A security guard on duty always has to be prepared for the unexpected danger, such as an aggressive polar bear. Well, encountering a polar bear while on patrol won’t happen to most security officers, but it can be common in Alaska.

The polar bear was approaching a residential housing area in a North Slope oilfield area. The5-year North Slope experienced guard attempted to get the polar bear to turn around by flashing the lights and using the siren on his  security vehicle.  When the bear didn’t turn and became aggressive, the security guard used a shot gun to fire what he believed was a bean bag round. A bean bag round that hits a bear will not penetrate the bear’s skin , but should cause the bear to run away. Another way to scare the bear away is to fire a cracker shell in front of the bear, not at the bear.  The noise should scare the bear away.

Several days later the bear was spotted again. After some observation, it was determined the bear was dead or dying. The

Security guards are trained yearly in methods to scare polar bears away from populated areas. The security guard company has modified its polar bear scare tactics since this incident. The cracker shell and bean bad ammunition types are now more clearly marked by different colors and labels. A second security guard is also required to be at the scene before attempting to scare off a polar bear. The presence of two security officers will help make sure the correct ammunition is being used.

This is the first polar bear killed by an oil field  security guard in 35 years even though in the last 5 years 541 polar bears have be sighted in the oil fields. Oil field personnel strictly adhere to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy about respecting the territory and lives of the endangered polar bears.

This incident serves as a reminder to armed security guards to always be certain of the type of weapon they are using to avoid accidentally causing serious injury or death  to people or animals.

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