3 Reasons Thugs Are Stupid (Don’t Stoop To Their Level)

This article probably isn’t going to go the way you expect it to.  In fact, this article isn’t aimed at bashing thugs at all– it just points out some of the things they share in common with each other.  This article is about you, your role in security work, and where you might fall short.

Our shortcomings get us in trouble.  If you’re a thug, your shortcomings get you arrested.  If you work security, your shortcomings can get you hurt in many more ways.  You will always have more to lose than a thug.  Therefore, it is in your best interest to always gain and maintain as much of an advantage over them as possible.

With that said, here’s three ways to avoid stooping to their level.


If you’re wearing anything like these on-duty, you need to stop. Seriously. Photo credit: Kevin Wu

You want to embody the mentality “tactical and practical” when you dress for duty.  So ask yourself honestly, do you?

Thugs like to wear over-sized clothing that makes it harder for them to run or fight.  They choose garish colors that make them easy to spot, and wear impractical jewelry and other accessories to complement their lifestyle.

Don’t stoop to their level.

You might think this doesn’t apply to you, but I’ve yet to meet anyone in the security profession that truly has everything squared away, myself included (although I certainly strive to improve on a regular basis).  Here’s a few of the more common items:

  • Impractical footwear:

    • If you’re wearing a duty uniform, you need to wear duty boots.  I recommend boots at least five inches high– your ankles will thank me.
    • Tip: I love 5.11 and Bates side-zip boots. Don’t get steel toes– they’re impractically heavy if you walk a lot. Opt for a composite safety toe, which is lighter and offers some protection.
  • Sloppy garments

    • One of my mentors taught me years ago: If it sticks out, bad guys will grab it.  Tuck your shirt in.  Pull your pants up.  Button and zip it all closed. Don’t give your opponent convenient grappling handles.  If something doesn’t fit in a pocket, get a pouch to hold it or forego it.
    • Tip: Make a mental checklist of your uniform items and check through them regularly. Make it part of your routine– for instance, every time you finish a round of patrols.
  • Loose duty gear

    • If it isn’t secured, it’ll go flying off when you need it most. Make sure the snaps on your pouches are secure. Replace worn-out velcro. Tighten the screws on friction-based or open-top holders. Inspect the loops on your pouches regularly for tears, fraying or signs of fatigue.
    • Tip: Get a friend to stand in front of you and suddenly yank at something on your uniform. Does it come off within three seconds?  If it does, reinforce it or remove it.  Pens are a doozy– if you have pens sticking out of the top of your uniform pocket, you’re giving a close-quarters opponent a convenient stabbing implement.

Here’s a two-step test to see if you’re tactical and practical with your set up/dress:

Step 1: In your full set up right now, would you be willing to run through ankle-deep mud and hop over a fence? If the answer is yes, move on.  Otherwise, replace/remove whatever it is you’re afraid to get damaged.

Step 2: If you were to do a back-roll and then a forward somersault, would anything fall off you or get damaged? If the answer is yes, remove or find a better way to secure those items.

Bonus: If you can’t do jumping jacks without gear loosening or flying off, you’re not doing it right.

Much of this is common sense– there are too many moving parts to cover in just one article.  But thugs often have very little common sense.  Take the easy advantage, unless you enjoy having damaged items and getting your personal gear ruined when you have to deal with an unexpected situation.


This is one of the most important tools you’ll rely on.  Photo credit: Marshall Vandruff

Thugs pride themselves on being stupid.  They could be anything else if they wanted to be, but instead, they choose to be stupid because it’s easier.  In fact, some actually take mind-altering substances that cause them to remain permanently stupid, as if being resistant to education and common sense weren’t enough to earn a blissful state of ignorance.

Don’t stoop to their level.

Performing your duties safely is all about establishing an advantage. This usually is a multitude of smaller advantages coming together to overwhelm a subject. For every bit of information you have, that is one piece of information your subject will have to match to stay ahead of you. Your drive for information determines your intelligence.

There is a marked difference between intelligence and education.

You can force yourself to sit through eight years of college and never actually learn anything.  True intelligence requires that you pursue new information on a regular basis and successfully retain it.

Knowledge will keep you safe.  So keep yourself up to date on as many diverse topics as you can– there is no such thing as useless information.  The more you know about random things others may be interested in, the better you will be able to do your job.  For instance:

  • You can control conversations easier and steer them towards neutral ground.

