.Security 101: The Essentials.

I have been in law enforcement for many years now and really like my job. Like everywhere, there are tougher days and smoother days, meaner bosses and nicer ones. Are you afraid of Security? Do Security Officers make you uncomfortable? I understand, making your way through a security check can be stressful, especially if you are in a rush. I will share with you everything you need to know about Security and to go through any security check as smoothly as possible.

Follow these easy steps and you won’t have any more stressful security experiences. I promise.

  • Be prepared. While you may wait in line, start removing your belt, watch, and maybe separate your laptop from your bag.
  • Once you approach any Security screening area you will put all of your bags, metallic objects (and sometimes shoes) in a tray/bin/box on the conveyor belt to be scanned. If you have a Ziploc bag of liquids in your bag, remove it to be screened on its own. If you have any objects that would show up on the x-ray as a box, such as a laptop, tablet or video game system, remove it and send it through separately.
  • Take off any jackets, hats, scarves, and sunglasses.
  • Remove all metal objects, including keys, loose change, jewellery, etc., from your pockets. If you get confused, just ask a security officer politely who should be able to help you.
  • Wait for an officer who will tell you when to walk through the metal detector to the other side of the conveyor belt. This area is where you will pick up your items.
  • To make things easier, wear clothing and shoes without too many metallic embellishments.
  • X-ray will not harm your camera!
  • Don’t put your pet through the X-ray machine. At the UN, pets are not allowed to bring in (except service dogs), however, it may be possible at other locations. Ask the Security Officer.
  • If you forget to empty your pockets, you will have to step back, empty them, place the items on the conveyor belt and then go through the metal detector again. You may also have to be screened by a hand-held detector or pat-down. Emptying your pockets completely before will speed up the screening process.
  • Don’t rush, run, be too hectic, and push others aside to be ahead of the line.
  • Don’t talk on your phone or shout. Be calm.
  • Regardless of the hectic atmosphere at the security screening, take your time and ask questions if you are not sure. If you rush through the screening process, you may forget to take one of your personal items with you.

Not every officer will be as nice as I am. I mean, I am the nicest one you may ever meet in your entire life. But, if you are friendly and don’t show asshole behaviour, any Security officer should be nice to you, too.

Less Glorious Security Officers you may encounter:

  • Officer Know-it-all. Officers who think they’ve “been there and done that” and will bore you with stories of past incidents in the security and law enforcement fields and quotes a plethora of Security Operation Procedures and paragraphs until your head spins. They will also say things like, “we have always done is this way” (even though it does not work well and they simply do not want to change things) or “this makes so much sense” (even though it does not and would be easier in a different way)
  • Officer Ass Kisser. Officers who suck up to management or Supervisors to get a better post, overtime or even their job.
  • Officer Slacker. Officers who seem to magically disappear when it’s busy, you need backup or the building is burning to the ground. This person has a unique ability to find a hiding spot, but can instantly appear if a supervisor is doing his rounds.
  • Officer Rat or backstabber. Although often guilty themselves this officer piece of shit will throw their whole shift under the bus. They’ll go into the supervisor’s office or send an email implicating others in a recent incident involving other officers, setting off harassment cases out of nowhere mainly to get colleagues in trouble.
  • Officer Whiner. This officer can moan and groan an entire shift about working conditions, pay, the weather, the boss, other officers etc. They are so good at it that they’ll get into your head until you actually buy into their bullshit. Often they seek out the ones who are easily manipulated to complain to. This way they can get them to complain openly to management, thereby marking them as a troublemaker. Although in union meetings or contract negotiations, whiners sit quietly and never respond.
  • Officer Break abusers. Sometimes your job requires you to give other officers a coffee, washroom or lunch break. A little leeway is a given with a few minutes here or there. But there are those who out of laziness, idleness or even dislike will return from a break ten minutes or later. They are aware that in some posts you can’t just walk away. Also that every break you have to give after them will be late but they don’t really care. If it isn’t bad enough being alert for eight or twelve hours a day, at the end of your shift, your relief is late. This is usually done by an officer who hasn’t caught on to the concept of time. Or an officer who hates their job, or life or simply does not give a fuck.

The Bottom Line The Bottom Line or What it all boils down to:

How to be a good security officer and not an asshole: It’s taken some trial and error, but here are the six ways that work for me. Set expectations (but not too many), set consequences, and then be fair. Don’t demand respect. Be direct but friendly. Have a heart – but don’t be Mother Teresa. Don’t worry about being liked. Pick your battles wisely.

Security processes, while perceived by many as annoying and time-consuming, do serve a purpose. Many illegal items are confiscated on a daily basis, and people and property are protected. Security officers are human beings, treat us with respect. Or as you would like to be treated. Remember that we have to deal with angry employees and visitors on a daily basis. We usually take a lot of risks just due to our position. Simply showing us respect and following the procedures will make our day much easier. Being friendly and getting to know us often is also nice to do if it is sincere. Remember, we also have families, interests, etc. outside of work. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in showing appreciation.

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