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10 Expert Qualities to Look for When Hiring Private Security

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Today, security is an essential part of protecting an organization's customers, employees, data, assets, property, and more; mitigating and reacting to crime and violence, theft and shrink, fire and medical emergencies, and much more - as long as organizations choose the right provider.

With crime and violent attacks affecting an ever-increasing number of businesses and communities, few organizations are placing a realistic focus on the prevention and mitigation of incidents. Others, however, understand there is no alternative to on-site safety and security to protect what’s important.

Finding the right security service or guard company for your organization or business can be a challenge. The defense and security industry continues to be one of the largest and fastest-growing industries worldwide, creating an ideal environment for security providers who are less than honorable.

With a steady rise in the number of businesses, corporations, nonprofits, and government sector entities who are outsourcing services such as: policing, patrol, security, special enforcement, investigations, corrections, detention, and many related professional services; those seeking services are frequently misled – receiving subpar and ineffective service, marketed and pushed by unscrupulous security companies looking to pad their pockets and nothing more.

With the increasing value and rapid growth of an industry rife with corruption, every day, new companies “pop up” seemingly overnight. While this may seem positive, the overwhelming number of security companies and service providers lead to situations where substandard companies thrive – adding risk and costing money, time and lives.

As a result, we’ve compiled this list of the 10 expert qualities that you should be looking for when choosing a security service provider.

Here are 10 Expert Qualities to Look for When Hiring Contracted Security Services

Table of Contents

1. Advanced Training

While regulations and qualifications vary state-by-state, or, where there are multiple levels or classifications of officers and guards (e.g. security guard, security officer, armed officer, commissioned security officer, special police officer, etc.); there are some states which have no legal requirements for the training and qualifications of security guards.


Despite this, organizations should ensure that a security provider’s personnel (e.g. armed guards, special/private police, public safety, etc.) are not only well trained – beyond minimum requirements, but are experts in their field of practice.


Advanced training ensures guards and officers are prepared to handle more complex situations and can react quickly and accurately. Much like municipal police officers, private sector security professionals need to be trained to handle everything from minor disturbances to major incidents – such as an active shooter or an explosion.


Generally, security guards can’t or don’t get much – if any training. It’s a practice that has given the security industry, in general, a poor image and a bad reputation. Without quality training and experience, one cannot expect security guards to provide much help (if any at all) when bad things happen; thereby negating the very investment made to improve security. Unsurprisingly, the result is significant funding wasted on little more than the illusion of security – which does nothing to prevent or mitigate crime, violence, and loss.


However, training alone is only part of the equation. The adage “you get what you pay for” should be taken in the most literal sense here; as the security industry is one of the most representative of cost-to-value. A well-trained, experienced, qualified, and credentialed professional does not work for low wages.


Skilled professionals in the defense/security industry – just as any other industry – are paid what they’re worth. While cost is often a factor in decision making, understand that low cost will always equate to low quality – as the work will be performed by someone untrained and unskilled. This can result in increased liabilities, projection of a poor image, and sometimes ending up less safe.

2. Available Specialities

Basic security/guard services should not be the only thing that organizations implement to protect their interests. Nor, should organizations feel that an alarm system and cameras will prevent or stop acts of crime and violence.

When any number of issues arise that are unexpected, organizations should have a security partner who is able and prepared to respond to and mitigate the situation – at a moment’s notice. A partner who can supply additional resources and services to keep people, property, and assets safe – no matter what happens.

For instance, if a business has very important persons, executives, or other high-ranking figures visiting from out of town, that business may need specialized personal protection agents to handle travel, transportation, and accommodations; ensuring their safety while in town on business.

Choosing a security partner that can provide an expanded range of specialty services will help save unnecessary time and stress when the need occurs, or, when unforeseen circumstances arise.

3. Solid Framework

By outsourcing to a competent and reliable partner, there will far less scheduling, and virtually no HR issues. If there is ever a problem or you want to increase or decrease your security personnel, all you need to do is send an email or make a phone call.

If a contracted security professional and becomes ill or injured on the job, the company will have a replacement security guard at your business to replace them, and, you won’t have to worry about worker’s compensation matters. It’s a process you likely won’t even notice.

The right firm for your business will be able to handle all of your needs seamlessly so you don’t have to worry about coverage, too few or too many officers, or anything else like excessive force or harassment.

4. Superior Communication

We’ve all walked into a building or seen it in a movie. You walk inside and the first you see is a security guard. Your first reaction to this site is completely based on the appearance and demeanor of the security guard – which if we can be honest, is oftentimes poor.

The key here is to have the right partner, who employs experienced professionals – who pay attention, are polite, professional, authoritative, and have excellent communication skills. By achieving this, no one will come in and “get the wrong idea”.

Beyond the ability to deal with emergency situations, proper safety and security involves a certain level of customer service; a key to increased employee retention and productivity, happy customers and clients, as well as repeat business. Security can assist customers and visitors by directing them where to go, escort employees from and to their vehicles, render first aid, and much more

5. Impressive Demeanor

As a business owner, executive, stakeholder, or similar; the last thing you want to worry about is security. You want to focus on growth and creating the best products and services possible. You want to make your employees and clients feel happy and safe so that you can retain both. The peace of mind you’ll receive knowing that your assets, workers, and customers are safe while on your property is invaluable. You can make the right kind of impact and retain positive optics by implementing a security program which implements a polished and refined appearance.


