Security Officer Training

You have been chosen to become a security officer at NMSU.  You need to know the basics so that you can work safely and carry out your duties in a professional way.  The law in New Mexico says that you must receive at least 8  hours of training for Level I Security and an additional 32 hours for Level II Security. This course covers all the important areas needed for this basic training.

The course material is written in plain language, and it has a number of study aids to help you learn the material. Throughout each unit you will find:

This course is not intended to replace actual instruction, rather augment the practical exercises we will be completing. If there is anything you do not understand, be sure to let one of the supervisors know. Course instructors have the experience to help bring this material to life and to provide you with valuable examples. When you start working as a security officer, you will gain your own important on-the-job experience. You may also want to take other courses such as TEEX or FEMA courses to improve your skills and help protect yourself and others as you perform your duties.


Goals and Objectives

This module of training will help you learn:

  • about NMSU
  • about NMSU Police Department
  • about campus security and the federal guidelines 
  • how to complete your time sheet
  • campus parking information
  • direct deposit for your paycheck
  • other required online courses


NMSU Overview

History of New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University (NMSU or NM State), is a major public, land-grant, research university in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest public institution of higher education in the state of New Mexico. NMSU has campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Doña Ana County, and Grants, with extension and research centers across New Mexico.

It was founded to teach agriculture in 1888 as the Las Cruces College, and the following year became New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. It received its present name in 1960. NMSU has 14,852 students enrolled as of Fall 2016 and approximately 2,500 faculty and staff. NMSU offers a wide range of programs and awards associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees through its main campus and four community colleges across 900 acres of land.

The NMSU Campus is home to many of our students who live in our eight housing facilities located across campus.

Also of interest are the Pan American Center arena and Aggie Memorial Stadium facilities.  The Pan Am Center seats approximately 13,000 people for a variety of events like large concerts, religious events, and indoor sporting events.  The Aggie Memorial Stadium seats approximately 28,000 fans and is primarily used for football games.

NMSU Police Department Overview

NMSU Police Department


The New Mexico State University Police Department strives to provide an environment free of crime to enhance the educational process at the university.  The members of the New Mexico State University Police Department are committed to the protection of the lives, rights, and property of all citizens; the vigorous apprehension of criminals; the creation of new and innovative programs; and effective dialogue with the members of the public.  The New Mexico State University Police Department, its officers, and employees endeavor to be an active and constructive part of the community they serve.

Overview of the NMSU Police Department

The NMSU Police Department is a full service, 24-hour a day police agency, complete with its own enhanced 911 emergency dispatch center, criminal investigations section, and training staff.  The NMSU Police Department is responsible for all criminal and traffic law enforcement on just over 180 square miles of land owned and/or controlled by the Board of Regents of NMSU, serving a daytime campus population of over 32,000 and a residential population of around 6,000.  While routine patrol is conducted on the approximately 5 square miles of the main campus, officers of the NMSU Police Department will patrol the college ranch and other outlying campuses and research sites as staffing allows.  In addition, officers will travel to the branch campuses to assist with security surveys and investigate specific criminal incidents.

The NMSU Police Department is comprised of two main components, the Field Services Division (which includes the patrol shifts and the Criminal Investigations Section) and the Support Services (which includes Special Events, Victim Services, Crime Prevention, the Emergency Dispatch Center, and Records and Evidence).  The department reports administratively to the University Chancellor.

There are 22 certified police officer positions and 7 certified emergency dispatcher positions in the department.  These are assisted by 3 full-time civilian employees, 50 part-time security officers, and 25 part-time reserve officers and dispatchers.

But are they real cops?  This is a question we get quite often.  The answer is yes, our police officers attend the same law enforcement training as all other officers in the state of New Mexico.

Campus Security Overview and Requirements

Brief History of Campus Security

Campus security is thought to have had its formal beginning in 1894 when the Yale Campus Police was established in response to frequent conflicts between Yale students and townspeople.  Early in the 20th century, little need was seen for campus police or security forces and most colleges and universities depended entirely upon the local police for criminal violations and handled  student misbehavior internally through the dean of students’ office.

From the 1920's until the 1950's, the predominant role was that of watchman-guard concerned mainly with protection of college property.  As campuses became more complex and enrollments increased in the 1950's, need for a more organized protective force was recognized and retired law enforcement officials began to be hired.  During the tumultuous 1960's, more professional police/security departments were created.

The NMSU Police Department was established in 1957. In the 1970's campus security became more “people-oriented,” shifting somewhat from the focus on protection of property.  Since the 1990's, the focus has been on a more service-oriented approach, in keeping with the national trend toward community-oriented policing by police agencies at all levels.  Terrorist attacks of 9/11 and more recent attacks by animal rights and environmental radicals have marked a new era of campus public safety and high profile incidents like Virginia Tech and the Occupy Movement.

Campus Relationships

In loco parentis

Until the last half-century, the doctrine of in loco parentis dictated courts’ vision of the proper relationship between institutions of colleges and their students. Literally translated, in loco parentis means “in place of a parent.” Under this paradigm, the college or university took the place of the parents in the lives of its students. As a result, courts in most circumstances gave great deference to the decisions of colleges and universities just as they would defer to a parent’s decision regarding his or her child. The effect of the in loco parentis doctrine was to shield colleges and universities from liability by allowing courts to “avoid judging the reasonableness of decisions by college authorities.”

Contractual relationship

In the 1960s, the courts began viewing the relationship among colleges/universities, their students, and their students’ parents as contractual rather than parental. The shift was grounded at least in part on a growing recognition of college students as bona fide adults. Courts now generally accept that the law does not expect colleges to play a role as surrogate parents.

More recently, courts have increasingly found that colleges and universities owed their students a duty of protection from certain specific harms, particularly harm from violent crime and hazing activities. Courts have remained reluctant to hold colleges responsible to prevent harm resulting from drug or alcohol use but have recently imposed increased liability in cases of student suicide.

Tragic cases in mid-1980s captured media attention, putting to rest the long-cherished notion that colleges and university were sanctuaries far removed from the threat of crime.  Civil suites filed by victims and surviving family member of victims threatened the financial resources of colleges and universities.  Three pieces of federal legislation introduced and passed in the 1990s:

1. Campus Security Act of 1990 (Clery Act) watch the video below to understand the Clery Act and its history.

2. The Campus Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights 1991 expanded the Clery Act to include:

  • Require policies on prevention and awareness of sex offenses and procedures for responding after a sex offense occurs.
  • Responsibility of university officials to inform students of their rights and provide them clear information about how to report sex offenses and the assistance(medical, legal and psychological) available for victims.

3. The Higher Education Re-authorization Act of 2008 built even further upon the Clery Act and added requirements for security planning to provide for emergency notification to campus community as soon as an emergency is confirmed, expanded categories for hate crimes, requirement to track and report fire in relation to residential housing, and new reporting requirements for missing persons under the age of 21. Hate crimes can be in the form of a verbal threat, drawings, graffiti, objects showing bias toward victim and can also be considered if the victim is a member of a protected class, was targeted because of their racial, religious, disability, sexual-orientation, or ethnic/national origin or was supporting one of these groups.

4.  Lastly, we have the VAWA and Campus SaVE Act.  The most current federal requirements create an environment where all employees and persons in authority become mandatory reporters of certain crimes. Campus SaVE Act offers enhanced efforts regarding sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic violence by mandating training of all incoming students, expanding categories for crime statistics, mandating on-going training for students and employees, providing victim assistance, requiring institutional investigations, and implementation of interim protective measures.

 Watch the video below for more in-depth explanation.

With the change in the relationship between colleges and it's students there has been a drastic alteration to university disciplinary procedures.  Generally, a college's disciplinary policy is viewed as part of the learning process. Viewing the relationship among colleges/universities, their students, and their students’ parents as contractual, courts have ruled that an entering student agrees to abide by certain university rules and regulations, especially in the case of private institutions. Courts have decreed that attendance at a college is a privilege, not a right; students, who are legally adults, are responsible for lawful conduct.

Courts have generally hesitated to interfere with college disciplinary processes unless there has been a clear violation of constitutional rights. Lack of due process has been the basis for most discipline cases brought into court. "Due process," however, has had many interpretations. "Equal protection" of the law is also difficult to define.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has never directly decided that students have liberty or property rights in continuing their college educations, lower courts have assumed or stated that students do have rights under the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of liberty and property. As a result, a student facing suspension or expulsion from a public college must be afforded due process rights.

Campus security officers are routinely involved in reporting incidents that may be handled through college disciplinary processes. They may also be called upon to provide additional information to administrators or to testify at hearings. It is important that security officers understand and follow procedures to avoid violations of due process, follow requirements for reporting incidents, and have an understanding of how the campus disciplinary process operates.

When there is a student related incident, there are two separate process that are followed.  The criminal process involves citations and legal charges that can result in fines or jail time.  The disciplinary process is unique to universities and addresses the incident through sanctions like community service, suspension or expulsion from school, etc.  

How does this relate to us?

NMSU follows the federal mandates and strives to provide the safest possible environment for our students, staff, and visitors.  We publish an Annual Safety Report of our crime statistics for public review, provide crime prevention courses (self defense classes, pepper spray classes, workplace safety classes, etc.) and utilize an emergency notification system that sends messages via text, email and phone call.

The most frequent crimes at NMSU include theft, property damage, burglaries, and drug/alcohol offenses. The traditional, openness of college campuses make them a challenge in balancing security and access.  For example, most colleges restrict the carry of firearms on their property.  Restrictions that would protect the community are often seen as contrary to the core mission of most universities.

Campuses are “soft targets” for terrorism, meaning they are largely unsecured.  Many house sensitive materials and information that include chemicals and explosives, historic documents, and classified information.  They have become sites for recent domestic terrorism by environmental and animal rights radicals.  Campuses have also become recruiting grounds for terrorists.

Campus Assets

Apart from the traditional mission to educate, colleges have many assets that are valuable to their communities.  To name a few, colleges can:

  • Develop and deliver training and technology to strengthen security- at NMSU we conduct crisis management training, have a mobile metal detection trailer, and several radio caches.
  • Conduct technical research to prevent/mitigate- NMSU is considered an alternate care site as well as conducting event medical research for events such as Warped Tour
  • Provide incident resources like incident command centers, staging sites, shelters, supply distribution centers, and other disaster response. We have provided dispatchers for disasters like the Hatch Flood in 2006, providing our K-9 Explosives Teams to the county, as well as assist with the MOCC and personnel on incidents in the state.

Departmental reporting structure

  • Security Officers report under the Field Services Section of the Police Department.


NMSU Timesheet and Admin Tools

Through myNMSU staff can access NMSU e-mail, time reporting, direct deposit information, tax documents, phonebook, and much more.

Your NMSU e-mail address is viewed as the official means of communication between us and you.   

Existing Account

If you already have a account then you can simply click the link and login with your credentials.

Create an Account

Not already a user?  No problem!  Click here to begin account set up.  

Emergency Contact Info and Phone book Preferences

Now that you are logged in to your account, you will want to update your emergency contact information and phonebook/privacy preferences.  NMSU automatically assumes you want your home address and phone number made public unless you change it.  Click the links above to make changes.

Completing your time sheet

Select the EMPLOYEE tab at the top and then click TIME SHEET.  Using the drop down menu select the appropriate time period and begin entering your hours.  

At the end of the pay period you must submit your time sheet for approval by selecting the appropriate button at the bottom of the page.  The deadline for submitting will be displayed above the time entry chart.


  • Hours must be rounded to the nearest 15 minutes.  For example, if you work until 8:01, your time sheet will reflect a stop time of 8:00.  Likewise, if you work until 8:12, your time sheet will reflect a stop time of 8:15.
  • Enter your actual hours worked, not hours scheduled to be worked.  The scheduled time is an estimation only.
  • myNMSU will not let you enter military time.  You must enter time on two different days for hours that go beyond midnight.
  • When entering time, ensure that you add to the comments box below what the hours were for.  Your comments might look something like this:  8/1/17-Orientation Training, 8/2/17-Legal Training, 8/3/17-Aggies vs. UNM Football.
  • You only get paid if you submit your time sheet before the designated deadline. 


Check Up 1

I was scheduled to work at the Bruner Wedding Reception at the Golf Course from 2100-0200. The event ran late and I ended up on-site until 0227.  What time do I log on my time sheet?

  • 0230
  • 0220
  • 0200
  • 0300

Check Up 2

Fill in the blank with the appropriate answer

NMSU will usefor official communication regarding things like time sheets and tax information.

Other Miscellaneous Information

Parking on Campus

NMSU parking rules are in effect from 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday with free parking on the evenings and weekends and free parking lots located around campus.

Free Parking and Shuttle Service
NMSU makes it easy and affordable to park and commute around campus. Aggie Transit provides free shuttle routes that transport riders with a valid Aggie ID from free parking lots (identified in brown on the parking map) to the far reaches of campus, with multiple stops in between. Save your hard-earned cash and avoid the morning and afternoon parking rush with the free Aggie Transit.

Prefer to Park Closer? 
A variety of NMSU Parking Permits are available for those who wish to park in a designated “permitted” parking lot. Please consult the parking map for designated parking locations.


Direct Deposit

1/10/2013: Center for the Arts (CFTA) building (photo by Darren Phillips)

Go Paperless!

Employees may electronically establish, change or cancel Direct Deposit information in real-time through Banner Self-Service. The system allows for one primary account and up to two additional flat amount accounts to be established for payroll allocation.  Employees are also be able to maintain direct deposit setup for employee reimbursements issued through the Accounts Payable office via the Financial Aid Refunds and University Reimbursements option.

In addition, this application allows for students to electronically identify an account for their Financial Aid Refunds. Therefore, individuals who are both employees and students eligible for Financial Aid have the ability to identify accounts for both circumstances.

How to Enroll or Make Changes:

  1. When adding accounts you will need your Bank Routing Number and Bank Account Number
  2. Using your MyNMSU credentials, log in at
  3. Click the Employee tab
  4. Locate the Banner Self Service window and find Direct Deposit.
  5. Follow the instructions within the system to make modifications.
    1.  If this is your first time enrolling in Direct Deposit, please ensure you enter your account information in the Direct Deposit Type of PAYROLL PRIMARY. Up to two additional payroll accounts may be added as well.
    2. If you are also a student and receive Financial Aid refunds or will receive employee reimbursements (i.e. travel) you will also want to enter the account you want to receive those reimbursements at in the FINANCIAL AID REFUNDS and UNIVERSITY REIMBURSEMENTS field.

Once enrolled in Direct Deposit, you will receive a Pay Advice (similar to a paper check stub) via email on the day prior to each pay date. See payroll schedules at

Payroll Processing Deadlines

Though the changes made on MyNMSU are recorded in real-time, please keep in mind that if a change is not made more than two business days before the pay date, the new/modified/canceled account data may not occur until the next pay period.

Account Allocations

Direct Deposit allows up to three account allocations. Employees who had more than three payroll Direct Deposit accounts on file, prior to implementing the electronic process in the Spring of 2013, are not affected by the maximum number of account distributions allowed in Banner Self-Service as long as they do not make any changes. If an employee has more than three accounts on file and chooses to make a change, a warning message will be presented informing him that if he proceeds he will delete all existing bank records and will have the option to establish new direct deposit accounts. In doing so, he will be limited to only three accounts going forward.

HR Assistance

New Employees who do not yet have computer access may submit a Direct Deposit Authorization preference using a computer kiosk available at the HR Service Center located in Hadley Hall Room 17, M-F 8AM–5PM.

For questions regarding this process please contact the HR Service Center at 575-646-8000 or [email protected]

Using Military Time

With a regular 12-hour clock there are two times in the day for every number, such as six o’clock in the morning and six o’clock in the evening. This can be very confusing.

The 24-hour clock is much clearer, as there is only one time in the day for each number. Six o’clock in the morning is 0600 hours and six o’clock in the evening is 1800 hours. The 24-hour clock is used by many people in many places when the exact time is very important. It is commonly used by the military, the police, and the security industry. You will need to write your notes and reports using the 24-hour clock. You will also use the 24-hour clock if you have to testify in court.

In the diagram, the outside circle shows the times from 1:00 pm to midnight while the middle circle shows the times from 1:00 am to noon. Note: Midnight is also sometimes referred to as 00:00 To change from 12-hour clock time to 24-hour clock time In the 24-hour clock system we give the number of hours since the beginning of the day for the first two digits, and the number of minutes since the beginning of the hour for the last two digits.

Example Think about 4:30 in the afternoon. You have 12 hours in the morning + 4 hours in the afternoon, which makes 16 hours since the beginning of the day. There are 30 minutes since the beginning of the hour, so the 24-hour clock time is 1630.

Note: The 24-hour clock time always has exactly four digits with no breaks between the digits.

12-hour clock time            24-hour clock time

3:06 a.m.                                3 hours since beginning of day, so time is 0306

12:05 p.m.                            12 hours since beginning of day, so time is 1205

5:00 p.m.                              17 hours (12 +5) since beginning of day, so time is 1700

8:14 p.m.                              20 hours (12+8) since beginning of day, so time is 2014

12:59 a.m.                              0 hours since the beginning of day, so time is 0059

To change from 24-hour clock time to 12-hour clock time The times between one in the morning and one in the afternoon are not difficult to change. The numbers stay the same, and you just have to add a.m. or p.m. For example, 0312 is 3:12 a.m. and 1259 is 12:59 p.m. From one in the afternoon until midnight we must take 12 from the first two digits and add p.m. For example, 1432 is 2:32 p.m.

Check UP 3

Match the 12-hour clock times to 24-hour clock times:

  • 9:42 a.m.
  • 11:28 p.m.
  • 11:14 a.m
  • 7:13 a.m.
  • 12:15 a.m.
  • 12:15 p.m.

Other Required Online Courses

In addition to these online training courses you must go to the FEMA Student ID page and create a unique identifier for yourself.   Upon completion you should complete the following training:


  • Go to:  ICS 100 to access training
  • Turn in completed certificate
  • Submit 3 hours on your time sheet


  • Go to:  ICS 700 to access training
  • Turn in completed certificate
  • Submit 3 hours on your time sheet


Important points in Module 1:

  • NMSU Police Department is a full-service, 24 hour police department with certified patrol officers
  • NMSU as a campus is required to fulfill the federal standards for on-campus safety and security to include an administrative investigative process and disciplinary process for infractions, separate from the criminal process.
  • Through myNMSU, students, faculty, and staff can access Banner Self Service email, time and leave reporting, direct deposit pay information, phonebook, and much more. 
  • Security Officers parking on campus will need to purchase a parking permit or utilize the free parking lots on campus.
  • Security Officers are required to complete FEMA 100, FEMA 700, and Trained Crowd Manager courses online prior to attending in-person training.

Module 1-Orientation Test Q1

When was New Mexico State University founded?

  • 1888
  • 1982
  • 1960
  • 1902

Module 1-Orientation Test Q2

Select the crimes that Campus Security Authorities (CSA) are federally mandated to report.

  • Murder/Manslaughter
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Burglary
  • Motor Vehicle Theft
  • Arson
  • Dating Violence
  • Stalking
  • Rape
  • Hate Crimes
  • All of the above

Module 1-Orientation Test Q3

I must complete my time sheet by e-mailing my hours to Luisa prior to the deadline.

  • True
  • False

Authority and Responsibility

Goals and Objectives

This unit will help you learn: 

  • the roles and responsibilities of security officers ,
  • how to present a professional image to the public,
  • be professional in your attitude and your actions,
  • to be ethical and perform your work with integrity,
  • the different duties of security guards (people, property, and confidential info),
  • what post assignments are and what’s included in them, and
  • how to use your powers of observation well.

The Security Officer-Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and Responsibilities


When you walk into a football game one of the first people you will see is Tabitha.  She stands at the entrance and monitors the inflow of people, answering people's questions and maintaining a secure environment.  Dominic works the night patrol at the stadium keeping unauthorized people out of the facility.  Anyone who enters the facility at night has to talk to Frank first.  Kimberly does a variety of jobs at events including general patrols and traffic direction.  Carlos sits in the event control booth and provides communication between event staff and police personnel.  These folks are just a few of NMSU's many security officers and this is just a small picture of their many duties.  

Police services provide protection for the general public without charge.  However, if someone wants or needs extra protection for themselves, their property, or event, they can hire a security officer.  As a security officer you have a huge responsibility.  The very lives of people may be in your hands.  You will be trusted with information that many people are not allowed to know.  You will be responsible for property that is not your own and that may be worth as much as several million dollars.  Your duties can cover everything from looking for safety hazards to enforcing campus policy to taking charge in an emergency.


What kinds of things will I have to do?

Your duties will change a lot from event to event and between certain posts within some events but the same fundamental principles remain.  The three basic functions of security officers are to: 





A primary function of a security officer is to detect occurrences and circumstances which do or could affect the security of the people and premises you have been hired to protect—looking for problems. Know what to look for in common sense and special situations. Alertness, good observation skills, curiosity, visibility: these are a few key traits of a security officer attempting to detect issues.


Effective deterrence means preventing security problems from developing in the first place. All of the attributes of detection contribute to deterrence. One primary example of deterrence are uniforms and patrols (Scheduled and Unscheduled).


Typically, security Guards are expected to report all unusual incidents. This provides the information necessary to identify and assess risks, and protect people and property from harm, theft, and related threats.Written reports must be clear, concise, legible, prompt and complete

Using force (against people) is not a central feature of most security officer roles. Use of force by security officers is legally limited, creates significant liability risks, and is almost always “situationally focused” (employed only in very specialized or unusual situations).

You can detain individuals who are shoplifting, violent or suspected of committing a felony level crime while in your presence, or as directed by a law enforcement officer but you do not have the authority to arrest a suspect as police.  Your duties mainly concern preventing and detecting crime rather than investigating and solving crimes.

