Difference Between Security Enforcement Officer and Security Guard

Difference Between Security Enforcement Officer and Security Guard

Although both security roles aim to safeguard and protect, there exist some differences in their level of expertise and training. We talked to a panel of experts who explained the differences between a security enforcement officer and a security guard.

CJ Jones III is a 12 year Navy Veteran. He has worked as a civilian and military officer. He has served as an armed and unarmed security guard, beginning when he was 18. Currently, he is a weekly commentator with the ‘This Needs To Be Said Media’ (TNTBS MEDIA) podcast. According to CJ Jones III…

One of the first misunderstandings that the general public tends to make is that security officers and security guards are all the same, given their physical appearance.  

Security guards and officers do have a common core purpose, which is to protect and preserve or safeguard all persons and property while enforcing the rules and regulations set forth between the security guard agency and the company property manager or contract. Security guards’ positions of authority can and do vary in the functions of their jobs given to them by the state and private sectors.

Example: In the state of North Carolina, security guards can be unarmed or authorized to carry “duty firearms and equipment depending on the specific area they are authorized to work. And only have authority to apprehend or detain until police can then make an actual arrest. 

While in the state of South Carolina, security guards are not even referred to as guards but as security officers or “peace officers,” who have the authority and powers of arrest.  Security guards have the power to question without probable cause, being that they are protecting private property, not public. 

Security guards are authorized and responsible for keeping private property and people safe from criminal, natural, or emergency hazards. Security guards are limited to their specific or given areas of jurisdiction to be able to enforce protections on behalf of companies’ rules, policy, structure, and personnel. 

Once the security guard has completed their duties, they are no longer authorized to “act” within the scope of their duties, no more than a concerned citizen. It is highly discouraged for any security guard to “act” outside of what their specific areas of operations are. This can lead to administration reprimand, transfer, to dismissal if found necessary. Altogether security guards and officers act in concert to help keep their people, properties, and structures safe and secured.

Daniel Carter is the SEO Manager of Skuuudle. According to Daniel…

Security guards are typically unarmed and work in low- to medium-security environments. They frequently control traffic flow and contribute to the creation of a safe environment. Security guards typically operate in the building’s lobby, monitor the parking lot, and ensure that no one is loitering. They also ensure that the alarm systems are activated at the start of the workday and that all doors are locked before departing for the night.  

Security Enforcement Officers, on the other hand, are typically armed and work in high-security locations. They keep an eye on facilities and may conduct routine patrols. They also keep an eye on alarm systems, surveillance devices, and other forms of security. Security officers may be in charge of electronic security, surveillance devices, and alarm systems. 

Darsh Ray is the CEO & Founder of Job Alert. According to Darsh…

Security guards are lower on the totem pole than their officer counterparts if you conceive of security guard and security officer designations as indicating distinct levels within a comparable function. In most cases, a security guard works directly under the supervision of a security officer. While both occupations attempt to protect and secure property and valuables, security guards typically have less experience. Unlike security enforcement officers, security guards are not often needed to complete severe security licensure or certification exams, requiring more training. Instead, a security guard is frequently just necessary to pass a health and fitness test. Security guard salaries are often lower than those of their more senior counterparts. Finally, a security guard’s work environment is more restricted to specific sites. A security guard, for example, is typically tasked with securing a certain entryway or segment of a business site. Of course, security officers fulfill the same function, but they are frequently in charge of high-level security or administrative responsibilities.

As a security officer, you are frequently tasked with overseeing and supervising security guards. One of the most popular misconceptions about this profession is the level of security they are allowed to provide. While some may believe that the sole difference between a guard and an officer is that an officer may carry a handgun, this is not a law or a universal deciding factor. Within the security team, security enforcement officers play a more managerial function. They are frequently in charge of issuing instructions and supervising the everyday responsibilities and functions of security guards. This job is also in charge of training new security guards and enforcing stricter security measures. Security officers are paid more than guards because of their expanded responsibilities, which also means they often require far more expertise and training. 

Sarah Jameson is the Marketing Director of Green Building Elements. According to Sarah…

When used colloquially, the terms security guard’ and security officer’ can have very distinct meanings. The term security guard is occasionally used to refer to a watch person who occupies a certain position or patrols a restricted area but has limited independent judgment. The term security officer’ can refer to a professional with a broader range of responsibilities and more independent judgment. He or she may be in charge of supervising a large number of security personnel as well as responding fast to incidents. Acting as a liaison between services or agencies may be part of the job. Some professionals prefer the name security officer since it implies professionalism and training, which are required in most states nowadays.

Michael Long
Co-Founder & Senior Writer Michael worked with Leona for years and was inspired by our Founder's passion towards bringing more security to other people. Supervises the production of contents from the team.