Access Control - Role of a Security Guard

Access Control is a critical aspect of the protection system. Different properties have different methods of screening people who enter the building. Security Guards must understand the sensitivity of access control. Without having the ability to determine who is allowed to enter the property, security Guards face a very delicate situation which can have a significant effect on the protection of the people from harm and property from loss. In New York City, properties have been equipped with turnstiles and other methods of controlling access. Turnstiles activate when people who are authorized to be in the property use a card access system to release the turnstiles and allow access. Although several methods to access the property via the turnstiles exist, most require that individuals who have a building identification card to display the cards to a proximity reader. In other instances cards must be swiped at the turnstile to activate them to release.

The access control system must be able to identify those people who are authorized entry to the property. Some access cards are programmed to allow people access to other parts of the facility. Time restraints are also programmed into the system to allow individuals access to certain areas during pre-specified times only. Attempts to use the cards to enter outside of the specified time range will result in a rejection. If access is rejected the door will not open. Generally a person is assigned the task of maintaining the access control system and programming the access cards for individuals.

Locks play a vital role in access control. Most base building rooms, such as the elevator machine rooms and mechanical equipment rooms are under lock and key. The stairwell exits leading to the street level are locked and other sensitive areas of the facility. Only authorized personnel such as security managers and engineers usually have access to these base building rooms.

The safety of tenants is important and a critical aspect of the responsibilities of the security Guard. When patrolling, security Guards must be able to identify risks. A risk is a situation that can lead to injury or death. Security Guards must be able to identify risks and report those risks so that appropriate actions are executed to lessen or remove the risk. The location of safety equipment is critical in an emergency incident. Properties have stations designed to be used by people, particular base building employees, to wash the eyes and decontaminate if they come in contact with a known or unknown substance that might lead to serious illness. Knowing the location of these washing stations allows the security staff to care for an injured person expeditiously until emergency responders arrive at the property. In all instances involving serious physical injury or illness, 911 must be activated by the security Guard who witnesses an incident or who is informed of an incident in the property. Because every property has a different reporting structure, security Guards must become familiar and know who to contact in the event of an emergency in the building, whether an injury to a person or a fire alarm activation.

Security controls vary amongst different type of properties. Some properties in New York City allow people uninterrupted access at the lobby level while others require the display of a photo identification before an individual is allowed to pass into the elevator lobbies. Many community friendly venues have little access control while financial corporations (“Big Banks”) have very strict access control systems. Sensitive property, whether physical or intellectual, must be secured in special areas to afford them the greatest protection. Access to these areas is limited. Security Guards must know where sensitive rooms are located in order to effectively resolve an incident involving such sensitive areas.

When an incident happens, a report must be completed. Properties have different methods of dealing with investigations of incidents or people. Usually a person or team of people is assigned to supervise investigations of people who might be considered suspicious in their behavior or activities.

Hence the security Guard needs to understand what types of situation need to be reported. The types of incidents that must be investigated may vary, however security Guards should be made aware of the types of incidents that the company with whom they are employed deems a need for an investigation. Employee theft, for example, is an incident where an investigation is likely to be implemented to determine who is committing the thefts.

After every incident and investigation, a formal report must be generated to maintain a record of the sequence of events and the people who were investigated including any interrogations that take place involving those employees who are considered suspects and accomplices.

It’s critical for Security Guards to not disturb any crime scenes at their facility. In fact, security Guards are expected to secure the crime scene area so that the area does not become contaminated or evidence is removed. Physical evidence found at the time if the incident/crime must not be allowed to disappear. By maintaining a secure (closed off) crime scene area and ensuring that no evidence is tampered with or removed from the premises, security Guards play a critical role in outcome of the case.