As part of your assigned duties you are expected to: control access to specific areas of a facility; enforce property rules and regulations; detect and report criminal acts; stop and if possible, detain persons engaging in serious criminal activities;  respond to emergency situations involving safety and security ; and act occasionally as a crowd manager to maintain order. These duties will be discussed in much greater detail later on.

Check Up 1

The security officers basic functions are , and .

Professionalism And Image-Appearance



Professionalism is the key to gaining the respect of the public.  Your attitude and actions should clearly show everyone your intent to perform your duties to the best of your abilities and they in turn should cooperate and allow you to do so.You must exercise caution and be mindful when balancing friendliness and politeness with firmness. You are there to provide protection. Even in the face of people being rude or abusive towards you, your demeanor should remain professional and courteous. It is essential to be friendly, but never to the point where people will expect you to bend or break the rules.

Basic Appearance Standards

Usually the first thing people notice about you is how you look. If you look professional people will be more likely to treat you with respect. Part of a security officer’s role is to deter crime. To do this you must be easily seen. Most security officers wear uniforms so they will be seen quickly and easily. NMSU will supply you with a uniform that you must wear at all times while working.

Your appearance is a subtle, silent form of communication.

NMSU Police Department specific policies regarding your appearance are listed below:

  • You are expected to be clean and properly groomed at all times. Your uniform must be clean and unwrinkled when you report for duty.
  • Your fingernails should be free of dirt and trimmed so that they do not extend beyond the fingertips. Nail polish may be worn if it is subdued and natural looking.
  • Your hair must be clean, neat.  The height of the hair (male or female), from the scalp to the highest point is not to exceed 2 inches. Hair must not fall below either the eyebrow when the head is uncovered nor protrude below the inside sweatband of headgear. A male security officer's hair must not cover the top of his collar when standing. A female security guard's hair cannot exceed below the bottom edge of her blouse collar when standing. Hair ornaments, such as flowers and combs, cannot be worn. Items to hold hair in place such as bobby pins, hairpins and barrettes may be worn if they are concealed as much as possible and are of a color that blends with the hair.  
  • Faces must be clean-shaven, except for mustaches and sideburns. Men's sideburns must be neatly trimmed, extending no lower than the bottom of the ear, constant in width (not flared), and end with a clean-shaven horizontal line.  Mustaches are to be neatly trimmed, they may extend no more than a half-inch beyond and a fourth-inch below each corner of the lips and go no higher than the nose line.
  • Makeup may be worn by security officers, provided it is subdued and natural looking.
  • While you are on duty, no piercings will be allowed, accept ear piercings.  Earrings must be small like studs, no hoops or distracting in any way. You may not wear other visible jewelry such as bracelets, chains, religious insignia, buttons or pendants. You may wear a ring, but only on the third finger of one hand. You may wear a necklace, but only if it is completely concealed beneath the uniform shirt. You must remove ALL body piercing jewelry prior to working on post unless it is completely covered by your uniform.
  • Tattoos may not be visible at any time in while in uniform.
  • Only white, black or grey undershirts and socks may be worn. Female security guards must wear supportive brassieres.

These rules may seem restrictive to you, but they are for your own protection. Violent offenders have been known to rip earrings out of ears and make garrotes with necklaces.

Care Of Uniform and Equipment

Keep your uniforms, insignia, accessories and equipment clean and in good repair. They are to be maintained and worn as follows:

Leave trouser legs un-cuffed and hem at the point where they touch the shoe tops without breaking the creased lines. Trousers must fit properly.  Wear black socks that are long enough so that your skin won't show below your trousers when you are sitting.

Keep your footwear shined and in good condition. Shoes must be black with black laces and plain toes. Toes and heels are to be closed and the heels no higher than 1 (one) inch. Pumps, loafers, wingtips, sandals, and suede shoes are not permitted. If boots are worn, they must be black with rounded plain toes (not pointed). Boots with decorative stitching, heels higher than 1 inch or tops higher than 12 inches are prohibited. Do not tuck trouser legs into the tops of boots.

Wear the metal breast badge on the left breast of the shirt when the shirt is used as the outermost garment. The nameplate is metal and measures 2½ inches long, 5/8 inches high. The nameplate contains the guard's first initial and last name. Wear it centered on the right pocket flap of your outermost garment. Nameplates must be of the same material and appearance for all security guards. Wear only the accessories that you are qualified to handle and are issued by your employer to include but are not limited to: handcuff case with handcuffs, key holders (which may be worn on the trouser belt), radio, pepper spray holder and pepper spray, and baton. 

Be sure to report any equipment that is missing, stolen, or of ill repair.

What things are important to remember about appearance?

Guards who do not dress properly for their role, or who are dirty or sloppy, will not be seen to be professional. Guards with strong body odor, bad breath, or smelly clothes may be repulsive and not respected. Your uniform is a symbol of authority. A person in uniform is seen as someone who is both in control and able to take charge. If people respect you, they are likely to help you in the case of an emergency. You will give a professional appearance if you:

  • shower or bath daily,
  • brush your teeth regularly,
  • keep your hair well-groomed and clean (including hair on your face),
  • have clean, trimmed nails,
  • wear the proper uniform for your job,
  • make sure your uniform is clean and pressed,
  • make sure your shoes or boots are clean, shined, and in good condition,
  • look after your equipment.

Your posture, the way in which you stand and sit, are also important. If you slouch a lot, you can send the message that you are tired, lazy, bored, unfit, or lack confidence. This is not a professional image. Professional guards have good posture. They sit and stand straight, walk with purpose and give the appearance of being both relaxed and alert. They are at ease, but ready to react if necessary.

Professionalism and Image-Attitude and Conduct

Attitude-  Creating a Good Image

First impressions of a security officer in uniform says a lot for some people, whether employees or visitors. A sharp appearance and courtesy will enhance your relations with people.  Your professionalism in dealing with the public helps build a good image for the NMSU Police Department and instills a sense of trust in the public. While you are on duty you represent NMSU, the police department and your supervisor. 

You may have seen security officers who do not seem to do much work or know what’s going on around them. They also do not seem interested in learning new skills. These officers have a negative work attitude. The image that they give the public is that they do not take pride in themselves or their job. Security officers who have a professional attitude are interested in their jobs and the people they meet. Security Officers with a positive work attitude believe that what they are doing is important. They take pride in themselves and what they do. They:

  • try to improve themselves,
  • keep up with changes in the industry,
  • use what they learned in training, while they are on the job,
  • help other employees,
  • have energy and drive,
  • try to find better ways to do their job and to make the workplace safer for everyone,
  • come up with new ideas to improve the image of their company and the security industry and share them with their employer.

Professional guards have integrity and discipline. They also communicate well with all sorts of people.

Other NMSU Police Department Policies regarding your conduct include:

CONDUCT- Creating a good image

Members shall conduct their private and professional lives in such a manner as to avoid adverse reflection upon themselves as members of the department.  They shall treat superior officers, subordinates, and associates with respect, and be courteous and civil at all times in their dealings with one another.  When on duty, and particularly in the presence of other members of the department or the public, superiors shall be referred to by rank unless otherwise directed.

Members shall not publicly criticize or ridicule the department, its policies, or other members by talking, writing, or expressing in any other manner, where such forms of expression are:

1.     Defamatory,

2.     Obscene,

3.     Unlawful, and/or

4. Aimed at or tending to impair the operation of the department by interfering with its efficiency, interfering with the ability of supervisors to maintain discipline, or having been made with reckless disregard for truth or falsity.


Respect for Constitutional Rights

No person has the constitutional right to violate the law; neither may any person be deprived of their constitutional rights merely because they are suspected of having committed a crime.  The task of determining the constitutionality of a statute lies with the courts, not with an officer.  Therefore, an officer may enforce any federal, state, or local statute or NMSU Policy which is valid on its face without fear of violating the constitutional rights of the person who broke the law.  An officer who lawfully acts within the scope of his/her authority does not deprive persons of their civil liberties. However, when officers exceed their authority by unreasonable conduct, they violate the sanctity of the law they are sworn to uphold.


Employees must treat every person with as much dignity and respect as circumstances permit, and must be constantly aware that the people with whom they are dealing are individuals with human emotions and needs.  Employees shall treat people fairly in all situations.

The concept of community relations is based upon the principle that, in a democratic society, the police are an integral part of the public which they serve.  Employees must strive for the establishment of a climate where they can perform their duties with the acceptance, understanding, and approval of the public.  Effective law enforcement depends on a high degree of cooperation between the department and the public it serves.


Members of the department shall be respectful to others while on duty or acting in an official capacity.  A member shall give his/her name and identification number to any person who requests it.  Employees answering public telephone lines shall identify themselves by name (either first, last, or a combination thereof), excluding 911 and Crime Stoppers lines.


Members shall be courteous at all times to others -- on the phone, in person, or by radio communication.  The practice of courtesy in all public contacts encourages understanding and appreciation; discourtesy breeds contempt and resistance.  The majority of the public are law-abiding citizens who rightfully expect to be treated fairly and courteously by department members.  While the urgency of a situation might preclude ordinary social amenities, discourtesy under normal circumstances is indefensible.  Courtesy is consistent with the firmness and impartiality that characterizes a professional police officer.


Members shall not treat any person or animal cruelly, use excessive physical force, or neglect to take any necessary humane actions which the circumstances may require.


Conduct Unbecoming an Officer

Officers shall be permitted to use only that force which is necessary to effect an arrest/detention and/or to protect themselves or others, and will not take excessive, unwarranted, or unjustified action.  Officers shall conduct themselves in a manner which shall not discredit themselves, the department, or the university.


The failure or deliberate refusal of any member to obey a lawful order given by a superior shall constitute insubordination.

Use of Alcohol, Intoxicants, or Drugs

No member shall appear for or be on duty while under the influence of intoxicants or drugs or be unfit for duty because of their use.  No member while on duty shall use depressants, stimulants, or hallucinogenic drugs other than those prescribed by a physician, and then only with the knowledge of the supervisor, and only as long as they do not impair the ability to perform duties.  No member on duty or in uniform shall drink or purchase any alcoholic beverages.  Any member believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on duty or in uniform may be required to submit to chemical testing. 

Intoxicants on Departmental Property

Employees shall not bring or keep any intoxicating beverage on departmental property, except when necessary in the performance of their duties (e.g., confiscation).  Such items must be properly marked/identified and placed in evidence/property.

Smoking On Duty/Tobacco Use

Members shall not use tobacco on duty while in direct contact with the public or when in uniform in public view, except at mealtimes and breaks.   Smoking is not allowed in shared departmental vehicles under any condition, and is prohibited in any shared work spaces.  Members shall abide by posted “No Smoking” signs and regulations.

Misrepresentation and/or Falsification

No member shall willfully misrepresent any matter or information, sign any false official statement or report, or perjure him/herself before any court, grand jury, board, commission, official, or departmental hearing.

Personal Preferment

Employees are prohibited from attempting to influence or obtain intervention into departmental affairs by a person/agency outside the department solely for the purposes of personal benefit, advantage, or advancement (unless specifically authorized by law).

Associations with Criminals

Members shall avoid personal associations with persons who have been convicted of a felony, are under criminal investigation or indictment, or who have an open and identifiable reputation in the community for criminal behavior, except in the discharge of their official duties Note: There may be certain exceptions, such as a family member who has lawfully served time and has been released, etc.  Requests for exceptions will be made in person to the Chief of Police.


Members while on duty shall not participate in illegal gambling activities, unless necessary and in direct relation to an officer’s duties.  No form of gambling shall be permitted on property under the control of the Board of Regents, except as allowed by law.

Political Activity

Members shall not participate in prohibited political activities as outlined by the New Mexico State University Personnel Rules.  Nothing shall affect the right of a member to hold membership in and support a political party, to vote as one chooses, to express privately (off-duty and with no express or implied connection with the department) an opinion on all political subjects and candidates, to maintain political neutrality, and to attend political meetings.

Political, Religious, and Other Discussions

Members on duty shall not engage in political or religious discussions that interferes with the functioning of the department, and will not use disparaging language with the intent of demeaning another's ancestry, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Strike(s) and/or Work Stoppages

Members shall not engage in or conduct a work stoppage and/or strike.  Members shall not engage in the techniques of "sick call" and/or "mass resignations."  Such techniques may be considered a "strike" under this policy.  (see also, New Mexico Statutes and NMSU Policy Manual.)

Presence at Unauthorized Places

No member shall be present in any unauthorized place (as defined in other parts of this manual) in or near an area of assignment while on duty, except for a legitimate police purpose.

Property and Evidence:  Abandoned, Found, Safekeeping, Etc.

Evidence, abandoned and found property, property maintained for safekeeping, and any other property received by a member of this department shall not be used, converted, copied, distributed, etc., for personal use by any member other than for a departmental purpose.

Acceptance of Gifts, Gratuities, Property, Etc.

Members shall not accept any gift, gratuity, or reward in money or other consideration for service rendered in the line of duty to the community or to any person, business, or agency.  This includes food, beverages, discounts, and services.  The only exceptions are the salary and benefits authorized by law.

Copyrighted Material

Members of the department shall abide by any copyrights they encounter during the regular course of business.  Any duplication of copyrighted material must 1) fall under the fair use guidelines, 2) be with the permission of the copyright holder, or 3) be for investigative purposes with no intent to deprive the copyright holder of his/her rights.

Other Transactions

Members may not buy or sell anything of value from or to any complainant, suspect, witness, defendant, prisoner, or other person involved in any case which has come to their attention or which arose out of their departmental employment, except as may be specifically authorized by the Chief of Police.

Free Admission and Passes

 Members shall not solicit or assist others in the gaining of free admission to theaters, on-campus special events, and other places of service for themselves or others due to their position with this department (whether express or implied), except in the line of duty.

Traits of a Outstanding Security Officer

The following list describes the qualities/traits that make an outstanding security officer. Not everyone has these qualities in equal measure, but they are all important. Evaluate yourself honestly and think of ways that you can improve or cultivate those qualities that are not your strengths. Because you have such important responsibilities, you must be a top caliber individual with a strong sense of duty.These are the qualities/traits that FPS considers necessary in a security guard.


You must be aware of the environment around you and be able to notice even the slightest changes or unusual conditions. By being observant and aware, you will prevent and detect crime or unauthorized behavior. You must watch for deviations from the norm, such as a strange car parked in an unauthorized space, a person approaching or coming from an area that is not normally used or nervousness/ unstable behavior from a person approaching you. Alertness can only be achieved by keen watchfulness and by diligent application of the patrol or post requirements.  Alarm systems enhance the effectiveness of security forces, but nothing is a substitute for the alertness of security force personnel. The degree of alertness determines whether security is effective or lax.

Approachable Manner

Many people are intimidated by or fear law enforcement and/or security personnel. Try to minimize their concerns by giving signals showing that you are approachable, such as making eye contact with a smile, greeting the person cordially or simply acknowledging their presence with a nod. If you can win people's trust, you will be able to do your job much more effectively.


Confidence is a state of feeling sure, free from doubt or misgivings. Confidence includes faith in oneself and in one's abilities. Nothing can bring out self-confidence like job knowledge. You must have confidence in yourself, your equipment, your leadership and other members of the security team. If you have concerns about any aspect of your job, contact your supervisor for guidance. Generally, the more experience you have on the job dealing with a wide variety of people and situations, the more confidence you will have.

Even Temperament

You must not get angry in performing your duties. Anger does not help in any situation. By being calm, you will prevent situations from escalating and others will become calmer.

Good Judgment

Good judgment is more than the application of common sense. It is the power of arriving at a wise decision. Experience provides knowledge, and knowledge precedes judgment. Security instructions cannot cover every situation. Many are unique and require individual consideration. You must develop the ability to observe, compare and discern similarities and differences to arrive at logical conclusions. However, a word of caution, you should call the your supervisor when you are in doubt about how to proceed.


Do not take sides in disagreements or disputes among others. You cannot show favoritism toward one side or it will be viewed as an attack against the other. You must be unbiased and simply address the facts as known.


To be effective, you must know your duties well.  Your job is very sensitive and its guidelines are important. You must know what to do and how to do it.

Physical Fitness

Security duties occasionally require great physical exertion. You must be able to react quickly, be strong and have endurance. Emergency responses and confrontations will be very physically demanding. 


You must always display courtesy and politeness when dealing with others, whether they are friendly, indifferent or hostile.You will gain respect and cooperation by being polite.

Positive Attitude

Your general mental attitude towards life and your job is very important. Interest in the job and loyalty to the organizations you protect are particularly applicable to security personnel. By maintaining a positive outlook on life in general and in your job, you will be more productive, effective and satisfied.

Self Control

Security duty presents situations that require not only sound judgment but also self-control. You must always act professionally and control all of your emotions, especially anger, exasperation, frustration, nervousness and fear.


The ability to deal with others without offending them is a highly desirable quality in security personnel. It is difficult to assume the authority and responsibilities of security duty without consciously or unconsciously displaying a sense of superiority in an overbearing manner. Security personnel must be able to communicate clearly, concisely, firmly and authoritatively but without arrogance or in an offensive manner.

Ethics and Integrity

Ethics and professionalism go hand in hand. Security officers are entrusted with the safety of lives and property. They are often the first line ambassadors to the public, and are responsible for enforcing safety and integrity rules in the work place. The job requires the highest levels of integrity, honor, and discretion—ethics.

It is the essence of a security officer's position that conduct be at the highest levels of professionalism and integrity. This is simply expected of security officers; anything else is unacceptable. Simply stated if you can’t trust the people who are responsible for protecting lives and property to act ethically, who can you trust?

New Mexico has adopted a code of ethics for security officers. The code of ethics formalizes the idea—and rule—that there are measurable standards of conduct expected from everyone who holds a security officer position. The code of ethics is a statement that incorporates moral and ethical principles and philosophies. It is a measure of a person’s activities against a standard of behavior. By outlining basic rules of expected conduct, the code of ethics communicates these rules to all security officers. The manner in which personnel conduct their activities has a direct effect on whether safety succeeds or falls.

NMAC 16.48.1  Code of ethics for private security employees.  

In recognition of the significant contribution of private security to crime prevention and reduction, as a private security guard, I pledge:

  1. to accept the responsibilities and fulfill the obligations of my role: protecting life and property; preventing and reducing crimes against my employer’s business, or other organizations and institutions to which I am assigned; upholding the law; and respecting the constitutional rights of all persons;
  2. to conduct myself with honesty and integrity and to adhere to the highest moral principles in the performance of my security duties;
  3. to be faithful, diligent and dependable in discharging my duties, and to uphold at all times the laws, policies, and procedures that protect the rights of others;
  4. to observe the precepts of truth, accuracy, and prudence without allowing personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships to influence my judgments;
  5. to report to my superiors, without hesitation, any violation of the law or of my employer’s or client’s regulation;
  6. to respect and protect the confidential and privileged information of my employer or client beyond the term of my employment, except where their interests are contrary to law or to this code of ethics;
  7. to cooperated with all recognized and responsible law enforcement and government agencies in matters within their jurisdiction;
  8. to accept no compensation, commission, gratuity or other advantage without the knowledge and consent of my employer;
  9. to conduct myself professionally at all times, and to perform my duties in a manner that reflects upon myself, my employer, and private security;
  10. to strive to continually to improve my performance by seeking training and educational opportunities that will better prepare me for my private security duties.

What is integrity?

Integrity is one of the most important qualities a professional security guard can have. It is an inner guideline that tells the person how to react positively to the outside world. People who have integrity are respectful, reliable, honest and principled.

When you are respectful:

  • you like yourself and treat yourself well
  • you treat others as you treat yourself
  • you understand that it is important to follow laws and orders
  • you respect the property of others.

When you are reliable:

  • you can be depended on to do your duties to the best of your ability
  • you can take control and stay calm in emergencies
  • You arrive and leave in time to share information with guards on other shifts.

When you are honest:

  • you tell the truth
  • you take responsibility for your actions, instead of blaming others
  • you can be trusted to keep information to yourself
  • you are sincere. This means that the person that you show to others is the same as who you are inside.

When you are principled:

  • you believe in treating everyone fairly
  • you speak out if you see someone being treated unfairly.

Besides integrity, professional guards also have discipline.

Is discipline like self-control? Self-control is certainly a big part of discipline. Some people will criticize you just because you wear a uniform and represent authority. If you become angry you will make things worse. It is also important to remain calm in emergencies, as other people who may be frightened will look to you for guidance. If you are disciplined, you:

  • show strong self-control, even when challenged
  • remain calm under stress
  • follow procedures with little or no supervision
  • are well-organized and carry out your duties with care
  • do not become involved in any gossip in your workplace, no matter how hard people try to get you involved or how you feel about it
  • enforce the rules and procedures at your site no matter who is involved, from the entry level employee to the president.

Typical Duties

As a security officer, you will have many duties, these duties can generally be categorized in three ways, protection of people, protection of property, and protection of information.  More specific duties will be detailed by post assignments or by supervisor staff based upon each event you work.  We will review post assignments in a following section.

Protection of People, Property and Information

How do security officers protect people? 

A large part of your job may be to protect people. You do this in many ways, such as patrolling, finding hazards, and controlling who can enter specific areas. You may also be asked to escort employees, particularly if they are going to their cars late at night. It will be your job to look for anything that might cause a fire or an accident. It is important to make sure that employees are working safely so that no one is put in danger. Also, if a crowd gathers at your event, you may be the person who takes control to make sure that no one is hurt.

What do security officers do to protect property? 

One of your main responsibilities is to protect property. In fact, sometimes you may be the only person protecting that particular area. This might happen in the case of the stadium where you are on duty at night to protect the facility. Property can be damaged or stolen. Damage can happen in many ways. A fire can completely destroy a building if it isn’t detected very quickly. Floods or water damage can result from melting snow or frozen pipes. During your patrols you will see problems while they are still small and be able to report them quickly. Intruders can damage equipment or set fires. They may also steal things. Your presence will deter many intruders and you can take action right away if someone does enter the area illegally.

