Authority of Private Security Guards

Sec Auth Flow 2

Security Officers have the same authority to enforce the laws as a private citizen.  They are limited only by their knowledge of the laws they are enforcing and parameters established by company policy and the client.  Here’s how it works:

The property owner contracts with a private security company to provide protection of the assets under their ownership.  This contract makes the private security company and its employees an agent of the owner.  As an agent of the owner, security companies and their employees – security officers – are afforded the same rights to protect the property.

Law enforcement activities by private security should be consistent with what is in the best interest of the client.  The security officer should view protecting the property as if it was their own.  Decisions need to be made that will help retain the most value to the property.  This includes keeping tenants rights protected such as their right to live peacefully, with minimal noise and air pollution.  It includes parking enforcement to maintain orderly space requirements.  It also includes keeping trespassers from becoming prowlers, burglars or vandals.

When security orders a trespasser off of the property they have a legal right to do this, and the trespasser has an obligation to follow the direction.  Options for handling trespassers vary by police agency.  Sworn law enforcement agencies at various locations have different policies based on how the district attorney is prosecuting, and how department policy is allocating resources for lower-level crimes according to their budget. 

Heart for Security and Law Enforcement

RWB Badge

There are two types of people in any kind of law enforcement work; those who have “heart” for the job and those without it.  Having heart for law enforcement work is described as having a passion for being a protector of the community combined with the ability change your mind set about common fears that would otherwise prevent you from going into dangerous places to face dangerous situations.  Having heart for law enforcement also means winning the fight when force is used.  As a law enforcement officer guarding and protecting the community, you cannot lose the fight.  Over the years, I have found that those with a deep interest in the tools and techniques can be a better warrior when it comes to proper escalation of force.

Being a good security officer is means you are always doing the right thing when nobody is looking; this is called integrity.  You are more productive naturally because you are a proactive hunter of crime, not a slacker.  A good security officer knows how to use the dark, scary places to look for crime in progress and to be able to catch more criminals.  If you focus on this, then you naturally cover all parts of the four D’s of Security; Deter, Detect, Delay, and Deny.  Always doing the right thing and being more productive than the average security officer gets you noticed by your employer, and the customers.  The two go hand-in-hand to build a better security business.

How do you hire someone who appears to “have heart” for security work?  Look at the past work they have done to see what they have accomplished.  Do they have stories to tell about their performance or do they just highlight their qualifications?  A security officer can have a lot of credentials, but fail to apply this in real life.  How much do they know about the laws they would like to enforce, and what have they done in the past to apply this knowledge to their security work?  Again, the true hunter of crime has heart and a sense of urgency to find crime on the properties they are charged with protecting and to protect the people in their area of responsibility.  The opposite is a person who, like at any other job, just does the bare minimum. 


Handgun Selection for Security

Glock 23 for Security.jpg

What gun, caliber, equipment and training?  I get a lot of these questions from unarmed security guards who desire to become armed security officers.  These people realize that they can do more for their community than standing around unarmed waiting to react with a phone call to police.  They can make more money, open up more employment options, and be more valuable to their community as an armed guard.

Cost is one of the biggest factors in handgun selection for security officers.  Unarmed guards making $10 to $18 per hour find it difficult to spend the money.  They can look forward to making $12 to $35 per hour as an armed guard with the right training and credentials.  One handgun manufacturer makes purchasing cost less of an issue by offering a program for law enforcement; this includes security guards and police.  Glock has a program called their “Blue Label” program that provides a $100 discount off of the price of a new gun, and they include three magazines with the gun (usually manufacturers only provide two, and three are required).  Total saving is $135 with this program.  All you have to do is find a dealer that participates in the Glock Blue Label program and show them your California Guard Registration card.

Safety is also brought up as a concern.  Many people are concerned with having a firearm in a house where they have small children.  I address this issue personally, and recommend professionally the option of having an electronic, coded lockbox.  Small lockboxes specifically designed for handgun storage are inexpensive, allow quick access to the right people, and will keep anybody else from gaining easy access to your gun.  I have purchased one for $40.

Training is another consideration because there are many people offering firearms training; how do you know where to go?  Veterans can receive free training from an organization called Work for Warriors.  They offer free training for the initial guard registration, and free training for the firearms permit.  People without a military background should look for a large, well-established training center.  Wherever you go, be sure to check the trainer’s credentials with the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services on their website.  Look for a “TFF” number on the website or business card of the instructor and verify that number with the BSIS to confirm their credentials.

The quality of your training is more important than firearm selection.  This is summed up best by the motto of Front Sight Firearms Academy where “Any Gun Will Do, If You Will Do” and this is a leading firearms training school.

