Course 3 Convincing Member Service

Post Orders

More information: What Are Post Orders?

Post Orders are documents that set out MSO duties/responsibilities. See Image 1.

General Orders

ARM-LP member service officers adhere to the ARM-LP Conduct Policy & General Post Orders. These policies define the conduct expectations ARM-LP has of the member service officers(s) it trains.

  1. General policies and procedures applicable to all member service officers regardless of assignment
  2. Reporting requirements

Model Orders

ARM-LP’s Model Post Orders are written to meet the needs of an ARM-LP Community. These form the basis of Community Specific Post Orders (CSPOs).

  • List of other member service officers assigned to the site
  • Personnel authorised to access the site
  • Emergency contacts
  • Schedules
  • Certain site-specific routines
  • Patrol procedures, including locking/unlocking

Starting A Shift

Member service officers always work in shifts that suit the specific needs of an ARM-LP Community. The MSO must arrive on site 15 minutes before the duty shift commences. 

Lateness. MSOs must inform the community’s Critical Member Service Officer that they will be late.

Equipment. MSOs must arrive with the becessary equipment. See Image 2.



The specific Post Orders may require member service officers to conduct a written duty report. If so, follow the procedures shown in Image 3.

Site Visibility

Maintaining a visible presence is a member service officer’s most basic duty. Visible presence is most easily done by walking around and remaining available to anyone who needs you. There are three ways to say visible on site:

  • Walking Around
  • Using A Cart
  • Occupying A Single Station

Note Image 4. The visibility patrols ARM-LP does recommend for member service officers assume somewhat that at least one licensed security guard is present also.

Member service officers who continually patrol are better prepared to detect and respond to hazards, such as equipment malfunctions, general hazards, vandalism, or emergencies.

ARM-LP prefers member service officers to conduct foot patrols, during which member service officers should routinely walk about to observe and focus on the site or campus. Security By Walking Around (SBWA) reassures stakeholders — staff, managers, members, and visitors alike. It also deters bad actors.

Visibility Objectives

Security By Walking Around means…

  • To become intimately familiar with the campus. You need this familiarity to assist conducting any type of evacuation when necessary
  • To establish a visible presence that provides confidence to the staff, managers, and members of your ARM-LP Community
  • To detect safety hazards and provide an immediate response to safety hazards (or security incidents in the absence of licensed security), and
  • To detect, investigate and report on anything that affects the normal activities of people on property

Patrol Types

Member service officers must be deliberate and methodical. They must patrol. Where they do so, and how often, is included in the Community Specific Post Orders (CPOs). The CPSOs will also specify the type(s) of patrol member service officers conduct:

Responsive Active Direct Random

Responsive. Responds to a specific need or incident, e.g., alarm occurrence.

Active. Attempts to deter bad actors, prevent crime, and reassure people on property.

Direct. Follows a prescribed pattern.

Random. Follows no prescribed pattern. Generally preferred.

The First Patrol

Patrols are essential to the well-being of both the MSO and the site. The first visibility walk-about (“patrol”) establishes what is normal. Member service officers use this information to note what changes, if anything, as the MSO remains visible during the shift. Member service officers must respond to the changes they find. To do so they must rely on…

  • Hearing
  • Sight
  • Smell
  • Touch

 A Word About Touch. It is always unsafe to touch anything unless you wear protective gloves. A professional MSO always carries protective gloves .  A Word About Touch. It is always unsafe to touch anything unless you wear protective gloves. A professional MSO always carries protective gloves .

A Word About Smell. Your sense of smell can detect smoke, and this is probably its most importance use for any MSO.

A Word About Hearing. Security technologies, such as an earpiece attached to a radio or mobile phone, impose certain distractions. Member service officers must be vigilant about hearing and pay close attention to the common sounds made around them — voices, machine sounds, horns, alarms, etc.

A Word About Sight. Patrols provide member service officers with clues and cues to report key information. Sight is very important for this purpose. The key factor? <strong>Distance</strong>. You must consider how distance affects perception and/or recognition. Depth perception in an outdoor perimeter, for example, diminishes at night — even when we have artificial light, such as streetlamps or a flashlight.