How do I protect information? 

Protection of information is becoming more important all the time with computers and new privacy laws. A big part of protecting information is knowing when it’s okay to talk about something and when it is not okay.


Keeping secret things secret is called confidentiality. Part of your job is to protect information, so you don’t want to be the cause of an “information leak.” As a security officer you are placed in a position of trust and must always act in ways that keep that trust. Because of your duties you will see and hear many things that you must keep secret or share only with certain members in the security crew. It is very important that you do not talk about these things with other people.

Protection of people, property and information is a pretty broad explanation of security duties.  We will talk about the following, more specific topics in greater detail:


Access and Egress Control

Traffic and Parking Control

Crowd Management (online-Trained Crowd Manager)

Emergency Situations

Click through the next lessons to learn more about each of these duty assignments.


Patrol Duties

What is the purpose of a patrol? Security officers are hired to protect people, property and information.

A uniformed security officer will help to deter crime just by being in an area. When you do a patrol you widen the area that you are protecting. Remember… your main duties are to detect (observe), deter and report. You may also need to change your focus on different patrols at the same location during your shift. For example you may need to look for different things during a midnight patrol compared to an early evening patrol. The purpose of a patrol may be to:

  • detect hazards

          √ housekeeping hazards, such as piled up garbage or recycling items

          √ maintenance hazards, such as leaks, burnt out lights, electrical cords left across walkways

          √ equipment that has been left on when it is supposed to be turned off. You should always check                  when you are trained to see what the guards can and cannot turn off. As a general rule,                                computers and copy machines are not touched by security.

          √ safety hazards, such as sparking electrical wires, overheated boilers, ice on walkways. Also look              for equipment not being used properly such as hanging items off sprinkler heads or using a fire                extinguisher to prop a door open.

  • detect emergencies, such as fires and floods
  • help employees by keeping the site safe, reporting injuries, giving first aid or escorting them if they feel unsafe
  • detect people committing crimes, such as vandalism, break and entry, shoplifting, theft, assault
  • report equipment or machinery that is not working properly, such as heating and refrigeration units
  • check for damage to property
  • protect confidential information by making sure only authorized people are in controlled areas
  • improve community relations by giving help and information to the public.

What should I do to prepare for a patrol?

You must be both mentally and physically prepared for every patrol. If you have been working at the same post for a long time you may be tempted to relax and not be as alert as possible. If you miss a danger signal, the consequences can be very serious. To prepare for each patrol you must do the following:

  1. Study your post assignments – They will be specific to your post and should give you clear orders about what you are expected to do. They contain important information such as the purpose of the patrol, routes, timings, major check points, what to do in an emergency, reporting procedures, and areas that may have safety risks and precautions. Your site supervisor or security officers on the shift before yours should tell you about any changes to your post assignments. Talk to your supervisor if your post orders are not correct or need to be changed.
  2. Talk to other security officers – Arrive 15 minutes early to get information and special instructions from anyone who has worked the previous shift. Find out if anything has changed since your last shift, and who is authorized to be on the site. 
  3. Know your location – Study the layout of the buildings and grounds including any maps or diagrams. If you work night shift, try to visit the site in the daytime so you know what areas could be hazardous in the dark. Draw a diagram to test how well you know the site. This can also help you to remember key areas and the location of special equipment. When you are trained, ask for a tour of the whole site not just the parts that you will be in on a regular basis. A security officer needs to be aware of what goes on for the whole property.

    For everyone’s safety, know exactly where the following are: telephones (including pay phones) and communications equipment. Know where the power failure phones are on your site. If you use a portable radio or cell phone, know any areas where these devices do not work; all fire fighting equipment, including hose stations, extinguishers, hydrants, and sprinkler valves and their supply pipes. Also look for signs that these aren’t working properly; fire alarm boxes, fire doors, fire escapes and fire walls. Know any areas that would have special fire suppression systems and chemicals used in those systems; “high risk” areas such as pay offices, cash registers, safes, computer rooms, labs, storage areas for valuables or expensive equipment; exterior doors and gates; all stairways – evacuation routes utility control rooms and shut-off switches; back-up power units; light switches and emergency lighting panels; pipes carrying gas, steam, acid, wastes; storage areas for flammable and / or hazardous materials including gases, acids, explosives or poisons; any dangerous machinery; first aid and medical facilities; “dead zones” where your phone or radio may not work; restricted areas where phones and radios are not allowed, such as in parts of a hospital.

  4. Check your vehicle if you are on mobile patrol – You should do a complete inspection of the patrol vehicle before you use it. Fill out a Vehicle Inspection Log. Make sure the fluid levels are full, your patrol vehicle is in good working condition, and your communication equipment is working well. You should know your patrol area well enough to drive confidently, especially during emergencies. Know all the roads, driveways, and emergency vehicle access routes in your patrol area.
  5. Check your equipment – You may not be able to return to your office for supplies once your patrol starts. Make a checklist that you can use before every shift. It should include the following:  uniform – including comfortable shoes and proper clothing for the weather conditions; identification card; radio / pager – in good working order and charged before you head out. If possible you should carry spare batteries; emergency numbers; flashlight – spare bulbs and batteries; notebook and 2 pens; map or checklist of areas or stations which must be patrolled; watch – to record exact time of incidents; keys and access cards if required; safety equipment such as goggles, hard hat, steel toed boots, if required; special instructions. 
  6. Develop a plan – Make a list of activities that need to be done on each specific patrol. Plan your route, including a map of major checkpoints, windows, doors, stairways, and high traffic areas. Plan a different route in case of an emergency such as a fire, explosion or chemical leak. If you develop a plan before each patrol you can vary the route and timing, so that it is not too predictable. If you are patrolling in a vehicle your post assignments will also outline areas or sites that you must patrol, but you may be able to choose the order in which you visit them. As with a foot patrol, vary the times and routes when possible, so that criminals can’t be sure of your movement. Watch for hazards that could affect your driving and be extra careful in poor weather conditions. The path that is clear and easy going in summer will probably not be that way in the middle of winter so allow extra time to do the whole patrol and do it safely—rushing could be dangerous. Also, you could miss things if you are in hurry.

How do I patrol effectively?

  1. Know when to be seen – Criminals are less likely to target an area anytime a security guard is clearly visible. During the daytime you will want people to see you as a deterrent. At night you will need to decide what is best for your situation. Should you use the cover of darkness to observe, or is it better to be seen so that you don’t surprise an intruder? Remember, you must be safe to be effective. See the next section, How do I patrol safely? for more information.
  2. Take your time – You will notice more if you walk at a slow, steady pace and look all around you. Stop from time to time to listen.
  3. Patrol the exterior – Begin your patrol at the perimeter of the property and work your way toward any buildings. Check fences, gates and lights. Look for signs of digging under fences or anything that can be climbed on, such as ladders, trees, or vehicles parked close to a fence. Make sure that there are no signs of forced entry into a building. Don’t just look at locks and windows. Try to open them gently to see that they are secure. This will help you to know if an intruder has been able to enter the building.
  4. Patrol the interior – When the outside of the building is secure, quietly enter it. At night move away from the lighted entrance. Listen for any unusual sounds. If you don’t hear anything, turn on the lights and examine each checkpoint outlined in your post assignment. Start at the bottom floor and work your way up. It will be harder for an intruder to go past you without you knowing.
  5. Look for anything unusual – These signs may show that a crime has happened or is still happening:  strange lights, or a usual light not on; machinery that is jammed or running when it shouldn’t be; pry marks on doors, hinges or windows;  gas / steam, water / sewer lines that are plugged, broken or leaking; broken glass in or near windows; wires that are loose or broken; people in places where they should not be (This includes both staff and non-staff areas); objects that are out of place; obvious signs of a search or disturbance; open drawers or cabinet doors that should be closed, or that are supposed to be locked (For example, a medicine cabinet that is open and no one is using it or in the room); missing equipment; strange noises, breaking glass or sounds of items being moved in a hurry and not carefully; open doors that should be closed.
  6. Use your notebook – When you see something unusual, make notes as soon as possible. For example, if you see a strange vehicle, describe it and any occupants in your notes. Write as many details as possible, including the exact time that you observed something. If a crime happens, you won’t have to rely on your memory. This is especially important if you have to testify in court. Have your notebook with you on patrol or when you are investigating occurrences. You will then be able to make notes as things happen or as you discover things.
  7. Get to know people – You will know which people are authorized to be on the property. If you have good relationships with these people, they will trust you with information and let you know about problems. Maintenance people and cleaners can be very helpful because they know how things should work and where things should be. Security on the previous shift will give you valuable information and instructions. Experienced guards can give you tips about trouble areas or problem people and how to deal with them.
  8. Avoid routines – Criminals are aware of fixed habits and time schedules. Make sure you vary yours as much as possible while still meeting the requirements of your post orders. You can change directions (back-track), or mix full patrols with partial patrols. For example, if a foot patrol takes forty minutes to complete, break it up into two twenty-minute rounds. Complete the first half, return to the central starting point, then complete the second half. The next round could be the full forty minute patrol. Don’t be predictable.
  9. Be careful to notice everything on your first patrol – If you notice everything on your first patrol you can see if anything has changed on your later patrols. Make sure: everything is locked that should be locked; all lights and power switches are on or off as required; heating and cooling systems are on or off as required; there are no fire or safety hazards that could cause a problem later; to note the areas where employees are working, this will be helpful in case of an emergency. Talk to the workers you meet so they know you are there if they need help. Getting to know the staff will help you to know their work patterns. Also, if you have a good relationship with the staff, they will be more willing to talk to you about changes or concerns.
  10. Use all your powers of observation – Do not rely on your sight alone. Study the principles of observation and rules of memory found later in this section and practice them on each patrol. Make notes, notes, notes. You cannot remember everything exactly as it happens. Small short notes can be turned into fuller reports when your patrol is finished.

How do I patrol safely?

  1. If you are prepared and follow the suggestions for an effective patrol you will be able to detect problems. Problems can be dangerous to security officers, so it is important that you protect your safety. Always remember your job is to detect, deter and report. Let this guide you in making smart choices as you patrol. Here are some general things to remember:
  2. Don’t approach a suspect alone – Use a “buddy system” or call for back up. 
  3. Watch where you walk – Stay away from slippery surfaces. Go around hazards, not over or under them. If you check out your patrol area during the day, you will be more aware of dangerous areas that can’t be seen as well at night.
  4. Ask questions – A simple misunderstanding could put your safety at risk. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for explanations if you don’t understand something.
  5. Follow communication instructions – You are expected to respond to all station clears (explained further in communication module) during some events.  These procedures were created for your safety, so make sure you follow them closely. See Communication, Verbal for more details.
  6. Don’t smoke – It will affect your ability to smell odors such as smoke and tobacco. Also, a lit cigarette is visible at night.
  7. Use your flashlight effectively – Turn off your flashlight when it is not needed. If you must leave it on while walking, carry it in front of you at arm’s length away from your body. In this way, if someone attacks you in the area of the light they will not hit your body. Get in the habit of not holding your flashlight in the hand that you write with so you can use your dominant hand to operate your radio or do other things.
  8. Use caution with windows and glass doors – Try not to pass directly in front of them. At night your body will be visible as a silhouette. Don’t be a target. If you must pass, walk by quickly. Don’t approach a dark window or door and look inside. Shine your flashlight before approaching and stand to one side when observing.
  9. Be careful entering a dark room – You should not just walk into a dark room, especially if you are investigating something suspicious. Open the door first by pushing it all the way open (someone could be behind the door) and shine your flashlight around the whole room before your enter. Identify yourself as security and listen for sounds. If you get a bad feeling or something doesn’t look right, do not enter without back up. Call for back up and then stand back and observe until back up arrives.
  10. Know when to be seen and when to be heard – It is important for you to use good judgment and common sense when you patrol at night. At many locations you will want to patrol quietly and walk in the shadows close to buildings. If you are patrolling in a vehicle, minimize any noise from your engine, brakes and tires, and don’t slam doors. Generally, you do not want to set yourself up to be a target by being overly noisy and announcing your presence. If you see anything suspicious happening, you can stay out of sight, make your observations, and report the activity. If you are patrolling alone in an area where you feel uneasy, you may want to make some sound, such as humming or jingling keys. This will let employees know that you are around. You would also not want to surprise one or more criminals in an act, especially if you are blocking their escape route. Making some noise will alert criminals to your presence and deter them from continuing with the crime. It will give them the option of fleeing without harm to you. You can then record any information you have about the events and suspects, and use it to help the police.

What should I do if I suspect that a crime has been committed?

Get help. Call the police. It is your job to report and their job to enforce the law. Notify your dispatcher and wait for further direction. In some situations you may need to help someone before the police arrive. An example of this is giving someone first aid. Remember… your main duties are to detect, deter and report.

Check Up 2

1. Name five reasons why security officers patrol. 


Access and Egress Control

Access and Egress Control

Access control is an important part of a security guard’s work. Security personnel are hired to protect people, property and information. The purpose of access control is to make sure the movement of people, materials and information at an event or location is authorized. You will be responsible for some type of access control at each event you work, but the duties you will have to perform will vary greatly. You may be hired to make sure no unauthorized people enter an office building after hours, or you may be expected to operate surveillance cameras at a high security site. You may also have to deal with a crowd that has assembled at your event and is getting out of control.

The property or event manager and police personnel sets all of the rules about access to various areas. These rules include who will have access and under what conditions, when people should be stopped and questioned, and when bags and briefcases should be searched.

A major duty of a security officer is to see that the access rules are followed. You can only enforce the rules if you understand them clearly and you are well trained in what to do. Be sure to ask questions and get whatever training you need.

What are the different levels of access control?

The amount of access control needed at each site will vary from minimum to maximum, depending on what needs to be protected.

Minimum access control

This type of control is used at sites that allow general admission, such as Corbett Center. It assumes everyone is entering for lawful purposes. People are only denied entry by the security officer if rules are not followed or the law is broken.

Medium access control

This type of control is often used at office or residential buildings. The security officer or someone in the building may use an intercom to allow access to the property. The intercom system may discourage someone from coming in, but if they really want to get in they can enter behind someone who has authority to enter the building.

Maximum access control

This type of control is found at sites with high security, such as some government offices, labs, military bases, software manufacturers, etc. Sites like these use a combination of security personnel and alarm systems to have total access control in all parts of the property.

What are some common ways to control access? Campuses often use more than one type of access control. Generally, as you move from the perimeter of a property, to the outside of the building, to the center of a protected site, the access control becomes harder to get through.

A combination of controls may even be used to cover one event. For example, access to the perimeter of a property may be controlled by a fence, or a security officer conducting bag searches. It is not possible to cover all of the combinations, but we can look at some of the more common types of access control by thinking about the different areas shown in the model above.

Property perimeter

Physical barriers such as fences, walls, gates, and booths are used.  A security officer can control access in person at the entrance or by remote control using a video camera.

While on gate duty, you may also have to check vehicles entering and leaving, to prevent unauthorized items form entering the perimeter and to prevent the illegal removal of equipment and material. In some instances you will need to record important information such as the make, model, year, and license number of all delivery and visitor vehicles.

Surveillance cameras and closed circuit television systems (CCTV) allow you to see the property perimeter, but they can’t cover as many points as a good patrol. They also need to be operated and monitored by someone. Cameras are also used on the outside of buildings, and within the site. You may have to monitor many cameras at once. To do this, you will need to concentrate for long periods of time and develop good observation skills. You will also need to be well trained to use this equipment.

Lighting is useful in stopping unwanted entry into any areas of a property. Lighting deters intruders, allows the security officer to see better, and decreases the risk of the officer being attacked in the dark. Lighting controls must be placed where intruders cannot access them.

Building perimeter and entrance

Access control usually happens in one of two ways in this area. These ways are: entry through the security officer and entry through a mechanical or electronic device.

Entry through security officer- You may be asked to stand or sit at the entrance. Your main tasks are to check identification and to decide if people are authorized to enter.

  • Personnel recognition - This is often used at small sites. You let in only people who you recognize. Staff tells you if they are expecting any visitors. You use a special form to write down information about visitors. This method only works if you know each person who enters and if you see each person enter. If your attention is somewhere else or you don’t have time to identify everyone, unauthorized people may enter.
  • ID systems - Many government offices use this method. All employees show you an ID card before entering. You check each ID card carefully. Things to look for are:  a colored photo and physical description of the holder; the full name and signature of the holder; the company’s name and an issuing authority’s signature; an expiry date; a serial number (for the card itself or an employee number);
  • Special passes - In high security areas you may allow only people with special passes or badges to enter. You must be very familiar with this type of access control so you know what to look for. Passes are generally issued by the event sponsor or building manager.
  • Entry Screening Points-These inspections may include checking packages, briefcases, containers or any other suspicious items in the possession of people entering or leaving a controlled facility. Your inspections will normally focus on ensuring visitors do not bring weapons, bombs/bomb-making materials,chemical/biological agents or other prohibited materials into the building.  More training will be provided to you in later sections on this topic.

Access control doesn’t work unless you follow the rules carefully for everyone. Some people, especially employees who have worked at a building for many years, may become angry or frustrated if they have to show their ID everyday.  Check ID cards even if you know the person. The card may no longer be good. If someone challenges you remain calm and explain the reason for security.

Entry through mechanical / electronic device -On medium access sites, a security officer does not always control access. Employees can let themselves into the area. There are many ways that this happens.

  • Keys - Some employees are given a building master key that allows them to enter the building and most areas inside. New technology is replacing the standard metal key at many sites.
  • Touch keypads - A keypad is on the wall at the entrance. Users are given passwords, codes, or personal identification numbers (PIN) that they must punch in order to enter.
  • ID card tags - Some cards have a magnetic strip like you see on the back of a debit card. Other cards have a bar code like you see on a store product. The user swipes the card or puts it in a slot in the reader. The reader is mounted on the wall or door. It checks the code on the card. If the card is authorized, the door is unlocked for a short period of time.
  • Proximity cards - These cards work in a similar way to cards with stripes or bar codes, but they do not have to touch the reader. Someone can unlock the door by passing their card near the reader. These cards may show only an identification number or one side may include photo ID. A key fob is a device that acts the same way as a proximity card. It is a small plastic device that can be attached to a key ring.
  • Biometric identification - Biographical information about individual employees is stored in a data bank. This could include fingerprints, palm prints, retina patterns (blood vessel patterns in the eye) or face recognition information. If an employee wants to enter an area they must pass their hand, eye, or face by a reader. If the reader matches this information with the stored data bank, the door is unlocked. Because biometric data is unique to each person, this system can be used to prevent theft or fraud. Unlike a password or PIN, a biometric trait cannot be forgotten or lost.

Inside of building

An intruder is someone who enters an area without authorization. Alarms that are used to detect intruders are called intrusion alarm systems. Access to valuable property inside buildings is often controlled by an intrusion alarm system. This means that the security officer does not always have to be in the area of the object that needs protecting. They can move about more freely and perform other duties. More than one area can be monitored at once, and the alarm will alert the security officer to intruders. 

Traffic and Parking

Traffic and Parking

When you control traffic you tell people when, how and where they may move. The people may be driving vehicles or they may be pedestrians. Your post assignment will outline the desired traffic control needed at your assigned intersection, parking lots, gates, or other specific points. You could also be expected to direct traffic during emergency situations. No matter what your purpose or location is, you will be in direct contact with the public. It is very important to have a professional appearance and a calm attitude that shows you are in control.

What about my safety? There are a number of dangers that you should be aware of when you are controlling traffic. These could include difficult weather conditions, darkness, heavy traffic, injured or frustrated people, emergency vehicles, or hazards such as fires, chemical leaks, or live wires. Some of these factors are out of your control, but you can manage many others by making sure that you are easily seen and well prepared. Here are some suggestions to increase your safety.


You must wear your uniform and traffic safety vest whenever you are on duty. It will help to identify you as the person in charge. It will also help emergency personnel to recognize you immediately. This is especially important in conditions that make it difficult for you to be seen, such as in the rain or in the dark.


The following items are very useful when controlling traffic:

flashlight or illuminated wand – to make your hand signals and you easy to see. At night use a special flashlight with an orange cone on the end.

whistle – to attract attention of pedestrians and drivers, and to stress hand signals. Don’t overuse it. It could be confusing and frustrating to drivers.

radio – to communicate with your supervisor or other security guards.

barricades – to stop traffic from entering, such as near concert areas

traffic flares – to warn of very dangerous conditions, such as a highway accident. Caution: follow flare directions carefully, be aware of fire danger

vehicle – to use as a barricade, or to warn motorists of a problem ahead.

What hand control signals should I use? Be sure to use standard signals. Most people are familiar with the signals used by police to direct traffic. If you use the same ones, you will gain control and avoid confusion. You will also be able to coordinate your signals with anyone you are assisting. Practice these important hand signals so that they become automatic.

Stopping traffic

1. Choose the vehicle you want to stop.

2. Look directly at the driver and point at them with your arm fully extended.

3. Make sure the driver has noticed your gesture, and then raise your hand so that your palm is facing the driver. Bend your arm slightly at the elbow.

4. Hold this position until the vehicle has stopped.

5. Keep your arm in position and turn your head to the opposite direction.

6. Repeat steps 1 to 4.

7. Do not lower your arms until all traffic has completely stopped.

Starting traffic

1. Make sure the intersection is clear and safe.

2. Place yourself with your side toward to the vehicles you want to move.

3. Look directly at the lead driver and point at them with your arm fully extended.

4. Make sure the driver has noticed your gesture. Turn your palm up, bend your arm at the elbow, and swing your hand up from the elbow and past your chin making a semi-circle. This looks like the common signal used for “Come here.”

