VSF Resource Library

Click below to access our liabrary of free articles that will help you select the right Business Services or Investigative and Protective Services firm for your needs.

Situations that warrant an armed security presence are inherently dangerous, and the individuals providing this security should be able to prevent as well as quell security breaches. But this secure presence often must take place in a professional environment wherein a ďpolice stateĒ atmosphere is unacceptable. So, the armed security personnel should provide a powerful yet polite presence. While image isnít everything, armed guards should appear alert and ready to conclude any security breach as quickly and efficiently as possible, but without interfering with normal operations.

When you evaluate firms that provide armed security personnel in Virginia, here are some key criteria to consider:

  • Identify some locations where each firm has armed security guards in place so that you can witness them on the job, and see if they provide a strong, but professional presence that is likely to deter many potential instigators.
  • Find out the hiring qualifications of the armed security guards in the firms that you are considering. Professional demeanor, attitude and physical abilities are all important. Determine how long the security guards who would be assigned to your job have been working in the armed protection field. Individuals who are (or have been) off-duty or recently retired police officers and detectives often make excellent armed security guards.
  • Evaluate how each armed security firm that you are considering will coordinate and manage the efforts of their armed security personnel to effectively and professionally meet your needs. Itís critically important that the firm send the right type of armed security personnel for your particular application, and that these individuals receive the necessary guidance and supervision to ensure that your needs are met. You should be assigned a specific manager by the armed security firm who will be responsible for your job, and whom you can contact at a moments notice if there is a problem.
  • Training is another critical criterion when you evaluate firms that provide armed security guards in Virginia. Find out if the physical fitness standards for their armed security personnel is at least as stringent as the United States Secret Service. Each man or woman should qualify with firearms at least twice per year, and maintain proficiency in at least one of the martial arts disciplines. Training in firearms, self-defense, and risk awareness should not be undergone only upon hiring, but this training of armed security personnel should be regular and ongoing.
  • Make sure that all armed security guards have been subjected to a comprehensive background screening, along with criminal record and fingerprint checks.
  • All armed security guards should be closely supervised and trained to keep hourly record logs and produce accurate incident reports. The firms should provide expert coaching if their security personnel are called upon to provide court testimony.
  • Make certain that the firm, and its armed security personnel, are fully licensed, bonded, and insured in Virginia. If a security breach occurs that necessitates a forceful intervention, you want to be sure that the armed security firm has the mechanisms in place to absorb the liability.
  • Finally, be sure to get the names and telephone numbers of several of the armed security firmsí client contacts so that you can get their assessment of the professionalism and effectiveness of each firm and its armed security personnel.
  • The bottom line expectation for armed security personnel is that they should be prepared to handle and diffuse delicate situations politely and efficiently, while being qualified to take a proactive stance and enforce client policies when a security breach occurs. While the stakes are high, if you follow the guidelines weíve presented here, you should be able to identify and select a Virginia-based armed security firm that will meet your needs and represent you well.

    f you would like information on how to identify, interview, and evaluate investigative and protective service firms, be sure to read our article on How To Locate and Hire An Investigative and Protective Firm: Where Trust is Paramount or if you would like to discuss a specific need for services,email us, or call us at 866.349.6822.

    Too many senior managers and executives treat terrorism, and the increase in workplace crime, as someone elseís problem. Law enforcement agencies, on the other hand, have been warning businesses for years to prepare contingency and response plans because terrorists and criminals often attack where and when it is least expected. Can you answer these questions with confidence?

    How well prepared are your facilities to prevent or endure a violent criminal act? How would your organization react if faced with bomb threats or a violent hostage taker? Do you have adequate security personnel in place, and how well prepared are they to prevent or manage security breaches? Have your managers and your employees been briefed on what to do in the event of these events? Donít feel too guilty if those questions make you a little uneasy. Relatively few organizations have taken the necessary measures to answer all these questions with confidence.

    However, the proliferation of liability lawsuits against employers, and the potential lack of insurance coverage for extraordinary events should motivate senior level management to take preventative measures. Your most important tools in preventing violent workplace events are: proactive security measures, and ID checks to control building access.

