A Diverse Population of Security Officers Creates Safer Environments, Stronger Communities

Security is critical to business operations across all industries. It is essential to protect people and property, ensure continuity of services and create environments that are productive, welcoming and safe. While there are many elements of a comprehensive security program, the foundation - and the most visible aspect - is the security officer.

The security officer services industry is growing, and has evolved to keep pace with the changing needs of our society. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 1,097,660 security officers employed in the United States. In fact, 1 out of 141 employed Americans is a security officer.

While the industry traditionally includes retired police officers and military veterans, it also attracts people from many other walks of life including those with technology expertise and those who have worked in other customer-facing industries including retail, restaurants and call centers.

The security professionals patrolling a transit station or monitoring access at an office building could include a college student, retiree, transitioning military sergeant and a young professional with management aspirations. When employed by a quality-conscious security company, all of these individuals complete extensive training to prepare them for both a security position and for the unique requirements of their specific location.

The diversity seen throughout the security industry creates stronger workplaces and communities. The industry's commitment to learning and development does not just happen in the classroom setting. A security team comprised of individuals from different walks of life will develop a mentor and best practice sharing type of camaraderie as they learn from each other. A retired police officer will share observation techniques with his team; a security officer with a technology background can help train her peers on new solutions; and a security officer with EMT training can help guide others on proper response protocols. This helps create safer and more secure environments and bonds that increase inclusiveness and acceptance outside of the workplace.

Whether the security officers you see within your own workplace are gaining experience while preparing to join the police academy or have 20 years of security experience, their presence and leadership is comforting. Their responsibilities are as diverse as their backgrounds but the commonalities are clear. These are service-oriented individuals with a desire to help others and positively contribute to their communities.

These professionals deserve our respect - their contributions are many and now is the time to take notice and acknowledge their commitment to create safer and more secure environments.

Organizations gain the most value from their security investment when security becomes an integral part of daily operations. This is facilitated through a quality security team and leadership support. When business leaders clearly communicate the value of security to their stakeholders, security's purpose and its contribution to the business are better understood and respected.

The second annual National Security Officer Appreciation Week is September 18 - 24. This is our opportunity to all come together in recognition of the men and women who dedicate themselves to keeping us safe and secure. Every business can take part in showing appreciation for security officers. Just a simple thank you can be enough. Small efforts can make a strong impression on security professionals. This is the least we can do for those who make a tremendous impact in our businesses and communities every day.

To learn more about National Security Officer Appreciation Week and access resources you can use in your workplace, visit AUS.com/ThankYouSecurity.