Hiring a recent graduate off the street and paying them $18 an hour may seem like an inexpensive and good idea, but what will they do in the event of an actual crime? How will they react? Having a professional team who presents a polite and polished image while knowing when and how to properly respond to and mitigate situations is one of the best reasons to outsource your security needs.

6. Remarkable Problem Solving

What good is having a dozens of the latest and greatest security cameras if there is no security professional to monitor them, interpret and understand what they’re seeing, and be able to respond to an incident or emergency at a moment’s notice? Many law enforcement and security professionals are extensively trained on how to spot signs of criminal activity, and some have the appropriate training and experience on when and how to react preemptively to red flags and stop crime before it happens.

In addition to monitoring the area via CCTV, those monitoring can coordinate real-time response with other security officers, management, fire and rescue, and so on. They can watch and monitor any kind of employee registrations like checking for key-card badges, parking authentication, and the like.

They can also assist with the monitoring and patrol of your grounds at all times of the day and night – including during the opening and closing times. Without hesitation, they will be the first ones in and the last ones out. Every day. Without fail.

7. Suitable Fitness

While everyone knows that some security measures are not taken seriously – thus providing zero deterrence to crime; this is not an absolute. This all comes down to the individual security officer or guard. The badge is of little value if the person wearing the badge is unprofessional or ill-equipped.


Criminals are criminals for a reason. They go after easy targets for quick and easy score; and by their very nature, they don’t follow laws. Easy targets are key here – as most criminals take the path of least resistance; meaning they will strike if ineffective security guards are present.


A proven tactic which give criminals pause is by making it riskier for the criminal. The easiest way to accomplish this is a fit and well dressed professional (that looks the part), who is well trained, experienced, and equipped on location. A truly competent professional looks and carries theirself in a very specific manner, and is a very unwanted sight of criminals – as they convey actual authority and significant risk for would-be criminals.


You can’t fake effective officer presence, it’s either there – or it isn’t. When effective, most – if not all criminals will have second thoughts. They’ll immediately think of prison and the potential real-world consequences of their actions; and likely choose an easier target for their intended criminal activity.

8. Precise Personality

While the private police, private security, and defense contracting industries collectively maintain one of the most valuable markets globally, it is plagued by security companies chasing quantity over quality.  This results in the industry generally having a poor image due to the low standards and performance of employees, thus, lackluster services received by clients and partners.


Those vendors who take the opposite approach, focusing on quality versus quantity, understand that personality traits are equally important to the professional skills and capabilities of employees. Matching employee personalities to best match the unique circumstances and needs of the client or partner is a step that few security service providers take, yet make all the difference in the experience and happiness of the client and their interests.


When seeking a security partner or vendor, be sure to have a conversation about this outstanding benefit; or at the very least, ask if they would be willing to consider this – especially when discussing a long-term arrangement.

9. Industry Maturity

Since the security and defense industry is one of the largest in the world, there is no shortage of new or shady companies that exist. Some have elaborate websites, some engage in unethical practices, and some even operate illegally.


The security industry itself is mature, but has for decades been stagnant. For a time following the September 11th attacks, there was a break in this stagnation, and some of the largest growth ever experienced by the industry. However, due to the attraction of massive profit shares despite widespread and accepted low standards; there is never a shortage of newcomers and unethical owners and operators entering the market.


When selecting a security service partner for an evermore vital task, it is important to consider not only online presence, but whether you can pick up the phone and talk to someone. Many security guard companies don’t answer phone calls, but immediately respond to online inquiries and messages. Is that really what you as a perspective client or partner want – a vendor that won’t take your call? Ensure the security vendor choose is mature in their own right, and not based upon the industry at large .

10. Indisputable Expertise

Experience comes in many forms. The best predictor of future performance is based on past actions. When assessing capability and expertise, there are two easy ways to verify claims.


First, conduct a background check on the security company itself. Check for past or current lawsuits against the company, and the outcome of them. Alternatively (or in addition to) obtain loss-runs from the insurer of the company, and see how many claims the company has. Typically these are available going back at least five years. This will detail how many times and how much the insurance company paid out on behalf of the security company. 


Both of these can be a great indicator of the actual experience a security vendor brings, or alternatively, the liabilities they create due to any number of undesirable reasons. 

In Closing

Times have changed, and crime continues to be a significant threat without boundaries. Why wait for the worst case scenario to happen? Don’t sell your business, employees, and customers short. You deserve real and effective solutions to protect what’s important. You need a true partner with an organization who has your back, and will always put your interests first. Hiring security can seem like a daunting task, but with the right partner – the process becomes easy and seamless.

Tri State Enforcement Regional Authority is a multistate organization that supplies mission-critical public safety services, special police services, advanced protective security and armed guard services, court and judicial services, and related law enforcement and emergency services; for and on behalf of public, private, and government sector markets through cooperative and service contract agreements.

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