    With respect to security measures, depending on the size of the company, a threat management team or employee should be selected and that individual should receive threat assessment management training. Of equal importance, all employees should be informed how to recognize suspicious behavior or circumstances, and what to do if they see something suspicious.

    And, of course, the physical security of every facility must be addressed. Internal measures can be accomplished by improving exterior lighting, installing access controls, fences, alarms, window film, and closed-circuit television. While large organizations can justify a full-time security department, most organizations will find it more advantageous and cost effective to hire professionally trained and insured security officers from a licensed surveillance company.

    In summary, don't delay putting measures in place that will help your organization prevent -- or at least minimize the consequences of -- a violent workplace event. We are living through violent times, and preparation is the key to effective security management.

    If you would like information on how to identify, interview, and evaluate investigative and protective service firms, be sure to read our article on How To Locate and Hire An Investigative and Protective Firm: Where Trust is Paramount, or if you would like to discuss a specific need for services, email us, or call us at 866.349.6822.

    Security situations that call for plain clothed security guards/personnel are substantially different than higher risk environments that warrant a uniformed security presence. Plain clothed security guards/personnel are typically used at shopping malls, schools, industrial complexes, car lots, movie theaters, colleges and universities, shopping centers, apartment complexes, neighborhood associations, local government, public safety services, and hotels. In addition to the more traditional tasks associated with access control and theft prevention, plain clothed security guards/personnel respond to emergency situations and notify the appropriate authorities about fires, natural disasters, work accidents, strikes, and medical crises.

    Plain clothed security guards/personnel must be able to prevent as well as quell security breaches in a manner that is as unobtrusive as possible. They must create a secure presence in a professional environment wherein their presence is virtually unnoticed unless there is a need for them to intervene. While image isnít everything, they should blend into the environment, but be ready to conclude any security breach as quickly and efficiently as possible without interfering with normal operations.

    When you evaluate companies that provide plain clothed security guards/personnel in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., here are some key criteria to consider:

  • The company should survey each customer's site and prepare a set of recommendations. Surveys typically include an examination and evaluation of perimeter controls, lighting, personnel and vehicle identification and control, visitor controls, electronic alarm reporting systems, safety and emergency procedures, key controls and security force manning levels. Be sure to evaluate how each plain clothed security company that you are considering will coordinate and manage the efforts of their plain clothed security guards/personnel to effectively and professionally meet your needs. Itís critically important that the firm send the right type of personnel for your particular application, and that these individuals receive the necessary guidance and supervision to ensure that your needs are met. Select a plain clothed security guards/personnel company that will be responsible for your job, and whom you can contact at a moments notice if there is a problem.
  • Make sure that all plain clothed security guards/personnel have been subjected to a comprehensive background screening, along with criminal record and fingerprint checks.
  • All plain clothed security guards/personnel should be closely supervised and trained to keep hourly record logs and produce accurate incident reports. The companies should provide expert coaching if their security personnel are called upon to provide court testimony.
  • Make certain that the plain clothed security guards/personnel company, and its armed security personnel, are fully licensed, bonded, and insured in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. If a security breach occurs that necessitates a forceful intervention, you want to be sure that the company has the mechanisms in place to absorb the liability.
  • Make certain the plain clothed security guards/personnel company that you select utilizes a standard form security services agreement which specifies the personnel and/or equipment to be provided by the company at designated locations -- along with the rates to be charged, which are typically hourly rates per person.
  • Finally, be sure to get the names and telephone numbers of several of the plain clothed security guards/personnel companiesí client contacts so that you can get their assessment of the professionalism and effectiveness of each firm and its security personnel.
  • The bottom line expectation for plain clothed security guards/personnel is that they should be prepared to handle and diffuse delicate situations politely and efficiently, while being qualified to take a proactive stance and enforce client policies when a security breach occurs. While the stakes are high, if you follow the guidelines weíve presented here, you should be able to identify and select a Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.-based plain clothed security guards/personnel company that will meet your needs and represent you well.

    If you would like information on how to identify, interview, and evaluate investigative and protective service firms, be sure to read our article on How To Locate and Hire An Investigative and Protective Firm: Where Trust is Paramount or if you would like to discuss a specific need for services, email us, or call us at 866.349.6822.