    • Example: You’re talking to a suicidal subject, trying to keep him calm as authorities respond.  He mentions he likes a certain hobby.  The more you know about X hobby, the more likely you will be able to keep him calm until help arrives.
    • Tip: Consider joining a local debate group or Toastmasters organization. Improve your communication skills so you can learn to relate to people better.
  • You can operate more effectively.

    • Example: You learn bits and pieces of a foreign language. While on duty, you overhear two subjects speaking in that language, discussing a fight about to take place at your site. You can now take the proper measures to mitigate the event before it happens.
    • Tip: Duolingo is a great, free way to learn a new language on-the-go.
  • Your investigative and response skills drastically improve.

    • Example: You work at a site in a different city from where you live and you’re not very familiar with the place. You learn as much as you can about local events and gathering times. During an interview of a possible theft suspect, he states that he couldn’t have been responsible because he was at a nearby church for mass at the time. You ask if he has substance abuse problems and he says no. You happen to know the church he’s referring to has no service that evening and hosts AA meetings instead. You now know the subject is lying to you.
    • Tip: If your site has any type of brochures, snap them up. You get great information from them. Free newspapers and periodicals distributed in the area? Grab them– and don’t just read the funnies section.

Personally, I find that the more I learn, the more personally satisfied I am with myself.  If you don’t ever use any of the information you learn, know that it was still time well-spent.  After all, you’re not a mystic– you can’t predict the future, so anything you learn today could be useful tomorrow.

Physical Fitness

Photo credit: Chuck Lawrence

Thugs are extremely stupid when it comes to physical fitness.  They want to live a lifestyle in which they take what they want by force or deception and rely on physical evasion to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Yet much of their lifestyle is extremely counterproductive to this goal.

I love the mainstream rap music industry because they encourage a lifestyle that makes criminals easier to catch.

They purposefully weaken their bodies with alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.  They further incapacitate their already-limited critical thinking skills through sleep deprivation and mindless media content.  They rarely work out and fill their diets with junk food.

Don’t stoop to their level.

If you’re like me and your schedule is packed, it can be difficult to establish a regiment that keeps you fit.  Instead, I personally rely on small steps that ultimately culminate in a better fitness condition.  Here’s a few of those steps:

  • Quit smoking:

    • I was a smoker for five years before I’d had enough of being constantly winded, the nicotine “sickness” you get when you smoke too much, the cravings, the high blood pressure.  I know how hard it is, but just remember that for every cigarette you don’t smoke, some thug will smoke it for you and give you a bigger advantage if you have to chase or tussle with him.
    • Tip: Quitting is tough– I know, I’ve been through it. But you’ll never succeed if you never try.  And you should try it all– gum, mints, patches, whatever you can to kick the habit.  It’ll be well worth it and could save your life (and others) in more ways than one.
  • Reduce your caloric intake:

    • Food is fuel. Food has calories. Your body stores calories and if you use them, great. Otherwise, the extra unspent calories eventually turn into fat.  Fat is hard to get rid of for most people.  If you have a great metabolism and you regularly eat your own body weight in food and never gain a pound, good for you– you’re creating a bad habit that will eventually make you pay when you’re older and your metabolism slows down.  You’ll end up being “that guy” that everyone looks at in a high school year book and goes “damn, he used to be so fit.”  Prevention is key.
    • Tip: Don’t eat out if you can help it– it’s bad for your wallet and your body.  If you already pack a lunch, you’re ahead of the curve, but consider exactly what you’re packing.  I prefer packing less than I think I’ll actually eat, and what I pack is usually healthy, and I’m no health nut. Yogurt, fruit, nuts, nutrition shakes are staples for me, and I didn’t always enjoy it.  But like all things, you’ll eventually learn to.
  • Find opportunities to burn calories:

    • You have to eat, because a hungry officer is an ineffective one.  But how do you get rid of the calories you take in?  The nature of security work often leaves us without time to actually hit the gym.  If you can fit in a schedule, that’s great, but if not, what do you do to avoid getting flabby?
    • Tip: Is your regular patrol route a quarter mile long? Double it, or do them twice as often. Take stairs whenever possible. Personally, I’m a big fan of Izumi Tabata‘s work– if you have even five or ten minutes to spare, and some simple home equipment, you can always squeeze in a work out.  Search for workouts based on Tabata’s research and pick one you like– I started with this one three years ago. Whatever you pick, make sure you stick to it.