Caliber selection is also settled by another one of Front Sight’s mottos where “Shot Placement is More Important than Caliber Selection.”  The caliber of the handgun is related to the amount of power it has.  The larger the caliber, the more stopping power there is and that makes the tool more effective with its purpose of stopping someone from hurting you.  One idea for caliber selection is to carry the largest gun that you can handle and shoot accurately.  Another consideration for handgun caliber selection should be given to the type of work you are doing.  As a security guard, seeking work in the field, there has been some standardization by the clients we serve in our industry.  Working Federal Contract Armed Security, in most jobs, requires the use of the .40 caliber handgun.  Working Federal Contract Armed Security is some of the highest-paying security work.  The job description for most armed security jobs calls for a semi-automatic handgun in 9mm, 40 cal, or 45 cal.  Why pick a different caliber of handgun that can limit your choice of jobs?

Firearm selection for the Private Security Industry allows for the selection of almost any handgun.  At the gun counter at the gun shop, how do you select the best one without taking several to the shooting range and trying them out?

First consideration is how it fits your hand; how it feels when you hold it needs to be a comfortable feeling.  The bigger gun may feel more comfortable, but it will be more difficult to carry as it weighs more, and takes up more space.  If you are going to carry it concealed after obtaining a concealed weapons permit, then a smaller gun is usually more preferable.  I have worked as a Robbery Suppression Officer at a Bank where I wore a suit and tie.  Being a gunfighter was my first consideration, and going up against robbers armed with rifles or shotguns made me consider the biggest gun with the most ammunition.  My final decision on the firepower I carried was to use a smaller, yet very effective tool for the job; a Glock 23.  The power difference between a 9mm, 40 or 45 caliber handgun was determined again by committing to shot placement and the 40 caliber gun gave me more ammo in the gun than a 45.  The Glock 23 also concealed better on my body than the larger-sized Glock 23.  While selecting a handgun, just make sure you can get a good comfortable grip on the gun.

Next consideration is how easily you can operate the gun by manipulating the controls.  Considering a handgun in the same caliber, the smaller-sized gun may be more difficult to operate the slide.  The shorter recoil spring on the smaller guns makes it more difficult to pull the slide back.  Pulling the slide back on the handgun is an activity that needs to happen often to load, unload and check to see if the gun is loaded or clear of ammunition.  The part that determines how difficult this can be is called the recoil spring and it is located in the top of the gun in the slide.  Sig Sauer brand pistols have a strong spring that takes more muscle and a stronger grip to pull back.  The spring weight in the 45 caliber Model P220 is 20 pounds.  A 9MM Glock 17 has a spring weight of 16 pounds, yet a sub-compact Springfield Armory 9mm has a spring so strong that some people lack the strength to operate this gun.  Other controls include the magazine release, slide release and any safety levers.

Parameters set by security companies and their clients will narrow handgun selection to a semi-automatic in 9mm, 40 cal or 45 cal. With a “double-action” trigger pull.  This parameter is usually set to exclude a single-action firearm with a light trigger pull such as found on a Model 1911.  Double-Action trigger pulls require a little more effort that is looked at a way to confirm the operator’s sincerity of pulling the trigger during a high-stress moment.

Handgun manufacturers to choose from include such as Glock, Springfield Armory, Sig Sauer, Beretta, Smith & Wesson and a few others.  Semi-Automatic pistols are most popular for their increased ammunition capacity and speed of reloading.  Revolvers are still carried by some security officers because that may have been what they trained with many decades ago; and they still work.

What handgun fits the most people and the most security job applications?  The Glock 22 or Glock 23 has the combination of cost, quality, durability, dependability and availability.  The Glock 22 is larger and the Glock 23 is a compact frame size.  Between the two of these, the Glock 23 makes the most sense in California where most people have been limited to a 10 round magazine of ammunition.  Why carry the bigger Glock 22 with the same amount of ammunition when the Glock 23 is easier to conceal and carry exposed?  The Glock Blue Label program saves cost and the guns are readily available.  Glock boasts that 65% of law enforcement officers in the United States, including the FBI rely on the Glock for protection.

If you need more help, contact us at CALTAC Security.

Security Hunts for Creeper Vans at Night

Creeper vans with no windows in the back being driven by shaggy looking dudes carry the stereotype of kidnapping women and children.  Are they really that scary?  What does Private Security do about this at night?

This is one of my favorite scenarios that I look for on patrol.  When Security has a contract to protect a property, and patrol hits are made regularly, it becomes easy to spot vehicles that are out of place with the community.  I call them “Scary White Vans” because they are almost always white.  The lone male driver can just be anyone.

Security enjoys finding out what’s inside.  While most people turn and run from these rolling horror cages, they actually attract security.  Why?  Because security wants to be the hero and save any potential victims inside, so we approach cautiously.

Some of the people are simply homeless or nomadic and this is their home.  Security politely asks them to leave.  This was the case of the white van in the picture.