5. Repeat the gesture until the traffic begins to move.

6. Continue gesturing for traffic to continue until you are ready for that lane of traffic to stop. 

7. Repeat steps 3 to 5 with your other arm for traffic coming from the opposite direction.

Slow or timid drivers may need extra help to start moving. Repeat the gesture, but don’t overuse it. It may make them more nervous and cause an accident.

If traffic is to be started from both directions, repeat the procedure for traffic coming from the other direction.Left turns

These turns are very dangerous, as vehicles will be turning into oncoming traffic. You must make a decision about when to allow left turns depending on how heavy the traffic is and how many people need to make the turn. Use caution.

1. Stop the traffic coming from the opposite direction. Hold the stop signal.

2. Make sure the intersection is clear of vehicles and pedestrians.

3. Point in the direction you want them to turn and then, using your opposite hand, gesture at the driver who wants to turn to proceed that direction.

4. Make sure the driver has noticed you. Make a waving motion in the direction you want the driver to go.

Right turns

Drivers will need little direction when making right turns, as they will not be turning directly into oncoming traffic. If traffic is heavy, you may need to stop drivers turning right to let traffic pass from the other direction. Also if there are many vehicles turning right, you may need to hold back pedestrians, so that the traffic can flow smoothly. If you need to signal a right turn, make sure the driver has noticed you and then make a swinging motion to the driver’s right.

How do I deal with emergency vehicles?

Emergency vehicles have the right of way. Stop all vehicles and pedestrians when an emergency vehicle is approaching. Give the driver a “Go” signal when the intersection is clear. If the driver of the emergency vehicle signals for a turn, motion in the proper direction, showing that the way is clear. Be on the alert for more emergency vehicles. Below are some things to remember when dealing with emergency vehicles:

You should know the layout of your site—both inside and outside. Then you will be able to guide the emergency crews at the nearest entrance to the incident or the entrance that gives the best access to the site. You may also need to direct vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the same time.

You may be called upon to control people who are watching an accident scene, especially if they are interfering with emergency personnel. You may need to use barricades for this purpose.

Know the site evacuation plan. You may have to keep staff or visitors moving to safe areas

What should I do if there is a vehicle accident?

An accident can involve two vehicles, or one vehicle and a structure or people. Contact dispatch and relay vehicle descriptors and location to have officers respond to the accident scene. Direct traffic around the scene until emergency vehicles arrive.  Check on the driver(s) for possible injury and provide that information to responding crews.

Check Up

Is the security officer signaling for vehicles to stop, go, or turn left?









Emergency Situations

Emergency Situations

Emergency conditions require immediate attention and action and you may be required to respond. Depending on the nature of the emergency, you may have to contact the appropriate personnel for further direction. Emergency conditions may require you to be diverted from your normal duties until the emergency is over.

Below is some information on two emergency situations, fire and explosives.


A fire is one of the most serious situations a security officer has to deal with. Your duty is to protect people and property, and a fire can destroy both in minutes. The best defense against fire is prevention. You must be aware of potential hazards and how to deal with them. You will often be the first person on the scene in the early stages of a fire. If a fire happens during your shift, you must know what to do. You need to be able to act quickly and with confidence. You must know what fire related equipment is at your site. Your safety, as well as the safety of others, depends on this.

Why are fires so dangerous?

If you have never been in a fire situation, it is hard to imagine what it is like. The fires you see in movies are nothing like the real thing. There is a lot more smoke involved in real fires. More people die from breathing smoke than from getting burned. Smoke moves far ahead of flames and it can fill a building in minutes. Smoke is black, so it takes away your valuable sense of sight. It causes your eyes to tear and it burns your lungs. Smoke disables before it kills. It does not contain the oxygen that you need to breathe. This means that your brain does not work properly when you are inhaling smoke. Because of this your muscle control, coordination, judgement and reasoning ability are all affected. It is very easy to become disoriented and lose consciousness in smoke. When something burns, it releases transparent gases. These gases are lighter than air, so they move very rapidly throughout a building. They are also toxic, so they can kill quickly. When a fire burns in a room, it builds up heat and it can instantly flash over into another room or space. This ball of fire will shoot into any areas that are available. For example, in a high rise, fire can travel sideways from room to room, up elevators, vent shafts, and stairwells if the doors have not been closed. Fires are fast and deadly. When you are in a fire situation, you won’t have time to think about how to handle it. This is why you must know emergency procedure plans before a fire happens. Know the plan and your role in it very well.

What are fire safety and emergency procedures plans?

Every site should have some type of plan in case of an emergency. Some plans will be simple. They will show the location of emergency evacuation routes and firefighting equipment. Other plans may be very complex. No matter how detailed the plan, the purpose is the same: to prepare people before an emergency happens. Your post assignment will tell you what your role and duties are in an emergency. They will also give you instructions as to how your actions fit into the overall plan. Be sure to read your fire safety plan and emergency procedures plan often. This will keep the information fresh in your memory and you will see if any changes have been made. If you don’t understand some of this information, ask questions. Keep asking questions until you fully understand what your role is and you are comfortable with that role. Don’t wait until an emergency happens to find the answers.

What things can I do to be well prepared in case of a fire?

  • Know where people with special needs are and how those needs should be handled in the case of an emergency. You will need to know where these people are in the building and what type of help they will need to get out safely. Special needs include not only people in wheelchairs but also people dealing with blindness, diabetes, pregnancy, heart problems, and other conditions
  • Know how to operate fire extinguishers 
  • Keep all aisles, fire escapes, and exits clear.
  • Make sure that all fire lanes are kept clear. There should be no vehicles blocking access for fire fighting vehicles and equipment
  • Contact event control or dispatch if problems are noted. Report problems quickly, before an emergency happens.


What things are necessary to start a fire?

Fires can start only if all three of the following are present:

1. Fuel – This is anything that will burn. It can be in solid, liquid, or gas form. It is often called combustible material. This type of material will start on fire if it is heated.

2. Air – Fires need oxygen to “breathe” just like we do. The air that we breathe is made up of about 21% oxygen, so there is usually no problem finding enough oxygen to start a fire and to keep it going.

3. Heat – Heat is needed to bring fuel to a high enough temperature to begin combustion or burning.

All workplaces will contain common fuel and heat sources.

It’s important that you are aware of those on your site. Common fuel sources:

  • oily rags, greasy uniforms
  • flammable liquids such as gas, acetone, naphtha, ether
  • vapors escaping from liquids such as those above
  • aerosol sprays such as plastic coatings, oils, insect repellent
  • any building materials that burn easily such as flammable carpets, wall paper, drapes. In some buildings these are made out of less burnable (flame retardant) materials.
  • trash
  • paper
  • cardboard boxes
  • plastic
  • rubber (especially foam)
  • wood

Common heat sources:

  •  electrical equipment
  • wiring
  •  lit cigarettes, lighters, matches
  • heating equipment such as space heaters
  • cooking equipment
  • soldering guns
  • welding equipment or blow torches
  • motors
  • appliances
  • sunshine, this can make enough heat to ignite highly combustible materials such as oily rags.

How are fires put out?

We have learned that a fire must have fuel, air and heat to burn. If one of these is taken away, the fire will stop. Here are the methods:

1. Remove the fuel – This could include actions such as turning off gas, removing anything that might burn from the area of the fire or pumping flammable liquids away from a burning tank. Although fires can be put out this way, your fire plan will not name this as part of your responsibilities.

2. Cut off the oxygen – This is when you smother the fire and cut off its air supply. An example is putting a lid on a frying pan of burning grease.

3. Lower the temperature – When you take away the heat, the fuel is cooled below its burning temperature and the fire stops. This is usually done by throwing water on the fire, but this isn’t always a safe thing to do. You will learn more about this later in the unit.



Conducting a sweep for explosives is done at most major events at NMSU.  Usually, an explosives detection canine is used in large search areas to speed up the search process.

You may assist with this job, but your main responsibility is to make sure all public areas are clear. Do the following:

  • Search the outside of the building and evacuation areas.
  • Try to have only searched areas between you and the exit. Start on the main floor and work your way up to the higher floors or down to the lower floors. Try not to have an unsearched area between you and the exit.
  • Search public areas of the building first as they are the easiest areas for a bomber to have access to.
  • If you must search a room, listen for any unusual sounds such as clicking, buzzing, ticking or beeping. Your hearing is stronger if you close your eyes.
  • Look for objects that are out of place, that don’t belong where they are. This may include such things as a stack of boxes that is much higher than usual.
  • Scan with your eyes: first from floor to waist level, then waist to head level, and finally from head level to ceiling.
  • Pay attention to any place where a device may be hidden, such as rugs, furniture, drapes, pictures, false ceilings and lighting fixtures, heating and air conditioning vents.
  • Do not disturb anything that could cause an explosive device to blow up.
  • Communicate closely with those in charge.

What if I see a suspicious object?

Do not touch it – Switches, lids, flaps, zippers, buttons and other fastenings may explode when opened or closed. Your job is to report anything that looks out of place or suspicious. The bomb squad’s job is to investigate more closely.

Do not change the environment – Too much heat, or light, or other changes may cause the device to explode. If, however, you open or close any doors or windows, or turn any lights on or off, record this information.

Do not use your radio or telephone – A bomb may be set up so that an electronic device can detonate it. Move at least 150 feet away from a suspected bomb before using any communication device such as a cell phone.

Clear and secure the area. Make sure that no one can get into the area – Use tape or whatever is available to make it clear that the area is off limits.

Report – If you find a suspicious object, report it right away to the person named in your post orders. In your report include:

  • a complete description of the object.
  • the exact location, including if it is close to gas and water lines, or electrical panels
  • any obstacles in the way
  • safe access routes
  • the exact time that you found the object.

Remain on alert – It may not be the only device that was set to explode. Be ready to act when you receive further instructions from the authorities involved. Do not make statements to the media – Management or the police have people who are trained to do this. It is not your responsibility.

What does a bomb look like?

Bombs come in many shapes and sizes. They can range from high tech, professional devices to simple, homemade devices. In fact, people can learn how to make a bomb on the Internet and the ingredients can be found in homes and drugstores. Bombs can look like an envelope, pen, telephone, briefcase, shoe box, pipe, or even a gift. No two bombs are alike, but they are all dangerous. Be suspicious of anything unusual.

Other duties as assigned

Other duties as assigned....

There are lots of other things we do in the course of our job that are important but not necessarily documented.  Other duties we may not list on your post assignment but are expected, include:

  • Observing and reporting. 

    Your duties will change a lot from site to site and between areas within some sites. Observing is not just seeing, but watching very carefully and noting what you see. It means noticing things that you might not usually notice, paying careful attention. Observing carefully will be a big help when you make your notes or prepare a report. Reporting involves telling the proper people about what you’ve observed. You may do this by phone, in a conversation or by a written report. You should report anything unusual that happens during your shift, as well as any instances where rules are not being obeyed. It is important that you keep very careful notes and reports as they may be used as evidence in court. 

  • Deterring and detecting crime. Your very presence will deter most criminals from doing something illegal on your site. However, if someone does try to commit a crime, you should call the police and give them valuable information. This may help them catch the criminals or stop the crime while it is still happening. You should carefully make notes so that you remember as many details of the crime as possible.It is important at all times to work to build good relations with the police. Together, with your local police force, you form a security team. It is also important that you know exactly what you are allowed to do and what you are not allowed to do under the law.

  • Keeping good public relations.  On some sites, such as a mall, you will be in constant contact with the public. The client may expect you to give help and information. People may also turn to you if they have a problem. It is important that you always act in a professional manner.

  • Responding to emergencies. If an emergency happens on your site you may be the first person that other people turnto for guidance. You will need to respond in the right way. Every site should have anemergency procedures plan and a fire safety plan that outline what to do if thesesituations happen.You may need to evacuate a building as in the case of a fire. If you know what to do andare able to act quickly, others will have more trust in you. You may also be called uponto deal with other emergencies such as a bomb threat. Bomb threats are not verycommon but if one does happen on your site you will probably be the person who has totake charge. You must know how to respond in these situations.

  • Providing attendees with directions on where to enter the venue for the special event. 
  • Welcoming guests as they arrive at the venue. 
  • Monitoring closed areas of the venue. 
  • Guarding event equipment and vehicles. 
  • Monitoring compliance with alcohol. 
  • Requesting transportation for attendees with disabilities.
  • Finding and reporting safety hazards. Your patrols will involve doing safety inspections on your site and reporting anyproblems right away. A hazard that is detected and fixed quickly cannot cause anaccident or injury. You may save lives by spotting fire hazards or dangerous work habits.
  • As you can see, you will be responsible for a variety of duties. However, your mainduties in all situations are to observe, deter and report.

Powers of Observation

Powers of Observation

Security officers are often described as the “eyes and ears” of sefety. You are hired to notice and report anything unusual about your designated area. It is very important for you to develop strong powers of observation. A great place to practice is on your patrol.

What are powers of observation?

Observation is as a process that includes:

1. Noticing – becoming aware of something through any of your five senses

2. Interpreting – organizing the information into something meaningful

3. Recalling – remembering the information and being able to access it when you need to

Let’s look at this process more closely.

1. Noticing

Have you ever stared at a TV screen, but not really seen what was on it or driven from point A to point B, but didn’t remember how you got there? Your brain was on “automatic pilot” and you were probably thinking about something else. Your senses were giving you information, but you weren’t really paying attention. As a security officer you must be actively aware of everything that is going on around you. This is a skill you can develop only with experience and practice. There are some things you should know about the senses.

  • Hearing-
    • Learn to be very familiar with the sounds that you commonly hear at your site. These include the working sounds of loud machines as well as the quieter sounds of heating and cooling units. It is also important to be aware of background noises and what is causing them. If you are near an airport, a construction area or a busy highway you may have trouble hearing unusual sounds because of the background noises.
    • As you patrol, learn to focus your hearing on any sounds that are out of the ordinary. These include the starting and stopping of machinery or equipment, leaking gas, running water, breaking glass, alarms, screams, arguing, fighting, or voices when there should be none.
    • You can increase your hearing if you close your eyes and stand still for a moment.
    • Learn to judge the distance of a sound by how strong the sound is.
    • Learn to judge what direction a sound is coming from by noticing if it is louder in one ear than the other.
  • Smell-Although the human sense of smell is weak compared to that of many animals, it is still very strong. We can recognize thousands of different smells, and we are able to detect tiny amounts of odor. 
    • You can train yourself to become more sensitive to different odors. As you patrol, practice focusing on smells.
    • Your sense of smell can be very important in protecting your life and the lives of others. Your nose can alert you to the smell of smoke or fumes or vapors before your eyes or ears sense danger. Fumes are the by-product of heating metal and have traces of metal in them. Vapors are wet gases, like steam, that are coming off a liquid such as paint. It is important to know this so that you can choose the type of breathing protection that you may need to enter an area safely.
    • Be aware of what chemicals are used in your workplace, where they are stored, and how to deal with the effects and threats they pose. S
    • Learn to identify odors and be prepared to act fast if you smell anything dangerous. Be aware that smells can cause strong emotional reactions and remain calm.
    • Know that some vapors from chemicals, gasoline, ether and smoke can deaden your sense of smell. Leave the area as quickly as possible.
    • Don’t forget to use your sense of smell to describe people or suspicious conditions that you notice while on patrol.
  • Touch
    • Touch can be used if you find an injured person. You can feel for a person’s pulse or heat from their body. Touch can also be used to comfort someone. Whenever possible get permission to touch someone. Be aware that an unconscious person may become consciousness and be unhappy about being touched.
    • The heat from a vehicle’s tires or engine can help you determine how long it has been parked on your site.
    • In the dark, you can use touch to check if windows or doors have been forced open. Be very careful not to disturb evidence that the police or health and safety or insurance officials may need when they investigate.
    • If you suspect a fire, you can feel a closed door to see if it is hot. If so, do not open it as there is likely fire on the other side.
  • Taste
    • Taste is closely related to the sense of smell. Our taste buds only allow us to experience sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.
    • You should never rely on your sense of taste while on patrol. Your other senses will give you more information and you could become seriously ill by putting unknown substances in your mouth.
  • Sight
    • This is the most important sense used in observation. Most of the information you receive on patrol will be through your eyes.
    • You must have your vision checked regularly and always wear glasses if you need them. If it is difficult for you to switch from seeing at a distance to close up, you may need progressive lenses.
    • While on patrol, you must actively scan large areas and examine small areas in detail. Learn to develop eye control—look at things rather than through them.
    • Look for differences rather than similarities. There are hundreds of blue vans, but few with a dented right rear bumper with red paint on the dent.
    • Be aware of things that can distort or affect your ability to see. The following table gives some special conditions and suggestions of how to deal with them.

2. Interpreting

The second part of the process of observation is interpreting. It is not enough to just notice things using your senses. You must think about the smells, sights, sounds and touches that you have experienced on patrol. Do they give you clues about dangers, accidents or crimes that may be happening? You must analyze everything you experience to decide if it could harm the people and property you are protecting. You must learn to trust your gut instinct and to be suspicious of anything or anyone out of the ordinary. The old saying “better safe than sorry” truly applies to security officers.

Be careful not to jump to conclusions about people—describe what you smell, hear, see or feel but do not assume you always know what the cause is. Sometimes people may seem drunk even when they have not had any alcohol. This could be because they have an illness such as cerebral palsy or diabetes.

Think about these observations and how would you interpret them. Include at least two possibilities for each situation.

a. You are on your second patrol around an office building. You notice two people talking in the waiting area. You’ve seen them earlier in the cafeteria. When you walk toward them, they leave.

b. A store clerk who usually waves to you as you walk by doesn’t look up from the cash register. She has a worried expression on her face.

c. A person is moving from car to car in the parking lot.

d. Someone is running through the mall with a bag in her hand.

e. You notice a strong perfume smell in a room where a camera has just been stolen. Did you think of a number of interpretations for the observations?

Here are a few possibilities.

a. They may be checking the area out before stealing something or they may have serious business in the building.

b. She may be trying to balance her money or there may be a robbery in progress at the store.

c. They may have lost their car or they may be looking for something to steal.

d. She may have just robbed a store or may be hurrying to catch a bus.

e. The thief may have been wearing the perfume or another person passing through may have left the scent.

3. Recalling

The third part of the process of observation is recalling. You will often be asked to recall incidents, faces, names, dates and many other things by your supervisors, clients, police, and even the courts. It is important to record anything you observe as soon as possible. You may be able to remember things for a short time, but memories fade quickly. This is especially true if your mind becomes busy with other things. You can improve your memory by practicing these skills:

Concentration – focus on a single thing while ignoring everything else. Look closely at one person in a crowd and practice describing them while tuning out other people and sounds. Focus on a different sense each time you patrol.

Association – relate something new to something that is already fixed in your memory. You can practice this with names. When you are introduced to someone whose name you need to remember, think about someone you know with the same name.

Repetition – The more you repeat something, the more likely you will remember it. You can practice this skill with license plate numbers.

A final caution

On patrol your biggest enemy can be boredom. This is especially true if you have been working at the same site for a long time. You may not listen and watch as carefully as you should during your patrol. You can fight boredom by adding variety to how you do your patrols. If possible, do your patrol in reverse. For example, do it from the top down or inside then outside or you could do odd floors and then even floors. Pay close attention to details. Our brains try to fit what they see, hear, etc., into what they already know and may distort the information they take in. Things may not always be what they seem.


Check Up 3

An intruder's voice reminds you of a certain movie star's voice.  This helps you recall the sound of the intruder's voice.  What memory skill are you practicing?

  • repetition
  • networking
  • association
  • concentration

Post Assignments


Your duties will be outlined in your post assignments. You will also need to know the company’s standard operating procedures.

Standard operating procedures

Standard operating procedures cover NMSU policies and ways of doing things. These relate to all events on campus. These may include expectations such as dressing neatly, being honest and treating the public politely. They  also tell about rules as well as health and safety issues for the workplace.

Post Assignments 

Post assignments are sometimes called standing orders or post orders. They are the procedures and rules for a specific area or post. They may vary from area to area within the campus and within each event. Each post has its own post assignment. Post assignments are your most important reference. They tell in detail what is involved in your job. Here are some things that post orders may include:

  • contact numbers for emergency personnel
  • where the post is
  • what hours the shifts are
  • how and when to do patrols
  • when to lock and unlock doors
  • how to report problems, etc.
  • specific instructions about what to do in an emergency such as a bomb threat, a fire, intruders, injured employees
  • what to do if there is a power failure, flood, or equipment breakdown, etc.
  • special duties, such as deliveries, and when to perform them
  • rules about who you should let into your area and how you should control the entrance.

Be sure to carefully read all updates or changes in your post assignments. Sometimes you may see that something is missing from your post assignment or that something needs to be changed. You should report these things to your supervisor or manager. Your post assignment will also outline the way in which you are expected to do your duties. You may be given a fixed post where you stand or sit in one place or you may be expected to do patrols where you check a certain area on foot or in a vehicle.


You can prepare yourself before you patrol by

  • being sure to study your post orders and know your site well.
  • checking in with other security personnel to see what happened on the shift before yours.
  • checking your equipment to make sure it is in good working order.

When you patrol

  • do a complete patrol the first time, but avoid routines
  • use all of your senses to become aware of anything unusual
  • don’t rely on your memory, always use your notebook
  • be visible.

Meet the people on your site. Patrol safely by

  • getting back-up before you confront someone
  • walking quietly and trying not to be seen at night
  • assessing hazards and avoiding them.

Try to develop your powers of observation by

  • developing a plan
  • using the information you get from your senses wisely
  • finding ways to help yourself remember details.

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q1

List the three basic security functions:

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q2

is a subtle silent form of communication.

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q3

List three traits of an outstanding security officer as outlined in the training materials.

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q4

What are the three things that are necessary to start a fire?

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q5

What are the three general things you are charged with protecting?

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q6

What should I do if I suspect that a crime has been committed?

  • Evacuate the building and wait for medical crews to arrive.
  • Get help, call the police.
  • Make contact with the alleged criminal to confirm that a crime is/has occurred.
  • Call the nearest security officer for back up.

