What Does a Special Security Officer Do?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 13 December 2018
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The job responsibilities of a special security officer can depend on an employer but may include background checks, information handling, and private policing activities. Training requirements to work in this field are also dependent on employer as well as job responsibilities. It may be necessary to attend a law enforcement academy, obtain a security clearance, and complete training in an organization’s procedures and protocols. Positions often come with benefits like paid vacation and contributions to pension funds, as well as assistance with health care costs.

Private institutions like universities and research facilities may maintain their own security staffs. A special security officer has many powers similar to those of a peace officer, and acts effectively as a private police officer. This means the officer can conduct investigations, make arrests, and supervise training and scheduling of personnel. The job can also include running background checks and interviews on new hires, supervising physical security, and supporting personnel responsible for computer security.

Government agencies, contractors, and other companies with relationships with the government may have a slightly different type of special security officer. This person is responsible for secure information handling, which includes implementing and overseeing a program that meets government standards. Like their counterparts in the civilian world, they also work on physical and information technology security, provide training to personnel, and work with other security staff on specific issues.


Law enforcement training and experience can be useful for a special security officer, along with experience in government agencies in some cases. The work typically requires a clean criminal record and background because it can involve working in sensitive environments. Flexibility is critical, as special security officers may need to perform a variety of tasks that could require rapid switching. They work on ongoing projects like auditing and improving security systems in addition to immediate responses to security concerns.

Some job responsibilities can include filing paperwork, reviewing reports from other personnel, and monitoring people at work. In addition to being familiar with procedures, the special security officer also needs to be prepared to participate in policymaking and make recommendations for improving specific aspects of security. Duties can include travel to remote sites and conferences, as well as consultations with people who work in a facility and have particular concerns. For example, a scientist working on a sensitive project might need to meet with a special security officer to talk about the best measures for keeping it safe.



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