Officer vs. Guard

Off-Duty Officers

  • Licensure

  • Licensed as active peace officers

  • Training

  • Rigorous law enforcement training. All officers go through their respective police academies

  • Authority

  • Arrest authority, search and seize, enforce the law

  • Local Knowledge

  • Officers know the local crime scene and provide valuable information to staff and supervisors

  • Access To Replacements

  • Easy access to fellow officers who may be able to respond if assigned officer cannot make shift

  • Crime Deterrent

  • Strong visible deterrent

  • Armed vs. Unarmed

  • Always armed, and trained to respond with the correct level of force, including non-life threatening

  • Access to back-up

  • Regular radio contact with dispatch and local patrols

  • Know fellow officers in the area

  • Traffic Control

  • Trained in traffic and pedestrian control, including the ability to provide emergency vehicle

  • Response Time

  • Onsite in under 4 hours in some cases

Armed Guards

  • Licensure

  • Licensed to carry firearms while working for a security agency

  • Training

  • Limited in-service training is required by some states (e.g. 10 hours classroom and minimal hands-on firearms)

  • Authority

  • Trained to use a firearm when there is imminent danger. No arrest authority.

  • Local Knowledge

  • Minimal

  • Access To Replacements

  • Can be very challenging based on the number of available guards licensed with the security agency

  • Crime Deterrent

  • Minimal and not respected by criminals who know their authority is limited to that of a private citizen

  • Access to back-up

  • Call 911

  • Traffic Control

  • Not authorized to direct traffic on public streets in most states

  • Response Time

  • 24-48 hours

Unarmed Guards

  • Licensure

  • Simple state licensure

  • Training

  • Typically less than 10 hours

  • Authority

  • Trained only to observe a crime and then call 911

  • Local Knowledge

  • Minimal

  • Access To Replacements

  • Can be very challenging based on the number of available guards licensed with the security agency

  • Crime Deterrent

  • Minimal and not respected by criminals who know they will not take action

  • Armed vs. Unarmed

  • Not armed, and not licensed to carry a firearm

  • Access to back-up

  • Call 911

  • Traffic Control

  • Not authorized to direct traffic on public streets in most states

  • Response Time

  • 24-48 hours

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