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q7

What are the three levels of access control?

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q8

A traffic safety vest with reflective materials is required for night time duties only.

  • You must always wear a traffic vest.
  • Correct! Traffic vests are required at all times when in the roadway.

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q9

Why should you open the door all the way before entering a dark room?

  • Because you might set off an alarm
  • Because someone could be hiding behind the door
  • So an intruder can't see you
  • So the light from the hallway can help you see better

Authority and Responsibility TEST Q10

I should call for assistance from law enforcement via my handheld radio if I observe a suspicious package.

  • Do not utilize your handheld radio or cell phone if you see a suspicious package.
  • Correct, never use your handheld radio or cell phone if you observe a suspicious package.


Goals and Objectives

This unit will help you learn:

  • the requirements to become a security officer,
  • your authority as defined by the law,
  • different types of crimes you might encounter,
  • the legal powers of security officers,
  • when a security officer can search someone,
  • what can happen if a security officer oversteps their authority.

Legal Definitions-Your Authority

Laws, Regulations, Crimes and Procedures

Security officers must operate within strict legal and procedural guidelines; you must therefore know these guidelines in order to do your job effectively. This knowledge will help you to recognize and respond correctly to the incidents and crimes you may encounter. It will help you to avoid errors or legal difficulties when detaining suspects, writing and filing reports, and testifying in court. This module provides you with: a basic understanding of laws and regulations that pertain to your responsibilities; information on the legal authority you have as a security guard; and the proper procedures to use in executing your duties.

Your Authority

We will begin by defining what a security officer is, the licenses and training required for security officers, the laws that establish authority for security officers, the regulating body that oversees security licenses,

New Mexico State Annotated Statutes 1978 (NMSA) defines, under chapter 61-27B-2 section W:

"security guard" means an individual who is registered to engage in uniformed or non uniformed services under the direct control and supervision of a licensed private patrol operator or a private patrol operations manager to perform such security missions as watchman, fixed post guard, dog handler, patrolman or other person to protect property or prevent thefts;

A person must be licensed in order to be a bodyguard for hire, a private investigator, a private patrol operator, a security officer, or a polygraphist.  (NMSA 61-27B-3)  

The security officer licensing information has been condensed down to the parts relevant to you and detailed here but the full licensing regulations for bodyguards, private investigators, private patrol operators, and polygraphists are included at the end of this module for your reference.

Licensing is required-- It is unlawful for a person to act: 

  • as a ... security guard... or to make any representation as being a licensee or registrant unless the individual is licensed by the department pursuant to the Private Investigations Act [61-27B-1 NMSA 1978];  
  • continue to act as a ... security guard ... if the individual's license issued pursuant to the Private Investigations Act has expired;
  • or falsely represent that the individual is employed by a licensee. 

A license is NOT required when (NMSA 61-27B-4): 

A.     As used in this section... (full text below)

B.     Investigations Act does not apply to: 

  1.  an individual employed exclusively and regularly by one employer in connection with the affairs of that employer, provided that the individual patrols or provides security only on the premises of the employer as limited by the employer; 

  2. ...(full text below)

As a state institution, we cannot hold a private patrol company license. 

Despite the fact that most of the security requirements do not apply to our personnel, NMSU chooses to exceed the state standards in regards to training and background requirements.  We will provide you with everything you need to obtain your license.


We use the term "security officer" in place of "security guard" because we often ask you to do things beyond guarding.  Both terms fall under the definitions above.

So now you know what a security officer is, lets talk about training:



The state recognizes three levels of security guards (or officers) (NMSA 61-27B-15):

A.       A security guard shall be registered at one of the three levels enumerated in this section that are based on experience, age and other qualifications of the registrant: 

  1. Level one is the entry level registration for security guards who will be working in a position not requiring the registrant to carry arms
  2. Level two is the intermediate level registration for security guards  who are required to be armed but not with firearms; and 
  3. Level three is the advanced level registration for security guards who  may be required to be armed with a firearm.  

B.     Each security guard shall receive a card issued by the department in the security guard's name with a definite expiration date that shall be carried by the security guard at all times when the security guard is performing duties that require the security guard to be registered pursuant to the provisions of this section.  A security guard is not required to obtain a new card each time the security guard changes employment.

History: Laws 2007, ch. 115, § 15.

Here's a more thorough look at each Level's requirements:

A.  On or after July 1, 2007, every individual seeking employment or employed as a level one security guard shall file an application for registration with the department.  (Department of Public Safety) 

B.  The department shall issue a registration for a level one security guard to an individual who files a completed application accompanied by the required fees and who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant:  

  1. is at least eighteen years of age; 
  2. is of good moral character; 
  3. has successfully completed an examination as required by department rule; 
  4. has not been convicted of a felony or an offense involving dishonesty, an offense involving an intentional violent act or the illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon and has not been found to have violated professional ethical standards; 
  5.  has completed a curriculum approved in department rule consisting of level one security guard training prior to being placed on a guard post for the first time as a level one security guard;
  6.  is employed by a private patrol company under the direct supervision of a licensed private patrol operator, a level three security guard or a private patrol operations manager; and  
  7.  meets other requirements set forth in department rules.   History: Laws 2007, ch. 115, § 16.

Required training for Level 1 Security Guard training:

  • Legal training - 4 hours
  • Authority and responsibility – 2 hours
  • Incident scene management and preservation – 2 hours
  • NMSU also requires:
  • Orientation – 2.5 hrs.
  • Traffic control – 4 hrs.
  • Bag Search -- 1 hrs.

To obtain a Level 2 Security Guard license one must meet all the Level 1 requirements.  Additionally they must pass a Level 2 examination, possess a high school diploma or higher and complete the Level 2 training requirements.  Those requirements include all Level 1 training, plus:

  • Legal and practical aspects of use of force and personal/employer liability – 8 hrs.;
  • Verbal and written communication and conflict management – 6 hrs.;
  • First responder basic first aid – 2 hrs.;
  • Specific weapon endorsement(s)
  • NMSU requires:
  • CPR – 3 hrs.
  • Alcohol Server certification – 4 hrs

To obtain a Level 3 Security Guard license one must meet all the Level 1 and 2 requirements.  Additionally they must pass a Level 3 examination, be at least 21 years of age, possess a high school diploma or higher and complete the Level 3 training requirements.  Those requirements include all Level 1 & 2 training, plus:

  • Level 2 training, plus 16+ hrs. in:
  • Firearms safety rules;
  • Weapon manipulation;
  • Types of sidearms;
  • Firearm retention and equipment;
  • Firearm storage devices;
  • Locking devices;
  • Ammunition and storage;
  • Training household members;
  • Hazards of loaded firearms in the home;
  • Mental conditioning and tactics;
  • Weapon manipulation and marksmanship;
  • Threat recognition and judgmental shooting;
  • Laws pertaining to firearms, deadly force, and exercise of powers of arrest (4 hours)

This is the full, detailed statute information 

You can reference any of the statues below directly in the NMSA under chapter 61-27B-2.




Legal Definitions

Private Investigator, Private Patrol Operator, Security Guard - act as a private investigator, private patrol operator, security guard, private investigations employee, private investigations manager or private patrol operations manager or to make any representation as being a licensee or registrant unless the individual is licensed by the department pursuant to the Private Investigations Act [61-27B-1 NMSA 1978];  continue to act as a private investigator, private patrol operator, security guard, private investigations employee, private investigations manager or private patrol operations manager if the individual's license issued pursuant to the Private Investigations Act has expired;  or falsely represent that the individual is employed by a licensee.   


    • Private investigator means an individual who is licensed by the department to engage in business or who accepts employment to conduct an investigation pursuant to the Private Investigations Act to obtain information regarding: 

      crime or wrongs done or threatened against the United States or any state or territory of the United States; 

       a person; 

      the location, disposition or recovery of lost or stolen property; 

      the cause or responsibility for fires, losses, accidents or damage or injury to persons or properties; 

      the securing of evidence to be used before a court, administrative tribunal, board or investigating committee or for a law enforcement officer; or 

      the scene of a motor vehicle accident or evidence related to a motor vehicle accident;  

    • Private investigations employee  means an individual who is registered by the department to work under the direct control and supervision of a private investigator for a private investigation company; 

    • Private patrol company means a legal business entity, the location of which may be within or outside of the state, including an independent or proprietary commercial organization that provides private patrol operator services that are performed in New Mexico and the activities of which include employment of licensed private patrol operators or security guards;  


  • Private Patrol Operator (NMSU 61-27B-10)

    • A.  The department shall issue a license for a private patrol operator to an individual who files a completed application accompanied by the required fees and who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant: 

      • (1)     is at least twenty-one years of age; 

      • (2)     is of good moral character;

      • (3)     has successfully passed an examination as required by department rules; 

      • (4)     has not been convicted of a felony offense, an offense involving dishonesty, an offense involving an intentional violent act or the illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon and has not been found to have violated professional ethical standards; 

      • (5)     has at least three years' experience of actual work performed as a security guard or an equivalent position, one year of which shall have been in a supervisory capacity.  The experience shall have been acquired within five years preceding the filing of the application with the department.  Years of qualifying experience and the precise nature of that experience shall be substantiated by written certification from the applicant's employers and shall be subject to independent verification by the department as it determines is warranted.  The burden of proving necessary experience is on the applicant; 

      • (6)     is firearm certified, if the position will require being armed with a firearm; and 

      • (7)     meets other requirements set forth in rules of the department.  

    • B.     A private patrol operator may not investigate acts except those that are incidental to a theft, embezzlement, loss, misappropriation or concealment of property or other item that the private patrol operator has been engaged or hired to protect, guard or watch.

  • Private patrol employee means an individual who is registered by the department to work under the direct control and supervision of a private patrol operator for a private patrol company;  

  • Bodyguard for hirerender physical protection for remuneration as a bodyguard unless the individual is licensed as a private investigator or a private patrol operator; 

  • Polygraphist - practice polygraphy for any remuneration without a license issued by the department in accordance with the Private Investigations Act.

  • Private Investigative Employee (NMSA 61-27B-11):

    • A.     On or after July 1, 2007, every individual who seeks employment or is currently employed as a private investigations employee or who provides services on a contract basis to a private investigation company shall file an application for registration as a private investigations employee with the department.  

    • B.     The department shall issue a registration for a private investigations employee to an individual who files a completed application accompanied by the required fees and who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant: 

      • (1)     is at least twenty-one years of age; 

      • (2)     is of good moral character; 

      • (3)     possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent;  

      • (4)     has successfully completed an examination as required by department rule; 

      • (5)     has not been convicted of a felony involving an intentional violent act or the illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon and has not been found to have violated professional ethical standards; 

      • (6)     shall be employed by, or shall contract with a private investigation company to provide investigation services for, a private investigation company, under the direct control and supervision of a private investigator; and 

      • (7)     meets other requirements set forth in rules of the department.  

    • C.     If the contract or employment of a private investigations employee with a private investigation company terminates for any reason, the registration of the individual as a private investigations employee immediately terminates.  The private investigations employee shall turn over the employee's registration to the private investigation company upon ceasing employment with that company.  

    • D.     A private investigation company shall notify the department within thirty days from the date of termination of employment of a private investigations employee of the employment termination and return the employee's registration to the department.

  • Private Investigator(NMSA 61-27B-7):

    • A.     The department shall issue a license as a private investigator to an individual who files a completed application accompanied by the required fees and who submits satisfactory evidence that the applicant has met all requirements set forth by the department in rule, including that the applicant: 


      • is at least twenty-one years of age; 

      • is of good moral character; 

      • has successfully passed an examination as required by department rule; 

      • has not been convicted of a felony offense, an offense involving dishonesty or an offense involving an intentional violent act or the illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon and has not been found to have violated professional ethical standards as defined by the department; and 

      • has at least three years' experience that has been acquired within the five years preceding the filing of the application with the department of actual work performed in: 

        • (a)     investigation for the purpose of obtaining information with reference to a crime or wrongs done or threatened against the United States; 

        • (b)     investigation of persons; 

        • (c)     the location, disposition or recovery of lost or stolen property; 

        • (d)     the cause or responsibility for fire, losses, motor vehicle or other accidents or damage or injury to persons or property; or 

        • (e)     securing evidence to be used before a court, administrative tribunal, board or investigating committee or for a law enforcement officer.  

    • B.     Years of qualifying experience and the precise nature of that experience shall be substantiated by written certification from employers and shall be subject to independent verification by the department as it deems warranted.  The burden of proving necessary experience is on the applicant.

A license is NOT required when (NMSA 61-27B-4 ): 

A.     As used in this section, "temporary" means a period of time not to exceed the duration of one private event or one school or nonprofit organization event, as described in Paragraphs (2) and (3) of Subsection B of this section.  

B.     Investigations Act does not apply to: 

  1.  an individual employed exclusively and regularly by one employer in connection with the affairs of that employer, provided that the individual patrols or provides security only on the premises of the employer as limited by the employer; 

  2. an individual employed exclusively to provide temporary security at a private event that is not open to the public; 

  3.  individuals providing temporary security at athletic or other youth events and where the events occur under the auspices of a public or private school or a nonprofit organization; 

  4. an attorney licensed in New Mexico conducting private investigations while engaged in the practice of law; 

  5. an officer or employee of the United States or this state or a political subdivision of the United States or this state while that officer or employee is engaged in the performance of the officer's or employee's official duties; 

  6. a person engaged exclusively in the business of obtaining and furnishing information concerning the financial rating of persons; 

  7.  a charitable philanthropic society or association duly incorporated under the laws of this state that is organized and maintained for the public good and not for private profit; 

  8. a licensed collection agency or an employee of the agency while acting within the scope of employment while making an investigation incidental to the business of the agency, including an investigation of the location of a debtor or the debtor's property; 

  9. admitted insurers, adjusters, agents and insurance brokers licensed by the state performing duties in connection with insurance transactions by them; or 

  10. an institution subject to the jurisdiction of the director of the financial institutions division of the department or the comptroller of currency of the United States.


Legal Definitions-Laws

Understanding Laws

Your job as a security officer is to protect people, property and information. Your authority is based on the laws of the State of New Mexico and NMSU Policy. All New Mexico criminal laws are contained in the New Mexico State Statutes Annotated (NMSA).

Criminal Law

A crime is an act, or failure to act, that is prohibited by law in order to protect the public from harm. A single act could constitute crimes punishable by both state and federal laws, since separate offenses are involved against two different sovereigns (e.g., the state and the federal government). Certain elements exist in every crime. These elements are normally contained in the definition of the crime, and each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt for a suspect to be found guilty. Both intent and act are necessary elements of a crime, and they must occur at the same time. In order for an act to be a crime, it must be done intentionally, not by accident or as an unconscious act. Intent is defined as the deliberate and willful resolve to do an act. It generally is an indispensable part of a crime. For example, one who is pushed by another and then accidentally bumps a third person over a cliff has not acted within the meaning of the law. And intent is not the same as motive.

Intent is the determination to do a certain thing; motive is the reason for doing it. An act is a willed performance of an action. Some crimes can result from failure to act, which is the omission or failure to perform a legally required action, such as feeding one's children. Motive is not an element of a crime. Statutes are laws passed by legislative bodies. 

Types of Criminal Offenses

Felonies are crimes that normally are punishable by a sentence of a year or more in prison. Misdemeanors are those crimes that normally are punishable by one year or less in prison.

The most common offenses that you will encounter can be summarized into three general categories:

  • unauthorized use of drugs and alcoholic beverages,
  • property crimes and
  • violent crimes.

You must know the nature of these offenses and likely offenders. You must be prepared to prevent, detect and report crimes that may be committed.

Here are a few crimes you should be familiar with:

Impersonating a Peace Officer (NMSA 30-27-2.1 1978, et seq.)

A.     Impersonating a peace officer consists of:   

(1)     without due authority exercising or attempting to exercise the functions of a peace officer; or   

(2)     pretending to be a peace officer with the intent to deceive another person.   

B.     Whoever commits impersonating a peace officer is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, the offender is guilty of a fourth degree felony.   

C.     As used in this section, "peace officer" means any public official or public officer vested by law with a duty to maintain public order or to make arrests for crime, whether that duty extends to all crimes or is limited to specific crimes.   

Refusing to Aid an officer (NMSA 30-22-2 1978, et seq.)

Refusing to aid an officer consists of refusing to assist any peace officer in the preservation of the peace when called upon by such officer in the name of the United States or the state of New Mexico.   

Whoever commits refusing to aid an officer is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.   

Powerful when used in reverse. When you have an issue you call an officer, if he directs you to take reasonable action you can without any liability to you. Under the officers authority it would be a crime if you didn’t do it. 

Shoplifting (NMSA 30-16-20 1978, et seq.)

As used in Sections 40A-16-19 through 40A-16-23 [40A-16-22] New Mexico Statutes Annotated, 1953 Compilation [30-16-19 to 30-16-23 NMSA 1978]:   

A few definitions for clarity:

A.     "store" means a place where merchandise is sold or offered to the public for sale at retail;   

B.     "merchandise" means chattels of any type or description regardless of the value offered for sale in or about a store; and   

C.     "merchant" means any owner or proprietor of any store, or any agent, servant or employee of the owner or proprietor.  

Shoplifting is:

A.   Shoplifting consists of one or more of the following acts: 

  1. willfully taking possession of merchandise with the intention of converting it without paying for it; 
  2. willfully concealing merchandise with the intention of converting it without paying for it; 
  3. willfully altering a label, price tag or marking upon merchandise with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the value of it; or 
  4. willfully transferring merchandise from the container in or on which it is displayed to another container with the intention of depriving the merchant of all or some part of the value of it. 

B.   Whoever commits shoplifting when the value of the merchandise shoplifted: 

  1. is two hundred fifty dollars ($250) or less is guilty of a petty misdemeanor; 
  2. is more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) but not more than five hundred dollars ($500) is guilty of a misdemeanor; 
  3. is more than five hundred dollars ($500) but not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) is guilty of a fourth degree felony; 
  4. is more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) but not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) is guilty of a third degree felony; or 
  5. is more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) is guilty of a second degree felony. 

C.   An individual charged with a violation of this section shall not be charged with a separate or additional offense arising out of the same transaction.

History: 1953 Comp., § 40A-16-20, enacted by Laws 1965, ch. 5, § 2; 1969, ch. 24, § 1; 1987, ch. 121, § 8; 2006, ch. 29, § 10.

 Criminal Trespass (30-14-1)

Trespassing is going onto someone else’s property when you do not have the authority to do so or when you are not wanted on the property.

A.   Criminal trespass consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon posted private property without possessing written permission from the owner or person in control of the land. The provisions of this subsection do not apply if:   

  1. the owner or person in control of the land has entered into an agreement with the department of game and fish granting access to the land to the general public for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing; or   
  2. a person is in possession of a landowner license given to him by the owner or person in control of the land that grants access to that particular private land for the purpose of taking any game animals, birds or fish by hunting or fishing.   

B.   Criminal trespass also consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon the unposted lands of another knowing that such consent to enter or remain is denied or withdrawn by the owner or occupant thereof.  Notice of no consent to enter shall be deemed sufficient notice to the public and evidence to the courts, by the posting of the property at all vehicular access entry ways.   

C.   Criminal trespass also consists of knowingly entering or remaining upon lands owned, operated or controlled by the state or any of its political subdivisions knowing that consent to enter or remain is denied or withdrawn by the custodian thereof.   

D.   Any person who enters upon the lands of another without prior permission and injures, damages or destroys any part of the realty or its improvements, including buildings, structures, trees, shrubs or other natural features, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and he shall be liable to the owner, lessee or person in lawful possession for civil damages in an amount equal to double the value of the damage to the property injured or destroyed.   

E.   Whoever commits criminal trespass is guilty of a misdemeanor. Additionally, any person who violates the provisions of Subsection A, B or C of this section, when in connection with hunting, fishing or trapping activity, shall have his hunting or fishing license revoked by the state game commission for a period of not less than three years, pursuant to the provisions of Section 17-3-34 NMSA 1978.   

F.   Whoever knowingly removes, tampers with or destroys any "no trespass" sign is guilty of a petty misdemeanor; except when the damage to the sign amounts to more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), he or she is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to imprisonment in the county jail for a definite term less than one year or a fine not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) or to both such imprisonment and fine in the discretion of the judge.   

G.   This section, as amended, shall be published in all issues of "Big Game Hunt Proclamation" as published by the department of game and fish.   

  History: 1953 Comp., § 40A-14-1, enacted by Laws 1963, ch. 303, § 14-1; 1975, ch. 52, § 1; 1979, ch. 186, § 1; 1981, ch. 34, § 1; 1983, ch. 27, § 2; 1991, ch. 58, § 1; 1995, ch. 164, § 1. 

What does this mean?

For a defendant to be found guilty of criminal trespass... the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to each of the following elements of the crime:    

1.  The defendant entered identified lands or structure    

2.  This property was not open to the public at that time;    

3.  The defendant knew or should have known that he did not have permission to enter;    

4.  This happened in New Mexico.  

What are some ways in which someone should have known that they didn't have permission to enter?  Is there a fence around the area? No trespassing signs? or are they banned from campus?

NMSU provides people who are banned from campus a legal notice that they should not be on the premises.  A person can be banned from campus for a variety of reasons, such as wrongfully using our property, committing an offense that is deemed violent or a threat to our community among others. 

It is important that you understand that you are NOT a sworn law enforcement officer, even if you are deputized under current or past employment endeavors, you do not have arrest authority while performing as an NMSU Security Officer. NMSU does not expect and will not require you to perform the duties of a sworn law enforcement officer. Unless there is a situation involving the imminent danger of injury, death or destruction to persons or property, and you have no choice but to act to minimize or prevent the commission of a crime, you should always try to report to dispatch first, then act. In instances where you are compelled to act, once you have taken action to control the situation, you must immediately report the situation to dispatch. Dispatchers have instant and direct access to law enforcement, fire and the life safety/rescue teams in the region. When you report a situation, they will dispatch the appropriate personnel to your location. Dispatchers receive extensive training on dealing with a wide variety of incidents, and they act as a conduit to security and law enforcement.

