Providing backup to another officer requires teamwork and prior forethought. Whenever two or more officers work together it is important to have open and honest communications about ability, training and experience related to the job. This enables officers to have confidence in their superiors, and ensures the lead officer knows what an officer can and cannot handle.
An officer should attempt to discern whether or not another officer’s words meet their conduct. It is important to determine if the other officer is alert, observant, firm but diplomatic, competent, makes sound judgment calls, and if they possess real knowledge of the basics of security. An officer can gauge another officer’s stance, general demeanor, and physical appearance to help determine if the officer is steady or slack.
In an incident, a lead officer may need to assign specific duties or areas to keep secure. This may include controlling a crowd, access control, or first aid, so the lead officer needs to know whether or not the support officer can handle the task assigned. In some cases, a lead officer may not have the capacity to deal with the situation, so the next in the chain of command should step up. In any case, all officers should be capable of recognizing when another officer is over extended, and be capable of lending assistance.