Choosing the Right Officer for your Property

How can businesses, residential, private, and public properties benefit more from private security vs off duty officer? We often think that the better choice is hiring an off – duty officer. After all, they do have the ultimate authority when it comes to crime. But are they the right fit for your property in the long run? Here are some points that could help you choose the right fit for your property:

First things first, let’s state the obvious. When it comes to authority, a Police officer will always have the final word. An active – duty police officer has a broader authority and has the license to enforce all State, County, and City criminal Law. A security officer has limited authority to make an arrest if the offense committed within their view falls under a felony, theft, or breech of the public peace.

Unfortunately, as our city grows, crime grows, and our police are left with an overwhelming demand that they can’t get to everyone. A security officer can help be the first responder, attend your individual needs, and monitor a situation until police arrive. The police officer who is working off duty, may have the ultimate training, but they must prioritize the greatest need from the smallest one. Any time there is a situation that has reached a criminal offense, the police should be the ones to make that decision. Often though, the Police won’t always get there in time, or may not even get there at all when it comes to smaller disputes. Here is where a security officer can come in handy. A security officer has an easier time helping the individual needs a property has; from loud music to a suspicious intruder, even as little as the community pool left open.

While an off-duty officer can come and attend those needs if they can, they are not allowed to enforce property rules, or issue criminal trespass warnings. They are only allowed to interact when it is a criminal issue. Even then, they must have a property representative and an on-duty Officer present to step in. A security officer on the other hand is the representative for the property, can issue criminal trespass warnings, and enforce all property rules and parking rules. Even if a situation calls for the police to step in, a security officer can detain under specific conditions, until the police arrive to make the final decision.

This takes us back to the high demand of our police, for an off-duty officer you are not their first priority. Their priority is their full – time job. Also, many officers have other off duty jobs, and they have a life outside of police work. They have vacation time, friends, and family. Their personal lives are also filled with many personal priorities. A security officer may have less training but has the right training for their job. They are trained in what they are allowed to do and not do. They are trained to focus solely on each property they are assigned to. They are trained in specific laws of the Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, and First Aid. They are trained to meet the needs of each property, that are specified by the client. If you are looking for specific needs such as locking doors, gates, checking vacant units, a security officer is paid to take the time to do those things every night, seven nights a week.

There are situations where an off -duty officer is a better choice, and works best for a property, but if you are looking for an officer who will be actively taking care of your property, it is a less expensive and a safer choice when it comes to liability issues. Why? You are secured that if anything goes wrong, the security officer has protection for the property with specific needs of general liability insurance, auto insurance, and worker’s comp. insurance. Unfortunately, an off – duty police officer does not have specific general liability insurance to protect your property from someone injured by the ODO, or false arrest.  This can lead to not-so-great consequences for your property, and for the officer.

Both choices will not be the superheroes or eliminate crime 100%, but they can promise to deter crime. Now how do you deter crime? I will end with this, presence. It’s all about presence. The presence of an officer in uniform, or a mark patrol vehicle with its license number, has a better chance to deter crime off your property than a un – uniformed officer.  An off-duty police officer will not have a patrol car roaming around your property actively checking, and making their presence known. A security officer will be actively patrolling with their car and walking the property as many times as you ask. You have control over how much and how little you want them to patrol your property. That being said, when it comes to one on one, unlimited service, tailored to your individual needs, and backed by insurance, you know you are choosing well by choosing a security officer.  The objective of having any form of security is to deter crime away from your property, and that is what both services can give you. At the end of the day, both officers are after one thing, giving you a peace of mind.

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Heartland Patrol and Investigations Inc.