Check UP 1

Explain the difference between felony and misdemeanor charges.

Powers of Arrest

Powers to Detain

The New Mexico State law provides the general authority for a citizen's arrest and/or detention, available to security officers or anyone not appointed as a peace officer.

What exactly does "arrest" mean?  What does "detain" mean?

Basically, arrest and detention happens when someone uses their authority to take away another person's freedom. The United States Constitution protects our fundamental right of freedom. It is very important for you to know when you are justified in arresting someone.

Detaining someone is very similar, in that you are using your authority to take away another person's freedom.  It differs though because you are doing so for a temporary period while an investigation can be conducted.

So when am I justified in making an arrest/detention?

There are three situations in which you may arrest/detain someone.  The first situation applies anywhere and is termed an arrest.    

1.  If you find someone committing a felony offense, you may arrest them. This could be happening anywhere, but you must be able to provide evidence in court that you found the person committing the entire offense. You can’t just see the end result or the beginning. Also, you have to arrest the person right away. If the person runs away and you run after them, you can only arrest them if you have “continuous fresh pursuit.” This means that you continue to chase them and catch them. You do not have “continuous fresh pursuit” if the person escapes. If you see that same person three hours later in a mall you cannot arrest them.  However, you can explain the situation to the police who may be able to do something.

The second situation applies only to the property that the owner has asked you to protect and is termed detention.

2.  You may detain anyone who you find in the act of shoplifting (defined in "Laws" section).  For example, you are working at Barnes and Noble and see someone place items in their backpack.  You may approach and detain them if they leave the store without paying for the merchandise.  Simply placing the items in a backpack is not reason enough to detain them.  An important requirement is also that the person making such an arrest must have reasonable belief that it is not feasible in the circumstances for a peace officer to make the arrest.

The third situation applies when you are helping someone else who has the lawful authority to arrest and is also termed detention.

3.  You must detain when instructed by a police officer.  The instruction by the officer can come via radio or in person but must be a direct order.  For instance, you are working at the a reception by yourself and you observe a fight in progress.  You call the situation in to dispatch and an officer advises you to break up the fight and detain the suspect until he arrives.

This means that you can arrest w/out a warrant (detain) if:

  • it is a felony offense

  • incidents of shoplifting

  • an officer instructs you to

This is a serious decision however, and should only be used as a last resort.

Civil Liability

This section will explain your responsibility and liability as a security officer.  Important terms are defined.

Actions based on poor judgement can lead to legal problems for both you and NMSU.  When one party believes it has been injured, damaged, or wronged by another party, it may make a lawful claim for damages.  The claim, or lawsuit, is presented to a civil court where both parties may explain their positions to the judge or jury.  The responsibility for the things we do, with the possibility of being sued by another is called civil liability.

As a security officer, you are a representative of NMSU.  Therefore, any negligence or wrongful acts committed by you may also cause NMSU to be held responsible.  Suits may be brought against you and/or NMSU.

Individual liability:  Results from your own (individual) actions.You are responsible for what you do and what you don’t do but should have done.  For example, if you are operating outside of departmental policy and procedure or statutory authority.

Employer Liability:  Results from an employee’s actions/inaction. The employer is ultimately responsible for what employees do. (Also called “supervisory liability” or respondeat superior.)

For example: A security officer makes a false arrest.  The person arrested may file a civil lawsuit for damages against you, NMSU,  and anyone else believed to be responsible.  Even if the civil suit fails, it may be costly to defend.

As a security officer you have a legal duty to protect the people, property and information at NMSU.  

Legal Duty- obligation to exercise reasonable level of care to prevent injury to person or his property.

Duty of care is the obligation to exercise a level of care towards an individual that is reasonable to avoid injury to that person or his property. Colleges and universities have a number of relationships that may establish the duty of care including students, faculty and staff, and even visitors. Some examples of where there is a duty of care include the following:

  • •Providing safe, adequate and properly maintained equipment
  • •Ensuring health and safety laws and regulations are obeyed and that physical property is safe and maintained properly
  • •Performing background checks of prospective employees to screen out those who may represent a threat to the safety of students and/or staff.

Courts have ruled that colleges are fairly well-positioned to exercise reasonable care to keep students safe from violent crime on campus because they have “the ability to design and implement a security system, hire and supervise security officers, provide security at the entrances of dormitories, install proper locks, and establish a system of announcement for authorized visitors.”

The Duty

The establishment of a duty for police officers is far from being clear-cut.  The courts have held that security only has a general duty to protect society in most cases, and not a duty to protect a particular individual.  As such, they cannot be held liable for the injuries caused to the individual in cases where they acted reasonably.  A specific duty does begin to be established, however, when security enters into a special relationship with an individual.  An example of such a relationship is a security officer who tells a witness that she will be protected if she agrees to testify in court against an assailant.  At this point, the officer has created a legal duty to which the department is bound.  It is important to note that the duty requirement does not necessarily include moral or ethical duties.  Many would agree a security officer has a moral or ethical duty to jump into a lake to save a child from drowning, however, there is not necessarily a legal duty to do so. 

In tort law, the standard of care is the degree of prudence and caution required of an individual who is under a duty of care.

Another way to establish a duty is by identifying the standard of care in the community or region.  The standard of care is best characterized as the expectations of the community, peers, or the department.  A commonly used tool in defining the standard of care is the department’s policies and procedures manual.  It often defines what the agency expects of an officer in particular circumstances.  Violation of this may be a breach of the standard the department expects the officer to meet. 

Properly written policies and procedures manual guides officers and establishes that the department is acting reasonably to protect the public.  As such, it is one of the most important items for reducing potential exposure to civil litigation.

A tort is a wrongful act or infringement of a right leading to civil liability.  Usually the “fix”  to a tort is money.

There are 3 Types of torts:

  • Intentional  (knew or should have known).  For example, the railing at the stadium was broken and someone fell when trying to use it to go up the stairs
  • Negligent  (unreasonably unsafe). For example, we chose not to evacuate a building that was on fire.
  • Strict liability  (product liability). For example, if NMSU hired a subcontractor and they lacked the proper insurance.  If the subcontractor makes a mistake, NMSU is strictly liable for any damage that occurs.

Breach of Duty

Breach of duty is violating the duty or standard of care and thereby exposing another to potential damage.

A duty has been breached when a defendant has knowingly exposed another to potential damage, injury or harm. A defendant who did not realize he was exposing another to harm, but should have recognized the probability that any reasonable person would have recognized has breached his duty as well.

While establishing a duty may be difficult, establishing a breach of that duty is much easier.  Once the duty has been identified, it is simply a matter of demonstrating that the required action was not performed, or that a prohibited action was carried out.  However, proving that this breach of duty caused the alleged harm is often not as simple. 

In order to establish that the harm was caused by the breach of duty, the plaintiff must be able to show that the harm would not have been caused but for the breach.  This is often difficult to do in situations involving security officers, for they are often responding to a call for help when something has already happened that they have no control over and that they did not cause.  The following example helps to illustrate:

A man is involved in a traffic crash and suffers a broken arm.  He calls the police for help, and an officer is dispatched to the scene.  However, the officer stops on the way to the call to get a cup of coffee.  While the officer has clearly violated the standard of care in responding to an injury-involved traffic crash, he may not be held liable for the broken arm the man suffered because the officer’s breach of duty did not cause the injury.

It is important to point out, however, that while a breach of duty may not cause the initial harm, if the plaintiff can demonstrate that additional injuries resulted because of the breach, the department and/or the officer may be liable. 

Using the above example, assume the officer was five minutes away from the scene of the crash when dispatched.  The officer then took an additional ten minutes to get coffee.  Eight minutes after the officer was dispatched to the scene, another vehicle crashes into the back of the injured man’s car, causing a broken leg.  While the officer cannot be held liable for the broken arm, he may be held liable for the broken leg.  Liability will attach if it can be shown that the second crash would not have occurred had the officer responded in a reasonable manner (pursuant to the standard of care) and protected the accident scene using emergency lights, traffic cones, and/or flares.

In this case, the officer’s breach of duty did lead to the injury (the broken leg), and thus the officer may be held liable for the damage.  (Note:  It is important to point out that the officer in this example may have also acted outside the scope of his duties, and may therefore be personally liable as well as professionally liable.  If the department has a policy of allowing officers to stop and get coffee while enroute to injury-involved traffic crashes, it may also be held liable.)



Negligence occurs when a duty or standard of care is not met or when there is a breach of duty.

Common “prongs” of a negligence claim against an employer:

  • Negligent Hiring
  • Negligent Training
  • Negligent Supervision
  • Negligent Retention

Negligence claims do not arise only as a result of failing to properly train employees.  There are a number of other commonly litigated areas that are based on the negligence theory, including negligent hiring, supervision, and retention.  Frequently, claims of negligent training will be accompanied by claims in at least one of these areas, as well.

Negligent Hiring:  This is a claim alleging that the agency or administrator did not act properly and/or reasonably in the selection and hiring process.  This can stem from use of poor selection guidelines and criteria (or none at all), as well as failing to check references and backgrounds. 

Negligent Supervision:  Claims for negligent supervision allege that the administrator did not properly guide, monitor, evaluate, or discipline the employee.  While commonly thought of as attaching liability to the employee’s immediate supervisor, liability exposure frequently extends up through the entire chain of command.  Lack of supporting documentation, improperly conducted performance evaluations, and failing to monitor an employee’s work are all common pitfalls in this area.

Negligent Retention:  This is a claim that the employee was not fit for the assignment or responsibilities, the employer knew or should have known this, and the employer failed to reassign or terminate the employee.  Liability for negligent retention can attach when the employee has engaged in a pattern of safety violations, violations of other people’s rights, or serious breaches of policies and procedures.  Even if the employer has taken some disciplinary action, the plaintiff will usually try to argue that the employer should have terminated the employee.  

Negligent Training:  Training of employees is critical in any occupation.  It is through training that an employee learns what is expected, what the norms of the agency are, and how to conduct themselves in a variety of circumstances.  In other words, “training” teaches the employee the correct method of doing the job.  An employer who does not train new employees is essentially telling them that what they do and how they do it does not matter.  Training is an important tool for the administrator not only to keep the employee from violating someone’s rights, but also to achieve the goals and objectives of the agency/department.


Intro to Use of Force

Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ensures every individual the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizures, allowing individuals to uphold their right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment also states that a warrant must be issued in order to allow law enforcement officials to search your home or property. For a warrant to be issued, probable cause must be presented and the warrant must contain the exact location to be searched, as well as the property that is approved to be seized.

The main circumstance under which campus security officers or private security officers may conduct a search is when notice is given. If a person refuses to submit to a search the security officer does not have the authority to force them.  Call an officer, follow the person and be a good set of eyes until the officer arrives.

When notice is given - “Reasonable” searches can be conducted of a person’s vehicle or property when notice has been given.  The most common time you will encounter this is with bag search as a facility pre-event screening.Example 1

The only other time you can perform a search is if you are instructed by a police officer.

Company A makes wrenches, screwdrivers and hammers. To cut down on theft, as employees leave, their lunch bags, purses, briefcases, boxes and packages are subject to search. They may even have to walk through metal detectors. A “body search” would not be considered “reasonable” and therefore could result in lawsuit and possibly arrest.

Example 2

The university has posted a sign at the entrance of their property that states “all vehicles entering subject to search.” This may be at a nuclear plant, school, city or state owned property, park or private company. By entering the property where the sign has been posted in plain view, the person entering is considered to have given “consent” to search and now a reasonable search can be conducted to insure that the driver has no weapons or illegal items in the vehicle. As an agent of the property, the security officer would be authorized to conduct those searches in a manner that the law allows and the employer mandates. (NMSU does not have any such signs on our property)

NM is more restrictive than feds and generally favor warrants so we typically yield to NM in most circumstances.


Use of Force

A major piece of the puzzle when talk about legal issues surrounding security officers is the use of force.  Use of force can be defined as the effort required to gain compliance by an unwilling subject.  The Reactive Control Model (RCM) displayed below is a general guide for you to understand the type of response you should exert given the subject's behavioral cues.  We will take a deeper look into the use of force and RCM in one of your in-person courses.

Blue and Yellow are typically responsive to de-escalation techniques. 

Orange and red mean you need to escalate your actions.

95% of people fall into the “cooperative” category

3-4% fall into yellow but could become cooperative based on de-escalation techniques

1-2% can become violent either lethal or not

We do arrest people who are cooperative, most people are cooperative.


Check UP 2

If you have not arrested someone what must that person do before you can search them?



  • New Mexico State Annotated Statutes 1978 (NMSA) defines, under chapter 61-27B-2 section W:  

    "security guard" means an individual who is registered to engage in uniformed or non uniformed services under the direct control and supervision of a licensed private patrol operator or a private patrol operations manager to perform such security missions as watchman, fixed post guard, dog handler, patrolman or other person to protect property or prevent thefts;

  • A person must be licensed in order to be a bodyguard for hire, a private investigator, a private patrol operator, a security officer, or a polygraphist.  (NMSA 61-27B-3),

  • Your job as a security officer is to protect people, property and information. Your authority is based on the laws of the State of New Mexico and NMSU Policy.

  • A crime is an act, or failure to act, that is prohibited by law in order to protect the public from harm.

  • Both intent and act are necessary elements of a crime, and they must occur at the same time.

  • Felonies are crimes that normally are punishable by a sentence of a year or more in prison. Misdemeanors are those crimes that normally are punishable by one year or less in prison.

  • This means that you can arrest w/out a warrant (detain) if 1)it is a felony offense, 2)incidents of shoplifting, 3)an officer instructs you to

  • Reasonable detention: 

    If any law enforcement officer, special officer or merchant has probable cause for believing that a person has willfully taken possession of any merchandise with the intention of converting it without paying for it, or has willfully concealed merchandise, and that he can recover the merchandise by detaining the person or taking him into custody, the law enforcement officer, special officer or merchant may, for the purpose of attempting to affect [effect] a recovery of the merchandise, take the person into custody and detain him in a reasonable manner for a reasonable time.

  • The arrest of a person may be lawfully made also by any peace officer or a private person without a warrant upon reasonable information that the accused stands charged in the courts of a state with a crime punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, but when so arrested the accused must be taken before a judge or magistrate with all practicable speed and complaint must be made against him under oath setting forth the ground for the arrest as in the preceding section [31-4-13 NMSA 1978]; and thereafter his answer shall be heard as if he had been arrested on a warrant.   

  • The responsibility for the things we do, with the possibility of being sued by another is called civil liability.

  • Duty of care is the obligation to exercise a level of care towards an individual that is reasonable to avoid injury to that person or his property.

  • Negligence occurs when a duty or standard of care is not met or when there is a breach of duty.

  • The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ensures every individual the right to be protected from unreasonable search and seizures, allowing individuals to uphold their right to privacy.

  • RCM stands for Reactive Control Model

Legal TEST Q 1-5

  • Breach of Duty
    Obligation to exercise reasonable level of care.
  • Citizen's arrest is
    Made by a person who is not a sworn law enforcement officer
  • NMSA 61-27B-3 and NMSA 61-27B-4
    Security license is required, however, some are exempted.
  • NMSA 31-4-13
    Arrest without warrant
  • NMSA 30-16-23
    Reasonable detention

Legal TEST Q6

You can arrest or detain if it is a , incidents of , or if an instructs you to.

Legal TEST Q7

 is the obligation to exercise reasonable level of care to prevent injury to person or his property.

Legal TEST Q8

The main circumstance under which campus security officers or private security officers may conduct a search is when

Legal TEST Q9

Both and are necessary elements of a crime, and they must occur at the same time.

Legal TEST Q10

are crimes that normally are punishable by a sentence of a year or more in prison. are those crimes that normally are punishable by one year or less in prison.


Goals and Objectives

In this module you will learn:

  • the four requirements of a message
  • what tactical communication is
  • how to deal with difficult or angry people. 
  • how to interact with a wide variety of people including those with impairments
  • communicate without discrimination or harassment
  • how to evaluate threat assessment cues
  • how to utilize a police handheld radio

Verbal Communication-The Message

Success in security depends largely on the ability to interact with people from all walks of life effectively. People react to how you look, how you act, how you speak and how you treat them. You are often the first contact the public has when entering an event and the last person they see when they leave. Visitors and employees will make immediate judgments about you based on your appearance, your demeanor, your body language and your performance. These conclusions color their impression of the police department and NMSU as a whole.  The impression you make is a lasting one. People may choose to cooperate or not cooperate with you depending on how you treat them.

Effective communication requires four important pieces: a sender, a message, a receiver, and feedback.

There are lots of things that can interfere with the message, such as:  

When you are the sender of information it is your job to eliminate as many of the barriers as possible to ensure that your message is received accurately.  These are some possible barriers that the sender should be mindful of:

  • Too Loud/Overbearing
  • Too Soft or Unemotional
  • Too Intense/Expressive
  • Inappropriateness
  • Inability to use feedback
  • Rambling
  • Speak

As the receiver you are the designated listener in the conversation. These are some possible barriers that the receiver should be mindful of:

  • Not receptive to idea(s) – contrary attitude
  • Prejudice to message (lack of tolerance or understanding)
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Suspicion or lack of acceptance of the speaker

Some other common barriers can be:

  • Hostility (serious obstacle)
  • Withdrawal
  • Self-centered behavior
  • Non-participation
  • Over-generalization
  • Differing meanings
  • Physical inabilities
  • Inadequate perception
  • Inadequate caring/sensitivity
  • Lack of flexibility (black-or-white)
  • Dogma (inside-the-box)
  • Stereotyping
  • Inability to distinguish fact from opinion
  • Physical Noise
  • Interruptions
  • Size/space/carrying distance
  • Message is distorted as it is re-told or passed down the line
  • Inability to verify information

Check UP 1

Effective communication requires four important pieces: a , a , a , and.

Verbal Communication-Tactical Communication and Threats

Tactical Communication

The ways in which we interact with members of the public affect their view of our profession but can also impact their compliance when we need to convince them to do something.  In the following lesson you will learn what tactical communication is an how to use it, how to manage situations with difficult people, and 

First, let's start by defining tactical communication. Tactical communication is  the expressing of ideas and conveying of messages through the use of verbal and non-verbal means in a manner that does not jeopardize the safety of the officer/employee.  

You should try to talk with people before using any kind of physical force.  As you know from your legal training, 95% of people are compliant.  Your safety and the safety of others should always be paramount.  There may come a point where you need to stop talking and start doing.  It is time to stop talking and start doing when:

  •  A physical attack is taking place
  • You reach the point of excessive repetition
  • You recognize significant threat assessment cues

Threat assessment cues are physical and verbal indicators that a threat is present.  Sometimes these cues may seem obvious and other times they are more subdued.  A threatening person may display one or more than one of the cues.  Keep in mind that the cues do not always mean a threat is present, they can indicate a medical problem or other impairment.

  • Verbalized threats, swearing, challenging;
  • Subject clenches his/her fists;
  • Subject’s face gets red (or sometimes pale);
  • Subject’s teeth are clenched, lips are tight against the teeth, or jaw is set;
  • Subject starts to take deep breaths;
  • Subject starts to turn into a bladed (fighter’s) stance;
  • Subject keeps glancing at possible weapons or target areas
  • Subject starts to rock back and forth, shifts body 

    weight, or starts to stand on the balls of the feet;

  • Subject stares past you (thousand-yard stare);

  • Subject makes direct, uninterrupted eye contact;

  • Subject ignores you;

  • Subject’s mood changes drastically in a brief time;

  • Subject starts to close distance for no apparent reason;

  • Subject moves in exaggerated or aggressive manner;

  • Subject tries to distract you.


When trying to detect a lie, remember: 

It is easy to lie with words, but harder to lie with the body.  If the body language “says” something different from the words, tend to believe the body language.

Dealing with Difficult People

Now that you know how to spot the signs of a threat, let's learn how to deal with it.  

  1. Introduce yourself - "Hi, my name is Bob and I am a security officer with the NMSU Police Department"
  2. Be an active listener
  3. Empathize - "I am sorry that you had such difficulty accessing the venue."
  4. Re-word and repeat- "Am I understanding you correctly that..."
  5. Re-direct the conversation- keep the focus on the current problem, you don't want to talk about what happened to them last year when they visited the stadium.
  6. Focus on a solution -understanding their desires will go a long way to finding a solution
  7. Present options- "Your options for entering the facility are to allow us to search your bag, return the bag to your vehicle, or not enter the facility."
  8. Be honest- don't present unrealistic options or things that you can't follow through on, this will only make matters worse.
  9. Remain professional- someone may raise their voice or try to escalate the conversation.  Maintain your tone of voice and professional demeanor.  This can often calm the situation.
  10. Speak softly
  11. Use “non-threatening” posture- holding your hand on your pepper spray and standing as if you are about to initiate physical contact will not help the verbal communication between you and someone who is being difficult.
  12. Gather necessary information- you may need to get their name and identifiers for later on.
  13. If initiating contact, tell why- "I want to let you know that your behavior is becoming disturbing to those around you."

14. “Is this going to make it worse?”-  Ask yourself, is my action or statement going to make things worse?  Sometimes "worse" can't be avoided, in which case you will be prepared for what comes next.

Safety Tips

  • Distance is your friend.
  • Always trust your instincts
  • If someone is causing you apprehension, say something
  • Don’t be embarrassed
  • Focus on your job but don’t forget the things and people around you
  • Have an “escape” plan
  • Have a means of protecting yourself
  • Don’t stay in a dangerous situation
  • Don’t panic-remain calm and speak in a calming tone, stay in control.
  • Remember 9-1-1

Safety is your first priority

  • Leave the area
  • Call for help
  • Make a report

Check UP 2

is  the expressing of ideas and conveying of messages through the use of verbal and non-verbal means in a manner that does not jeopardize the safety of the officer/employee.  