    There are very few instances in life wherein trust, reliability, and integrity are more important than when hiring an investigative and protective services firm. You must trust these individuals to probe into sensitive and often highly personal matters. You will need to share critical data with them. Confidentiality, honesty, and strong moral character should be prerequisites to hiring any investigative and protective firm.

    But, how do you know if you can really trust someone? The answer is thorough reference checks. Make sure that you get the contact information of at least three clients for whom the investigative and protective services firm has worked. And, make sure that the references are both current, and that the work performed is similar to the assignment that you will be giving. Ask open-ended questions of the references that will elicit detailed responses. For example, instead of asking, Did they accomplish what you asked them to do? ask What investigative and protective services did they provide for you? When you have received a satisfactory reply to that question, ask, What did you hope the firm would accomplish, and in what ways did they succeed or fail? Open-ended questions will get below the surface and enable you to find out what the expectations were, and if the firm really accomplished the mission in a manner that met the clients expectations.

    Make sure that you can communicate clearly with the firm, and that you relate well to them. You will be interacting with these individuals regularly on sensitive issues, and it is important that the chemistry between you and the firm be professional and comfortable.

    If you would like information on how to identify, interview, and evaluate investigative and protective service firms, be sure to read our article on How To Locate and Hire An Investigative and Protective Firm: Where Trust is Paramount or if you would like to discuss a specific need for services, email us, or call us at 866.349.6822.

    Once you hire a security contractor; you need to make sure that the Guard provided by a Security Contractor s fully trained and is aware of Security functions, have qualities of being a security officer, Is aware of legal issues, public relations, communications, patrols, general duties, report writing, fire prevention and control, emergency situations and safety.

    THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SECURITY OFFICER

    THREE SECURITY FUNCTIONS

  • Information Security
  • Personnel Security
  • Physical Security
  • QUALITIES OF SECURITY OFFICER

  • Attitude
  • Honesty
  • Discipline
  • Dependability
  • Appearance
  • Cooperation
  • Courtesy
  • Discretion
  • Loyalty
  • Fairness
  • Physical fitness
  • LEGAL ISSUES

    SECURITY OFFICER RIGHTS AND LIMITATIONS

  • Same as those as private citizen
  • Different from those of public law enforcement officers
  • Some common responsibilities shared with law enforcement
  • Prevention
  • Protection
  • Investigation
  • Responding to Emergencies
  • Reporting
  • Detecting
  • Deterrence
  • THE SECURITY OFFICERS BASIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ARE CONCERNED WITH:

  • Organizational property and asset protection
  • Prevention of crime
  • THE SECURITY OFFICER WHO RESPECTS HIS OR HER LEGAL LIMITATIONS:

  • Will be effective
  • Will reduce organizational liability
  • Will reduce personal liability
  • HUMAN AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

  • Be dependable
  • Be Courteous
  • Show Interest and concern
  • Use tact
  • Be discreet
  • Respect confidences
  • Be impartial
  • Be calm
  • Be patient
  • Be helpful
  • THE FIVE PUBLICS OF THE SECURITY OFFICER

  • VISITORS : The first impression is a lasting impression
  • EMPLOYEES : Security officers have a responsibility to enforce organizational rules, policies, and procedures.
  • MEDIA : Generally, it is NOT the role of a Security Officer to communicate information to the media
  • TELEPHONE CALLERS : Answer Promptly, Be courteous, Avoid placing callers on hold for a long periods of time, Never argue or be hostile, Identify your self
  • EMERGENCY PERSONNEL
  • COMMUNICATIONS

    TECHNIQUES OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

  • Be an active listener.
  • Acknowledge rather than deny feelings.
  • Acknowledge rather than condemn feelings.
  • Acknowledge rather than interpret feelings.
  • Use inviting rather than leading questions.
  • WAYS TO IMPROVE LISTENING SKILLS

