What is Security?
What do you think of when you hear the word security? Do you immediately get happy thoughts, or do you think of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, or the countless other Black lives that have been taken by law enforcement and made headlines? Our nation is locked in a period of soul-searching about how to deal with police and security professionals.
Security means being free from danger, risk, etc.; having a feeling of safety. Too many Americans don’t feel any of that when they come in contact with members of law enforcement. How can we change that?
Law enforcement and private security professionals can start the healing with the basics: respect, and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Respect comes first. Simply saying things like “Yes sir” and “No ma’am” goes a very long way, even if you don’t think the person you’re speaking with deserves it. You may not always agree with this, but a professional, respectful, humble approach can often slow things down enough to give everyone involved a little more time to think about what they’re doing.
I understand that there are times when you have to do what you have to do. Working beside law enforcement for nearly 30 years, I’ve seen a lot of law enforcement-civilian interactions and ways they can end. In the best situations the result is respect given is respect received. Like everyone, law enforcement and security professionals don’t always leave their problems at home. In Rent-A-Cop Reboot we talk about a variety of ways you can take care of yourself so you can be in physical, mental, and emotional shape to better serve and protect the public.
Better policies could also help law enforcement professionals and the public. It may be time for national law enforcement SOPs. Having national standards that get all law enforcement officers on the same page with regard to things like de-escalation training, for example, can help in many situations that now end with police shootings. And they don’t just shoot Black people. The system is simply broken, and too many cases keep eating away at the public trust. How many more shootings must we endure before police policies change?
In the meantime, how can everyone feel more secure when approached by a law enforcement or security professional? You can also start with respect. The best law enforcement and security professionals approach you thinking, “Help me help you.” Do your best to calmly interact with the officer.
Up next, your vehicle. Operate it safely, and have a video security system installed. This will allow you to be hands-free when dealing with an officer, and it can record what happens. If you are concerned about being pulled out of your vehicle, purchase a body camera to be place on your person. If you want something a little less noticeable, get a button camera to be placed on your button down shirt.
Always have identification on you. When you are operating a vehicle, have your license, registration, and insurance information readily available. Only reach for your credentials when the officer tells you to. Tell the officers where you placed your items before reaching for anything. Remember, having a video recording security system in your vehicle gives you evidence of you obeying the commands of the officer. Video cameras installed in vehicles can typically capture front, rear, and interior activity. People tend to behave differently when they know they are being recorded. Unfortunately, we all know that is not always the case.