Courtesy patrols have become well integrated in neighborhoods and apartment complexes alike in recent years. This extra layer of security has grown to be a sought-after amenity for homeowners and renters as it ensures peace of mind and confidence in their new home. However, having these patrols is bound to raise some questions as to what exactly a courtesy officer is, and why not just hire a security officer instead? Why does my community need them in the first place? If the idea of a courtesy officer raises a few concerns, don’t worry! We will be going over the differences between a courtesy officer and a security officer, as well as how courtesy officers are able to benefit Central Florida communities
Let’s start with the term “courtesy officer”, which is an apartment industry term to describe a third-party contractor or a complex employee who operates as a visible protective service after hours. They will often be seen wearing a security officer-like uniform with company logos fixed on a shirt or hat. Through their role, courtesy officers act as a deterrent for crime. As they carry out their patrols, they are able to get to know and interact with residents. Through these interactions, courtesy officers can spot irregularities and or concerns that can be brought to the attention of local law enforcement if needed. They are also able to respond to quality of living issues rather quickly such as noise complaints, lockouts, and other disagreements. Those issues would take a longer response time from police departments since they would be ranked of lower importance, especially in highly populated areas.
Now let’s take a look at the term “security officers”, a third-party contractor or employee who patrols property as well as acting as a deterrent for criminal activity. Which is strikingly like that of a courtesy officer, the terms even sound interchangeable. The difference between the two lies in legal liability. Back in the 1980’s, a Texas Apartment Association attorney made the argument that the term “security guard” insinuated that apartment complexes would take on the legal responsibility to provide security for their inhabitants. This would cause the complex to be, in theory, liable for felonies that were committed on the property resulting in the injury of a resident. Because of this, the term “security officer” was scrubbed from apartment language and substituted with “courtesy officer” instead.
The name change is the biggest difference between that of a security guard and a courtesy guard. Your apartment complex’s courtesy officer will still be in a security agency uniform and performing security guard-like tasks throughout their shifts. Anything a security guard can do, a courtesy officer can do that, and more.
They can assist residents with contacting police and reporting suspicious activity or crimes committed on the property. Here are a few things your apartment’s courtesy officers can provide for a community:
- Enforcing complex or community policies
- Watching for package thefts
- Assisting residents with accessing amenities and lockouts
- Regularly patrol complex
- Assist with after-hours concerns
There are limitations to what tasks a courtesy officer can perform as they do not have the authority to enforce local laws. The key takeaway here is that the difference between a security guard and a courtesy officer lies within legal liabilities. The name change is there to negate that possible issue allowing courtesy officers to focus on providing residents with peace of mind in security.