  • Be interested in what you hear
  • Overlook distracting things about the way the message is being delivered
  • Stay relaxed
  • Try to get the message, not just the facts
  • Understand how other people communicate
  • Pay attention
  • Don't permit distractions
  • Clarify
  • Overcome feelings of being insulted
  • Use thought power
  • WHEN COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS:

  • Be clear
  • Be courteous
  • Be calm
  • Repeat message if asked
  • Ask to repeat message if unclear
  • Use appropriate language (codes)
  • Always acknowledge transmissions promptly
  • Do NOT use equipment for socializing or horseplay
  • PATROL

    PURPOSES OF PATROL

  • Protection of property
  • Protection of people
  • Protection of information
  • PURPOSES OF PATROL

  • Notebook
  • Pen and pencil
  • Flashlight - even in day light
  • recording clock (if used)
  • Keys or access cards
  • Hard hat or safety goggles (if required)
  • Whistle
  • Radio, pager or cell phone (if required)
  • Your Security license/card
  • List of important phone numbers
  • Special instructions
  • USE FOUR SENSES FOR PATROL

  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Smell
  • Touch
  • DO NOT USE TASTE
  • GENERAL DUTIES

    PRINCIPAL OF ALARM ACTIVATION. Alarms are activated by:

  • Breaking of an electrical circuit
  • Interruption of a light beam
  • Detection of vibration
  • Detection of motion
  • Penetration
  • EQUIPMENT AT A SECURITY POST

  • Telephone (include emergency phone list)
  • Radio or cell phone (if required)
  • Telephone books (local or organization)
  • Policies, Rules and Regulations, and Procedures
  • Log book and report forms
  • Access and alarm monitors
  • Monitoring sets/Screens for closed-circuit television surveillance
  • PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATIONS

  • P - Proceed to location
  • R - Render assistance
  • E - Effect arrest (if appropriate & always involve Local law enforcement)
  • L - Locate victims, witnesses, or complainant
  • I - Interview victims, witness, or complainant
  • M - Maintain location
  • A - Interview suspects (if appropriate)
  • N - Note conditions at location
  • A - arrange for collection of evidence
  • R - Report incident
  • Y - Yield to supervisors or specialists
  • REPORT WRITING

    SEVEN REPORT ESSENTIALS

  • WHO?
  • WHAT?
  • WHEN?
  • WHERE?
  • HOW?
  • WHY?
  • ACTION TAKEN?
  • The basic requirements: " The five C's:"

  • Completeness
  • Conciseness
  • Clearness
  • Correctness
  • Courteousness or Fairness
  • COMMON PROBLEMS IN REPORT WRITING

  • The report is illegible
  • The report i not SIGNED
  • The report is not DATED
  • The wrong form is used
  • Not enough details are included
  • Attachments referred to in the report are not included
  • Too many personal opinions or judgments
  • People are not sufficiently identified
  • Locations where events took place are not specifically identified
  • The occurrence is not reported in chronological sequence
  • Too many words are misspelled
  • Aspects of the incident or occurrence are left out or not spelled out completely
  • THE OFFICER SHOULD COMPLETE REPORT AS EACH EVENT OCCURS DURING HIS OR HER SHIFT.
  • FIRE PREVENTION AND CONTROL

    CLASSES OF FIRES

  • Class A - These fires leave an ash
  • Class B - These fires involve highly flammable liquids
  • Class C - These fires involves electrical equipment
  • Class D - These are fires involving flammable metals.
  • CLASSES OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

  • Class A - Extinguishes combustibles which require a cooling effect
  • Class B - Use on flammable liquids by cutting off the oxygen supply
  • Class C - Use an extinguishing agent which is a non-conductor of electricity
  • Class D - Uses a heat-absorbing extinguishing agent that will not react with the burning metal
  • TYPE OF FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

  • ABC multi-purpose extinguisher: For class A, B or C fires
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguisher: For class B or C fires
  • Dry chemical extinguisher: For class B or C fires (sometimes A)
  • Foam extinguisher: Best for class B. Do not use on class C or D fires
  • Pressurized water extinguisher: For class A fires
  • Pump type extinguisher: For class A fires
  • HOW TO USE FIRE EXTINGUISHER: General procedures for use of fire extinguishers

