Off-duty police officers vs. security guards – which is right for your business?

If you’ve Googled far enough to find this article, you’re likely feeling some form or fashion of vulnerability and recognizing risks you need help mitigating. 

Maybe it’s:

  • An increase in area crime. 
  • The threat of protests.
  • Workforce reductions.
  • New inventory or assets to protect.

Bottom line, if it matters enough for you to look for outside help, chances are what you need is an off-duty officer to feel confident your business or event is secure. Officers are fully vetted, licensed, have thousands of hours of specialized training and local knowledge. 

Training & Knowledge

Police officers are highly trained and well-versed in local and state laws. They’re well equipped not only to recognize a threat but also know the legal parameters of response. With that knowledge, they will respond effectively, in accordance with the law, to prevent or stop the crime while keeping your customers, employees and products safe, and your business from coming under future fire in the form of legal action. 

In the event of any kind of legal action against the business – in response to something as benign as a fall or more serious like allegations of discrimination – an on-site officer is trained to and usually experienced in providing courtroom testimony. They will know what to look out for and document should a difficult situation arise that could lead to a lawsuit.

Mishandled criminal activity also carries significant potential for media attention, which, depending on whose side of the story is featured, could cause significantly long-term damage to the reputation and long-term health of a business. That is why, it’s more important than ever to have knowledgeable officers provide on-site security.

Optics & Authority

It may seem obvious, but uniformed officers of the law, with a badge on their chest and a weapon on their belt, have a presence and authority that is much more likely to prompt a bad actor to think twice before committing a crime. Their very presence at your site is a strong deterrent for criminals and inspires the crowd to stay in line. Should the need arise to call additional law enforcement to the site, or even emergency medical technicians, your off-duty officer has accessibility, and knows what to do and say, to ensure they arrive promptly. 


In addition to being well-trained and -versed in local laws, when you employ off-duty officers, you augment a local officer’s income and build community connectedness and pride. 

Security Guard Services

Security guards can also have a positive impact on the safety of a business and can be a good fit in a low-risk situation. 

Like police officers, security guards provide a uniformed presence on site. They are an obvious signal to anyone with less-than-honorable intentions that someone is there, watching. While they’re unable to arrest anyone for criminal acts, they can observe and report the crime to police when they arrive as back up. Most security guards are unarmed but armed security services are accessible at a higher rate and with the right liability coverages. 

Security guards are also at liberty to focus on rules you want them to enforce vs. being relegated largely to local, city or state laws. If there is a dress code rule, for instance, your security officer can enforce it. For the most part, they work at your discretion.

Let Summit Off-Duty Services connect you with off-duty police officer protection for your business or event. Our experienced team can help you design the right security protocols and line up officers from our vast, nationwide network of 60,000 officers.


Officers vs Guards

Which is right for your business?