Patrol Safety

MSOs will occupy one or more workstations during their shift; they will be visible to everyone but may not be assigned partners. It is reasonable to assume that most member service officers will work alone but in a crowd. To remain safe, cultivate situational awareness using the four skills shown in Image 26. MSOs will occupy one or more workstations during their shift; they will be visible to everyone but may not be assigned partners. It is reasonable to assume that most member service officers will work alone but in a crowd. To remain safe, cultivate situational awareness using the four skills shown in Image 26.  Using these skills cultivates a well-developed sense of what’s right (or not right) on-site. These skills help alleviate boredom and provide the MSO with a high level of personal safety while on-site.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness skills depend on these important tools:

Triform notebook. This is the ARM-LP preference, but any notebook is acceptable when  used only for recording an MSO duty shift.

Black or blue ink pen. Any decent pen will suffice, though MSOs should prefer pens capable of writing well in cold weather conditions. This is Canada.

Confidence. Walk with confidence: stand straight, do not use your posture to intimidate, do not shuffle or swagger.

Route, Circuit & Visibility. Your circuit ensures you cover every essential location on-site. Your route is the walk you take to cover the circuit. Your visibility should always be obvious.

The Routine

There are many routines. The priority is always means of entrance and exit.

Doors and windows

The priority here is to ensure the integrity of the site’s interior perimeter security. Note the open doors, open windows, what needs closing or locking, as noted in the Community Specific Post Orders. This may bring you into conflict with licensed security.

There will be no conflict on a dedicated campus — there is only one set of post orders, with clear distinctions of who is responsible for what.

On a shared campus, however, the security guards present are a type of contractor: they have their own duties and priorities, and their first duty is to the campus itself, not to any one tenant.


Use your first patrol to note security or safety issues. You need to identify which is which, so be Specific.

A cut fence or a broken ladder are each Hazards.

Note everything relevant — Observations.

Note also what might effectively alleviate, eliminate, or mitigate the hazards — Perspectives.

See Image 6.

Loss Prevention

It is important for member service officers to understand some basic loss prevention concepts. Member service officers must be aware of individuals who…

  • Seem to be looking around a lot
  • Look up to see where security cameras are placed
  • Wear bulky or unseasonal clothing, e.g., a jacket in July
  • Wear large backpacks or carry loosely packed duffle bags

Access Control

Access to some parts of a campus may not be authorised to everyone. The selective restriction of access to a place or other resource is called access control. We will look at two types:

  • Physical Access Control
  • Logical Access Control

Physical Access Control. This limits access to campuses, buildings, rooms, and physical assets. Keys, access cards, or passcodes are common types of physical access control.

Logical Access Control. This limits access to computer networks, systems, files, and data. Passwords or two-factor authentication are commonplace types of logical access control.

Four Levels of Physical Access

  • Perimeter (such as fences, gates)
  • Building (which as an interior perimeter marked by doors and windows)
  • Areas (parts of a building separated from each other by walls or partitions)
  • Objects (whatever else is shelved, stored, placed in drawers, etc.)

See Image 7.

Degree of Control. Community Specific Post Orders will establish the degree of control. Access is more or less highly controlled. Circumstances may differ even within a single site or campus.

Access Control Policies

The Community Specific Post Orders will establish…

(1) A list of authorised people
(2) Who may access all or part of the property
(3) When people are authorised to access all or part of the property
(4) What restrictions are prudent

Access Control Methods

Physical Barriers. These define the perimeter and are designed to permit or prevent access. A gate arm on a parking lot, for example, will only work when a card is inserted or swiped.

Member Service Officers. Some personnel are empowered to permit access, whether or not they are licensed as security professionals — receptionists, concierge, attendants, ushers, etc. Member service officers with access control authority must know…

  • who is authorised to enter
  • who is NOT authorised to enter
  • how to confirm authorisations to visit (for example, by a contractor)

Personal Identification. Asking for ID is permitted only in some circumstances: if your community requires individuals to wear an ID card, then MSOs and security guards may ask someone for their member ID. You may not  ask someone to show you their driver’s license or other official ID. Anyone who refuses to show a member ID may be removed for trespass — but MSOs should not let the matter escalate to that point. Your community has written policy on the matter if it adopts ARM-LP’s Model Policy.

