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Security Officer Injuries and Deaths Study

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A two year study of security officer deaths and injuries by the National Association of Private Officers was released on Tuesday, December 16 2008. In the study, the association monitored all on-the-job injuries and deaths of employees who fell within the classification of security officer for twenty four months. The N.A.P.O. a professional organization of private security and law enforcement personnel based in Atlanta Georgia looked at and collected statistical data on loss prevention agents, guards, public safety officers, bouncers, uniform security officers, patrol officers, private police officers, and others who performed security related duties but whose jobs classified them as positions other than security officers. During the study, 169 security officers were confirmed to have died in the line of duty and the N.A.P.O. estimates that actual death totals were in the 220 range or higher.

Discrepancies and poor data collection and classification by state and federal agencies continue to keep the true and accurate death totals in the dark said Executive Director Rick McCann. McCann said that throughout the study, the N.A.P.O. staff diligently worked to research many databases and resources to verify as much of the collected data as possible as they researched the various information for this study.

During the same time, the National Association of Private Officers, in conjunction with Talley Research Consultants, also researched and collected data on injuries sustained by private security officers. During the two year study, more than 41,000 injuries were sustained by security employees. Although the majority was minor according to the study, approximately 12% were serious in nature and characterized as life threatening including gunshot and stab wounds, trauma from assaults or on the job traffic accidents, industrial injuries, and miscellaneous injuries.

Mr. McCann stated that the study also showed that of all of the job categories for security personnel, the position of a retail security agent or loss prevention officer was the one where most personnel in these positions experienced the majority of bodily harm from assaults and constant threat of physical attacks and frequent confrontations occurring.

According to data recently released by the National Retailers Association, retail security officers collectively apprehended more than 700,000 shoplifters in 2007 and many are repeat offenders, professionals and convicted criminals who do not want to chance being sent to prison so they’d rather fight than to be caught McCann said. “Because of this and the economic crises and the frequent contact with someone who has committed a crime, loss prevention personnel will continue to see these types of increases in assaults and even serious injury to themselves.”

The two deadliest security positions based on recorded on the job deaths during the two year study was nightclub or bar security with 15 deaths and that of an armored car security officer which saw 7 deaths during this time. Retail security recorded 4 loss prevention officers killed while apprehending shoplifters.

While many professions face certain dangers and life threatening on the job situations, the private security industry’s risks are definitely growing in defined areas of the security industry almost unnoticed to many who study employee injuries or deaths according to the study.

Private security personnel are increasingly facing aggressive and violent attacks by both the armed and unarmed criminals as security officer duties are frequently crossing the lines between the standard observe and report and the more frequent proactiveness and responsiveness of security forces Mr. McCann said.

More clients of private security agencies and proprietary security departments are requiring that security officers do more than just report incidents. Many require that their officers respond to the situation whatever it might be and take the necessary steps to see the incident through including the apprehension or arrest of criminal law or civil violators.

Mr. McCann went on to say that other studies done by the N.A.P.O. showed that over the past ten years, private security officers have been responsible for the apprehension or arrests of hundreds of thousands and even millions of offenders responsible for both minor and serious criminal acts.

With these new boundaries, duties, obligations and responsibilities, private officers are facing far more danger than in times past and this danger will continue to escalate as the job descriptions of private security personnel continue to expand and diversify. With those new duties and the increased numbers of security personnel being hired not only nationally but world wide, injuries and deaths of these employees will increase and it doesn’t look like it will level off anytime soon.

The best defense for the security industry is a good offense McCann said. “Security needs to do a better job at training and preparing its employees regardless of the high turnover rates that this business experiences, costs involved or any other factor. We owe that employee this much.

How can we feel good about putting a 70 year old security person on duty in an area or situation that could be potentially dangerous knowing that he or she is almost defenseless? Or assign a 20 year old to a high crime apartment complex, patrol beat, shopping mall or other high risk area without proper equipment, communications, and most of all complete training.”

The study clearly pointed out that the risks of injuries and deaths in the security industry are rising and many deaths could be attributed to much of what the association director spoke of so passionately.

Security officer injuries and deaths study was Released Dec 18 2008 By: Toni Anthony at www.privateofficer.com



© 2006 - 2009 Raymond E. Foster, Hi Tech Criminal Justice