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Old 12-02-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
DanHoward
 
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Default Help with night guard

I was wondering whether anyone who has ever worked as a security guard or custodian on night shift could help.

What were the duties you had to do each night?
Give me a list of unusual things that happened whilst on duty.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:35 PM   #2
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Help with night guard

I've been a hotel desk night concierge (eight pm to eight am), a night watchman on a fishing trawler while it was in port (from 6 pm to 8 am) and a security guard at the Central Bank of Iceland (my shifts were usually eight am to four pm or four pm to midnight, the midnight to eight shift I did only a couple of times).

The overwhelming impression of my duties in those jobs was... none. I needed to physically be there, that was about it.

At the hotel, I read the complete works of Lovecraft, did a lot of gaming work and surfed the Web extensively. I also glanced occasionally at security monitors and was supposed to take a walk around the hotel a couple of times over the night (but rarely did). There were occasional guests in the evening, asking about restaurants, arranging wakeup calls and pickups, etc., but all that died down after midnight.

In fact, the night desk had so little to do that a hardnosed middle-manager of the cleaning staff had successfully convinced the upper managment to make us do a couple of machines of laundry and to lay out the morning buffet before we left, just so we had to do something for our wages.

As a watchman on the trawler, I walked rounds to see if someone was trying to break in or if some equipment might be malfunctioning and I responded to alarms from the engine room. If it was something I could not deal with and which could not wait until morning, I summoned an engineer.

What I actually did was read, watch movies and, once I learned that no one really minded, invite my friends over to the rec area of the trawler for game night, movie night and once, memorably, to watch the first game of the day during a football World Cup (while it was in Asia, the first game was on very, very early in the morning here). The morning game ran into the start of the workday on the ship, so the friend in question, a young girl, had to walk out with me past a bunch of sailors, which, as you can imagine, occasioned ribald commentary.

As a security guard, I alternated between monitor duty, walking rounds and periods of... little at all, really. I also locked up for the night, checked that stuff that was supposed to be off was actually turned off and whether stuff that was meant to be on was on and suchlike, but that was only about two hours of the eight. While walking rounds, you checked in to the monitor room with your radio, occasionally, reporting where you were, and in the monitor room, you received those calls.

During the slack periods, I surfed the Net, prepared gaming sessions, wrote historical fiction designed to amuse only myself*, planned how to rob the bank**, tried to explain to middle-aged security guards what 'gaming' was and had long, pointless conversations with friends over the phone.

Any specific questions?

*A process which I call authorial masturbation and I wish that more 'artists' would have the decency to throw their creations in the wastebaskets once they've had their fun, rather than publish them.
**Eventually, I shelved the plan for coming out worse in a risk-benefit analysis than just getting a law degree and a job.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Help with night guard

I worked security for a resort/gated living area in the mountains north of Atlanta, GA after I was retired from the USAF.

The areas we worked were either at one of three gates or as roving security. We would work two weeks at a time at a gate - one week from 1600-2400, the enxt from 2400-0800, and then on to another spot.

Gate duty required us to check incoming vehicles for a sticker on the lower left corner on their windshield. Our sticker meant we opened the gate. No sticker meant we had to contact the potential hosts, count the passengers if a "let them in" was gotten and record that nimber and the license on a roster. We were also required to provide assistance as requested, check that any near-by trash bins had their bear-proof lids on properly stay awake. Depending on the gate and time, you could be very busy or very bored.

Roving security was just that - following a "beat", checking on homes as requested/required, helping people, keeping eyes open for roaming bears and whatever else was needed.

This was nice duty until two gates were subjected to rifle fire in one night - I was in one of them. After calling for help, I got treated for multiple glass fragments in my scalp and fired. The other guard had been transported for two bullet wounds and fired. Fun times.
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: Help with night guard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitestreak View Post
This was nice duty until two gates were subjected to rifle fire in one night - I was in one of them. After calling for help, I got treated for multiple glass fragments in my scalp and fired. The other guard had been transported for two bullet wounds and fired. Fun times.
That sounds like a strange thing for your employer to do. What was their ostensible reason for firing the guards who had been shot at?
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Old 12-03-2012, 04:20 AM   #5
rust
 
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Default Re: Help with night guard

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanHoward View Post
What were the duties you had to do each night?
After my time with the military I worked as a member of a security firm for a
short while at night to earn some money while attending a school during the
day. Our usual task was to visit certain businesses in a region of the city, to
look for damage or intruders at least once per hour, and call the police in ca-
se we found something or someone. Another job was to guard the stalls and
tents of a christmas fair on the city square at night, there we just wandered
around and looked for "adventure".
Quote:
Give me a list of unusual things that happened whilst on duty.
Since our uniforms were somewhat similar to police uniforms, we were often
mistaken for police officers and asked to deal with stuff like domestic violen-
ce, belligerent drunkards or minor brawls. Unless our uniforms were sufficient
to calm down people, we called the police and went on.
What I remember most were not any unusual incidents but the high number
of totally drunk people sleeping in the most unlikely places in very cold winter
nights, we had to call the rescue services far more often than the police.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
Whitestreak
 
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Default Re: Help with night guard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett View Post
That sounds like a strange thing for your employer to do. What was their ostensible reason for firing the guards who had been shot at?
Despite either locations having any problems that night - I had only four cars come in, all with stickers - the owner felt that *we* had to have been the reason for the gunfire, so we had to be let go, to prevent any other problems. It didn't help - turned out the guy doing the shooting had a beef with the owner, and since he couldn't find the owner or get onto the property, he decided he would teach us a lesson.