  • Sound alarms and make notification BEFORE you us extinguisher
  • Use the right extinguisher for the type fire. Example, a class A for a class A fire
  • Hold extinguisher in one hand or arm and use handle if one is available
  • For most fires aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire before you activate it
  • If the fire is a burning liquid, aim the extinguisher at the inner wall of the container, not the base of the flame before you activate it
  • Keep an exit at your backv
  • Know how you will escape if fire spreads
  • Plan your escape in advance
  • EMERGENCY SITUATIONS

    COMMON TYPES OF EMERGENCIES

  • Medical emergencies
  • Bomb and bomb threat
  • Chemical spills
  • Crowds and demonstrations
  • Explosions
  • Fires
  • Radiation release
  • Severe weather or natural disasters
  • Structural failures
  • Utilities failure
  • PROCEDURES FOR BOMB SEARCH. Four step method

  • First , start at lowest level (floor) and move up to waist level
  • Second, start at waist level and move up to standing persons head
  • Third, start at top of standing persons head and move to ceiling
  • Four, check suspended ceilings, indirect light fixtures, electrical wiring, ceiling ducts
  • Do not touch or move any suspicious packages. Report these to the authorities.
  • GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR SECURITY OFFICERS AND CROWDS

  • Observe crowd rather than the event
  • "Baiting" by persons should be outwardly ignored
  • Do not bluff or threaten if you cannot follow through
  • Remain strictly impartial
  • Avoid un-necessary conversation
  • Avoid bodily contact with crowd
  • Keep outside the crowd
  • Keep crowd leaders and trouble makers under constant surveillance
  • Keep cool and calm
  • Use "common sense"
  • SAFETY

    WHAT IS A HAZARDOUS MATERIAL?

  • Class 1 - Explosives
  • Class 2 - Gases
  • Class 3 - Flammable liquids
  • Class 4 - Flammable solids; spontaneously combustible materials that are dangerous when wet.
  • Class 5 - Oxidizers and organic peroxides
  • Class 6 - Poisonous and etiologic (infectious) materials
  • Class 7 - Radioactive materials
  • Class 8 - Corrosives
  • Class 9 - Miscellaneous hazardous material
  • SECURITY OFFICERS ACTIONS WHEN APPROACHING A HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INCIDENT

  • Obtain help
  • Approach cautiously
  • Identify the hazards
  • Secure the scene
  • Decide on-site entry
  • Above all, do not walk into or touch spilled material
  • Avoid inhalation of fumes, smoke or vapors, even if no hazardous materials are known to be involved
  • Do not assume that gases or vapors are harmless because of lack of smell
  • If you would like more information, or if you would like to discuss with our specialist, please call us at 866.349.6822.

    Virginia Surveillance Force had added important security links for your review and information. We look forward to being your security partner.

    COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

  • A. Department Of Criminal Justice Services www.dcjs.org
  • VA. State Police www.vsp.state.va.us
  • STATE OF MARYLAND

  • Maryland State Police www.mdsp.org
  • WASHINGTON D.C

  • DC Police www.mpdc.org
  • UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

  • FBI www.fbi.org
  • US Secret Service www.ustreas.gov
  • US Department Of Justice www.usdoj.gov
  • HOMELAND SECURITY

  • Department OF Homeland Security www.ready.gov
  • Anser Organization www.anser.org
  • VA. Institute Of Defense & Homeland Security ( IDHS ) www.cit.org/idhs/index.html
  • Maryland Homeland Security www.marylandhomelandsecurity.us/index.html
  • NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

  • International Association of Security & Investigative Regulations www.iasir.org
  • National Association Of Bail Enforcement Agents www.nabea.org
  • American Polygraph Association www.polygraph.org
  • ASIS International www.asisonline.org
  • LAW ENFORCEMENT & PRIVATE SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS

  • Law Enforcement Alliance Of America www.leaa.org
  • Institution for law & Justice www.ilj.org
  • International Association Of Chief Of Police www.theiacp.org
  • VA. Police & Private Security Alliance www.fairfax.va.us/police/police5.htm#tag23
  • Overseas Security advisory Council www.ds-osac.org
  • Virginia Surveillance Force, Inc. provides ongoing 24 hour protective and investigative services, unarmed or armed security patrol service, plain clothed or uniformed security patrol services, traffic control officers, executive protection, private detective services, Concierge and delivery services or immediate emergency protection, we've got the answer to your Virginia-based security needs.

