Off-duty/Retired Officers vs Unarmed Guards – Which is right for your needs?

What are the differences between an off-duty/retired officer who is armed and an unarmed guard? What are the benefits of each? Most importantly, which do you need to properly protect you, your business, your event, and your employees? There is no straight-forward answer. There is a time and place in which one can be more appropriate than the other. Although many studies have shown just the presence of a uniformed security professional can deter crime.

Both unarmed guards and off-duty officers provide a layer of security to your business and the basic requirements to join each profession are similar in ways. In California both require a background check and have a minimum age requirement of 18-years-old, although many police departments require officers to be at least 21.

The recruiting process for police officers is much more rigorous and involves several forms of testing including physical fitness and psychological evaluations in comparison to security officers. It isn’t just the recruiting that separates unarmed guards and off-duty officers, but also the training each professional must complete.

This starts on the surface with the amount of training and the subjects. Unarmed guards must complete 40-hours of required training in California. Meanwhile, most police departments and sheriff’s offices in the state require each officer to complete the POST (Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training) Academy. This course curriculum is a minimum of 664 hours in a variety of law enforcement topics including use of force, radio codes, patrol procedures, administration of justice, law, and vehicle codes.

Another difference between unarmed guards and off-duty officers is in their titles. Unarmed guards are unarmed and unless they do it on their personal time to not have firearm training, nor the ability to legally carry a firearm on the job. Off-duty officers, as part of their police training, have extensive weapons training and are permitted to carry a firearm both on and off the job.

There is also a difference in experience and capabilities. Off-duty officers and unarmed guards both protect people, but they do it in different ways. Police officers not only do training, but also have tactical experience in active shooter situations, pursuits, counter-terrorism, domestic disputes, and hostage negotiations. They are are also fundamentally trained to respond to crime, as well to protect people and property. Unarmed security guards are primarily tasked with preventing crime through crime deterrence and both recognizing/reporting suspicious behavior and vehicles.

While there are many differences between off-duty officers and unarmed guards, they both have their function and their place. AEGIS Security & Investigations works with your business through their security consulting, risk and vulnerability assessments, and real-time threat management to evaluate your needs and determine which security professional is best prepared to properly protect and secure your workplace or event.

The difference between what type of security professional you need rests on many factors. Is your business or event a hardened or a soft target? Are high-level executives, politicians, or celebrities who need additional personal security present? What kind of threats have they historically or are currently experiencing? What are they trying to identify/prevent through the use of security? Variables like these determine which service is best for you.

AEGIS not only helps you decide what type of security professional is best suited to your needs, but they also contract those services to you. An off duty/retired police officer or uniformed unarmed security officer’s presence always provides more security, but having the right  selection of security staff can be the difference between the prevention and responsive security I the face of an active threat.