Are Security's Education Efforts Misdirected? as a Profession, the Security Industry Must Learn to Attract and Retain Front-Line Officers and Supervisors. (View Point)

Article excerpt

As security practitioners know, the security profession is often portrayed negatively. And while the terrorist attacks of last year may have raised security's importance, the constant highlighting of security failures at airports caused by poorly trained airport screeners has only served to reinforce this negative perception of security personnel.

Security's poor public image makes recruitment of good entry-level officers difficult. The security industry itself further exacerbates the recruitment problem by focusing its security undergraduate education efforts exclusively toward management positions. And the emphasis in terms of study is on business management topics, rather than on front-line skill sets. Yet undergraduate law enforcement programs, by contrast, teach critical day-to-day processes used by line officers in the classroom.

Undergraduate students, in particular, are mainly exposed to management techniques that are academic and secondary. This curriculum does a disservice to students and to employers because it creates a false expectation for students that they will go directly into security management positions upon graduation. When an undergraduate student who is convinced that he or she is ready for a management position ends up in an entry-level position, the employee is unprepared and becomes frustrated and disillusioned.

When a student fails to learn practical security operations from the perspective of an officer or supervisor in school, this person cannot be expected to manage a security operation. In addition to the actual operational perspective, how can a security manager be expected to write post orders or security policies and procedures if the security manager has no practical knowledge of security operations?

The result is often that these recruits end up aborting the security profession before they give it a chance. Some who have this experience while they are pursuing their studies switch majors in midstream, going over to criminal justice, for example. …