ago
    Good article

    Reply
  • Erickson
    62 days ago
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    Reply
  • Kenneth R Andrews
    231 days ago
    As a Security Professionial with 27 years of experince in all facets on security from officer to administration and customer of contract security services. In those years I have seen the Security industry change with technical advancements. However, the security officers are the people who still run those systems. It is not just a title it is a career. I was told once that "At 5 pm when the 5 to 500 million dollar company closes and all the executives that make thousands of dollars a week. All of the safety and the security of these companies are left in the hands of security officers. That make a thousand dollars a month if they are lucky." Very backwards THINKING if you ask me. SECURITY companies need to do better with officers.Unions need to do better for officers and companies that hire security services need to do betters when budgeting for those services. and all remember you get what you pay for.

    Reply
  • Teresa Proctor
    231 days ago
    I take the title very personable. As one set off to better themselves through their job or career, the title you earn gives a sense of pride and accomplishments. The same can be said for perception. With first impression title conveys a sense of abilities and accomplishments. Security Officer goes through training and state licensing to carry the title and because of this it is earned. I’m a Commission Security Officer, and when on a commission post in full uniform with duty belt and side arm I do have to correct people who mistake me for a Police Officer by letting them know I am a Commission Security Officer. With this occupation, I have to recertify for every two years which include re-qualify with a fire arm. If you are satisfied with the title of being a cashier as Selvyn Quijada then that’s ok and nothing wrong with that. But Allied Universal Security strives to exceed expatiations.......not be just ok.

    Reply
  • selvyn quijada
    1 years 157 days ago
    I was in the Navy and in the civilian world people don't make money and people abuse people but security is a job it does not describe the person that you are I was also a cashier at Food 4 Less Home Depot Macy's it's just a title get over it people!

    Reply
  • Magnum Protective Services
    1 years 297 days ago
    Great information, good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need; thanks for this.

    Reply
  • Gregory Gerard
    2 years 156 days ago
    Thank you for sharing this story. Beside the proper title of our job, our image, personality and customer service to our clients is just as important and how we bring it to our jobs as security professionals.

    Reply
  • Martin
    2 years 204 days ago
    Thanks for your understanding and support of our service.

    Reply
  • Donald Scott
    2 years 260 days ago
    Yes, I completely agree with your perception `guard` doesn`t look respectful mentality. I agree that security industry holds important role and deserves respect. Thanks for sharing such useful information.

    Reply
    • Terry
      12 days ago
      security guards are not sworn officers there for you can not be called officers..

      Reply
  • Martyn
    2 years 326 days ago
    "Security officers are hard-working, highly trained men and women who are our country’s first responders. Security officers have a wide range of skills – from the sensitivity to deal with lost children to the ability to respond to and effectively address significant incidents. Security officers are often put in high-risk situations as they confront and detain criminals engaged in theft, trespassing, gang activity, and every other manner of unlawful behavior that occurs where many people congregate on a daily basis."
    now 2015 and we security OFFICERS are STILL doing this for a measly $8.50 an hour. (And no, I don't work for Allied Barton I work for a rival who is just as guilty).

    Reply
  • SOS Security School
    3 years 125 days ago
    Thanks security is nice it's responsible work.

    Reply
  • howard linkam
    3 years 143 days ago
    i am very happy to see this great article.


    very nice

    Reply
  • Huey B. Parkinson
    3 years 145 days ago
    thanks for reading. i like it very much.
    nice things

    Reply
  • James L. Miller
    3 years 145 days ago
    this is wonderful information for the visitor. thanks for posting the great article.
    Beautiful flowers

    Reply
  • Tennessee Security Guard Training
    3 years 198 days ago
    Nice information, good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need; thanks for this.

    Reply
    • Doug Fogwell
      3 years 197 days ago
      Thank you for reading the post and for your comments.

      Reply
      • Aline Wood
        2 years 307 days ago
        Thank you, Mr. Fogwell, for highlighting the importance of image in the security profession. Security officers are the first line of defense in this ever changing and challenging society we live in. Security officers should be afforded the same respect as other well trained and dedicated professionals. They provede a safe and secure environment which gives the public freedom to live and be productive in our society.

        Reply
  • Anil Dwivedi
    4 years 111 days ago
    Thanks For Sharing this blog...
    It's Nice One...
    Regards,
    Anil Dwivedi
    For More Details Regarding Security Services
    http://www.ansechr.com

    Reply
  • torontosecuritycompany
    4 years 174 days ago
    Thank you for comment. We agree that all security professionals hold important roles and are deserving of our respect.

    Reply
  • Christopher Monroe
    5 years 29 days ago
    Great article very true like what I saw in Arizona Security Gaurd cards are still issued yet on Sites,Security personell are known as Officer's not gaurds, this offers a level of respect yet the term Officer in my state is Reserved by Law Enforcement to anyone having Passed AZ Post or Law Enforcement Training. Things have changed since 09-11-2001 and will continue to be better as security plays it part in securing our sites and maintaining a professional Image that all may see out of us on duty or off.

    Reply
  • Mike C
    5 years 61 days ago
    I have to say i use the word officer ore than guard but lets not put the men and woman down that have to use that term Guard you see a guard is more of a night watch man or someone to guard over keep and eye on to protect a position. Rather than to move around and mix with others. Has they work for the company and the company use the term. That do's not make them any more less of a good security person than an officer, a name is just that a name, if you do not have the person to suit the job then you can call them anything but the job needs to be done right. I started off as a guard many years ago, and i see it like this, Guard to guard a property object . a gate a door a safe. then i went on to being a patrol officer in a shopping centre and then supervisor and so on it is depending on where your working and what your doing. but LETS not put a person down for the name of a position that in it's self is wrong. Officer is a person in Authority in security he / she may be hired to Patrol to supervise to mix with others in order to secure a location a street a complex to move around and integrate with other why protecting the public and members of staff. it comes under Law enforcement .

    Reply
    • Doug Fogwell
      5 years 61 days ago
      Thank you for comment. We agree that all security professionals hold important roles and are deserving of our respect.

      Reply
  • Scott White
    5 years 62 days ago
    Great article and so true. The unfortunate events of 9/11 did however, I think, change a lot of the populations view of security officers and their importance in a positive way. Hopefully it continues trending in that direction.

    Reply
    • Doug Fogwell
      5 years 61 days ago
      I agree, Scott, that the critical role of our security officers has changed the perception of a lot of people to make them shine in a more positive light. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • kev dollochin
    5 years 62 days ago
    Firstly thankyou for voicing what we as security officers have been trying to convey to the public and businesses alike for sometime now. In the uk the problem is prevalent and we are still met with in some cases statements such as "well proper jobs for you people are hard to get" or they just look down there noses at you. Having read the article with interest , thank you once again

    Reply
    • Doug Fogwell
      5 years 62 days ago
      Thank you, Kev, for your thoughtful comment and your service as a security professional.

      Reply

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