What Are the Differences Between Security Officers and Security Guards?

While the general public probably thinks the terms “security officer” and “security guard” are interchangeable, the reality is that they’re quite different.  In general, guards have a lower rank than officers. It’s most likely that an officer oversees a guard or set of guards, giving orders and ensuring that overall operations are accomplished.

Security guards don’t have as much experience as security officers. Typically, officers have been guards, starting out, and then, over many years, developed into officers with many years of experience, wisdom, training and knowledge, allowing them to guide guards. Oftentimes, officers used to be active police officers and/or served in the military, where discipline was highly valued.

Security Guards vs Security OfficersNormally, a guard is stationed at one location, standing guard. They’ll monitor their assigned area, report suspicious activity, and provide helpful information to visitors who ask questions like, “Where are the restrooms?” Officers, on the other hand, are more mobile. They’ll travel to various locations, checking on guards. They take a leadership “big picture” role in security operations.

What are some things security guards are trained in? They handle client care, conflict resolution, risk management/awareness, and de-escalation techniques. Officers, meanwhile, handle all of that and then some– going through additional training and workshops. It’s not unusual for security officers to know about the powers of arrest, bomb threats, evacuation procedure planning, and the use of fire panels.

Finally, security guards are under the supervision of a security officer. A security officer may have a supervisor and/or report directly to their security company.

Chicago’s LawDog Security & Investigations is a family-operated business and a Certified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business. Our staffing is made up of active and retired law enforcement officers with over 75 years of combined experience. Alongside them, you will also find a number of investigators and professionals from multiple facets of security and investigations, ready for immediate response 24/7, 365 days a year. For more info about hiring security officers for your Chicago-area business or event, please call LawDog at 773-233-5742. You can also fill out your information on our contact page here.

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