Panic and Lose – A week in the life of a Security Guard

A good week is a week where nothing happens John (not his real name) tells me. John works just under 40 hours per week at the Sydney security guard company Dalton Security. He has worked in the industry for 30 years and yet he is still surprised by some of the things he sees now. Apart from that, he still reckons he hasn’t seen it all yet – he has new experiences every year. He has been on patrol and come across a young man beating up a tree in kickboxing fashion as if it were a punching bag. His legs and fists were covered in blood. He figured it must be drug related. He kept his distance, called the police and made sure that no innocent pedestrians wandered into the situation by accident. The rest of the story is all too familiar. The police turned up and arrested him, but not before had had to be tased into submission first. No doubt he was going to be very sore the next morning.

John also tells the story of when he was doing a job for an infrastructure company and came across a trespasser on company grounds lying face down and licking the concrete. There was a big wet patch on the concrete that must have been licked fairly thoroughly before John arrived (it was very clean). For John, this was a first. He took his time and gently tried to make contact with the man. The man didn’t respond, he just continued to lick the concrete. As john got closer, suddenly the man was up on his feet and went for John’s gun (which he didn’t get).  Two other officers were on the scene shortly after and the man was restrained and arrested. In this case the trespasser in question was suffering from severe mental health issues. John has been in other much more dangerous situations, but this is the one he relives every day as it is the only time anyone has ever gone for his gun. He tries not to think about what might have happened had he succeeded.

He talks fondly about the positive aspects of the job. He says now he is getting older, it has become a lot more important that he sees a positive outcome in his day – it doesn’t matter how big or small, he likes to think he is making a difference. He talks fondly about decisions that he has made that have most likely saved lives. He has rescued children from dangerous situations and been attacked himself when trying to help injured people as they lay on the street.

Luckily, he has been well-trained and keeps his training current. He has learned over the years to spot a lot of different warning signals and says the most dangerous thing a security guard can do is to panic. Once you panic, you lose. Even if the situation or incident ends well you have still lost. When you panic you often don’t respond how you should, and when correct response is part of the job, you are essentially being negligent in your role. You always have to keep your head. Your life and the lives of those around you depend on it.

He enjoys meeting new people and attributes a lot of his success on the job to his people skills. It isn’t hard to see why. He is instantly likeable and is a very easy person to talk to. He reckons he has diffused hundreds of potentially dangerous conflicts and has even had people he has had to restrain search him later to thank him personally. He says that is the kind of stuff that really keeps him going and he is a true believer in always treating people with respect.

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