How Do You Say Hello to a Rent-a-Cop?


How do you say "hello" to your local security guard? You know who I'm talking about - the rent-a-cop guy or gal who guards your school, office building, or sporting event?

The correct way is to greet them and address them as "Sir" or "Ma'am" - unless you know them, of course - then it's "Hey, Bob," or whatever their name is.

The thing to keep in mind, especially if you don't know the person from Adam or Eve, is that a percentage of civilian security guards have some sort of ex-military or ex-police experience. Heck, they could even be a decorated combat or police veteran, for all you know.

So, the first of the three easy ways in determining that you should show mutual respect to a security guard ...

1 Unless you know the person well - you probably don't know their work history - and they might be a war hero. Thus, you provide them with respect by default.

2 The second way might be to observe that they are actually doing you a favor by protecting you, even in those long hours of dead calm that often come with guarding facilities. They are protecting your person, your valuables, maybe even your loved ones if it's a guard at the entrance to your gated community. Much of security work is essentially the civilian version of a military presence patrol - in which a show of force is needed to deter theft or violence. During the Cold War we used the term "flanking" to describe the foot patrols we pulled around housing areas and recreation facilities while defending against threats from European terrorists. This type of duty is often so thankless that most people never even knew it occurred.

3 The last and possibly best of the three - good things always seem to come in threes - is the Golden Rule, which does not need a lot of explaining, other than: In the middle of an ongoing and tediously slow recovery, wouldn't it be terrible if an office worker had to take a job as a rent-a-cop? I've probably set a record on the most possible day jobs to have in one lifetime while paying for my freelance writing habit, and I've pulled more guard duty than most people ever will - so it wouldn't bother me to do it again if I needed to do it to make my house payment.

Not sure about other people.

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