Everyone has seen the image of a security officer sound asleep at his post either in the movies or on television. People seem to expect this kind of behavior but this can be deadly to the security business.
Let's take a look at what can we do about it.
• Communicate with the officer before assignment and find out their personal needs and situation. Officers work at night many times because they are working or going to school during the day. So if they are working all night and staying up all day...when is the logical time to sleep? At night of course...at your security console.
• Talk with the officer honestly and try to get the best shift for them. Don't just toss them on a night shift and hope for the best. Maybe they can set up their shift so that they have at least three days where they are guaranteed to get some sleep. For example if they go to school Monday through Friday, let them work Wednesday through Sunday, or maybe Friday through Tuesday.
• Get them a tour wand. Use this to keep the officers moving three or four times a night. Check your tour wand reports daily to make sure you catch any potential problems immediately.
• Get a manager who can visit your sites at night and interact with the officers. He can also use this time to do training in emergency procedures.
• Have the officers help with administrative duties, perhaps reviewing or rewriting post orders, procedures, etc.
• Use your imagination to think of other ways to help officers make it through the night. You'll be surprised how creative you can be.
Officers get fired too many times for sleeping on post when really we are the ones who have set them up for failure. Work hard to properly staff your overnight positions and it will repay your efforts many times over.