I hope you’ve found this piece helpful to you in your goals for self-improvement.  There’s a lot we can learn about ourselves through security work– our commitment to physical fitness, societal impact, the pursuit of knowledge, all of these things are instrumental not only to the effective security personnel, they are also critical to being a productive human being in general.

There are countless more things I haven’t covered here that makes thugs stupid, but I hope this opens your eyes to your own shortcomings.  I hope you view this as a challenge, no matter what point of life you’re at.  Whether you’re 17 or 70 years old, you can always do better.  Life isn’t fair, so we build and gain advantages to help tip the scales in our favor.  What are you going to accomplish for yourself?

Until next time, stay safe out there.


Personal Update

When I first launched this site, it was out of sheer boredom.  I’m not one to sit around twiddling my thumbs– in fact, I despise security personnel that view their jobs as an opportunity to slack off, do nothing and get paid. I figured this site would be a productive way to spend my idle hours and give back to a community that I’ve learned so much from.

That being said, I spent the past six months (in-between working and keeping up with my personal affairs) doing everything I could to improve myself both personally and professionally. It paid off.

I’m happy to say that I’m no longer working private security, although I still keep myself immersed in the latest going-ons of the industry.  I now work for a small law enforcement agency, and ever since I landed the job, I’ve been keeping busy and loving every moment.

As I complete my probationary period and settle into my new gig, I will slowly begin to have more time freed up to write here.  My hope is that as time goes on, I will be able to start sharing my experiences on the law enforcement side and explore the similarities it shares with security work.

This site is a labor of love– I enjoy it and I hope you’ll keep checking back regularly for new pieces. I’m particularly excited about the upcoming articles I’m drafting right now.

Until then, stay safe out there.

Handcuffs: What and How to Carry For Security Work

Photo credit: Doug Kline
An example of how not to carry and use your handcuffs. Photo credit: Doug Kline, Anime Expo 2011

I promised a couple posts back that I would explore handcuffs more in-depth.  My previous article explored common mistakes most security personnel make when purchasing and using cuffs, however in this article I will focus more on what I carry, how I carry it, and why.

First, let’s cover some general information.

Selecting your cuffs:

There are three common types of handcuffs available on the market.  They are:

Photo credit: Campco Photos
Standard chain handcuffs. Photo credit: Campco Photos


The most common type of handcuff available, these are the ones you’ll see most often.  They are two metal bracelets joined by a short chain, no more than three or four inches apart.

  • Pros: Easier to apply to a resistant subject
  • Cons: Offers less control after application (subject has great flexibility of movement)

Photo credit: Campco Photos
Standard hinged handcuffs. Photo credit: Campco Photos


These are the second most popular handcuffs you’ll find.  Similar to chained handcuffs, the center portion of these restraints are hinged, and can only be manipulated along those hinges (i.e. folded in half).

  • Pros: Offers increased control of a subject after proper application
  • Cons: More difficult to apply to a resistant subject

Photo credit: Campco Photos
Disposable flexible plastic cuffs. Photo credit: Campco Photos


Available in a wide variety of designs, these single-use cuffs are made from cheap materials, most often plastic (although some models use rubber, string or even velcro).

  • Pros: Extremely portable, lightweight, easy to carry and conceal
  • Cons: Extremely difficult to apply to a resistant subject and offers minimal post-arrest control

Out of the three types of cuffs described, I highly recommend using just standard chain cuffs.  Hinged cuffs will offer you more control over a suspect, yes, but if he or she is resisting so enthusiastically that even after applying chain handcuffs you cannot keep them somewhat subdued, you’re probably doing something horribly wrong and should call the police back (you did contact the police right?) and ask them to please hurry.

Never make disposable restraints your primary carry (or only choice of restraints for that matter) unless you have absolutely no other choice.

Disposable restraints are best applied with the assistance of no less than three personnel present for every one subject that needs to be cuffed.  Because of the “slip-through” designs of disposable cuffs, they are extremely hard to apply on someone who is fighting back unless you have sufficient help to hold the arms in place for application.

This is why you will often see only crowd control personnel (and riot police) carrying flex cuffs– they are anticipating a large amount of arrests and have sufficient personnel on available to help apply the restraints.

