There’s an acronym taking prominence in security circles, and beginning to trickle into public awareness: ODOs, which stands for off-duty police officers. With the recent eruption of social and racial justice protests (and counter protests and unpeaceful criminal opportunism) larger and smaller security companies are moving to hire ODOs to augment their security teams. Companies have been turning quickly to security firms which can provide off duty police for their clients. At this time there is record-setting interest in ODOs for beefed up security.
There are advantages and disadvantages to this. ODO’s as police officers can make arrests whether they’re on duty or off duty. On the spot they can call in criminal activities so that fellow officers can respond if available. They have certain training in crowd control and dealing with protests that are being turned by unwanted elements into criminal opportunities or unpeaceful agitation. Disadvantages include the fact that police officers who are working under a security firm can take things into their hands without following the chain of command. Or they can be too eager to confront or to enter into conflict. Of course, these are individual traits that emerge when people are under pressure.
Many security officer professionals do come out of the police force – after leaving or retiring from the police department. They can bring enormous experience in community policing, safety and security measures. Part of the responsibility for security firms is to be sure to have excellent intake procedures for new hires, followed up by the new forms of training that security firms are now undertaking.