Full-Time versus Part-time Officers

Billy Gordon Green, Jr. M.Ed., CPP, CHSSecurity Program Development

officerThe 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.

Full-time and part-time are two choices that must be made regarding the staffing of the posts and roles. A full-time security force would be comprised of employees or contract personnel who are employed on a full-time basis, with the associated benefits and protections afforded that status. If the force is from a contract service provider, the point is moot, as the staffing details will be the contractor’s responsibility. In a proprietary force, however, the use of part-time personnel can be a cost saving strategy as there are no full-time benefits required. A part-time force requires a larger pool of officers to fill the schedule with the associated increase in scheduling difficulties, often related to employees other job demands.

Part-time forces present more problems in providing training because of the large pool of personnel. Turnover among part-time security employees may vary, depending on the situation. A part-time force made up of otherwise fully employed personnel seeking to augment their incomes may be very stable. Such a force consisting of personnel working only part-time may be less stable as personnel seek and gain full-time employment elsewhere. Both of these elements may be affected by the location of the force. In a small town environment, the tenure may be greater than in a more dense metropolitan setting with a more mobile and fluid workforce. In a smaller force, the flexibility and versatility of using part-time personnel may be a significant advantage.

What are the other decisions that must be made?

Armed or Unarmed

Uniformed versus Non-uniformed

Proprietary or Contract

Sworn or Non-sworn

Full-time or Part-time

Plan. Protect. Prosper.

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