Security officers are people hired to protect or guard specific people, places or things, and they may be privately or publicly employed. Security officers are not police officers, but many businesses require licenses to hold the positions.
As of 2015, there are over a million security officers in the United States, compared to over 700,000 police officers. Unlike police officers, security officers are not licensed to wield firearms unless they have personally obtained gun permits. Security officers generally are used in lieu of police officers, though they have also been employed, in some cases, as police assistance for major events.