Push aside old notions of ineffective security officers. The security officer of the future has arrived. Today’s security officer may be navigating tours on a Segway to patrol airports, transit stations, manufacturing facilities, apartment or condominium complexes, shopping malls and campuses. With the advent of the broadband revolution, you may find today’s highly skilled and trained security officer piloting, what looks like, the Starship Enterprise of technology, with a host of IP-connected digital applications that include closed circuit television (CCTV), life and fire safety systems, and remote online access control systems.
Updates to post assignments can be communicated electronically and training conducted online. Today’s officer is searching for and locating potential threats to his customer’s assets using technologically-advanced surveillance systems that feature high tech full-motion, real-time millimeter wave imaging capabilities. That technology allows officers to identify potential threats quickly and discretely, from a distance, and without conducting a physical pat down or alerting others to the situation and causing panic and general disruption.
Security officers of the “future” working today at Chicago’s Sears Tower, and many other secured facilities and buildings around the country, operate a computerized system from a company called Infrasafe, which comprehensively tracks and controls visitors to the building's tenants. When guests arrive, building officers verify the identity of the visitor through the system. Once verified, a real-time notification of the visitor's arrival is sent to the host and the guest badge is automatically printed, enabling guest access to the building.
Additionally, post 9/11--officers use advanced integrated security solutions based on trace detection equipment and x-ray screening systems. These systems, managed by trained officers, help safeguard those on the front line and the public at large; protecting buildings and transportation systems, and screening everything from a ticket to a truck.
As the role of the security officer shifts, so has the size of the industry. The Freedonia Group, an international business research company, reports that the number of security officers employed is at historically high levels. In fact, the number of security officers working for private security firms is expected to increase 3.6 percent per year to 780,000 in 2010 from 537,000 in 2000.