As I mentioned in that previous article, the top three handcuff manufacturers (in my experience) are:

  • Smith and Wesson
  • ASP
  • Peerless

However, no matter what brand or style restraints you select, always make sure they:

  • Can be double-locked
  • Accept all standard handcuff keys
  • Have minimal exposed sharp edges

Optional, but nice:

Zak Tools
A handcuff key extender with a standard-issued key next to it for comparison. Photo credit: Zak Tools

Your brand new set of cuffs will undoubtedly come with one or two standard keys, which is nice.  However, if you wish to go the extra mile (and you always should), pick up an extended handcuff key.  These come in a variety of shapes and designs (often resembling a pen), but all ultimately function the same way by allowing you extra control and leverage when manipulating the keyholes/double-locks.  Some have rings integrated into their designs so they can be carried on a set of keys.

You’ll quickly see how much easier it is to double lock and/or adjust cuffs with an extended key after suffering through the motions using the dinky standard-issue ones.  The extended keys clip to your belt or pocket easily, and with a decent model selling for around $5-25, there is no excuse to not have one.

The dinky keys, however, make great back-ups for your key rings, or tucked away somewhere.  You should always have at least one extra key concealed on your person in case of emergencies.

Photo credit: Fritz Jörn
Bottom-loaded handcuff holder. Photo credit: Fritz Jörn

You’ll ideally want to get some sort of case or pouch to hold your handcuffs.  While a good set of cuffs will stand up to plenty of wear and tear, cases offer additional protection and speed their deployment.

There are many different styles and iterations of handcuff holders available on the market, but essentially they all function the same.  You may wish to purchase a case manufactured by a reputable company (or OEM if the cuffs are of a proprietary design) to ensure quality and proper fit.

What I carry:

Note: Please know that I have no affiliations with ASP and that I am not being paid to endorse them.  If I recommend them, it’s because I use and trust their equipment.

The best handcuffs (in my opinion) are manufactured by ASP (Armament, Systems and Procedures) Inc.  I currently use the chain models and I swear by these things.  If you compare these cuffs to just about every other pair of similar restraints on the market, you might just agree with me when I say these are the gold standard in the restraint category:

Photo credit: ASP Inc.
ASP Chain Handcuffs. Photo credit: ASP Inc.

ASP’s proprietary handcuff design is extremely well-thought out.  There are virtually no sharp edges (even the bow teeth are somehow rounded), and the double-lock function is easy to manipulate with an integrated visual reminder to double-lock your cuffs.  The keyholes and double lock can be accessed from either side of the cuffs as well.  And at under 10 ounces, these are some of the lightest, yet toughest cuffs I’ve ever used.  On a typical duty day, I carry two sets on my person.

How I carry:

One of the downsides to the ASP cuffs is that they are slightly larger than a standard sized set of cuffs.  This is due to the polymer overlay (the black portion of the cuffs pictured above), which is actually molded over the steel, and allows for a more secure grip and comfortable fit on the restrained subject.

Photo credit: ASP Inc.
The ASP Federal Handcuff Case (smooth leather finish). Photo credit: ASP Inc.

I carry my cuffs in the ASP Federal Case.  The one pictured above is leather, however the one I use is made of ballistic nylon, which is much more durable and lighter.  I prefer open-top handcuff holders due to their ease of deployment and rapid presentation.

A bonus to all ASP handcuff cases is the hidden pocket on the back, which allows you to conceal a spare key.  This is extremely handy to have.

Side-note: Before my current set up, I used standard chained cuffs manufactured by Smith and Wesson.  I carried them in an open-top Blackhawk! molded cordura handcuff case.  It was an excellent fit and if you can’t spring for the high-end toys (ASP can be pricey), I recommend this option as well.

Where I carry (and why):

With the belt buckle denoting the 12 o’clock position, I carry both pairs of cuffs on my duty belt in their holders at the 1 o’clock and 5 o’clock positions (I’m right-handed).  This is what works for me, you’ll want to experiment and see what works for you.

My current configuration denotes the set of cuffs positioned at 5 o’clock as my primary set, with the set at 1 o’clock acting as my back up set.  The reason I have them positioned where they are is so that in an altercation, the back up set of cuffs at 1 o’clock can be reached by either hand once I place the suspect in a Position Of Disadvantage (P.O.D).  If a suspect is compliant, but still needs to be cuffed, I will go for the 5 o’clock-positioned cuffs with my strong hand.

