There are over one million private security officers in America today—more than double the number of police officers. These private security officers are often the first responders to life-threatening emergency situations and they are a critical partner in keeping the public safe nationwide.
But as we mark nine years since the attacks of 9/11 we still face an urgent public safety vulnerability: Poor training and professional standards for front-line security officers.
Despite being the first to respond to national security breaches, most of America's security officers are provided with minimal training—sometimes none at all. Half of all US States put the public at risk by lacking any training requirement for security officers. By contrast, all 50 states require about 1,500 hours of training to become a licensed cosmetologist.
Poor working conditions for security officers have also created a turnover rate higher than in the fast food industry—historically as high as 300%. This poses a serious risk to public safety. The average pay for most security officers is less than $23,000 a year, and many work two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Although many officers want to turn their jobs into good careers, the result of these practices is a constant "revolving door" of inexperienced security officers struggling to meet the demands of their job.
Only a few huge private security corporations dominate this multi-billion dollar industry plagued by high turnover, poor training, and lax oversight. We can’t leave America’s safety in their hands without quality standards for the hundreds of thousands of security officers in our communities.
In the interest of public safety and national security, it’s time we raise industry standards. Please take a moment to contact the CEOs of the ten largest private security companies and urge that they support higher professional standards and a fair wage for security officers—America’s first responders to life-threatening emergency situations.