From the corporate offices of Private Officer International, dozens of interviews are conducted with general reporters, investigative and research support staff and most major network and cable TV stations along with frequent requests for statistical data, comments or opinions on training, legislative actions, proposed laws or other information relating to private security, public safety, school security and related fields.
The Founder and CEO of our association, Mr. Rick McCann, often sheds light on the new frontier of the private security industry, the challenges of training, low wages and high turn-over rates, the true dangers of working many assignments alone, unarmed and unprepared while cheer-leading the efforts of many private officers who protect life and property while risking their own lives everyday.
Sometimes the media listens and sometimes they only hear and report a small portion of the interview, often twisting the facts to make the story shine a negative light on private security.
But that has never stopped Mr. McCann from continuing his crusade, sounding the alarm or telling the truth about the real life of private security officers in 2015.
Below is one of those positive stories that came out today in the Press Enterprise and written by a reporter in Riverside CA.
He listened and didn’t change the words, the facts or the direction of the interview with Mr. McCann and for that we applaud this reporter for reporting the truth.
Kyle. T Greene Sr. Vice President Private Officer International
Dangers of Security Profession Rising
Riverside CA – Security guards aren’t just retirees with tin badges and a walkie-talkie, or over-anxious rent-a-cops, as they often are portrayed in movies. The job can be dangerous – and even deadly, as evidenced by the shooting death of Richard “Big Will” Williamson, who was killed while working at a Grand Terrace skating rink early New Year’s morning.
Williamson, 48, of Riverside, the owner of Big Will’s Security Services, stepped in front of two young men who began firing as 200 skaters were ringing in the New Year. He fired back, was hit and later died.
Statistics from the California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards and Associates show that on average, more than one security guard is killed each week in the United States, and many more are assaulted.
“It’s typically listed near the top of the list of most dangerous jobs,” said Jeff Flint, spokesman for the association. “Unfortunately, it can be very dangerous.”
Eleven American security guards have died on duty already this year, according to Private Officer International, which tracks those numbers.
The organization estimates that 85 security guards died on duty nationwide in 2014. That’s down from 112 in 2012 and compares with 121 sworn police officers who died in 2014, the Officer Down Memorial Page website states.
The number of job-related injuries also is on the rise for private guards, said Rick McCann, the organization’s CEO.
More than 200,000 guards were assaulted on the job last year. The most dangerous working spots are bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, the organization states.
McCann said California is one of the most dangerous states for privates guards – with three deaths already in 2015 – even though it has some of the most rigorous standards for licensing.
To be a security guard in California, an applicant must pass a federal and state background check, then complete 40 hours of training. Additional training is required to carry a baton, tear gas or gun.
Salaries range from $9.50 to $27 per hour, an Internet search shows.
Flint said the main duties of most security guards are to observe and report. They typically are employed at an office building or shopping center with a primary responsibility to protect property.
While only about 10 percent of the private guards in the state are licensed to carry firearms, Flint said, just the presence of a uniformed security guard often is enough to scare away people who are up to no good.
“Their primary duty is to be a visible deterrent and report on activities they observe,” Flint said.
California’s security guards do not have the power to arrest or detain anyone, but they can make a citizen’s arrest, Flint said.
As municipalities have cut their police department budgets in recent years, more businesses are hiring private security firms to guard their properties, he said.
For example, in once-sleepy Hemet, guards now patrol almost every shopping center and strip mall.
“There’s definitely an increase in demand,” Flint said.
McCann said guards also are being asked to do more on the job.
“A lot more businesses are hiring security not to just to observe and report, but to be enforcers, proactive,” he said. “It is a dangerous environment.”
McCann said Williamson should be honored for his action to prevent more injuries the night he was killed.
“He’s really a hero because he was involved in an active gun battle,” McCann said.