Side view of a police officer standing with a gun holstered to their hip

13 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Armed Security Services

Though armed guards are most in demand around the Los Angelos area, they’re needed all around the world, too. Perhaps you’re wondering if hiring armed security might be ideal for you. If so, there are a few questions you should prepare before you do hire them. 

Don’t trust just anyone to protect yourself and your belongings. Detailed below are 13 key questions you should ask a potential security force. Keep reading to learn how you can properly vet armed security services. 

1. What Services Do You Provide?

Before hiring security, you need to understand the specific types of services they provide. It’s crucial to ask this question to ensure that the service you’re considering aligns with your security needs.

For example, some security services may only offer basic perimeter security. Others may provide close protection for individuals. Another specific example would be specialized security services for events or large-scale operations.

Additionally, armed security services can include various techniques. Examples might be things such as surveillance, access control, and response to emergencies.

Understanding these specific services will help you determine whether they’re a good fit for you. If you’re hosting an event, you may want a service that specializes in event security. The team should have experience handling large crowds.

Alternatively, maybe you need security for a high-risk individual or a high-value asset. In that case, you may require specialized protection services.

Sometimes, the answer to this significant question can be solved with professional security consulting. They’ll be able to better advise you on the best kind of professional security for your situation. For more specific details on that, check out this article about five signs you need security consulting.  

Clarifying these details upfront can help prevent any misunderstandings or gaps in coverage. This ensures that your security is always top-notch and meets your exact needs.

2. What Is Your Team’s Experience Level?

You’ll also want to know if your security personnel have experience working in specific situations. For example, maybe you’re hiring security for a large outdoor event. In that case, you want personnel that’s worked in a similar environment and are comfortable in large crowds.

Be sure to ask if the personnel are well-trained and equipped to handle emergencies. Are they trained in first aid and CPR?

Do they know how to respond to potential security threats? Do they have experience working with firearms?

Remember, their training and experience can also impact their ability to make split-second decisions in high-pressure situations. Consider a security guard working at a bank. This guard needs to be able to handle a potential robbery or hostage situation.

3. Are You Licensed and Insured?

Having licensed personnel ensures that the security service is complying with state and local regulations. It’s worth noting that, in some states, security personnel have to follow stricter requirements. They must undergo specific training and licensing procedures before they can work in the field.

Insurance is also essential for any security guards you hire. This protects you and the security service in case of any incidents or accidents.

There’s a chance that a security guard accidentally injures someone while on duty. If that happens, having insurance can help cover any legal or medical expenses.

It’s also ideal to ask if armed security personnel have liability insurance. This protects you in case the security personnel cause damage to your property or fail to perform their duties.

Overall, asking this key question is essential in ensuring that you’re hiring a professional and reliable service. It gives you peace of mind knowing that the security service is complying with all legal regulations. Plus, you can better trust that the team can handle any incidents that may arise.

4. Do You Perform Background Checks?

There are over 1.1 million security guards throughout the country. Not all of them are equal, though, when it comes to reliability and a solid reputation. 

Background checks help ensure that the personnel have a clean record. They can ensure that your potential security team doesn’t pose any risks.

For example, let’s say a potential security guard has a history of violence or criminal activity. Unfortunately, they may not be suitable for the job. If the personnel have a history of theft or dishonesty, as well, don’t hire them for your security position.

Further, don’t be afraid to ask what kind of background checks the guards undergo. Some armed security services may only perform basic criminal background checks. Conversely, others may perform more comprehensive checks that include credit and employment history.

5. Are You Up-To-Date With Training?

Regulations and training requirements can change over time. For that reason, it’s important that your security team is up-to-date with any new developments.

Perhaps there are upcoming changes to firearm regulations or first aid procedures. Whenever that happens, the personnel need to be aware of these changes. They should always know the regulations for being armed in federal buildings, even if they change. 

Ask how often the personnel undergo specific training. Then, clarify exactly what kind of training that means.

Some security services may only provide basic training, for instance. On the other hand, others may provide ongoing training sessions as employers. This ongoing education is key to ensuring that the personnel are always prepared for potential threats.

Also, asking how the armed security service tracks training and regulatory compliance is in your best interest. Some services may keep detailed records of training and compliance. Not all of them have a formal system in place, though.

6. Do You Have Specific Industry Experience?

Different industries may have unique security concerns and threats. These tend to require specialized training and experience.

As an example, consider a security service that specializes in retail. They may not have the same expertise as one that specializes in healthcare.

Having experience in your specific industry or sector can be useful in many ways. This can help the armed security personnel understand the unique challenges and concerns that you may face.

Let’s say you run a high-tech manufacturing facility. To handle that, security personnel need to understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and trade secrets.