Avoid positioning your cuffs in a manner that prevents you from reaching a set of cuffs if you’re laying prone (flat on your stomach) or on your back.  Additionally, be mindful of the proximity of your cuffs to your spine.

It is generally bad practice to wear any hard equipment near the small of your back at the 6 o’clock position.  If you become involved in a physical altercation and you get knocked onto your back, at best it will hurt and maybe take a little bit of fight out of you, and at worst you may suffer a debilitating spinal injury if you impact your equipment just right.


Even the best set of cuffs can fail without proper maintenance. This is not something you want, especially during a critical incident. This is why it’s always a good idea to carry at least two pairs of restraints on your person if you can– if one fails or isn’t functioning properly, you have a back-up set ready.

Of course, it’s irrelevant how many pairs of cuffs you carry with you if they all function poorly.

The following is pertaining to standard handcuffs and does not apply to other types of restraints.

At least once per day (or more often depending on your usage), you should:

  • Cycle the cuffs by pushing the swinging bars through several times to ensure the teeth are ratcheting properly
  • Inspect the cuffs for signs of wear, fatigue or exposed sharp edges
  • Ensure all moving parts are free of dirt, grime and other foreign matter, including the keyholes
  • Test the lock and double-lock mechanisms with a key to ensure everything functions properly

At least once per month (or again, more often depending on your usage), you should:

  • Use an old (dry) toothbrush or similar tool to clean out accumulated dirt and other obstructions
  • Lubricate all moving parts, including the keyholes
  • Sanitize the entire set with rubbing alcohol or similar disinfectant.

That last point is an important one– sanitation. From a common-sense standpoint, it’s a good idea to keep anything you’re carrying on your person as clean as possible.

But what most folks don’t consider is the fact that failure to sanitize your handcuffs can expose you to liability. 

If you’ve been in the industry for any amount of time, especially in medium-to-high threat environments, you know that often times the people you arrest won’t be paradigms of hygiene.  Quite the opposite in fact– they may have open bleeding sores, scabies, bulbous lumps oozing pus, the list goes on.

If you slap your cuffs on these individuals, those cuffs instantly become biohazards and you’d better clean them before you use them again. If the next person you use those cuffs on catches a blood-borne pathogen or other nasty malady, you could be looking at a negligence lawsuit.

In fact, after each usage of your cuffs, you should always:

  • Sanitize them as described above (some agencies go so far as to make an autoclave ultrasonic machine available to their personnel for this very purpose)
  • Conduct all mechanism tests and check for malfunctions

As high-quality as a pair of handcuffs may be, they are still pieces of equipment, and all equipment is vulnerable to failure.

Some handcuffs, for instance, can have their double-locks engaged if dropped hard enough. I’ve personally experienced this.

If you are unfortunate enough to attempt to restrain someone with a pair of already-double-locked handcuffs, the force of the bow strike is more than enough to shatter their wrist or forearm bone. And once again, you are exposed to liability.

Further Information:

Thanks for sticking with me through this pretty-long article. I hope it educated you in a way I wish I’d have been in my earlier years.

Below you’ll find links to all the equipment I recommended in this article.  In the interest of transparency, I wish to inform you that the links below are Amazon referrals– if you make a purchase through them, a percentage of your sale will go to keeping this site running and fresh content coming.

It costs you nothing and all the prices listed (at the time of this writing) are well below MSRP.  Thank you for your support.

My current load-out:

For maintenance:

  • Hoppe’s 9 Gun Oil/Lubricant
    • I dislike lubricating my handcuffs with WD-40, mostly because I don’t like the black greasy feeling they leave behind.  It is, however, officially recommended by Peerless, so you may consider that as another option.

My previous load-out (same key listed above):

Items I’ve seen/heard other cops and security personnel swear by (I have no experience with these but include them for the sake of completion):

Stay safe out there.

The Protective Diamond: Prioritizing Your Responsibilities

Photo credit: Michael Dornbierer
During critical situations, you must be able to prioritize your efforts for maximum efficacy. Photo credit: Michael Dornbierer
A few years back, I had a conversation with one of the veteran police officers that patrolled near my site, whom I highly respected (and still do till this day).

