Written by: Monique Tarleton
The face of the average security officer is no longer just the male retired worker whose main goal is to scratch out a meager existence working only a few hours a week. Women are slowly stepping forward and becoming a viable force in a world of technology where brains out weigh brawn. The criminals who exist in today’s high tech environment demand that we continuously progress at a faster rate than them to try and keep a step ahead of the average criminal. A seemingly innocent situation must be viewed as a potential threat from a security standpoint. The old adage of “that’s how we have done it in the past” is now a thing of the past.
Young women must begin to prepare themselves now by investing in the type of potential work and educational experience that will allow them to excel at a rate comparable to their male counterparts. Early R.O.T.C. training, classes in computer technology, finance, and business management are just some of the key components that can help begin the process. The difference however lies in the fact that as women, simply meeting the same standards set for men is not enough. We need to continue to insure that when upper level management positions become available we are ready. In the past, we have not done enough to insure that we have a seat at the table and a credible voice in the discussion process.
We cannot depend on the criminal typecast of seedy individuals, appearing desperate and moving in a shifty manner. Technology has forced us to now move into a world of infrared cameras, facial recognition software, fingerprint identification locking systems and retina scanners. The new management level woman security executive must have good communication skills and be adept at customer service. Though technology is advancing, she must always recognize that these are merely tools; there is no known technology to surpass the eyes and ears of the officer on the ground interacting with the public. In addition, the public must take some responsibility for their shared responsibilities for security and safety.
Office workers in a business environment should lock doors and monitor potential fire hazards, ensuring items such as coffee pots and space heaters are turned off at the end of the day. All employees must take an active role in the safety and security of their work place. The women at the helm of all of this must be proactive in keeping the officers working at their highest potential while educating the public on the role in this process.
The special environment of the museum is the opportunity to be an example to the next generation while educating the general public at the same time. We can be kinder gentler and still maintain an air of discipline and order when protecting our staff, guests and collections. We balance the need to increase our shared responsibility for security and safety; however at the end of the day our highest and main priority is the protection of the collection because without the collection there would be no museum. Therefore, our responsibilities extend far beyond those of employees in other companies and environments. Whether we are posted or work in an office, lab, studio, kitchen, shop, or gallery we must never forget our special responsibilities for protection.
Women can seek to become specialists in security related fields such as fire protection security specialists, security investigations, security training, officers, supervisors, managers, etc. They are no longer viewed as counterparts to men but as active team members and team leaders in accessing, evaluating and providing proven solutions for counterattacking elements which threaten the security of our workplace, social gatherings as well as property.