The Pseudo Security Officer: Fake Security Officers Are On The Rise

Fake Security Officer
A fully badged security officer smoking, texting and drinking Starbucks while on duty

The pseudo security officer. You know one when you see one. It is time to give these fake security officers another name without the word “security” in it.

What Am I Talking About Exactly?

The mall cops. The elderly gentleman with a flashlight. The guy sitting on his phone at a front desk. The ladies in security uniforms hanging out in their vehicles. These are all pseudo security officers.

However, this is not to discredit these individuals for the work they are doing. They have a job to do and they do exactly what is expected of them. What the majority of these pseudo security officers are doing is observing and reporting. What this means is if they see something they will say something by calling local police. Because of this, these pseudo security officers are essentially human security cameras with phones.

But, what they are not doing is providing security.

The pseudo security officer has a role to play. Since these officers have a role to play we need to ensure we are labelling them and their role appropriately.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

In 2009, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” featuring Kevin James was released. This release coincided with other releases such as “Observe and Report“, “Night at the Museum” and even a reality T.V. show called “Small Town Security“. What do all of these shows and movies have in common? The protagonist is almost always portrayed as the failed or wannabe cop, someone who is out of shape and barely passed high school.

In Defense of Security

Many security professionals want to refute this image, of course. Rick McCann is one of those individuals. McCann wrote an article titled “Take a Stand Against Negative Media“. His article specifically calls out the negative portrayals of security in films and on T.V.

“Movies such as Armed and Dangerous and Paul Blart Mall Cop and numerous others show security officers as cop wannabes and bungling uneducated people who haphazardly watch over old dirty factories or warehouses, sleeping on duty while burglars carry the business away and old men in crusty uniforms with flashlights who can barely walk.”

Rick McCann, Founder and CEO at Private Officer International

When Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 came out in 2015 Bud Bradley from AlliedUniversal challenged Kevin James.

“I challenge Kevin James to work alongside genuine retail security officers for just one day..”

Bud Bradley, Senior Vice President of National Accounts at AlliedUniversal

So, What’s the Truth?

Just because you are offended doesn’t mean you’re right.

The fact of the matter is this; most people with the word security, like bouncers, in their title are most likely not real security, but a pseudo security officer. Again, these individuals have a role to play and they do exactly what is expected of them. But, when it comes to actually security services they are not security.

What is “Real” Security Then?

Real security starts from the top down. It starts with the security company owners, licensees-in-charge and managers. It starts with experienced individuals who build a strong team of like-minded individuals around themselves.

These teams have high standards and expect the most out of each other. Real security starts with a defined mission and image of who your security team is, what your area of expertise is and your goals as a business.

If your area of expertise is to provide liaison or concierge-type of services with a badge on, then great. Be the best badged concierge-type of service you can be. But, you are a pseudo security officer.

If your area of expertise is to provide the highest level of protection with or without a badge on, then great. You are security. You provide Executive Protection, Church Protection, Healthcare, Workplace and Event Security. If your life is more likely to be put on the line than not, then you are security.

Tough Pill to Swallow

Just because you wear a badge or call yourself security does not mean you are security. So, what do we call these people?

For one, take the badge off and get them out of the security uniforms. Then, give them a title without the word security in it, such as liaison or manager because that’s really what they are. Finally, give them proper training to do their job well.

Final Thoughts

Security is a crucial element when it comes to protecting our society. We work in tandem with law enforcement and respond to dangerous situations on a daily basis. But, when we give people the title of security when they are not security does a disservice to the security industry as a whole.

It’s time to upgrade and raise the standards of the security industry. Let’s start by giving people the proper titles and quit calling pseudo security, security.


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