We were discussing different situations concerning officer safety and he posed the following scenario, one he’d once been presented with in his earlier years (much of it’s paraphrased, but gets the point across):

“Due to a mandatory training event, every officer has been pulled off the streets, leaving just you and one other unit to patrol your sector for the night.

As your shift is about to end, you get two calls simultaneously from dispatch:

  • A priority multi-vehicle accident with reported injuries.

  • A priority call advising you that while on an assignment, the other officer in your sector has stopped responding to his radio.

You are advised of the accident location and the other officer’s last-known position. The calls are located on opposite ends of your sector.  Assume that there is no supervisor available to consult with.

Time is ticking.  Which call do you respond to first?”

I pondered this scenario for a moment, then said I’d take the accident. The cop gave me a sly grin and asked why.

I explained that my duty was to public safety, and that with injured civilians, the accident would take precedence.

The cop eyed me kindly as he promptly informed me I was wrong.  I’ll save his explanation for the end of this article, but give it some thought yourself to see if you can come up with the answer yourself.

As a police officer (or security officer in my case), your primary function of course should be to protect life before everything else.  However, it’s easy to forget that this also directly applies to yourself and your team members as well.

Below I’ve created a visual presentation of what I refer to as the Protective Diamond.  Its purpose is to help you understand who you’re responsible for keeping safe, and the priority they should take when you perform your duties.

The order you do it in does not change, and some of you will find this uncomfortable to digest.  It’s always in this sequence:


  • You: No matter how much training you have or how great your tools, if you are incapacitated you are useless to everyone.  If you are wearing a uniform, you might now become a target for additional harm.  If you work armed, your weapons now become a safety hazard, as those with bad intentions now have an opportunity to arm themselves with your gear.  By safeguarding yourself first, you are not being selfish.  You are maximizing your potential to safeguard others now and well into the future.

  • Your team: There is indeed strength in numbers, but even the mightiest of forces can be weakened, then defeated, if slowly whittled away a little at a time.  Everything in the previous bullet point applies here in terms of risk if a member of your team is incapacitated.  Additionally, failing to adequately extract a team member from danger can prove damaging for morale afterward, and even encourage would-be criminals to take advantage of a perceived opportunity to wreak havoc.

  • The public: This refers first and foremost to the client you’re serving, of course.  Police officers have a duty to protect everyone, however your job is much more concentrated– you’re only responsible for the people either on your property or directly charged with protecting.In the course of your duties, you’ll often have limitations on what permitted actions can be taken if you observe a danger unrelated to your client’s interests.  Be sure to pay attention to these, as it will reduce your liability in the long run.  Remember, the top priority here is you, and you’re useless if you’re incapacitated.  Being sued into bankruptcy and losing your job can certainly be considered incapacitating in a non-physical way.  Remember– safeguard yourself first.
    • NOTE: If you work as a body guard, close protection agent or in a similar executive protection role, your client comes before you and your team.  There’s no room for negotiating on this, so if you’re unwilling to put someone else’s life before your own for a paycheck, this field of work isn’t for you.  There’s a reason why EP personnel are the among the highest-paid security workers in the industry.

  • The suspect(s): Suspects aren’t suspects without reason or cause (and if they are, you need to reevaluate your judgement and decision-making skills).  They have, by definition, exhibited behavior that indicates potential criminal activity of some sort, and therefore may pose a risk to the safety of those around them.
    However, this doesn’t mean that they themselves don’t have rights.  After all, this is good ol’ America, where our rights are unalienable.  If you are an impartial, professional security worker, you will recognize that it is not up to you to play judge or jury, and you shouldn’t be biased in the execution of your duties.

    With that said, because of the aforementioned risk for danger, your first goal (after ensuring the safety of yourself, your team and the public, in that order) is to ensure that the suspect poses no threat before extending them the same protection you afford your public/clientele.

If you use the Protective Diamond’s hierarchy to help you prioritize, you will increase your odds of safety and survival every time you become involved in an incident.  As promised, the cop’s answer to the scenario presented above:

“You choose the call to back up your fellow officer every single time because you’d want the same if he were you and you were in trouble.  Communication is extremely important in this line of work and the fact that he stopped answering his radio could mean that he’s incapacitated.

If he’s incapacitated, his weapons are available to whomever wishes to take them.  His life could be in danger.  And if you respond and he’s okay, he knows you’ve got his back.

