By Fernando Pires – VP, Sales and Marketing – Morse Watchmans
Security guard services are integral to the security and protection of a wide range of locations, including airports, residential housing communities, school and business campuses, hospitals, shopping mall grounds and office buildings, to name just a few. While on patrol, security officers are constantly observing the environment for anything unusual that might indicate a problem, whether it’s a broken window or suspicious activity in the parking lot. It is generally agreed that having security on site can help improve the odds that the unusual will be noticed before an incident occurs.
But observing is only half of the equation. Reporting the details of the patrol, whether or not any incidents or abnormalities were observed, is the other critical half. To accomplish this important activity, many security managers rely on an automated and interactive guard tour system to assist the security officers in the completion of this critical function. The rugged, hand-held data recorders allow security personnel to input incident codes while on tour, using a built-in keypad and display. User programmable incident codes help to eliminate paperwork, and these codes can be downloaded to a computer at the end of each guard tour.
Patrol tours usually adhere to written “post orders” that allow for consistency in patrol and reporting. They can often include specific instructions such as shaking a gate to ensure it is locked, walking behind the building, fire watch checks and so on. The post order is a check list for the security officer and when it’s complemented by a hand-held data recorder, activity/incident reports can be completed in a faster and more comprehensive fashion. For example, a coffee pot left turned on after hours presents a potential fire hazard. The hand-held data recorder makes it easy for the security officer to enter the information directly to the recorder while on site rather than filling out paper work at the end of the tour. Other powerful features and benefits of data recorders may include random tour commands which initiate a completely different tour every time or auto pilot capability that displays the next station on the LCD screen to help keep guards alert, and reduces the possibility of incomplete or forgotten stations. ‘
Adhering to mandated procedures such as the daily checks of multiple buildings can become routine with potential for carelessness unless there is a method in place to ensure the post orders are being completed. With the automated guard tour system, rounds can be verified with ease and reliability. For instance, while on their rounds, security officers check into key stations that are strategically located throughout the facility using the hand-held data recorders. The date, time and location of the check-in is recorded on the hand-held device and if a station check-in is missed, that information will be flagged in the report. In addition to acting as an automated supervisor, the guard tour system allows management to better monitor the security officer’s performance and to follow up with additional training when required.
To take full advantage of the guard tour system, data sorting software can convert the tour information, including incident codes and key station check-ins, into printable reports which can be customized by time, day, week and month for added convenience. The reports provide a more comprehensive and timely overview of the facility’s security situation so that infractions can be more readily identified and the necessary action taken to resolve the situation. In addition to communicating what was observed, detailed activity and incident reports also provide important documentation in case of a lawsuit alleging inadequate security or similar failure to protect or alert.
By enhancing their capability to offer protective services with state of the art guard tour systems, security guards are better equipped to provide an effective and useful component of a facility’s physical security program.