Be willing to ask for specific examples of similar clients that the security service has worked with in the past. This can give you a better idea of the service’s experience and expertise in your industry or sector.

7. Can You Provide References?

References can give you valuable insight into the service’s reliability, professionalism, and effectiveness. Perhaps you discover a security service has a history of providing excellent service to other clients. It’s likely that they’ll provide the same level of service to you.

It’s critical to ask for references from clients who have similar security needs to your own. If you run a jewelry store, for instance, it would be helpful to hear from other jewelry store owners who have used the same security service.

Additionally, it’s ideal to get references from people who have used the armed security services recently. This can give you a better idea of the service’s current level of performance.

8. What’s Your Use of Force Policy?

The use of force can be a necessary part of providing armed security. Still, it’s up to you to ensure that it’s used appropriately. This practice should also remain in accordance with legal regulations and ethical standards.

That’s why you should ask about the service’s policy on the use of force. Make sure you understand when and how force may be used. The security service may have a policy that allows the use of force only as a last resort or when there is an imminent threat to safety.

Then, ask about the training the security personnel receive on the use of force. This may include training on de-escalation techniques. In many cases, these methods are perfectly able to prevent the need for the use of force.

9. How Do You Handle Conflicts?

Security assignments can be unpredictable. So, it’s vital to feel certain that your hired security service is fully prepared. Everyone on your team needs to be able to handle potential conflicts or incidents in a professional and effective manner.

Question the service’s procedures for handling those potential conflicts or incidents. For instance, they may have received training on conflict resolution, crisis management, and communication skills. They should also be well-versed regarding the protocols for contacting law enforcement if necessary.

Also, ask about the service’s communication plan for keeping the client (you) informed. How will they update the main parties involved about any incidents that may arise during the assignment?

10. What Equipment Do You Use?

Modern technology has made significant advancements in the security industry. You need to know what kind of equipment and technology your hired service uses to ensure effective security measures.

Examples of equipment and technology include surveillance cameras, to start with. They can also involve metal detectors, communication devices, and alarm systems.

You should also check on their use of mobile technology. This can be key to enabling real-time communication between security personnel, management, and clients.

Finally, what about the service’s use of monitoring and tracking technology? Using these designs can help ensure that the security personnel are patrolling designated areas. The required equipment will depend on each contract’s specific needs.

11. How Do You Handle Emergencies?

Emergencies and unexpected situations can occur at any time. This is especially true as political tension throughout the country continues to become more intense. 

You need to be able to trust that the service has a plan in place to handle such situations. For example, the personnel may receive training on first aid, emergency response, and crisis management.

What is the service’s emergency response plan, in particular? Ideally, this can include procedures for evacuations, lockdowns, and medical emergencies.

Finally, what is the service’s communication plan during these emergencies? How will they notify security personnel, management, and clients in unexpected or high-stress circumstances? 

12. What Are the Associated Costs?

When hiring armed security services, you’ll want to prepare for the costs you can expect to pay. Ask for a detailed breakdown of these costs. Make sure you understand each component of these costs. 

A detailed breakdown can include the hourly rate for each security personnel. It can also include any additional costs for equipment, transportation, or overtime. 

Be sure to also ask about any hidden costs that may not be included in the initial breakdown. For example, some services may charge extra for services such as parking or fuel expenses.

By asking this question, you can budget accordingly and ensure that you’re not surprised by any unexpected costs. Finally, check to see about the payment process and any payment options that may be available.

13. How Can You Ensure Clear Communication?

Prioritize clear coordination between you and your armed security throughout the entire professional relationship. Doing so can help you understand the methods for how the security service provider will work with you. 

The provider may use radios, phones, or other communication devices. These can help personnel communicate quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency.

Additionally, the provider may establish communication protocols that they think would be ideal. These are useful so that everyone remains on the same page. This could include who to contact in different scenarios, for example.

Also, what are the training or protocols in place for dealing with stakeholders, such as customers, clients, or visitors? For instance, let’s assume some armed security personnel are working at a retail location. For that situation, they should be trained on how to interact with the store’s customers in a professional and respectful manner.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell what kind of security communication would be ideal for your needs. That’s why security consulting services can be of such value.

Working with experts like this can help you decide which system you and your security guards should put in place. From negotiating a contract to parting ways after they provide the services you need, remain in close contact with your team.

Hiring Armed Security

After asking the above questions, you’ll feel more comfortable hiring your chosen armed security force. You deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re in good hands. 

That’s our top priority at Iron Shield Protection. Our team is ready to work with you to ensure your security force is exactly what you need. Learn more about the security services we can provide you today.

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