    If you would like more information, or if you would like to discuss a specific need for investigative or protective services E-mail or call us at 866.349.6822.

    Stress is a part of everyone's life. It can be a good thing - a little stress can heighten your senses and productivity. However, too much stress can create or worsen physical and emotional problems. Manage your stress levels through a healthy lifestyle and simple tension-reducing activities.

    Try These Strategies:

  • Talk things out. Don't hold in feelings of anger, joy, hurt, sadness and excitement.
  • Exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes a day five days a week.
  • Eat right. Food high in protein, vitamin C, B vitamins and vitamin A protect us from these effects of stress.
  • Do not use drugs, alcohol or tobacco to cure stress. Tranquilizer and sleeping pills should be used only under a doctor's care.
  • Develop a realistic, positive attitude.
  • Work and manage time efficiently.
  • Learn to unwind with music, meditation or visual imagery.
  • Realize that every crisis gives you the opportunity to grow and learn.
  • Develop a support network of people you can count on for help.
  • Get enough sleep each night.
  • Signs Of A Stressful Lifestyle:

  • Skipping meals or eating on the run due to lack of time.
  • Often feeling run-down and/or too tired to exercise.
  • Frequent illness.
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Difficulty saying "No".
  • Eating, drinking or smoking when you are nervous.
  • Feeling out of control of your life.
  • Quick Ways To Ease Tension:

    If you find your self stressed-out, try these quick relaxation tips:

  • Get in a comfortable position. To the count of 5, take a long slow deep breath. Then exhale to the count of 5. Imagine that you are breathing out excess tension and breathing in relaxation. With each breath, say to your self, "Relax." Repeat 10 times.Taking Deep Breaths -- Belly breathing is what some people call it. itís an old and useful trick for defeating anxiety and nervousness. "The basic idea is act calm, be calm," says Bradley W. Frederick, D.C., director of the International Institute of Sports Medicine in Los Angeles, California. "When you're experiencing stress, your pulse races and you start breathing very quickly. Forcing yourself to breathe slowly convinces the body that the stress is gone, whether it is or isn't." The correct way to breathe? Abdominally--feeling the stomach expand as you inhale, collapse as you exhale.
  • Massage your temples, shoulders and neck. This application of acupressure--the oriental system that uses pressure points to relieve pain and treat a variety of ailments--works indirectly. Massaging nerves in your temples relaxes muscles elsewhere--chiefly in your neck.
  • Laugh away your worries. Keep a collection of jokes or humorous articles handy to read and share. Look Away -- If you look through a window at a far-distant view for a moment--away from the problem that's producing the stress--the eyes relax, and if the eyes relax, the tendency is for you to do the same. Take a pot off the burner and it quits boiling.
  • Scratch away tension. Do these simple exercises:

  • Jaw Rolling: Drop Your Jaw and Roll it Left to Right. People under pressure have a tendency to clench their teeth. Dropping the jaw and rolling it helps make those muscles relax, and if you relax the muscles, you reduce the sensation of tension.
  • Upper Back Stretch: Sit up straight with your fingers inter-laced behind your head. Keep your shoulders down, lift your chest and bring your elbows back as far as you can. Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Shoulder Rotations: Sit up straight. Bring shoulders up to ears and then back behind you. Then move them forward, making imaginary circles. Do 10 forward rolls, then roll shoulders in the reverse direction 10 times.
  • Overhead Reach: Raise your arm over your head and interlace your fingers with palms facing up. Keeping your shoulders down, stretch up wards. Hold for 20 seconds.
  • Waist Bend: Reach arms overhead with fingers laced together with shoulders, bend to one side from the waist. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat with other side.
  • Virginia Surveillance Force Employee Assistance Program(866) 349-6822

    Halloween Safety Tips

    Halloween is thought of as a simple night of fun, treats and laughter for our young children who are pure. But for many older teens and adults, it is a night of crime, violence, alcohol abuse and unforseen dangers for the public safety community.
    We encourage the fun and the harmless pranks but these must be tempered with safety, common sense and caution.
    Here are some safety tips for officers on duty and the thousands of children and families who participate in this holiday event across the country.

