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Patrol Operations

Preparing for Patrol


A guard should prepare to go on patrol. The Officer Safety course covers

how to prepare for post duties, which includes going on patrol. A guard

should also follow all the guidelines for maintaining a professional

appearance and demeanor while on duty when on patrol. These

guidelines are in the Public Relations course.


The Officer Safety course also covers techniques a guard should use when on patrol to help ensure their safety.


Patrol Logs


Security personnel should always carry a small notebook and pen with them while on patrol. Anything of significance should be noted in this notebook as a patrol is conducted.


A guard should always make the appropriate entries in the Patrol Log before and after their patrol as set forth in their post orders. Maintaining the Patrol Log properly is both a guard safety requirement and necessary for any future legal cases that may arise. The guard should retain their Patrol Log and Incident Reports for the length of time stated by their post orders. Proper documentation techniques are covered earlier in this course.


Patrol Check Points


A guard maybe required to check in at various check points on their patrol route using a mechanical or electrical check in device, such as a watchman clock, time clock or badge scan. The check point might be to sign a log in the presence of another employee on the premises.


Patrol Duties


A security guard's patrol duties should be detailed in their post orders. These post orders should state how often and where to patrol. The post orders should also instruct the guard if they are to get out of the vehicle and perform checks, such as, if doors and windows are locked.


Patrols are usually most effective if they are done at different times and different routes, so criminals cannot predict when the officer will be present.



A guard should report their position over the radio during patrols as specified by their post orders. Two-way radio communication is also essential and commonplace in most security departments. Radio communication provides quicker response to a problem and affords added protection for a security officer should an injury occur or other problem develop.


It is essential that security personnel be properly trained in the use of two-way radio equipment. Additionally, proper radio etiquette must be practiced by security personnel while using two-way radios. Persons who are unfamiliar with radio etiquette tend to verbalize and babble. This impoliteness appears as unprofessional and creates embarrassment to both the security officer and the entire department. Two-way radio communication may be a shared process with other departments. One must always


Radios are an expensive investment and are an essential part of security communication. Protect them accordingly:


Proper language and diction are important in radio use.

It is not an entertainment device.

Do not hold the radio too close when speaking.

Do not cut in on someone else's conversation.

Use a number system or code for identification.




In order to properly view all areas when patrolling, at least a minimal

amount of lighting is required. A security officer needs to know what

lights are to be turned on or off during off shifts. If lighting is extremely

poor, a handheld flashlight will be required. Some departments require

security officers to provide their own flashlights. Officers must know if

they are permitted to carry large flashlights which may "double" as nightsticks.


Keeping Track of Keys


Keys are usually carried by a security officer during patrols. Many departments have

restricted the number and type of keys a security officer possesses while on patrol.

A good rule of thumb is for the officer to carry with them only those keys required

to effectively conduct a patrol and respond to requests for doors to be unlocked.

Some persons may argue that a security officer should carry an entire set of keys

so that in any situation, at any time, access to a particular area could be gained.

However, a greater likelihood exists that keys will be lost or misplaced, thereby

compromising the entire key system as opposed to a devastating fire that went

uncontrolled because a key to unlock an area was not at immediate disposal.


It is important for security personnel to know the key system so that undue delay and embarrassment does not occur because the officer was struggling to find the right key to unlock an area. In addition, serious credibility problems may exist for the security department when a security officer misplaces the keys or accidentally takes the keys home. Many departments place a large key ring around all of the security keys to decrease the likelihood of loss or misplacement.

Problems While on Patrol


When patrolling, a security officer may come upon a variety of problems that are not encountered on a daily basis. These include traffic accidents and involvement with unruly persons. At these times, it is extremely important for the security officer to maintain composure and to handle and control the situation in a professional manner. At all times, a security officer must consider their safety and the safety of others before rushing into a situation.


At times, a security officer may actually come upon a crime in progress. Again, safety is of prime consideration. Information should be gathered as quickly as possible and this information must be forwarded to the appropriate emergency response units at once! Be certain to be in a position to communicate to arriving emergency units the situation at hand.


A security officer must remember that normally they will not come into contact with these special problems; However, on occasion, an emergency will occur which will require the officer to rely on their previous training in order to safely and professionally handle the incident.

Use of Senses


Security officers, when patrolling, will rely upon their natural senses to determine if conditions are normal or abnormal. Sometimes security professionals miss obvious signs of trouble simply because they are not mindful of their surroundings. It is essential that a security officer learn what is a normal situation from an abnormal situation. When a security officer believes that a condition is "abnormal," further investigation and follow-up is required.


A security officer will use sense of vision to recognize familiar objects in familiar places. Additionally, vision will inform the security officer if an obvious change in the surroundings has occurred since their last patrol.


The sense of hearing will enable a security officer to distinguish glass breakage and malfunctioning equipment from normal operations.


The sense of touch will allow the security officer to determine a possible fire in progress by touching a door prior to entering an area. Malfunctioning equipment may also be hot to touch. Finally, the sense of touch will allow a security officer to come to the aid of an injured person.


The sense of smell allows an officer to distinguish normal aroma from acidic, chemical, or burning fumes.


Using the Sixth Sense


Many times a person is said to have a "sixth sense." This is normally meant as a compliment to the person. What is often meant is that the person always seems to know what is going on around them. Certain teachers, particularly those in the elementary grades, are credited with having this "sixth sense". This "sixth sense," whether referring to a teacher, coach, parent or supervisor, is the ability of someone to Notes know from previous experience what is about to occur, or the ability to know who is being truthful, or what appears out of the ordinary or does not seem "just right." Another term for this "sixth sense" is intuition or insight. Usually, intuition or insight is developed from experience. Experience permits an individual to sense what is abnormal or unusual. As security officers, it is vital to learn as much about the facility as possible. Then, when confronted with a situation which does not appear normal, the security officer should investigate further in order to determine if the situation requires further attention or action.

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