Verbal Communication-Impaired

Communicating With The Impaired

All of us are responsible for treating every person with respect and compassion. You must overcome your fears and prejudices, so they don’t have a negative effect on your interactions with others. Each person you meet has their own personality and will respond in their own way to your actions. If you observe people closely and listen to them actively, you should be able to respond to most of their needs. Some people have special needs and you may have to adjust your responses to make sure that you have served them well. It is important to use correct language when referring to people with special needs. If you remember that they are people first this should help you become more comfortable communicating with them.

Here are some tips for communicating with people with different needs.

People who are hard of hearing or Deaf

  • Get the person’s attention before speaking.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Face the person while you are speaking and make sure they can see your mouth so they can read your lips.
  • Speak slowly and clearly. Do not shout
  • Use body language and gestures
  • Move to a quiet location if necessary
  • If the person doesn’t understand you, say your sentence again in a different way. Don’t repeat the same words over and over.
  • Use a pen and paper to communicate if necessary.

People who are visually impaired or blind

  • Greet the person using a normal tone of voice.
  • Identify yourself and ask if they need help.
  • Touch your hand to the back of their hand as a signal for them to take your arm
  • Identify anyone else who is present
  • Let them tell you the best way to guide them.
  • Let them know when you are coming to such things as a curb, a rough area in the sidewalk or anything that is in the way.
  • Describe their surroundings in detail, especially inside a building.
  • Tell them when they are coming to a door and which way it opens.
  • Tell them when they are coming to stairs and if they go up or down.
  • Face the stairs directly and wait for the person to find the edge of the first step.
  • Stay one step ahead, stop at the end of the stairway.
  • Let the person know when you are leaving.

People with mobility needs (These include people in wheelchairs and people who have difficulty walking):

  • Always ask the person if they need help before acting.
  • If you are helping someone walk, let them take your arm.
  • Don’t rush.
  • Communicate with someone in a wheelchair at eye level when possible.
  • In elevators, pull the wheelchair in so that the person is facing the front.

People with physical problems that affect their behavior

Some people you meet will be physically sick, but it may seem like they are drunk or mentally ill. Here are some examples of physical problems:

  • diabetes – someone who is going into diabetic shock may stagger around or pass out in a coma
  • severe infections, the flu, pneumonia – may cause dizziness, confusion, forgetfulness
  • concussion or brain injury – may cause confusion, memory loss, aggression.
  • What you do when you meet these people may save their lives. Here are some things to keep in mind:
  • Never assume you know what someone’s problem is just by what you see.
  • Introduce yourself and ask how you can help.
  • Try to get more information by calmly questioning the person or witnesses.
  • Look for a Medical Alert bracelet or necklace. They contain important information about over 200 different ailments, from allergies to heart disease.
  • If the person is conscious, always ask permission before you touch them, and explain what you are doing.
  • If a person is not breathing, begin CPR. Make sure an ambulance is on the way before you try to help.

People whose first language is not English

The United States of America is a multicultural society. That means that people from all cultures receive the same rights and freedoms if they obey American laws. Every year new immigrants and refugees come to the US, many of whom do not speak or understand English well. You will meet many such people in your role as a security officer. Many people will see you as an authority because of your uniform. In some other countries security officers are more involved in police work than they are here. Some people may react strongly toward you because they have had bad experiences with authorities in their country. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Show patience and respect.
  • Think about what you want to say before you speak.
  • Speak loudly enough for them to hear you, but don’t yell.
  • Speak slowly. You may need to ask them to speak more slowly also.
  • Use short sentences. Avoid difficult words or slang expressions like “stay put” or “hang in there,” etc. 
  • Ask them only one question at a time.
  • Respect their personal space.
  • Use gestures, writing and drawing to add to your words.
  • Check for understanding.
  • Ask them to repeat what you said.
  • Don’t pretend you understand them if you don’t.
  • Ask questions if necessary.
  • Smile. Friendly body language speaks clearly.

Seniors and young people

The number of seniors in the US is growing very quickly. You may need to assist some older folks by giving them directions, explaining policies, helping them physically, etc. The important thing to remember is to always ask if they need help before you act. Some people may be very independent, and others may be frightened by your presence. Young children may see you as a police officer. They may react to you with respect or fear. It is important for you to approach a lone child in an open and friendly way. Crouch down or kneel when speaking to very young children. You should avoid touching or crowding young children as this may cause them to run away. They may also hurt themselves or you. Remember that young children are taught not to talk to strangers or go with strangers. Touching children could lead to misunderstandings or legal problems later on. Reassure a child that you are trying to help, and that you want them to be safe. Older children may try to test your authority. It is important not to get into a power struggle when you are tested. Be friendly but firm when dealing with youths. They must be given the same respect as everyone else.

People with mental illnesses

A mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe problems with thinking, feeling and relating to others. People with mental illnesses often have difficulty with everyday tasks. As a security officer you will likely come in contact with people with mental illnesses. It is important for you to have a general understanding of the major types of mental illnesses, so that you can make important decisions about how you can best relate to these people.

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses. Anxiety is a feeling of unease that people experience when they expect to be in danger. These disorders include phobias, panic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  • People with phobias have extreme fear of certain objects or situations.
  • People with panic disorders have sudden, intense feelings of terror for no apparent reason. With these feelings they also have physical symptoms similar to a heart attack.
  • People with obsessive-compulsive disorders are anxious and they may do the same thing over and over or repeat words and phrases.
  • Mood disorders include depression and bipolar disorder (manic depression). People with mood disorders may have mood swings that include extreme sadness or joy. With these mood changes they also have changes in activity or energy levels. Suicide may be a risk with these disorders.
  • Dementias include diseases like Alzheimer’s. People with dementia may have memory problems and a loss of thinking and reasoning skills.
  • Substance-related disorders include problems caused by misuse of alcohol or drugs or by inhaling chemicals.
  • Psychotic disorders affect people’s sense of reality. Schizophrenia is the most well known of these disorders. It is believed to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. People with psychotic disorders may be emotionally stable if they are properly diagnosed and receive the proper care. When they do not take their medication or are under a lot of stress, they may act in unusual ways.

Here are some things you may observe:  

  • a change in behavior. The person suddenly becomes very quiet or very talkative.
  • a loss of memory. The person is confused and may not know the time, the date or who they are.
  • one-sided conversations. The person seems to speak to someone who is not there.
  • delusions. The person thinks they are a famous character or person, who may be living or dead.
  • fear- The person thinks someone is spying on them, trying to harm them.
  • hallucinations. The person sees, hears, feels, smells or tastes things that are not there.
  • paranoia. The person is terrified and shows signs of panic for no obvious reason.

What can I do for someone who is mentally disturbed? Most people with mental illnesses are not dangerous or violent. It is important for you to decide if a person could create a problem. If a person is mildly disturbed, you may be able to help calm them just by talking and actively listening to them. If a person is severely disturbed, you may find it impossible to calm them. In fact, your presence in uniform may even cause them to become more upset. If this is the case, and you feel that the person is a danger to themselves or others, get help as soon as possible. If you meet someone who seems to be out of touch with reality, there are specific things you should and shouldn’t do.

Some final points to remember:  Strange behavior is a part of the disorder, don’t take it personally. No one is to blame. People with mental illnesses are more likely to be harmed by others, or to harm themselves, than they are to harm anyone else. You may need to ask the person if they are thinking of hurting themselves. Take all suicide threats seriously. Try to warn back-up not to use flashing lights and horns, unless necessary. You have a right to assure your personal safety. Trust your feelings and don’t take any unnecessary risks.

Verbal Communication-Radio Usage

Using a police radio is mostly common sense but it takes time and lots of practice to learn the codes, protocols, etiquette and conduct.  The basics are provided here to you but the best way to learn is just by listening to the radio.

The Communications Center of a police department is sometimes referred to as Dispatch, and acts as a kind of switchboard or hub for all radio communication and emergency 911 telephone calls from citizens. Dispatch has their own base station radios.

 Police patrol cars typically have their own built-in patrol car radios mounted to the vehicle. Police officers carry separate hand-held units that have the basic functionality that the patrol car radios have but are portable and lightweight like a walkie-talkie. The frequencies of all department radios are preset to a certain number of designated frequencies/channels. Radios are not issued to the general public.

Parts of a Hand-Held Police Radio


Don't be intimidated by all the buttons, dials, and switches on the radio. Many features are not even used most of the time. What you will use most of the time will be the volume knob at the top of the unit that also acts as the power switch. If you've ever noticed police officers tend to spend a lot of time adjusting something on their radio while they are in a conversation with someone. Most of the time they are simply adjusting the volume knob. That's because officers don't want to broadcast messages coming from dispatch to every person standing in the vicinity--especially possible suspects. Also officers don't want to miss important incoming messages from dispatch if surrounding noises in the environment are drowning out the broadcast. If an officer cannot hear what's happening they cannot be effective in their job. So in this regard, the volume control is the most important part of a police radio and gets used the most.

The second most important part of the police radio is also located at the top and is called the frequency selector. Generally there are just a few frequencies that get utilized. During a typical shift an average officer will only use 1 frequency.. Changing frequencies just takes a click or two and if you study the radio this can be done without even looking at it. You will notice that most of our radios have the volume and frequency controls designed with unique tactile characteristics so that you can feel your way to the right control without mixing them up.

The third most important feature of the police radio is the transmit button located on the side of the radio. The transmit button is used to vocally communicate with dispatch or other officers through the microphone which is located near the speaker area. The transmit button takes some firm pressure to activate. This helps prevent accidental keying of the Mic. To send a message you simply depress the transmit button for 1-2 second and then begin talking. The 1-2 seconds is necessary to offset delay so that the beginning of your spoken words are not cut-off.

Last but not least is the red distress button that is an important officer safety feature of the hand-held radio. Even though it's seldom used, the distress button saves lives. When pressed the button can alert dispatch and all other working units to your emergency. This button is easy to identify because it's red and located at the top of the radio. The button is concave so the user is less likely to accidentally press it.  MORE ON THIS BELOW...

Conduct and Basic Radio Etiquette

Officers utilize radios to send and receive messages and vital information. Only essential information should be communicated. Transmissions should be brief yet descriptive enough for the receiver to fully understand. The best approach for transmitting a message is to plan the message before sending it. Always take a moment before transmitting to construct your message by briefly talking yourself through it--sort of like a short mental rehearsal. Using this approach will help you to transmit concise messages while conveying a professional image.  

Instructions For Transmitting a Message

1. Plan your message beforehand. At least think it through one time. Messages should be brief yet contain important details.

2. Make sure the radio is clear before transmitting. You don't want to interrupt any ongoing radio traffic. Listen for a short time to ensure that another unit is not trying to contact anyone. Press the transmit button and keep it pressed for 1-2 seconds before speaking. The 1-2 second rule is because some radios have a slight delay once you press the transmit button. You don't want to lose the first few words of your message.

Example: transmit button is pressed, one second...two seconds...,"205 to dispatch?" Then release the transmit button. Use your call sign first, then the call sign of the person you are trying to reach.

You should receive a reply such as, "Go ahead 205"

3. If the radio is clear, press the transmit button and keep it pressed for 1-2 seconds again before speaking, then relay your message without letting off the transmit button until finished".  

Keep messages short. Other officers depend on an open line of communication with dispatch in emergency situations. If you feel your message is too long, like longer than a few sentences, you can say "break" and let off the transmission key. Then wait a moment to reestablish communication with dispatch.

4. End all messages by releasing the transmission button.


  • Always use plain English.  10 codes will be given to you as a matter of convenience so you can understand what other officers might be trying to say but you should not attempt to utilize them.  Public safety entities utilize different "10-codes" and your use of the code might get a response from another agency that you weren't planning on.
  • Keep the microphone between 2 and 4 inches from your mouth.
  • Keep transmissions short and to the point.
  • Know your location and campus orientation.  Refer to lots by their number and buildings by their proper name. 
  • When requesting service, give your location and nature of the request.  Be prepared to give descriptions of vehicles and persons when requested by the dispatcher.
  • Police frequencies are monitored by the FCC.  All radio traffic must be professional and for public safety use only.
  • Wait to be acknowledged.  

Any personnel needing an emergency police response in a situation where it would be either unsafe or it is not possible to transmit a verbal request for assistance to the dispatchers via department radios, can summon a police department emergency response by activating the red/orange colored emergency duress button on the unit mobile or handheld radio.  Once this button is activated, that radio will broadcast the emergency signal on PD Digital 1 and will remain open in a transmit mode for a period of 30 seconds which will allow all other PD units and the emergency dispatchers on Channel 1 to hear any background transmissions being picked up by that radio.  Immediately upon receiving an emergency signal activation, emergency dispatch personnel shall attempt to contact the activated unit on Digital 1 using the wording “NMSU, ###(Unit Number) Aggie”.  That code phrase serves to alert the unit that activated the button that dispatch personnel have received the signal and is also designed as an inquiry to the activating unit on whether or not emergency assistance is actually needed.   Immediately upon receiving that transmission from dispatch, the unit that activated the emergency button, if able and if the activation was accidental or unintended, shall immediately respond to the dispatcher using the wording “###(Unit Number)  Dispatch, Negative Aggie”.   This code phrase will alert the dispatchers and other units on the channel that the activation was unintentional and an emergency police response to the scene is not needed.  If the code phrase is not immediately received by dispatch personnel, they shall immediately send all available units to the location of the unit activating the button.  As always, if an emergency police response is needed and the requesting unit is able, they shall attempt to relay pertinent information to the emergency dispatchers regarding the request.  This information can assist the responding units with formulating a plan to safely respond to and manage the incident.

It is important to remember that once the duress button has been activated, other field units will not be able to broadcast and override the open microphone on Digital 1.  The exception to this is that the Dispatchers will be able to override the transmissions in order to communicate with the unit that activated the button and to dispatch other units to respond to the scene if the all clear code is not received from the activating unit.   

ANY OTHER TERMINOLOGY used by the unit that activated the emergency button other than the “### Dispatch, Negative Aggie” will result in an emergency police response to the scene.    For example, a unit reporting “Unit ### Dispatch, I’m 10-4” or “Unit ### Dispatch, standby” or “Cancel” will not be recognized as an official request to cancel emergency response.

Radio Codes

You are not required to know the various codes used by law enforcement on the radio.  Often times at an event someone from another agency will utilize a commonly known code and you should be able to understand what is being said.  This is not an all inclusive list but rather the more commonly used abbreviations.  You may study these and print a cheat sheet to tape into the front of your notebook if you'd like.

Ten Codes-

10-1:  Transmitting/Receiving Poorly

10-2:  Transmitting/Receiving Well

10-3: STOP TRANSMITTING on this channel

10-4: Okay or affirmative

10-6: Busy

10-7: Out of Service

10-8: In Service

10-9: Repeat last transmission

10-10: Break


10-19: Return to station (or command)

10-20: Location

10-21: Telephone call

10-22: Cancel last transmission

10-23: Stand by

10-44: Traffic crash without injuries

10-45: Traffic crash with injuries

10-49: Information for this unit

10-81: At the station

10-87: Meet with

10-98: Finished with last assignment


FBI Codes -

Code 1-Murder/Manslaughter

Code 2-Rape

Code 3-Robbery

Code 4-Assault

Code 5-Burglary

Code 6-Theft

Code 18-Intoxicated

Code 19-Disorderly Conduct

Code 24- Suspicious person

Code 28- Frequent patrol

Code 30-Suicide

Code 32-Bathroom


Occasionally there will be a need to relay individual letters of the alphabet over the radio, to spell a name for example.  Some letters sound very similar so they are more easily distinguished by using the following:






























Written Communication-Note Taking


Note Taking-

One of your most important duties as a security officer is to keep a detailed, written record of what happens during your shift. The notes you take and the reports you write will be read by many different people for many different reasons.

The following list gives the key things to think about whenever you write something. In fact, all writing involves these four factors:

  1. Audience: who you are writing to – all of the possible readers. 

    Sometimes you will be the only one who reads your notes. You may have noted a suspicious looking van in the parking lot at the beginning of your patrol, but when you finished your patrol it was gone. No one may ever read the details about the van, but you will have a written record in case something happens in the future. Even though you will often be the only one reading your notes, it is important to write things down as if your audience is much larger than just yourself. Many other people may read your notes. They could include co-workers, supervisors, police personnel, insurance companies, investigators, lawyers, the court, or the media.

  2. Purpose: why you are writing – to record, inform, persuade, entertain, etc. Your main reason for taking notes is to make a detailed record of things that happen on your shift. These notes could be used for many different purposes.  Your notes will help you remember things and to write reports, tell your co-workers about things that happened on your shift, to show your supervisor that you are doing your duties in a professional way, to record any hazards or safety concerns, to give police information, to help investigators learn the truth about what you or other witnesses saw, to provide evidence in court. Just as you may not know who will be reading your notes, you may not know what they will be used for. Your notes may be used very soon after you write them. For example, you may want to share information about a suspicious vehicle with the person who is coming on duty after you. Very often your notes will be used a long time after you write them. It may take several months for the information you write in your notebook to be used as evidence in court.
  3. Format: how you will write – the style. For example: notes, report, letter, list, proposal, poem, article, short story, etc. Your notebook is an important tool for keeping a detailed record of what happens on your shift. A typical notebook is small, so that you can carry it with you at all times, has many blank lined pages so you have lots of room to record your notes, is bound and the pages are numbered, so that it is easy to know if someone has removed any pages.  With practice, you will develop your own style of taking notes. However, there are some important things that you need to do as soon as you start taking notes, so that they become a habit:
    • Write your name and other identification information at the front of the book.
    • Write the date the book was started and finished, and the book number
    • Use only one notebook at a time
    • Record the time before each entry and arrange your notes in the order that things happened (chronological order).
    • Use a pen, not a pencil.
    • You must make your notes right away or as soon as possible after the incident. They should always be done within 24 hours. If you follow these guidelines, your notebook will look clean and well organized. It will add to your image as a professional. A notebook with clear writing, where nothing is erased and no pages are removed, can be accepted as strong evidence if it is ever used in court.
  4. Voice: how you want it to “sound” – the tone. For example: formal/informal, personal/impersonal, serious, funny, sarcastic, etc. When we speak, we use a different tone of voice depending on who we are talking to and the situation. In the module on verbal communication you learned that the tone you use when dealing with the public can be more important than the actual words you say. When we write, we also use a different tone of voice for different purposes. For example, you would not use the same tone to write a letter to a friend as you would to write a letter asking for a job interview. When writing in your notebook you should always use an objective tone. This means you state the facts as you observe them without adding any personal opinions or judgments. Here is an example of the difference:
    • Opinion: The suspect was drunk.
    • Fact: The man was staggering away from the building and when I approached him I could smell alcohol. His eyes were red and his speech was slurred.
    Remember, your notes are a permanent record. Personal comments could cause problems for you later on. If you stereotype people or write rude things about someone, your notes will not be taken seriously. They could even be used against you in court. Put quotation marks around the exact words that a person says, so that it is clear that they are the other person’s words, not yours. Do not use slang or swear words in your notebook, unless you are quoting someone directly. For example, an entry in your notebook may look like this: Suspect X yelled, “I’m going to waste that lying jerk.”


What kinds of things should I write in my notebook?

Get into the habit of recording anything that will help you fill out a report later. This could include things such as:

  • suspicious looking people or vehicles
  • safety hazards
  • special requests for equipment
  • anything that looks out of place
  • complaints or upset people
  • damage to equipment or property
  • signs of criminal activity
  • evidence of a crime
  • description of the scene
  • weather conditions
  • bomb threats

The key to writing good notes is to record as many details as possible. This is why it is important to make your notes right after you observe something, before you start forgetting the details. Record information that you receive with all your senses, not just what you see. If you hear or smell something unusual, it could be important later on. It is better that you write too much instead of too little, as some information may end up being more important than you realize. For example, someone may try to distract you by telling you that there is a problem in the parking lot, meanwhile a robbery is taking place inside the building. If you have a clear description of the person who told you about the problem in the parking lot, it may be helpful during an investigation.

If you observe an incident that you know you will need to write a report about, make sure your notes include the answers to these important questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Let’s look at each of these questions more closely to see what you should include.

Who was involved? • suspects, victims, witnesses, people who made a complaint, property owner • full names, addresses, phone numbers (include area code), and descriptions • always use the person’s real name and include known nicknames or aliases

What happened? • details from start to finish • actions taken by the people involved • evidence • damages

When did it happen? • time using the 24-hour clock and date • when you last observed the area before the incident • when the event began and ended • when you had contact with a witness • when the police, fire department, or ambulance arrived

Where did it happen? • name of company, exact street address, area where incident occurred • if no address is available, describe the area. For example, in the children’s play area near the swings • where you and others were when the incident took place • where the evidence or a suspect was found

Why did it happen? • describe the reason if it is obvious, such as an accident • name the purpose (motive) for a crime if it is obvious • do not guess the reason if you do not know

How did it happen? • describe how the incident took place and what action you took in response to it • explain how the incident came to your attention, how the suspect and the witnesses acted, how the evidence was recovered, and how the suspect was arrested

Written Communication-Report Writting

What factors are involved in report writing?


A report is a way for details of events to be recorded so that others may learn what has happened. A report must give the reader a complete picture of what has taken place. While some of your notes may only be read by you, all of your reports will be read by someone else. Maybe just one other person will read your report. For example, the records tech will read and review your information report regarding lost property. Your report reading audience could include many people. A report about a break-in could be read by the victim, your supervisor, and insurance company investigator, and even the court.