    OFFICER SAFETY TIPS

    here are some safety issues when working any overnight shift but on Halloween, the dangers more than triple for public safety personnel.

    Here are a few tips that may keep you safe!

    Above all else, use extreme caution, think before you react and be completely aware of your surroundings.

    Never chase vandals, candy thieves or trespassers into unknown and darken areas alone, period!

    Pranksters already hyped up on the ideas of the freaky, mischievous and naughty night of "fun" may turn on you trying to scare you off causing injury or even death.

    Minor crimes are not worth the risk of loosing life or limb.

    Juveniles on this night are more likely to be armed with knives, pepper spray or guns as they set out to cause neighborhood chaos and commit destructive and/or assaultive acts all in the name of fun.

    Many if not all children, teens and some adults will be dressed in some type of a costume, disguise or other identity altering wear-make up or mask making it harder to clearly identify risks, danger, identities and intents.

    Use maximum caution approaching anyone for any reason and stay your distance, alert and on-guard until you can clearly identify threat levels and subject identity.

    Halloween has also been used as a cover for increased robberies, burglaries, assaults and rapes and most people can easily move about in costume without being suspected of any wrong doing or criminal intent. Look for adults who may be out of place, early in the day, extremely made over and heavy make-up and impossible to identify.

    This could be a guise for criminal activity.

    Communicate with co-workers, security or police dispatchers before addressing dangerous situations, entering areas where a crime could be in progress, a fight is in progress or bodily harm has taken place or is imminent.

    Halloween may be a night of fun, candy and laughter for children but for public safety personnel, it is a night of greatly increased dangers and unknowns. All security officers must be on heightened alert regardless of assignment, physical location or any other reasonable factors.

    Kids love Halloween! They get to dress up and get free candy! What a perfect holiday! Give your kids some precious Halloween memories that they'll have for life.

    Some of you kids already know things that you can do to be safe, like how to cross the street, not to talk to or go with strangers and things like that. But we adults know how exciting Halloween can be and that can make you forget to be careful.

    TIPS FOR YOUR KIDS

    Here are some tips that we have just for you kids, to help keep you safe on Halloween night! Some of these ideas are called "common sense"ideas that mean that they are things that you should know and use every day in life. You are never too young to learn!

    Never, ever go into a stranger 's house or even ring their door for treats unless your parents are with you and say that it's okay. There are some people in life that aren't very nice to kids and you have to be careful. Always make sure that your mom or dad is within sight when you go out trick-or-treating.

    Be careful when you cross a street. Make sure to look in both directions and make sure that there are no cars coming. If you have a little brother or sister with you, take their hand and help them get across the street, too. If the street has a stop light, wait until the cross walk light tells you that it's okay to cross now, but still check before you cross, look both ways

    If you are an older kid or young teen, and going out with friends, make sure that your parents know where you are going and who you are going with. This may seem like a pain but they are your parents and they love you. They just want you to be safe.

    If you can drive and are taking a bunch of friends to a party, make sure that you have enough gas to get there. You don't want to run out on a dark street, all alone, like a bad horror movie!

    If your parents give you a curfew, be home when they say. It builds trust between you and them and they are doing it for your own safety. If you are going to be late, call them and let them know.

    Vandalism is never cool! Throwing eggs at cars and houses is not cool. Someone has to clean it up and it could be you, if you get caught. You can also be arrested and punished as a juvenile. So, don't think that it's fun only if you can get away with it. It's never the right thing to do! Think about how you would feel if someone did that to your house and how bad it would make you feel.

    Hurting animals is never acceptable behavior! Some people use Halloween as an excuse to hurt cats and that is just wrong! Not only is it illegal in most places to hurt or torture animals and punishable by law, you should never hurt a helpless living thing.

