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Officer Down

Security Officer On the Job Fatalities

Private Officer International today released their year-end report of security officer deaths for 2010.

According to Rick McCann, Founder/Executive Director, the association identified and confirmed 76 on duty deaths of security officers but estimates that the number is actually closer to 90. The discrepancy always comes from the way that security officer positions are classified by numerous federal and state agencies.

While the job title may be doorman or watchman or pool guard, they all perform security related duties but are not categorized as security officers on federal statistical records, the press release stated. A practice that McCann hopes will change soon so that those who die while in the performance of their security duties are properly recognized, he said.

The 2010 death total is up by 17 % from the previous two years and McCann attributes that to the increased duties and responsibilities of security officers, the increase in proactive response rather than the old "Observe and Report" method previously used which means that more security officers are being put into direct contact with active criminal activity, violent offenses and increased dangers.

The Top 8 states for security officer deaths were:

  • California - 8
  • New York - 8
  • Florida - 6
  • Georgia - 6
  • Tennessee, Washington, Ohio & Maryland - 5 Each

Injuries of private security officers substantially rose during this same period with a major jump in the life threatening area such as gunshots, stab wounds and trauma and McCann said that this increase is due in part to the more visible and active security duties of the private officer who often find themselves apprehending criminals, facing armed suspects and involved in confrontations as they protect their employers property, staff and customers.

Many more security officers are involved in apprehensions and arrests of shoplifters, trespassers, robbery suspects and others who are committing crimes on properties under guard and security officers are playing a much bigger part in going after these people and being proactive in their duties. There is also a much wider use of private security in retail, residential, special events and other areas where there is more contact with the public, including criminals which makes the security officer more vulnerable to attack, assault and death.

As security officer duties and scope of authority continues to increase and the profession takes on a more proactive rather than reactive response, injuries and unfortunately deaths of security officers will also steadily increase McCann said.

That is why we, as an international association with members across the U.S. and in 16 countries are pushing for increased security officer training standards and qualifications so that these private officers will be better prepared and equipped to handle the added responsibilities and better safeguard themselves during the performance of them, McCann added.

McCann also stated that they are also drafting legislation in more than two dozen states to make assaulting a security officer in the performance of their duties a felony and so far similar laws have passed in Texas, Illinois, Vermont, Florida and Missouri.