Even though the terms security guard and security officer might describe the same role, they’re perceived differently.

In fact, when someone thinks about the word “guard,” they might think more about a guard dog versus a highly trained person with a law enforcement background.

For people to feel safer, they need to perceive security staff titles in a way that makes them feel more secure. Simply changing the title makes all the difference.

Differing Definitions

To better understand the way people perceive titles is to look at a few basic definitions.

According to Dictionary.com, the term “guard” refers keeping someone safe from harm or to watch over someone. The term “officer” refers to someone in a position of authority who is able to command others.

Finally, the term “professional” refers to someone who is an expert at their career. Of the three terms, which do you think would make people feel safer or deter more criminals?

Professional sounds more authoritative since people associate the term with experts. Officer instantly makes people think of law enforcement, which they rely on to protect them. Guard sounds far more basic, which is why some people might not feel as secure with the title.

General Stigma Of Disrespect

Of course, when you call someone a security guard, people instantly think of the phrase rent-a-cop. This inspires images of someone that’s far too young and inexperienced to handle a situation or too old to react quickly. Granted, some people are just disrespectful to security personnel no matter what the title.

While it’s sad that this simple title inspires these thoughts, calling someone a security guard may lead to more disrespect. It doesn’t matter how well-trained they are to handle all types of security situations.

Going Beyond Guard

Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether they’re called guards or something else. They should all have the same training to keep a business, community, hospital or other areas secure.

At BOS Security, we use both security guard and security officer. For some people, it does make a difference. When calling staff security officers, businesses feel like they’re getting more highly trained guards with more experienced backgrounds.

As the definition stated before, people think of law enforcement when they hear the word officer. This makes people believe the guard is more capable of handling security threats while keeping everyone else safe.

Overall, people believe an officer has far more authority than just a guard. It’s kind of like the difference between a teacher and a substitute teacher. Both may have the same educational background and both may teach the same amount of time, but substitute teachers are usually seen as less knowledgeable.

Looking For Professionals

When businesses search for security services, they want professionals. They want guards, but they want guards who are considered elite professionals in their field. Guard sounds about as experienced as a student who’s interning for the first time.

Professional sounds more like a doctor who has a few decades under their belt and could handle any case thrown at them. So, when businesses are searching for security personnel, they want professionals.

It’s amazing how changing staff titles makes such a difference. For instance, at BOS Security, all guards have years of experience and are all professionals. Yet, calling them guards may make some people believe they’re not true professionals or experts.

Going Beyond Titles

The truth is, staff titles do matter to an extent, but it’s all about perception. A subpar security guard service could call all of their staff officers or professionals. It sounds impressive, but they may only have a few years of experience between a dozen people.

When choosing a security service, you have to research the level of training the security staff receive. Look at the requirements to join the security service. Ask about all the years they’ve put in and what types of industries they’ve helped protect.

You’re free to change the staff titles to make employees and customers feel safer. Just remember that titles aren’t what make a security guard. It’s experience and training that makes all the difference.

Contacting BOS Security

Are you searching for professional security guards with years of experience and training? Contact us today at 404-793-6965 to find out more about what makes our guards different.

Interested in finding out more about your unique security risks? Try our free Security Needs Assessment to learn more.

Image: Luzelle Cockburn