Unarmed security guard requirements

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By: Phillip Livingston
Date Published: Dec 18, 2019

It’s important to have some sort of security provision for your building or complex. Hiring a private security company is a huge part of that. Private security guards are mainly trained to manage access in and out of the building. They also help to maintain safety and order on the property grounds through regularly conducted guard tours.

Most professional security companies offer a choice between armed and unarmed guards. Armed guards are usually moderately trained which means a gun could accidentally discharge and shoot a resident. This is a risk you don’t want to take because it could cost someone’s life and come with a massive lawsuit.

That’s why unarmed security officers are recommended for buildings. They offer a less intimidating façade towards unit owners while promoting a certain level of comfort and safety.

Hiring an unarmed security guard can help you reduce the risk of break-ins, noise violations, and even parking violations. It improves the level of safety and comfort that unit owners feel and can increase the value of your property. 

If you’re looking to hire an unarmed security guard to protect your building or complex, consider the following requirements.

Requirements of a professional security company

If you’re going to hire an unarmed guard, chances are you’re going to do it through a professional security company. Security companies have different age requirements for unarmed guards based on the type of clientele that the company provides services for.

For instance, most state regulations require that an unarmed security guard that works at shopping centers and building should be at least 21 years of age or older.

It’s also important for a security guard to have a good driver’s license to ensure that they have reliable transport and the ability to drive a company vehicle if needed.

An unarmed guard must have a clean criminal record with no felony convictions under their name. Some states require that a security guard have a PERC card which is a registration card issued by the state. It costs about $120 to process a PERC card and it’s valid for three years.

All of this is in addition to a 40-hour training which can be done through a certified training facility or the private security company.  

The training is broken down as thus:

  • 8 hours of training prior to being assigned to a post. This training includes a “power to arrest” module and exam.
  • 16 hours of training within the first 30 days of a first assignment
  • 16 of training within the first six months of a first assignment

Both the security guard applicant and the private patrol operator are required to submit the application.

A lot of security companies offer in-house training in addition to the required 40 hours of security guard training.

Once the training is complete, a security guard should exhibit qualities of integrity, trustworthiness, loyalty, professionalism, dedication, and flexibility.

What do unarmed security guards carry?

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When a security guard is on assignment, they’re always required to carry the following documentation:

  • A legitimate security guard registration.
  • A legitimate photo ID

Although unarmed guards are not allowed to carry firearms, they do carry a “duty belt” with a combination of the following items:

  • OC spray also known as pepper spray
  • A baton
  • Handcuffs
  • A multi-tool
  • A tactical flashlight
  • Heavy-duty cleaning gloves
  • Depending on the company, a smartphone with heavy-duty NFC tokens ,and pen combo.

This selection of tools is designed to make the security guard’s job easier and safer.

Benefits of hiring a security company

You can’t put a price on the safety of your community or the value of your property.  The presence of an unarmed security guard can help to deter criminals and abnormal activity in your building.

Professional security guards have the necessary training to conduct themselves in a way that communicates authority and it’s a great way to reassure unit owners of the building’s safety.

Having a training guard at your building’s entrance can also help you attract high-quality tenants. All told, security guards are a valuable resource for property managers who want to create a safe and welcoming environment.

What to consider before you hire an unarmed security guard

You should ideally look for a professional security company that offers a carefully selected team of round-the-clock security personnel who are licensed, insured and bonded. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when looking to hire an unarmed security guard:

  • Formal proposals

Before you hire a security company, ask for a formal proposal first. This proposal is a great way to manage your own expectations of the company because it outlines their services and should include a pricing policy.

The HOA board or property manager should go over this proposal at length to make sure that it suits the community’s needs. You may also want to request a meeting with a representative from the security company who’ll help to elucidate the proposal terms.

  • Formal uniforms

Not all security companies have a strict uniform policy, but portraying the right image is a huge part of the job.  That’s why you should always ask about the company’s uniform policy before you hire them. Also, find out what type of vehicles the company uses for car patrol services.

  • Training

In addition to the training mentioned above, an unarmed security guard is taught to be the eyes and ears of the HOA board or property manager. They usually have very specific instructions on how to handle situations like emergencies, floods, fires, and even crimes. However, they don’t really function in the same manner as security guards that are hired for jewelry stores and banks.

Unarmed security guards are also trained to be a friendly and familiar face that makes residents feel safe and secure when they enter the building. Thanks to their uniform, unarmed guards can also be effective at deterring criminals and other threats to the community.

They’re also tasked with the responsibility to record and monitor who comes in and out of the building. That way, if anything happens, you’ll have access to a reliable record of everyone who has entered and exited the building. 

  • Licenses

Hiring an unlicensed or independent security guard is the fastest route to a lawsuit. That’s because anything could happen on the job and you want a qualified professional who can handle any type of situation.

The benefit of hiring a company with licensed security guards is that the guards are always trained and insured.  For best results, we advise you ask a representative of the security company to provide you with a copy of their operating license as well as proof of insurance.

  • Liability insurance

Speaking of insurance, you can never be too careful when managing the safety of your residents. It’s important to ensure that the security company you hire has liability insurance and your building must be listed as “additional insured” on the company’s insurance binder.

Most security companies take out $1 to $2 million per client in liability insurance. This insurance provides a great safety net against lawsuits.

  • Response

The key to success for any security operation is having a quick response time. A great way to measure this is to look at the company’s documentation and figure out what their average response time is.

It’s easier nowadays for security companies and property managers alike to monitor guards, thanks to guard tour patrol technology. This allows you to monitor patrols and incident reports in real-time and from anywhere in the world.

  • Customized service

It’s not uncommon for security companies to offer personalized services depending on the client. That’s because each building has a unique number of units, residents, and needs.

Plus, each location has a specific safety profile based on the crime level of the area. So, a company might have to provide round-the-clock patrol services in one location, and a single night-time patrol in another.

Security risks mostly happen in areas like garages and parking lots but these areas only become “dangerous” after hours in some areas.

  • Responsibilities

In a nutshell, the responsibilities of an unarmed security guard include:

  • Greeting residents
  • Parking control
  • Deterring trespassers
  • Deterring vandalism
  • Deterring theft
  • Regulating visitor and vendor access
  • Providing 24-hour emergency alarm response
  • Generating online daily reports
  • Locking up common areas like swimming pool and laundry area
  • Enforcing community rules
Conclusion

A building or complex usually comes with a single gate or entrance through which everyone enters the building. Multiple people go through the same entrance every day, which makes it difficult to track who is coming and going, especially if you don’t have someone there to monitor the gate.

That’s why it’s helpful to hire an unarmed guard who’s experienced and incident-free. It’s also important to ensure that they have the proper equipment like a security patrol system that helps them do their job efficiently.

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