I learned about it years later, when I bumped into the guard who had been wounded.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Help with night guard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitestreak View Post
t didn't help - turned out the guy doing the shooting had a beef with the owner, and since he couldn't find the owner or get onto the property, he decided he would teach us a lesson.
Yeah, the owner sounds like a real sweet guy. I wonder how anyone could have beef with him...
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:10 PM   #8
Ed the Coastie
 
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Default Re: Help with night guard

I've done my share of night-owl work.

Security was the easiest...I made the internal rounds once an hour or so, at random intervals, checking to make sure that both the exterior doors and the interior doors to critical areas were still locked. Then I spent the rest of my time at the security desk working on my gaming stuff (which, to an outside viewer, made it look like I was busy with paperwork) and occasionally glancing at the monitor.

School custodian was more involved...it would take me anywhere from 4-6 hours to do the job, but the rest of night was pretty laid back. I would frequently do my laundry while I was working, and either read or work of gaming stuff when my work was done.

Night houseman at a resort hotel was similar...4-6 hours of work (most of it cleaning the dining room of the attached restaurant) and then the rest of the time sitting in the office reading and waiting in case I needed to respond to a guest request.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:41 PM   #9
Dalillama
 
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Default Re: Help with night guard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed the Coastie View Post

School custodian was more involved...it would take me anywhere from 4-6 hours to do the job, but the rest of night was pretty laid back. I would frequently do my laundry while I was working, and either read or work of gaming stuff when my work was done.
That's pretty much my life right now.
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Old 12-03-2012, 01:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Help with night guard

Okay, so I've done armed response security and door rattling security, as well as a gig doing (unlicensed) security in parking lots.

In reverse order: parking lot security.
I would drive from lot to lot (in a downtown area) from the time my shift started until it ended. If I found any problems, I had the discretion to deal with them myself or call the police. I found people trying to break into the money boxes a couple of times. Since I knew that the boxes had already been emptied, the justice system would do virtually nothing, so I confronted. Never saw 'em again. I also reported numerous car break ins and witnessed the aftermath of an armed robbery. (Later, after security ended, I worked as a parking attendant. The site that had been previously robbed, and where I, myself, had worked was hit by an armed robber who, for no reason, murdered the attendant. That wasn't a good day.) My only defense? A bottle of questionable mace spray and a cell phone. My biggest perk? I collected and retained fees from letting people into lots after hours. But this pretty much was break even, since I provided the "patrol" car (an old VW bug).

Door rattling:
This was boring. Stay awake all night, rattle door knobs, do standard rounds every so often, report anything "off". No mace. We were allowed to carry (but not use) night sticks. (Well, we could use them to touch questionable substances. Ick. That's why I carried min.) In various sites I dealt with drunks, car break-ins, light domestic violence, and the occasional irate owner who was angry that I would DARE question them. Since I worked for a company for whom these owners were clients, I didn't encounter whitestreak's issue of being fired for doing my job (nor did anyone shoot at me). Instead, I called a central base and verified the person's credentials. In some cases, they were sent away because they hadn't bothered to update important documents. I worked in office buildings, lab facilities, and min-malls all on graveyard. Never once did I feel any sort of threat. The most "important" part of my duty was writing reports. One thing I discovered is that most of the other security guards were marginally literate. My bosses really liked that I could write a good, coherent description of a incident, so eventually I got promoted.

Armed response:
For the most part, I had a regular patrol route. Clients payed for door rattling service during certain windows. So it'd be a series of 15 - 60 minute stops inside time windows, with the busiest time being between about 11 pm and 3 am. Once you got used to a specific location, the actual patrol would take about 30 - 60% of the time you had. A LOT of guards would use this to get extra breaks, so they'd do checks out of their time window as fast as they could and end up with 2 or even 3 free hours. My take? They were paying us to BE THERE, so I'd stop somewhere safe and visible. Worst case, I'd read or do paperwork. Best case? I'd drive around or redo the patrol.

The "exciting" part was the alarm responses. But really, they were usually repeat offenders. So I'd show up, follow the protocol for patrol, and then reset the alarm (or call the alarm company to do so). If there was any evidence of a real issue I would call the police. Of course, I ran into people who weren't on the magic list MANY times and detained them. They'd get irate, combative, and then I'd put my hand on my holster as I was calmly explaining to them that they weren't on the list and I needed to verify their identity, unsnap the retention strap, and put my hand on the grip. Well, needless to say that all but one person got really, really cooperative. A couple of them basically admitted they didn't belong there, and I called the cops, who took them away. One -- the smart one -- ran (no mandate to pursue, and no obvious felony in progress, so I reported his description and called it a day). One yelled at me (turned out to be a manager) until the police came and we sorted the issue out with HIS boss.

I also had people jump out at me. Drunks who thought I was someone else. I managed NOT to hit the first couple, but only just. But for the most part it was fairly mellow. No one was ever injured by violence on the job, but several were injured by wandering around various sketchy sites in the dark.

The good? Lots of free time broken up well. Also a directive to nap (15 - 20 minutes) if too sleepy to drive. The neutral? Experience wearing a vest. Man those things are hot and heavy during the summer. The bad? Making crappy salary. If it paid what I make now, I'd still be doing it.
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