In Reality, Today’s Security Officer is a Vital Part of Homeland Security
As seen in South Coast Today
While audiences await the premiere of Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 starring Kevin James, the reality is that today’s security officer is a vital part of our homeland security and safety. How does life as a retail security officer compare with what is depicted in these comedies? Working with many of our country’s leading shopping centers and malls, my company oversees thousands of hard-working retail security officers who protect us from crime, terrorism, violence, theft and burglary and even perform life-saving acts for medically distressed mall patrons.
As a representative of America’s leading physical security officer services company, I challenge Kevin James to work alongside genuine retail security officers for just one day. James will experience first-hand that while his movies provide light-hearted entertainment, his character, Paul Blart, is truly a comic strip figure whose actions and attitude bear no similarity to the real world of mall security officers.
Safety and security are critical to the shopping sector. To attract consumers, managers and facility owners strive to create and maintain a safe, positive atmosphere – and security officers are central to those efforts. Security officers possess a range of skills and responsibilities and need the flexibility to both create a welcoming environment and enforce security policies. These hard-working, highly trained men and women respond to medical emergencies, assist with lost children, monitor CCTV systems, lead drills and evacuations, provide directions, and control crowds and direct traffic during events. Security officers work in conjunction with local police and many have previously served in law enforcement or the military – a far cry from the comical depiction seen in Mall Cop and other films.
While shoppers will surely enjoy the movie, many will recognize that their actual shopping experiences are very different. Retail customers expect a safe environment and are comforted by the sight of security officers patrolling their malls and offering help with everything from mall information, to parking lot escorts and even greater assistance during emergencies.
To prepare for a position in the shopping center sector, security officers engage in extensive and ongoing training designed specifically for this industry. Securing a shopping mall can be challenging due to its open nature; the influx of people of all ages and from all walks of life; and the evolution of the mall from a shopping venue to now an entertainment destination as well. This requires careful planning and well-trained security officers who are recruited specifically for this environment. Constant vigilance is required to help ensure the safety and security of consumers and prepare for and help prevent worst-case scenarios.
“Security professionals face new threats and evolving priorities each day, which require them to be responsive, adaptable and well-trained,” said Dave N. Tyson, CPP, President, ASIS International. “Professional connections and security resources are essential to career development. Organizations like ASIS International are dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests and continue to advance the industry’s professionalism and quality.”
When you next visit your local mall, take a moment to express your thanks to the hard working men and women who are dedicated to your safety and security. While we can escape from reality with the entertainment Hollywood provides, we depend on the help and reassurance of real-life security officers.