Security Officers are part of Starfleet Security and are responsible for security aboard all Starfleet and some Federation outposts, vessels, and facilities. In this function, they act in ways analogous to local and regional police agencies, but Starfleet Security's mandate extends much farther than that. The agency is responsible for maintaining and enforcing Starfleet Security regulations, procedures and policies on all Starfleet and affiliated facilities, outposts, and vessels. In addition, this agency is responsible for security clearances of all Starfleet/UFP personnel.
Guarding Vital Areas
- One of the primary duties of the Security department on board a starship or starbase is safeguarding vital areas that may be vulnerable to theft or sabotage, or that might draw intruders. Such areas include the bridge, main engineering, the central computer core, cargo bays containing valuable goods, the shuttlebays, and the brig. When the ship or station is not on alert, guards are routinely posted at security stations on the decks located near these vital areas, able to monitor the security scanners and respond quickly if there is a need.
- For a yellow alert, security personnel are placed on guard at vital points throughout the ship. They may be given special orders regarding access to those facilities (such as allowing no one but the Captain and First Officer access). The security guards allow access to authorized crewmembers unless ordered otherwise. The Captain, First Officer, or Security Chief can also give certain crewmembers access privileges, as needed.
- Under red alert, security guards are posted on all decks, as well as vital areas of the ship. If an intruder alert is sounded, security personnel guard all turbolifts and airlocks, and begin sweeping the ship for signs of intruders. Information is relayed back to the main computer and the Security Chief.
- Standard procedure calls for at least one security guard on duty in the transporter room when unknown or potentially dangerous individuals transport on board. The transporter chief can hold such individuals in stasis in the pattern buffer if necessary to await the arrival of security, and transporter scanners automatically detect any dangerous weapons or other devices, and can render them inoperative before the subject rematerializes, making security's job easier.
Guarding the Captain
- One of the prime duties of Security is safeguarding the commanding officer of a starship or station. The captain is considered a vital element of the ship, and treated accordingly. The captain should have a security escort at all times in red alert situations, and when beaming down into any situation that might become dangerous. The Security Chief and/or Operations Officer helps to safeguard the captain while on the bridge, but additional security personnel should be present if trouble is expected.
- Part of safeguarding the captain involves performing security sweeps of areas before the captain enters or beams into them. Security personnel check for any potential hazards and ensure they are within reasonable limits before the captain arrives. The captain can, of course, override standard security procedures in these matters, but it is not recommended.
Away Team Procedures
- Security personnel form a vital part of Away Team Missions and every away team is well-advised to have at least one security officer, more if the Away Mission is expected to encounter trouble (particularly armed resistance). In some cases, away teams may be made up entirely of Security (and Command) personnel.
- While on an Away Mission, the duties of the Security personnel include:
- Remaining alert for any signs of danger to the crew or mission.
- Safeguarding the lives of all away team members, particularly senior officers.
- Gathering tactical and strategic information regarding any possible threats.
- Taking necessary action to ensure the first three priorities, including the use of force, but only as a last resort.
- While all Starfleet personnel on Away Missions are expected to remain alert, it is the security officer's duty to look out for potential threats to the Away Team. This includes the use of tricorder scans for hazards (both natural and artificial) and "reading" the reactions of any life-forms the crew may encounter. The security officer should make recommendations to the commanding officer of the Away Team with regards to appropriate security precautions.
- It is important to note that Starfleet security officers are expected to take a defensive posture with regard to possible threats. Stunning (much less injuring) native life-forms "simply because they might pose a threat" is against Starfleet regulations. A strategic withdrawal is normally the most prudent response in a dangerous situation, followed by neutralizing the danger as quickly as possible, if a withdrawal is not an option.
- There are occasions when a Starfleet crew may find itself with prisoners: criminals they have apprehended, captured attackers, or even unknown aliens. In general, Starfleet crews are authorized to keep such individuals imprisoned until they can be turned over to the proper authorities, either of the planet or civilization that has jurisdiction, or to Federation authorities at a Starbase.
- Each starship or station is generally equipped with a brig to hold prisoners. The brig consists of one or more cells equipped with force fields and a security station. On board larger ships and space stations brigs are capable of holding a number of prisoners. Smaller ships may only be able to hold a handful, while the smallest ships may not have a brig at all. Crews may resort to using guest or crew-quarters as makeshift cells by locking the door and posting guards (perhaps even reinforcing the door with a force field). Most brigs use force fields to prevent any chance of the prisoner escaping via transporter.
- A starship crew is expected to turn any prisoners over to the proper authorities as soon as reasonably possible. The captain, of course, is the judge of what is "reasonable" in these situations. If the ship is already engaged in a mission, the prisoners may be held until that mission is complete and the ship has an opportunity to deal with them. More delicate political and diplomatic situations may require the crew to deal with their prisoners immediately.
- Starfleet regulations require that prisoners be treated well, and that all of their life-support needs be met. In the case of non-Federation citizens, the crew should make every effort to contact the proper authorities of the prisoner's home world, although prisoners accused of crimes against Federation personnel or property should be held over while Federation authorities discuss matters of extradition with the prisoner's home civilization.
Chief of Security
- The Chief of Security must carry out all of the above duties, but has further duties to perform. He/she must also co-ordinate the security teams on the vessel to deal with crises with maximum efficiency and to give the vessel maximum security coverage.
- The Chief of Security is also responsible for providing the First Officer with regular departmental reports and updates, as well as ensuring that duty rosters are conformed to.
Security and Marine Officers' Related Duties
The duty assignments of Security officers and Marine Corps officers are very similar in nature; however, there is a distinct difference between their operational authorities. Therefore, a very strict separation of power has arisen, and Security Officers and Marine Officers follow this separation strictly.
While Marines are stationed aboard starships, operational authority and control rests with the Chief of Security of that starship. The Marines are to supplement the Security force on a starship in the event of a boarding or other hostile action that takes place onboard that ship. Duties such as guarding sensitive areas or security patrols are general examples of this supplementation. Final authority for security on a Starfleet vessel rests in the hands of the Chief of Security who then reports to the First Officer and the Captain.
However, on away missions, as well as all boarding actions of an enemy vessel or structure, when there is a Marine presence, the Marine Commander will then take responsibility for the safety and well being of the crew assigned in addition to preparing and implementing boarding actions of enemy vessels or structures. Security will assist as necessary; however, the Marine Commander has the authority and jurisdiction. This situation also applies to Marine land units where Starfleet Security officers are assigned, whether on a temporary or permanent basis.