Choosing the Right On-Site or Patrol Provider

Choosing the right security provider when it comes to on-site officers or patrol services can be an incredibly important decision for your business, impacting not only the overall image of your property but also the peace of mind for your patrons and employees. But that doesn’t mean the decision comes easy.

For the second part of our three part series, we gathered a list of questions to help you find a good fit when searching for a guard and patrol company:

1. What kind of reports will I receive?

You want to know what’s going on around your property. But do you want to receive handwritten reports once a month? Once a week? Some security companies write their reports by hand, leaving the frequency (and legibility) up to chance. Only a few companies will submit daily emailed reports with a customizable amount of information to keep you up to date. We wrote our software in-house to provide the best experience possible for our clients.

2. What if I am not happy with the officer assigned to my property?

Maybe you catch your assigned Officer talking on the phone while on duty, or being too short with a customer. If you feel your assigned Officer is not a good fit for your business, it’s good to know your options. Plus, it’s even better to know your security company is able to quickly make the switch if you need it.

3. Is a Supervisor available 24 hours a day if needed?

What if you wake up at 2 am to a call for your alarm? Knowing that you can speak to a trained supervisor day or night can help bring you greater peace of mind.

4. What type and how much training do the officers receive?

It’s worth knowing that all security officers in the state of Oregon are required to have a minimum of 14 training hours through the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (this minimum is increased to 38 hours if they are training to be an armed officer).  Training through the DPSST includes live classroom instruction, after which applicants take a written examination. Read more about DPSST requirements here.

On top of this, security companies will complete their own individual training as well. Ours includes patrol or on-site job shadowing (depending on where the Officer is placed) as well as quarterly educational training courses in subjects like First Aid and CPR, defensive tactics and customer service.

5. Do you have experience with the specific problem I am dealing with?

It’s safe to say that security companies see a lot of things. However, depending on the number of years they’ve been operating and the level of experience they look for when hiring their officers, their reaction to the plethora of situations that come up will vary.

If finding a company that has seen it all is important to you, ask about their hiring practices and their range of experiences. Online reviews are also a great way to ‘peak under the hood’ to see what clients are saying about a company.

Whether you aren’t sure where to start when choosing a guard and patrol provider, or you’re just looking to be thorough, these questions will help you make the most of your search. To learn more about First Response and the Guard & Patrol services we offer, Contact Us or learn more about our services today!

About First Response

Headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Security is one of the largest privately owned security companies in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.

Behind the Scenes with an On-Site Officer

Despite the bumbling, donut-feasting, highly inept security guard that the media often portrays, the real-life On-Site Officer is anything but.

From the second they clock to the moment they leave for the day, it is an On-Site Officer’s job to cover a variety of duties as chosen by the owner or property manager. But it goes beyond the expected foot patrol, hard checking exterior doors and monitoring for disturbances — an On-Site Officer is just as often a security surveillance monitor, a comforting presence in stressful situations and a friendly face providing customer service to those who need it.

Below you’ll find a snapshot of a typical day in the life of an On-Site Officer in the Beaverton/Portland area, a report similar to the one every one of our clients receives at the end of a shift.

Please note: No donuts were eaten in the creation of this report.

  • On site and on duty at 0856. Checked in with First Response Dispatch. Retrieved keys, badge and site phone from security office. Began patrolling the shopping center.
  • At 0912 I gave directions to a visitor looking for a Doctor’s office in the shopping center.
  • At 0959 hours I found a piece of paper on the walkway that appeared to be confidential patient information. I returned it to the front desk at the Doctor’s office.
  • At 1011 hours I issued a parking violation to a vehicle with no visible DMV placard parked in a disabled spot. I documented the vehicle with a photograph.
  • At 1028 I returned to the security office and updated my reports. I monitored the security cameras.
  • At 1144 I resumed exterior patrols of the shopping center. I checked on a woman whose car was stalled in the parking lot. Roadside assistance arrived and I continued my patrols.
  • At approximately 1226 hours the manager of a store at the shopping center informed me that a female was causing a disturbance outside of the store.  I arrived onsite to find the woman yelling profanities, and witnessed her kick a customer’s vehicle; there appeared to be two other persons with her at the time.  I confirmed that the store manager was on the phone with police, and notified my supervisor of the situation. While the police were on their way, I approached the suspect and asked her to stop kicking the vehicle and speak with me about the issue.  The suspect calmed down, ceased any further aggressive action, and began to explain to me her situation. I let the suspect vent until the Police arrived at approximately 1248 hours.  I provided the police my report, and they furnished me with the suspect’s personal information.  I  documented the damage to the vehicle in my report, and the police took the suspect into custody.  When the police departed the premises, I updated the store manager and informed my supervisor that the situation had concluded.
  • At 1332 hours, the two other persons left the property.
  • At 1341 I returned to the security office, updated my reports and resumed monitoring security cameras.


Your Business Needs a Plan: Responding to Active Shooting Incidents

According to the FBI website, there were over 160 active shooter incidents between the years 2000 and 2013, underscoring the need for every business to have a plan to prevent an manage an active shooter incident.

 Sadly, active shooter incidents have occurred in all types of venues, and the trend does not seem to be slowing. Any business can be vulnerable to such a situation, so every business should consider having a plan in place to prevent and manage such an event.

What is an Active Shooter Incident?

You have had the opportunity to hear the phrase several times since the Columbine tragedy but may wonder what the term “Active shooter incident” means precisely.

The FBI defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.”

In most cases, the shooter expects to die in the event, which makes preventive measures the most critical line of defense.

Prevention; Your First Choice

Once an active shooting incident starts, it is difficult to stop before there are injuries or deaths because they happen quickly and unexpectedly. This makes layers of deterrents your most valuable option in preventing a potential active shooter.

These deterrents should include:

Responding to an Active Shooter Incident

  • Getting out is the first objective. Have an escape plan and train employees in evacuation
  • Alert authorities as soon as possible. Call 911 and leave the line open, and hit the panic button on your alarm system.
  • If you can’t get out, hide out. Take cover quickly as possible.
  • As a last resort, take action. Getting physical with a shooter is never a safe option and should only be considered if your life is in eminent danger. This can be done by attempting to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by throwing items and improvising weapons, and banding together to attack the shooter.

Today, every business should consider the possibility of an active shooter incident, and be ready with a plan. If you would like more information on how you can deter crime, please call us today at (800)862-4880.

About First Response Inc.

Headquartered in Beaverton, First Response Inc. is the largest privately owned security company in Oregon. Our commitment to “A Higher Standard” enables us to deliver the client service we believe you deserve.