The Strange Case of the Invisible Officer

These two tips will make your security personnel more effective and appreciated

“You know, we just never see your security officer,” the administrator complained loudly.  “How can that be?” the frustrated supervisor responded. “I have his guard tour record right here. He made all of his rounds right on time. My goodness, could the man possibly be invisible?”

This may sound like something out of Ralph Ellison’s classic science fiction work, “The Invisible Man,” but hey, it actually happens. Officer Invisibility Syndrome (OIS) has struck again. OIS can be a real problem for any campus, since officers must be seen to deter bad guys from doing bad stuff while making good guys feel safe and secure. 

Wait a minute, science has actually found a cure for dreaded OIS. It comes in the form of patrol modification and the 10-5 rule. 

Part A. Patrol Modification: Encourage your officers to conduct their patrols away from background areas, where they might blend in. Have them adjust their route to areas where they will stand out. Have them move closer to their clientele.

Part B. The 10-5 Rule:  Have your officers make eye contact, smile and give a nod of recognition when they pass within 10 feet of a fellow pedestrian. At 5 feet, where practical, they can offer a short greeting. “Hi”. 

Eye contact, nod and smile are at the heart of this magic elixir. It will make your security service more effective and more appreciated. Helping your officers adjust to the 10-5 rule will take a lot of hand holding. It will require roll playing, repetition and supervisory support to help them develop a comfort level with the new changes.

So, join the crusade to end the heartbreak of OIS. See the positive changes that occur where customer service meets crime prevention. Whether your team is made up of police or security officers, these simple changes will make your department look really good.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Jim Grayson is a senior security consultant. His career spans more than 35 years in law enforcement and security consulting. He worked for UCLA on a workplace violence study involving hospitals, schools and small retail environments and consulted with NIOSH on a retail violence prevention study.Grayson’s diverse project experience includes schools, universities, hospitals, municipal buildings, high-rise structures and downtown revitalization projects. He holds a degree in criminal justice and a CPP security management credential from ASIS. He is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on a wide range of security topics.He can be reached at [email protected]. Note: The views expressed by guest bloggers and contributors are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Campus Safety magazine.

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety HQ