The human component of an integrated security plan can be in one or more of several forms. These forms become choices that need to be addressed depending on the mission, environment, culture, population, and security philosophy of the organization and specifically the site to be protected.
In this context, the term “armed” is intended to mean “equipped with firearms and prepared to use deadly force when required.” Firearms are not intended for non-lethal force situations. There are several non-lethal weapons that can be issued and used by security officers, such as batons, capsicum spray, and tasers. For the purpose of this discussion, these will be part of the equipment issued to “unarmed” security personnel.
Armed security officers are generally issued sidearms and trained for defensive use of the weapon. As such, a uniformed security officer who is not a law enforcement officer has little justification for carrying a firearm beyond the need for self-defense. Security officers protecting high-value facilities which might attract attack from armed and dedicated perpetrators may very well have need of this level of training and equipment for self-defense. The level of training required for an armed officer to safely use a firearm in a security operations environment is extraordinarily high, approaching that required of law enforcement officers. Very few armed guard training programs approach the standards required of law enforcement officers in any jurisdiction.
What are the other decisions that must be made?
Plan. Protect. Prosper.
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