T.J. Sears started in the security field five years ago when there were few women joining the ranks.
She works part-time for Tempe-based TEAM Security, which provides security services for events all over Arizona. Sears is now a supervisor with the company. And when required, Sears serves as an armed guard. She is one of nine in the company with that license.
“My main role as one of the supervisors is to make sure we have enough people to serve the clients, to take care of the staff, and make sure every spot is posted properly,” she said. Sears also is one of two trainers.
“I love this work. Absolutely love it,” she said. “I like being outside. I like dealing with issues. I like dealing with clients. You meet some fantastic people.”
In Arizona, uniformed security officers must be licensed by the state through a fingerprint background check. They are required to be high school graduates or hold a GED. Many companies also require a drug test. Others may ask for a polygraph test or psychological exam.
Guardsmark, a global company with a presence in Arizona for 20 years, hires security officers to watch over locations such as distribution centers, industrial sites, automotive sales centers and hospitals.
“Duties can range from monitoring the televisions and alarms to conducting patrols, badging, key control and assistance to employees,” said Jack Callahan, director of operations for Arizona.
Overall, there are 125 different duties the company provides, depending on each client’s needs.
Capitol Guard and Patrol Inc. has been in operation for 25 years, said Bill Mitchell.
Capitol’s training includes instruction on report writing, use of force, first responder preparation, securing a crime scene and client relations and communication skills, he said.
“When we hire, we’re looking for dependability,” he said. “The primary job is protection of the employees and guests of the client plus their own protection against harm or injury.”
While some companies have large operations, Charles Duncan of AAA Valley Security runs a small, 10-person company that protects at events and several apartment buildings and other locations.
“Their primary role on the job is to observe and report, in my view,” he said. “Our philosophy is not to confront somebody who has broken into a place, but to observe, get information, call 911 and let the police handle it.