This month we wanted to focus your attention on the women in security who have made a career choice in the industry, especially our very own Captain Rhonda Damon. Captain Damon currently oversees a team of 20 security specialists, 15 of whom are women in both armed and unarmed security positions across three locations. There has been an increase in the number of women entering the ranks as security specialists, many carving out illustrious careers that fit into their lifestyle with numerous opportunities for advancement in a variety of roles in the industry as a whole.
Women in security: Not a “man’s” job anymore
There is no doubt that historically working as a security specialist has been a male-oriented industry. While the industry continues to be 75% male, significant increases in women working as security specialists has risen to 25% over the past decade and the trend of women becoming interested in the security space is growing. Currently at DMAC we employ a total of 68 female armed and unarmed security specialists between the ages of 19-72.
Captain Rhonda Damon, who began her security career as a part-time security specialist in 2017 remembers when she first began with DMAC “I started as an unarmed firewatch specialist at LIVE Casino in Maryland, doing on- site checks, securing the building and ensuring general safety on the premises. Soon after I started traveling to different venues and I quickly realized I liked the service based work I was doing in helping others feel safe and cared for, and decided to pursue this career full-time.”
Becoming a woman in security full time
In deciding to go full-time, Captain Damon found DMAC offered every kind of training she needed and quickly began working her way up the ranks, becoming an armed security specialist and making Captain soon after. “I never thought I’d work in security, but from an early age I knew I wanted to go into service, so this is truly the ideal career for me.” She states. In high school she had wanted to go into the Air Force, but being a young parent didn’t allow for that at the time and she worked as a school teacher. Today she continues to educate by continuously training new officers and her team of security specialists at Reisterstown Road Plaza in Maryland along with three other sites she manages.
Misconceptions of women in security
There are many misconceptions and preconceived notions about what kind of person is needed to work in security, many to do with your physical strength. The reality is that the opposite is true, says Capt. Damon, “before being physically strong, security specialists need to have acute awareness, and the ability to communicate effectively and remain calm under pressure.” Without these traits she says, no matter how strong a person is, it won’t help in making you a better security specialist. Therefore making the case that women often make better security specialists due to our natural sense of protection and high alertness.
Why women make great security specialists
Statistically, men are more likely to be the perpetrator of a physical assault or attack, including hold ups and robbies. Men have long thought that coming up against a female security specialist gives them the upper hand, underestimating their training and strategic abilities. It is that underestimation of their professionalism that makes women especially good for this career. “As women, our first instinct is to communicate, talk it out. As opposed to men, where their first thought may be physical or taking someone on ‘man to man’” says Capt. Damon. “It’s that element of surprise that also works to our advantage when it comes to de-escalation — which is the first point of defense when up against a perpetrator. We want to be able to resolve it without physical harm to anyone and remove the threat safely and peacefully.” Success comes from many different skills, most of them using your intelligence to assess a situation and then taking the right action to resolve it.
Qualifications and training
One of the great things about working in security is that you don’t need a higher education degree or even a military or police background. At a minimum a high-school diploma is needed and the compilation of the required training and certifications for your state and the area of security you will specialize in. Just last month, DMAC launched its National Training and Professional Development program led by former Director of Operations, Dennis O’Connor.
“Our commitment to training and career advancement of our security specialists is one of our proudest and biggest differentiators from others in the industry” says Dennis O’Connor. DMAC’s training is varied yet precise and includes leadership development courses for supervisors and management, advanced tactical training for armed officers, school resource officers, bank and high value security specialists, personal protection specialist training and consulting services to name a few. “We don’t just train our security specialists, we define, develop and hone their skills so they are always at the top of their game. Continuous training is so important in an ever changing field,” says Dennis O’Connor.
Despite a few lingering stereotypes of the sleepy security guard being fooled by intruders or that security is a “man’s job” the industry and the opportunities in it have changed and will continue to do so. Therefore, someone with good communication skills who can employ empathy, industry knowledge, and critical thinking are extreme assets to the security community, in turn making the industry more appealing to women given the range of work available.
Women bring unique skill sets to the security industry
Women certainly bring a different feel and skill set to the industry, and can often make the space or venue they are working in more comfortable for patrons and guests, because they are perceived to be less intimidating. Such places who often hire women security specialists include nursing homes, day care centers, women’s sports teams, counseling centers and retail shops. Captain Damon continues to work with a nursing home in Washington, D.C. and although she is not there everyday, she does check in with her dedicated security team there and the staff on a weekly basis “they trust me and my team, we work not only to keep them safe from physical harm, but to make them feel secure in their environment and show we are here for them.”
DMAC is actively recruiting and looking for individuals who would like to make a career change and find their path as a security specialist. Contact DMAC Security today to find out more about a career in security and making a difference in the world.