    Have fun on Halloween but keep it safe, have some good, clean fun and your parents will trust you for many Halloweens to come! Showing them how responsible you can be will give you a feeling of pride and make them see just how adult you really are.

    HALLOWEEN SAFETY FOR ADULTS

    Parents of trick-or-treating kids can get so caught up in the fun themselves that they might forget some simple safety ideas that could keep everyone out of trouble. Having a fun and safe Halloween will make it all worth while!

    Kids love Halloween! They get to dress up and get free candy! What a perfect holiday! Give your kids some precious Halloween memories that they'll have for life.

    If you take your kids to a sponsored event, like a safe Halloween thrown by your church or community center, make sure to keep an eye on them at all times. Even though it seems less dangerous, you are still in a strange environment full of people that you don't know. All it takes is a minute with your back turned to find your child gone.

    Cell phones are everywhere now! Everyone seems to have one, they can be so affordable.Make sure that your child has a pre-programmed cell phonewith him/her if they go out on Halloween night! Make sure that all important numbers are already there and ready for use.

    Below is more common sense tips that can help adults keep their kids safe.

    As bad as it sounds, this is just a fact of life now. Get on the internet and check your local state website for sex offenders. Almost every state has one; just do a search for your state sex offender site. Look up your zip code and it should have a list of registered offenders in your area that includes street addresses. Make sure that your kids stay away from these houses!

    Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren't going with them. Let them know that they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home. Make sure that they know not to deviate from the planned route so that you always know where they will be.

    Trick or treating isn't what it used to be. In most cities it's not safe to let kids walk the streets by themselves. Your best bet is to make sure that an adult is going with them. If you can't take them yourself, see if another parent or two can.

    Help your young child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure that its fire proof or treated with fire retardant. If they are wearing a mask of any kind, make sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.

    Know what other activities a child may be attending, such as parties, school or mall functions. If they are going to be at a friend's home, get the phone number and make sure that you have met the parents.

    Make sure you set a time that your kids should be home by. Make sure they know how important it is for them to be home on time or to call immediately if something happens and they are going to be delayed.

    Kids will be kids. Explain to kids of all ages the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem funny but they need to know the other side of the coin as well, that clean up and damages can ruin Halloween for everyone. If they are caught vandalizing, make them clean up the mess they've made.

    Some sick people find Halloween a great night to hurt cats. Explain to your kids that animal cruelty of any kind is not acceptable. Kids may already know this one on their own but stress the point that it's not acceptable behavior. Make sure that they know that harming animals is not only morally wrong but punishable by law and will not be tolerated.

    Serve your kids a filling meal before trick or treating and they won't be as tempted to eat any candy before they bring it home for you to check. Check your local grocery store or craft store for Halloween cook books full of tasty treats on a horror theme for both kids and adults.

    Make sure that if your child is carrying a prop, such as a scythe, butcher knife or a pitchfork, that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on. Make sure that costumes won't get in the way when they are walking, which could cause them to trip.

    Teach your kids about not getting into strangers cars or talking to strangers, no matter what the person says to them. Explain to them as simply as you can that some adults are bad and want to hurt children, that they should never go into a house that they don't know, get into a car or go anywhere with a stranger. Also, tell them what to do should this happen, to scream as loud as they can to draw attention and to run away as fast as they can to someplace safe.

    Be sure to show your children know how to cross a street properly. They should always look both ways before crossing the street and should only cross at corners or crosswalks. Make sure that if you have more than one child, they know to take the hand of the younger child when they cross a street.

    Make Halloween a fun, safe and happy time for your kids and they'll carry on the tradition that you taught them to their own families some day!

    Officers Use Extreme Caution! Children have fun!

    OFFICER SAFETY TIPS

    Not A Joke!! Even If you dislike attorneys..You will love them for these tips.

    need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company:

  • Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'
  • When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the 'For' line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.
  • Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address.Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get it.
  • Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel.. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a Name, address, Social Security number, credit cards. Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
  • We have been told we should cancel our credit cardsimmediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
  • File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
  • Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name.
  • The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

    By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

    Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, if it has been stolen:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
  • Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289
  • Social Security Administration (fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
  • We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along just about everything.

    If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.