 When you observe something unusual, you must fill out an incident (or occurrence) report. You may fill out an incident report about damage to property, theft, missing equipment, accidents, fire and safety hazards, etc. Your report will be part of an official record of what happened during an incident. For example, if you record a dangerous situation, and someone is hurt because nothing is done to fix the problem, your report may become important evidence in an insurance claim or a trial to decide who is responsible.

Reports are also done to help you remember information. The time period between when a crime is committed and when a trial takes place is often long. A good report may help you recall exactly what happened at the time the offense, so you can prepare for the trial.


An incident report should include a detailed description of everything you observed. This will allow you to develop your own style, but there are some important guidelines for you to follow: 

  • Clearly identify yourself
  • Include the date and use the 24-hour clock to record the time
  • Be specific about the place where the incident occurred.
  • Record what you observe, hear, say and do
  • Report the details of the incident in the order that they happened
  • Keep the facts clear and correct
  • Keep sentences and paragraphs short
  • Use the past tense. For example, use went instead of go, said instead of says, etc.


For reports, you need to use the same type of tone as you use in your notebook, although your reports will be a little more formal. Remember to keep your writing objective. Don’t add your personal opinion or take sides.

How will I know if I’ve written a good report?

Supervisors will give you feedback about what you can do to make your reports better. Some security officers don’t write enough details. Some security officers add a lot of extra information that isn’t important. If you study the following report examples and comments below, it should help you to see the difference. 

Example #1:

I was eating my meatloaf sandwich in the when I heard a noise. I tried looking out the window but it was so dirty I couldn’t see a thing. (I’ve complained about this before and I’ve even washed the inside of the window but the outside is still filthy). I got my flashlight and went outside just in time to see a couple of kids trying to get over the fence. One was still in the tree beside the fence. The other one was hanging on to the fence for dear life. This is the first time I’ve ever had someone try to get into the yard in all the time I’ve been working here. I yelled at them and I must have scared the crap out them!

They swore at me and ran to an old beater parked near the fence. They took off in a 1990 red Nissan Stanza 4 door hatchback like there was no tomorrow. Gravel and dust were flying all over the place. The battery in my flashlight was low so I couldn’t make out the licence plate. (It sure is hard to get supplies around here.) I kept a close watch on the yard for the rest of the night but nothing else happened.

Security Guard

V.B. Windbag

P.S. Both males looked too young to drive a car, but they could have been 16. One was taller and heavier than the other. The shorter one had long hair. I think they were both wearing jeans.

Incident Report #1 -

Unimportant details:

  • “I was eating a meatloaf sandwich.”
  • “This is the first time I’ve ever had someone try to get into the yard in all the time I’ve been working here.”
  • “I’ve even washed the inside of the window but the outside is still filthy.”

Missing details:

  • descriptions of intruders general and confusing

Lack of organization:

P.S. should not be used. Plan how the report will be organized and include information within the report, not as something you thought of afterwards.

Improper comments:

  • “I’ve complained about this before.” (dirty window)
  • “It sure is hard to get supplies around here.”

Use of slang:

  • “for dear life”
  •  “scared the crap out of them”
  •  “like there was no tomorrow”
  •  “old beater”


Example #2

Two kids tried to get into the yard in the middle of the night but I scared them away. They took off in a red Nissan heading towards downtown. It was so dark and they made so much dust when they took off that I didn’t get the licence number. No further problems last night.

Security Guard

I.M. Brief

Incident Report #2 - Comments

This whole report is too general. It leaves out many important details such as: the order of events, descriptions, methods used by guard, direction of travel, etc. Although the time should be approximate, it should be more specific.

Example #3

At approximately 3:45 a.m., Thursday, August 12, 2017, while on duty at Aggie Memorial Stadium, I heard a clanging noise coming from the south fence area. I saw two young men trying to get into the yard approximately 100 yards from the where I was standing. One young man was on top of the fence and the other one was in the tree beside the fence.

I ran toward them yelling, and they jumped down and ran to a car parked behind a nearby tree. They drove off at a high rate of speed, north along the east perimeter fence road in a red 1990 Nissan Stanza hatchback. The rear light on the driver’s side was broken. The licence plate was very dirty and there was so much dust when they sped away that I was unable to get a licence number.

The dispatch center was notified. Police Officers Cortez and Renn arrived at approximately 4:45 a.m. and made a report. While checking the area with the police officers, a piece of fabric was found hooked on to the top of the fence near the tree. Police retained the fabric. Case # 201700083. 

Suspect Descriptions

1. Male on fence: Caucasian, 15-18 years old, approx. 5 ft. 8 in., 165 lbs., shoulder length blonde hair. Wearing jeans, knee-length baseball shirt, white with black stripes, and white running shoes.

2. Male in tree: Caucasian, 15-18 years old, approx. 5 ft. 10 in., 200 lbs., hair covered by dark baseball cap. Wearing black T-shirt, black jeans and black shoes.

I informed dispatch that I had seen someone in the yard earlier that week who matched the description of the second man.

No further incident.

Security Guard

D. Tailed 

Incident Report # 3 - Comments This is a well-written report.


How can I improve my report writing skills?

The first step is to realize that your skills need to be improved! The second step is to understand that report writing is a process that involves many steps, including gathering, recording, and organizing the facts, then writing, and finally checking for errors. You may be better at some of these steps than others, so it is important to see where you need to focus your attention. If you are not sure, ask your supervisor or a co-worker for some suggestions. Here are some things you can do at each step of the process.

Before writing make a plan for organizing the details, so that a reader can easily follow them. You may want to make an outline on scrap paper.

Write or print neatly. A report that no one can read is useless. Read over your report as you are writing it. This will stop you from repeating yourself and help the information to flow naturally.

Stick to the facts. Don’t add opinions or extra information that has nothing to do with the incident.

Start a new paragraph when you write about a new witness, place, or time.

After writing, review the report through the eyes of a reader, not a writer. Imagine that someone has just given you the report and you know nothing about the incident.Check to make sure that important details are not left out. Add quotation marks if you have quoted someone else. Make sure you’ve added periods and commas, so that it makes sense.

Be careful when using words like he, she, their, it, them. It must be clear what they refer to. For example consider the following sentence: The clerk grabbed the suspect as he was leaving the store and he hit him. It is not clear who was leaving the store or who hit whom.

Check your spelling.

 A professional is someone who is open to learning and who puts their full effort into the tasks that they do. If you make an effort to write clear, detailed reports you will improve with practice.

Each agency, department, or company you work for will have a different form or method of preparing the reports.  The main body of the report will be unchanged but the formatting may change.  At NMSU we use two different forms for reporting.  

The first and most common way that you will complete a report is electronically on a Microsoft Word Incident Report Template.  This is what will most commonly be used at a special event.  This document is loaded on all of the special event computers as a word document and allows you to fill in the required fields.  There are many fields that you will not complete, like if there is only one person involved you will leave the remaining "people" fields blank.  At the bottom of the document there is a space for your written report under "Narrative."



The second way to complete your report is in our law enforcement database called PRIORS.  Most security officers do not have access to priors.  I have attached a report below so that you can see the flow of information on a PRIORS report and also to demonstrate another example of a well written report.

When should I write a report?

Security officers should be completing an incident report anytime they take action requiring force, anytime there is a crime, or when directed by a supervisor.  The incidents below outline some of the routine reports that are commonly completed by security officers.

  • Lost and Found property
  • Property Damage
  • Use of Force
  • Traffic Crashes
  • Detain/Arrest
  • Assist with investigations
  • Prisoner handling and transport
  • Medical Calls


Communication with Police Officers

Working with Law Enforcement Officers

As an employee of the NMSU Police Department you will regularly interact with police officers, both from our agency and surrounding agencies.  It is important that you learn the proper approach and way to assist an officer.  Your help can be critical to the safety of the officer and the public and may prevent situations from escalating.

You may have noticed that police officers are very observant of their surroundings.  They are constantly scanning the area.  Officers also tend to sit or stand in view of the door (have an escape plan!) and stand with their body "off center" from the person they are talking to.  They do this for a number of reasons, some of which you will learn about in the defensive impact/tactics training, but one of those reasons is to protect his weapons. 

When approaching an officer who is assisting someone or interviewing possible suspects make sure the officer sees you.  It is best to approach from the side or head on, rather than from behind. 

Contact and Cover-

Watch the video below, it is an explanation of the differences between being a contact officer and a cover officer.  Watch the angles that the officers stand in.


If you notice an officer making contact with a suspect, don't be afraid to assist him by taking a cover position.  Safety is our first priority.  




During events you will working with a number of different officers from various agencies.  During football season we need around 100 officers to staff games and with a department of 22 officers total we obviously have a need for assistance from outside agencies.  We have developed good relationships LCPD, DASO, NMSP, Mesilla as well as some of the smaller local agencies.  If an officer asks you to do something, whether they are in an NMSU uniform or some other, you should follow their direction.  In addition, they may be asking you for help.  Some officers, most NMSP, will come from Deming, Alamogordo, Albuquerque and other places around the state.  They may not be familiar with many of the locations at the event so be helpful.  Remember, we are one team!

Communication with the Media

How do I deal with the media?

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

This is often referred to as “freedom of the press” and it means the media, who are part of a democratic society, are allowed to say what they think without being punished. The media may be very interested in talking to you if you are securing an area where something interesting has taken place, like an accident, a crime, a visiting celebrity, a protest, etc. It is your job to protect the people and information at your location. It is not part of your job to speak for NMSU or the Police Department.

Check your post assignment to find who the Event Commander is. This is the person who is authorized to give interviews or press releases to the media. If you are working an event without a named event commander you need to contact dispatch for the supervisor on shift.  Do not make any statements or give your personal views, even if they tell you it is “off the record.”  Do not fall back on the “no comment” answer, as that can be used against you.

Incident Scene Management

Objectives and Goals

In this module you will learn:

  • what a crime scene is
  • what different types of evidence are
  • how to recognize evidence
  • how to secure a crime scene
  • how to handle VIPs and Media that may show up at a crime scene.


When a crime occurs, you may be one of the first people to arrive at the scene. It will be up to you to secure the scene. After contacting dispatch to report the situation, assisting any injured people, and ensuring the safety of all persons and property, one of your most important duties will be to ensure the integrity of the crime scene. This means maintaining it in its original condition. Law enforcement officials may direct you to protect the crime scene until they arrive, and possibly even while the scene is being investigated.  This protects anything in the area that may relate to the crime. This is very important because anything found at the scene can be used as evidence in court.

What the first officer on a scene does or fails to do can determine whether a perpetrator is identified, apprehended, and successfully prosecuted or gets away.

Crime scene refers to the location where a crime was, or appears to have been, committed. A crime scene is the area where the crime occurred. It can be as small as part of a hallway or room, or as large as an entire floor or building, depending on the crime.

Evidence is a general term to describe physical or tangible items, witness statements, and other means that suggests what occurred.

Reliable evidence is anything that will help prove the truth of what happened. There are many types of evidence, and some types are thought to be more reliable than others.

Direct evidence is the testimony a witness gives in court about something they directly experienced with one or more of their senses. For example, the witness may have seen an assault take place. When the witness says that they saw the accused hit the victim, the witness is giving direct evidence. Direct evidence is accepted as proof of fact if the witness is able to remember what happened and clearly describe what they observed.

Circumstantial evidence Also known as indirect evidence, this is information that is related to the facts of the case, but not directly experienced through any of the senses. For example, if you saw a broken window, and someone was standing beside the window with a bleeding hand, you may think that the person broke the window. If you did not actually see or hear the person break the window, you would not be able to give direct evidence. If you testified that the person was standing close to the window with a bleeding hand, your evidence would be circumstantial. Circumstantial evidence is not always strong proof of truth, but if a clear connection can be made to the facts of the case, a judge will be more open to accept indirect evidence. Also, many pieces of indirect and direct evidence can add up to help prove someone is guilty of a crime.

Hearsay evidence When you hear someone say something and you repeat it, this is hearsay. When you testify in court that you heard someone say something related to a crime, this is hearsay evidence. For example, if a woman told you about someone that she saw stealing a car and you testified that the accused matched the woman’s description of the car thief, this would be hearsay evidence. Hearsay evidence is not considered as reliable as direct or circumstantial evidence, because the witness is not available to be questioned. The person’s honesty cannot be tested and it is difficult to prove the truth of the statement. There are a few cases where hearsay may be accepted as evidence. For example, when a person freely admits their guilt to another person, such as someone confessing to a crime in jail. Another example is when a dying person makes a statement about something they heard.

Documentary evidence This is any evidence that was written, recorded or stored. This includes documents, notebooks, cards, photographs, sound recordings, films, videotapes, computer records etc. Experts will examine this type of evidence to make sure that it is real and of good quality. For example, a video recording may have an unclear picture or sound, handwriting may be difficult to read, or a photograph may be in poor condition. These types of documents may not be accepted as reliable evidence.

Physical evidence This includes physical objects that are shown in court and demonstrations done in court. A witness usually introduces a physical object and explains where the object was found, how it was found, and where it has been kept since it was found. For example, suppose a book with the name of the accused on it was found at the scene of an assault. The witness would have to explain exactly where the book was found, how it was found, and how it has been kept safe, where it could not be changed in any way, before the trial. Physical evidence by itself is only circumstantial. For example, just because the book belonged to the accused, it doesn’t prove that the accused committed the assault. If the physical evidence is used with direct evidence, such as a witness saying they saw the accused throw the book at the victim, then the evidence will be more reliable.

Trace evidence Sometimes physical evidence is very small or even invisible to the untrained eye. This type of evidence is called trace evidence. It includes things like fingerprints or footprints in and around the area where a crime took place. It could also include very small physical objects like a hair or fiber from a piece of clothing. This type of evidence must be collected or photographed by experts. If you are the first one to arrive at a scene of a crime, it is important for you to make sure the crime scene is not changed in any way before the experts arrive.

Chain of Custody refers to documentation that establishes the chronological order of places where physical evidence has been located and persons who have had custody of the evidence from the time it was collected at the crime scene until it is submitted at trial. Any person who handles or has custody of any physical evidence can be subpoenaed into court to testify about the evidence. Therefore, it is important to minimize the number of persons coming in contact with the crime scene.

 Tampering with evidence consists of destroying, changing, hiding, placing or fabricating any physical evidence with intent to prevent the apprehension, prosecution or conviction of any person or to throw suspicion of the commission of a crime upon another.   

Securing the Crime Scene

What can I do to make sure the crime scene is protected?

While you do not  ultimately have responsibility for investigating any crime that has resulted, you will play a critical role in protecting the scene (and ultimately preserving any evidence) from damage or injury. Of course, if a crime scene is not protected or is inadequately protected, crucial evidence can be damaged or even lost. Without evidence the perpetrator(s) may not ever be held accountable for their actions. The areas that you may have to protect will range in size (and therefore difficulty) from an interior room with only one entrance/ exit, to a large area with many means of access, such as an apartment building.

  1. Assess the scene for officer safety. Assess the scene for ongoing dangerous activity. NOTE: Look, listen, smell (e.g., downed power lines, animals, biohazards, chemicals, weapons) Ensure officer safety before proceeding. Assume crime is ongoing until determined to be otherwise (e.g., keep looking, listening, smelling).  Your safety has to come first.  
  2. If anyone needs medical attention tend to them first.
  3. Contact dispatch and give out any pertinent information of scene to on coming units such as: location (e.g., storefront, second floor rear, garage, mile marker, compass direction), type of call, parties involved, weapons involved, ongoing and/or dangerous scene.  Be aware of any persons or vehicles leaving the crime scene.
  4. Let the on-coming officer know how big the scene is and if you will need a few extra officers for perimeter or many more
  5. Begin the set up of perimeter-a perimeter can always be collapsed but can never be expanded. Look at the scene and evaluate what your scene might consist of.  Set up a barrier with tape or anything else available, or keep a door closed.
  6. Make sure no one enters the scene to damage or remove evidence.  Document any evidence that is moved.  Evidence sometimes is moved by the medical staff in the course of their duties.  Document anything they bring into the scene such as medical supplies, biohazards that exist, and personal protective equipment.
  7. The only time that you should consider moving evidence is if the immediate safety of the scene is in jeopardy.  For example, if there is a gun or knife near the living suspect you might move it out of the reach of that person or cover it up (stand over it).  Make sure you carefully handle any evidence to prevent damage of other trace evidence on the weapon.  This should be a last resort and only for immediate safety issues.
  8. As you are able:

  • take notes of anything you see, hear or smell
  • Record the time.
  • Draw diagrams to make your notes clearer
  • Write down the names and addresses of any witnesses, and any information they give you
  • Ask witnesses to stay at the scene until the police arrive
  • Include a description of anyone suspicious that you see near the crime scene

When the police arrive, make sure you know who is in command, and turn the responsibility for the scene over to that person. This is important because the court will need proof that there was no break in the chain of people in charge of guarding the evidence.  Assist the officers as needed, then return to your normal duties.

Control all persons at the scene:

  • Restrict movement of persons at the scene
  • Prevent persons from altering physical evidence
  • Prevent persons from destroying physical evidence
  • Continue to maintain safety at the scene
  • Restrict areas of movement within the scene
  • Continue to control the scene by maintaining officer presence

You may prevent persons from altering or destroying evidence by using verbal commands.  If it becomes necessary to restrain someone you should contact an officer and get direction before going hands on.  If not directed to go hands on be a good set of eyes.

Witness/Participant ID

  1. Obtain a picture ID from all witnesses and victims
  2. Inform police, fire and medical units of witnesses and victims
  3. Document the following if asked to contact or interview witnesses:
    • Date
    • Time
    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • Take a picture of them if you can’t confirm their ID


If the news media or a VIP show up on the scene of ANY incident you should call on the radio and notify the scene commander or responding officer that they are there and find out where they should assemble for information.  All information is disseminated via a PIO (public information officer).  This person is usually either the chief or some other university representative that is knowledgeable of what information can be given out.  In no circumstances should you give out any information to anyone.


If someone approaches you and says they are the president of the university, the dean in charge of the building, or the king of the world you should ascertain from command if you may let them into the scene.  It is preferable if they have credentials to show you but always follow the commanders instructions. Please be courteous. Often a simple explanation will go a long way but do not relay any sensitive information. Investigators often use specifics of a scene to verify statements later on in the investigation.

Assessing the Scene-1

Take a look at the photo below. Can you list some of the items that are important to protect as evidence?

Especially on crash scenes, a lot of people will be involved very quickly. 

For starters you see skid markings on the ground in the forefront of the photograph.  Additionally you can see what appear to be a witness (guy in red shirt). There is a bottle on the ground near the vehicle.

Don’t let anybody remove anything from crash scenes. People might try to go back into their vehicle and begin moving things, keep them back and let an officer make that call.  Another important factor to keep in mind is family arriving on the scene.  They will try to get as close as possible, you need to keep them from driving on your evidence.

Lastly, watch for potential dangers throughout your time on scene.  Potentials hazards on this scene would include gas leaking, people smoking on scene, and opposing traffic.

Let's evaluate the scene from a different angle.It appears that some of the items have been moved or kicked around, possibly by medical staff. The EMTs are unpackaging bandaging materials, leaving new items on your scene.  Police Officers usually carry cameras in their unit.  You may ask if you can borrow one as soon as available to photograph where items are.  Make sure you document in your report why/how things were moved.

Who needs to be talked to.  Different witnesses may have observed different aspects of what happened.

With what you have seen, suggest reason(s) for this damage and the probable way that the Jeep ended upside down. By considering how the crash occurred you may be able to find evidence that was originally overlooked.

Assessing the Scene 2

Looks can be deceiving.  Initially this looks like any other residence.  Take a closer look at these photos, what do you see?  What does all of this tell you about the home and potential dangers, concerns, crimes?

First of all you notice the small chairs and tricycle out front.  This should be a good indicator as you approach the scene that you should expect kids to be at this residence.  

Do you see all of the beer cans on the ground?  The ice chest is standing open as well.  There could be someone intoxicated that needs medical attention or alcohol could have contributed to whatever else happened here.

The small window to the top right of the screen is open, something else to note.

Anything else of concern?  Scroll down for more photos.

As you move closer to the home, things start to take a different tone.  The screen door frame has some blood on it.  

Don't forget to look down!  Do your best to avoid stepping on anything that can be of evidentiary value.  Introducing your footprints to the scene can add hours of work for an investigator.

There are smears on the door frame indicating movement.  Aside from the blood there may be prints or fiber transfers.  

Blood spatter can tell an investigator a lot!


In this module you learned:

  • Crime scene refers to the location where a crime was, or appears to have been, committed. A crime scene is the area where the crime occurred. It can be as small as part of a hallway or room, or as large as an entire floor or building, depending on the crime.

  • Evidence is a general term to describe physical or tangible items, witness statements, and other means that suggests what occurred.

  • what different types of evidence are (physical, circumstantial, trace, etc.)
  • how to recognize evidence by evaluating the area and 
  • how to secure a crime scene by setting up a perimeter
  • how to handle VIPs and Media that may show up at a crime scene.


Take a look at the photo and describe all the things that you would note as you enter the room.


What is the first step to securing the scene?


What is the title of the department representative that will talk to the media?


Who should be logged in and out when entering/exiting a crime scene?

  • Firefighters
  • VIP and Media
  • Medical Personnel
  • Homeowners
  • Everyone


Describe pertinent information in the photo above.  What clues do you get from the photo?

Credits and Copyright Info

Untitled content

This course material was compiled based up years of experience of NMSU Police personnel and the following sources:

Statutes, Rules, and Const. > NMSA (Unannotated) > CHAPTER 61 Professional and Occupational Licenses ARTICLE 27B Private Investigations Act 61-27B-3. License required. (Repealed effective July 1, 2018.) (2007) 

Federal Protective Service / Security Guard Information Manual, 2008 Revision

Manitoba Justice: Manitoba Security Guard Training Program 2005