Plus, it’s not just us on the streets you know.  Vehicle accidents with injuries happen, and we’ve got paramedics, fire and rescue for that.  Always protect yourself and your team first.”

Stay safe out there.

Why Are You Fighting? (How Not to Get in Trouble)

Photo credit: Aislinn Ritchie
If you look like this during a physical altercation, you might consider another line of work. (Photo credit: Aislinn Ritchie via Flickr)

One of the distinct traits that separates incompetent security personnel from the professionals is their intent during a physical altercation.

Security personnel should never, under any circumstances, fight with the intention of deliberately harming a suspect.  In fact, while I’m at it, no security personnel should ever start or become embroiled in a physical altercation to:

  • Teach the suspect “a lesson”
  • Release anger
  • Prove their “worth” or mettle

In fact, the word “fight’ is used here a bit erroneously.  The suspect may be fighting you, but you should be focusing on the following, in order of importance:

  • Protecting yourself
  • Protecting those around you
  • Subduing the suspect

That’s it.  Any physical action you take with any other intention is most likely excessive, unnecessary, or downright criminal.  I have worked with many security personnel who had zero arrest training, but stuck with the job because they thought it gave them the right to hurt people they didn’t approve of with impunity.  If you ever find yourself working with someone like this, avoid them at all costs.  They will end up dragging you down with them eventually.  At best, you’ll get fired.  At worst, you may be criminally charged.

I’ve been in plenty of scuffles, enough to have learned the hard way– the longer a fight goes on, the more likely someone will get hurt.  That someone could be you.  You may not care about the suspect getting injured, but you should care what sort of options injuries will make available to him/her, because in today’s litigious society, even a legitimate arrest with no serious injuries can garner attention and result in a civil lawsuit.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

From ABC7’s Eileen Frere on 07-08-15:

In a statement, Knott’s Berry Farm officials say while a security officer was investigating [a] theft Reedburg “became verbally abusive and was asked to leave the park. [Reedburg] refused to leave and then physically assaulted several of our security staff members, which led to an arrest made by the Buena Park Police Department. We take matters of this nature very seriously.”

Reedburg insists he didn’t touch anyone and that staff members never asked him to leave the park. When Eyewitness News asked Reedburg if he had been arrested, he replied “no comment.”

In this instance , the personnel involved were smart enough to document everything, probably have video evidence of some sort and the support of an official police report detailing the ultimate arrest of the suspect, all of which will probably be enough to get any lawsuit he brings against the security team dismissed.  Here’s a raw video of the incident (via YouTube, taken from ABC7):

Note several things seen here:

  • The security team is working to control the limbs of the suspect in order to subdue him.  There are no strikes involved.
  • Although this incident can indeed be considered a fight, the security team is not using force in a non-subduing capacity.
  • Despite the fight starting over the suspect allegedly physically assaulting a security staff member, it is clear that there is no intent to deliberately injure the suspect or to extract “retribution.”
  • The security team shows great restraint in the use of force and utilizes only the sufficient amount of force needed to subdue and restrain the suspect.
  • One of the suspect’s wrists has been cuffed prematurely (prior to placing the suspect in a P.O.D.), a no-no I cover in this article.  With less personnel, the cuff may have become an improvised weapon in the hands of an already-combative subject.

As this site develops and I get more content up, there will be plenty of other articles on my opinions of use-of-force.  However, from my experience, there are only two situations in which any security agent should ever use force to take a suspect into custody:

  1. Someone has hurt or is hurting you.
  2. Someone has hurt or is hurting someone else.

During the incident, your focus should be to restrain, not injure. Situations that would not validate a use of force include:

  • Theft of property without violence
  • Damage to property
  • Verbal threats
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Any non-violent misdemeanor

Property can be replaced– let it go.  Money can be replaced– let it go.  People cannot get un-injured or un-hurt easily.  If you’re going to use force, be sure you can justify it.

Complacency is Dangerous: Here’s How

Earlier today, I came across a news article.

Carli Teproff from the Miami Herald reported on July 20th, 2015 (emphasis added):

Police: 80-year-old stabs 70-year-old over cellphone dispute

Using a machete he keeps in a shopping cart, an 80-year-old homeless man slashed a 70-year-old man several times in the head and arms outside a Hialeah grocery store over the weekend after he said the man took his cell phone, according to police.

