“There was never a time in the past 10 years that I questioned my choice to be a security officer,” stated Certis Security Supervisor (SS) Geetha Nalatamby, the passion for her job shining through the simple statement.
The 30-year-old was one of the two recipients of this year's Security Officer of the Year Award. SS Geetha’s calm disposition had helped a member of the public who was in distress at IMM.
While conducting a routine security check, the vigilant SS Geetha spotted a young lady perched on a ledge in the carpark. Instead of giving in to first instincts of shock and fear, SS Geetha remained composed, remembering the training she had gone through to mitigate life-threatening situations.
“It was the first time I encountered such an incident, but I knew I had to get her to safety,” she recalled.
“As I slowly approached her, I mentally listed possible scenarios of her reactions so that I could respond accordingly. After I started engaging her, she started crying and poured out her family and relationship woes. I managed to get close enough to hold her hand, and gradually calmed her down.”
SS Geetha talked to her for about 15 minutes before the young lady finally agreed to come down from the ledge. After the girl was brought down to safety, SS Geetha followed protocol and alerted the Police and mall management.
“As a security officer, we have to be calm, alert and prepared for any emergencies that might occur,” SS Geetha shared coolly.
SS Geetha receiving her Security Officer of the Year Award from Zaqy Mohamed, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Manpower. PHOTO: Security Association Singapore
When not responding to emergencies, SS Geetha’s day-to-day duties involve ensuring the safety of shoppers and employees within the mall. Sometimes, the more “exciting” part of her day includes dealing with altercations amongst merchants and shoppers.
Both her experience and training have put her in good stead to handle tense conflicts. “It is important to speak to them separately in a composed manner and defuse the situation before it escalates,” she said.
Apart from conflict management courses, SS Geetha also felt training on managing fire alarm and carpark systems, as well as CCTV monitoring, has benefited her in carrying out her duties confidently.
While patrolling, SS Geetha conducts physical checks at various areas of the mall.
SS Geetha recalled that 10 years ago, there wasn’t much technology used on the job, and things were very manual then.
“I would say Certis has transformed so much over the years. Now, we are equipped with electronic clocking and sensors. We have an integrated command-and-control platform with enhanced mobility features, which uses data and video analytics to make our work more efficient,” she explained.
These innovative solutions are part of the Security Industry Transformation Map
(ITM) efforts to innovate and leverage technology to transform service models in Singapore to improve productivity and effectiveness of security officers.
While much of the more manual work has been replaced by technology, SS Geetha feels the human touch is still important and finds joy in meeting different people in her line of work.
“Members of the public who need our assistance are reassured when they know they are talking to a human. When they express gratitude and leave the mall with a smile, I know that I’ve made a difference to their day,” she beamed.
“It’s days like these that affirms my commitment as a security officer!”
Read Industry Spotlight: Cool, Calm and Collected (Part 1)
Security Officers’ Day Awards
An initiative by the Security Association Singapore
(SAS), Security Officers’ Day Awards is presented annually to honour the efforts and contributions of those in the industry, in conjunction with Security Officers’ Day which falls on 24 July. This year, two officers received the Security Officer of the Year award and three officers received the SAS President’s Medal for Professionalism.
Security Industry Transformation Map
The Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM) is a collaborative effort with industry associations, companies, unions, service buyers, security agencies and Government agencies led by the Ministry of Home Affairs to transform the industry to deliver better security outcomes. Click here
to read more.