Conducting Searches

This is essential to access control in many environments. Whether or not member service officers encounter it depends on the Community Specific Post Orders. ARM-LP does not recommend conducting searches other than as a last resort. What an MSO searches for (“contraband”) for is highly situational. Typical contraband may include…

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs (or drug paraphernalia)
  • Weapons (esp. anything sharp – knives, pocketknives, scissors, clippers, whatever)
  • Explosives (e.g., firecrackers, caps, cap guns)

Crowd Control & Scene Management

The management of large crowds is called crowd control. This may be a common MSO duty. ARM-LP communities will generally stage events or other public gatherings, and they may be prone to protests or protesters. Crowd control occurs when you ensure that peaceful crowds pose no general or specific threat.

Scene management occurs when measures are used to restore control to a crowd aroused by mob mentality. A member service officer is not trained for this purpose, and it is rare also for licensed security other than certain in-house departments. See Image 9.


Traffic Control

Member service officers may need to control traffic on private property with parking areas or private roads. Member service officers will not ordinarily control traffic on public streets and should only do so at the request of public first responders.

Traffic Control Duties

Traffic control is an important MSO skill. MSO safety is paramount — without it, you cannot ensure public safety. See Image 10.

High visibility is crucial. Member service officers who control traffic must wear appropriate clothing and use appropriate equipment. This includes…

    • High-visibility clothing
      1. Hi-Viz Yellow jackets or vests
      2. Trousers with reflective stripes
    • Equipment
      1. Whistles
      2. Handheld signs, e.g., “STOP”
      3. Flashlights (preferably with “glow cones”)
      4. Reflective traffic cones/flares
      5. Reflective barricades

Emergency vehicles always have the right of way. “Move over” laws give emergency vehicles a clear roadway and require motorists to move to the shoulder and stop until the emergency vehicle passes by with sirens or flashing lights operating.

In Ontario. Not all vehicles with flashing lights are emergency vehicles, e.g., utility trucks and tow trucks, even if they respond to emergencies. Blue flashing lights are used both by police and by road service vehicles driven on a highway to perform winter maintenance activities. Road service vehicles are operated by (or on behalf of) a municipality and may also be equipped with amber lights.

Alarm Systems


Every alarm system is designed to sense a change in the secured environment. Switches on a door, for example, sense when the door is open. A smoke detector senses the presence of smoke. These inputs cause a local alarm — most commonly a siren, flashing light, or bell, either alone or in some combination.
Member service officers will commonly respond to these type of alarms. See Image 11.


The most common sensors for intrusion alarms are electromagnetic contacts: an alarm goes off when the circuit is broken (e.g., a door or window is opened when it should be closed). Other common sensors include pressure detectors (switches placed beneath mats, for example) and motion detectors (which detect sound, light, or motion, sometimes separately and sometimes in combination).


Usually a pendant or other small device, a panic alarm may be worn or carried. There are many reasons to carry a panic alarm. Member service officers must be aware of who uses a panic alarm, for it is typically activated directly by the person in distress rather than by a sensor. MSOs must know both how to respond and to whom.

Fire & Life Safety

Smoke detectors, heat detectors, or gas detectors sense the early stages of a fire or life safety incident. The chain of command for this type of response probably includes only licensed security (when present). …
Remote Area Monitoring System. These systems detect when certain critical equipment fails.

Alarm Response

Local Alarms. A local alarm uses bells or sirens to alert people in the general vicinity of the alarm. Local alarms often also use bright lights in addition to bells or sirens.

Central Alarms. These are monitored in secure locations, most often off-site.
Remote Alarm Monitoring. An alarm system monitored off-site, remote alarms use either…

Direct Monitoring. Alarms monitored directly by police or fire departments, most often in small communities or rural areas.

Central Monitoring. Alarm installed by an alarm company and monitored by a company specialized in alarm monitoring.

Proprietary Monitoring. A security operations centre (SOC) monitor alarm systems in one or more related physical plants, such as a campus.

Member Service vs Security

Alarm response blurs the line considerably between member service and security.

Should member service officers respond to alarms? Only in specific circumstances addressed by the Community Specific Post Orders, such as responding to a safety or personal welfare incident.

Other types of alarm response should be left to licensed security professionals.

An MSO who responds to an alarm is called an alarm responder. Alarm responders must…

  1. Call and await backup if threat is imminent
  2. Frequently note what’s observed
  3. Compile reports, begin or undertake other paperwork
  4. Guide proper personnel on-site, obtain clearance, etc.

These responsibilities impose a duty to report. The duty to report is not onerous and will almost always be straight-forward.