Guillermo Bejerano remained in jail Monday facing an attempted second-degree murder charge and a charge of aggravated battery on a person over 65.

The incident happened at 1 p.m. Sunday at 3100 W 76th St. in Hialeah.

According to Bejerano’s police report, Emerito Herrera Lopez, 70, was in the Villaverde Shopping Center when Bejerano accused him of stealing his cell phone.

A witness told police that Lopez denied having the cell phone, but Bejerano said he was going to kill him.

“The defendant walked away holding a machete screaming, ‘Mate a uno’ (I killed one),” an officer wrote in the report.

Lopez had several gashes from the machete, including one to his left cheek that required 17 stitches and one to his upper right arm that caused the humerus bone to break.

Bejerano later told police that Lopez refused to give him his phone back. When Lopez allegedly refused “he got upset and reached inside his shopping cart where he keeps a machete,” an officer wrote.

Bejerano then went into the nearby Sedano’s Supermarket and told a security guard to call police because he had killed someone, according to the report.

For the majority of your career in the security fields, you will often feel like “nothing” ever happens.

The worst thing you can do is become complacent.  Complacency can be deadly.

In this instance, the news report glances briefly over one of the most dangerous moments in any critical incident– the immediate moments or events that follow.

Take a look at this man:

Guillermo Bejerano, Hialeah Police Department

That is an 80 year old homeless man, no different than any transients you may encounter on any given day.  He carries his possessions in a shopping cart with him, as many transient-type individuals do.  And he happened to have a machete in it, which he used to nearly hack another man to death that fateful Sunday afternoon.

When your post involves coming into contact with hundreds of different people every day, it can be easy to let your guard down after a while.  The man pictured above, Mr. Bejerano, was probably a familiar face in the neighborhood and may have even been familiar with the security personnel at the grocery store where he turned himself in.  There is no mention in the article whether or not Mr. Bejerano was mentally ill or any psychological issues.

EDPs, or Emotionally Disturbed Persons, aren’t always obvious.  They can seem harmless or just a bit amusing, but the importance of conducting yourself professionally and safely is tantamount and should always be your priority.

It is a positive outcome, in this case, that Mr. Bejerano chose only to ask the security agent posted at the store to call the police.  An EDP may have lashed out and attacked others with no warning, or even attacked the security guard mentioned in this report without reason.  Who knows how long Mr. Bejerano has been carrying that machete with him?  He was a risk to the public every day he was on the streets, and it took second-degree attempted murder to get him off the streets.

I apologize if this post seems disjointed, as I wrote it on the fly after seeing the article and wanted to get my thoughts down as soon as possible.  Stay safe and stay tuned for more later.

Security Guard or Security Officer?

One of the most important (and often overlooked) aspects of this field is our title.  It can (and does) greatly affect the public’s perception of personnel almost as much as uniforms and bearing does.

For the general public, there isn’t much difference between a security guard or an officer– they both (unfortunately) get lumped into the same category and are referred to as just guards.  At times, the term guard may even be used in a derogatory or insulting manner towards you.

You should never take offense at being referred to as a guard, nor should you ever correct any person that refers to you as such.  It’s bad practice and will only reinforce any negative stereotypes or perceptions the person may already have.  Instead, do everything in your power to organically correct that person’s view of the security industry.  It’s your responsibility to do so.

Generally speaking, the line between guard and officer is a distinct one.

Traditionally, a guard…

  • …is stationary, usually at either a sitting or standing post, with very little freedom of movement
  • …is assigned one or two simple tasks, usually of a mundane nature
  • …is afforded very little trust or autonomy, regardless of the level of oversight they may be subject to

On the other hand, however, an officer…

  • …may be assigned a fixed post, however is expected to maintain coverage of an entire area not possible while stationary
  • …may be assigned post orders, but is largely expected to understand and handle a wide variety of situations
  • …is afforded much more trust and autonomy, regardless of the level of oversight they are subjected to

Some companies may attempt to distance themselves from the word “guard” by assigning a whole host of titles such as security agent, security host, loss prevention agent, specialist, asset protector, etc.  They all boil down to the same points the officer has, as outlined above.

As a security professional, your job should always be to strive to fill out the role of an officer, not a guard (unless your post orders are specifically to do so).

In future posts, I will be outlining important traits every security professional should possess, as well as how to acquire and develop them.