The primer black van in the other photo kept cruising the parking lot of a couple apartment complexes during the night, and the driver didn’t live there.  Every time security would approach, the driver would speed off.  There was no front license plate, and the rear license plate was covered with a ball hitch.  The driver always wore camouflage clothing.

What can security do?  I found the black van parked at a drug store one night.  Armed, and in uniform I took the opportunity to photograph the license plate and one side of the van before the owner came out to confront me.  Again, he was dressed in camouflage and he said: what’s going on here?  I told him that this van had been seen at some apartments and that I was “just taking pictures” of it.  He got angry, and I left.  I took the information to the next police officer who entered the information in their computer system.  He knew my patrol car and what I looked like, and now he knows I have more information.  He was never seen at the apartments again.

Security can take a proactive approach, ask questions, take pictures and document suspicious activity.  Working with local law enforcement to document this activity helps them with information on file should the vehicle license plate be reported again. More Information

Knife big enough to be a sword!

Downed Man with Hunting Knife

Security finished patrolling a property and then noticed a man down on the sidewalk nearby.  A beer can at his feet and his wallet open by his head, the man was face down on the concrete.  Security began talking to him and when he rolled over he had a very large hunting knife under his hand.

This one turned out okay. The Sheriff was called to the scene along with medics.  He was taken away in an ambulance.  The photos illustrate how a scene with a downed man can escalate with a weapon very fast under the wrong circumstances.  We’ll never know why he had the knife or why his wallet was out.  Was he robbed or just way too drunk?  Does the property manager know what’s happening at night?

Security Officers encounter this all the time. The work is dynamic with properties and people that are unpredictable.  Really good security companies have their armed, experienced security officers handle this activity and then write a good report for the Property Manager.  The other security companies have their unarmed guard just call the police, and then leave a very poor report.  The best reports come with photos and a narrative.

CALTAC Security reports always include a minimum of one photo. It is date and time stamped, and if you log on to your customer web portal you can see the GPS pinpoint location too.  Otherwise, the photos still come with the reports that are emailed nightly and waiting for you to see the good work we do.

Who is- that Security Officer at night?

Found on the client’s property at 1AM, he had a no-bail warrant out for his arrest.  The security officer ID’d him with his California Department of Corrections parole ID card.  The Sheriff picked him up immediately.IMG_0395

Armed, or unarmed?  There is a difference!

As the owner of a security company and having to wear a Human Resources hat for hiring, I see that a big consideration for matching the right person for the right security job, is really about what that person wants to do.  Do they want a somewhat brainless job monitoring something, or a more dynamic position that deals with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations?

The first one – the brainless job of simply monitoring something is a light security job.  This is great for smart people such as a college student who can work and study at the same time.  It’s also for the person who never finished school and just wants a simple job that can be low stress.  As a manager of the people working the simple security job, the only real challenge is that they are consistently to work on time and that they stay awake.

What about the more dynamic security positions where officers have to be alert all the times?  He or she decided to wear a uniform, stay up all night, be alert and actively hunt for crime?  The armed patrol security officer is usually a person who has a passion for law enforcement.  They share some of the same characteristics as sworn law enforcement in that they take pride in making sure things are right.

The really good characteristic I speak of is the desire to hunt for prowlers.  Prowlers are people looking for crimes of opportunity.  They are hunters themselves, and to hunt the hunters is fascinating to me, like it is to them.  This is one of the biggest reasons I am in the security business, to be better than the criminals I am up against; and to be the protector of the people and property I am contracted to protect.  I call this “having heart” for security.  Having heart for security work drives the right person to Patrol (hunt) or Guard (protect) the people and property they are allowed to serve by contract.

Why is the armed guard more driven than the unarmed guard?  The firearm allows them to go places they wouldn’t go without one.  It allows them the protection to work at gang-infested apartment complexes, alone, where you wouldn’t go at all.  It allows them to drive to an apartment complex, make a foot patrol of the area (hunting) for crime and criminals, and confront it; head-on.  Again – going up against people in the middle of the night, and taking charge of a situation.

Typically, an armed security officer has more protection character that drives the hunting and protecting instincts required to be better than the prowlers they are up against.  Crime prevention really is a fight to be better than the criminals and many armed security officers have gone to the expense to be the best at what they do.

Security clients get what they pay for.  An Armed Security Officer has “more heart” that an unarmed security guard.

Click here to find out more about CALTAC Security Patrol


Sex Offenders and Community Safety

An Awareness Tool designed to keep our families safe; the Megan’s Law website has been available to the public since 2004. I bring this up because people forget about it. I recently checked my area to find an undesirable had moved into the area.

Another awareness tool for the community is a website called This is a private social network dedicated to improving information specific to the community you live in.


Megan’s Law website: