Lead, follow, or just plain get the hell out of the way!

That phrase has been around longer than I’ve been on this little blue marble. It certainly applies when you begin discussing having on site security. More importantly, though, is when you begin thinking about trying to diminish the destruction of property and lives of those affected by workplace violence) WPV) or other crimes impacting the home or business.

YOU, as the security professional, hopefully, manager or not, need to be the one to lead the company through this quagmire of detail and time. Not the legal department. Not the c-suite. Not human resources. No one but YOU. u It’s up to you to be the leader and not a follower. Nor do you want to get the hell out of the way, like the supervisor at U.S. Security Associates in 2010, which may have been following orders but…

So what are the steps you need to take before you can be relatively assured that your facility is as safe as it can be? And that answer has to be without erecting guard towers, 10 foot fences topped with razor wire, and officers patrolling the facility and its perimeter with their Uzi’s at the ready. I will give you a short list, not enough time and room here, of what I think is needed to ensure the safety and security of the facility and its employees as well as the longevity of the business.

This list will not explain every step. The facility is yours. And the company culture will dictate what kind of measures you can implement, heaven forbid if someone is inconvenienced by them, that’s a grave sin and not allowed. Every facility and company culture is different, so doing an assessment of that will dictate what you can and can’t do to protect it… unfortunately.

  • Writing a disaster recovery plan for all issues not just WPV
  • Conducting a complete & thorough security assessment, which by necessity includes inventory control, parking, access control, physical security, alarms, & potentially officers
  • Auditing background checks & procedures to ensure that someone who may be prone to violence is monitored, if you decide to hire them
  • Auditing HR policies & procedures as it relates to the many facets of WPV and the possibility of restraining orders being served. This would include bullying, harassment, fights, & etc.
  • Auditing the termination policies & procedures and also by necessity the possibility of a high risk termination. Which means protection for the manager conducting the termination as well as everyone else within the facility.

(Yes, I do mean you need to audit human resources policies & procedures to ensure that they protect not only employees but the managers and the facility as well as vendors)

  • Auditing security policies & procedures in regards to domestic violence, restraining orders, & threats by anyone. How will you protect people at work, to & from their vehicle, & what other assistance will/can you offer. Again bring in HR to help you with the assessment
  • Ensuring that you have emergency back-up in security if needed. Having a security company that can have an armed officer(s) on-site within a few hours is a definite plus. Or just extra officers period
  • Your employee assistance program (EAP) is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Counseling for grief & mental health are among the many facets of having an EAP at the ready
  • What about your customer service attitude and how it affects potentially violent people?
  • Has your entire company been trained in what to do in the case of an active shooter or perpetrator? Training for security problems shouldn’t just be a security issue. If employees don’t know what to do…it could cause more injuries than necessary
  • Training your employees with the fight, hide, or run (yes I believe in that order) scenarios along with table top exercises utilizing lead and supervisory personnel
  • Are your emergency call lists and security operations manual up-to-date? Do they look like testimony from a senate committee hearing on alien invasions and highly redacted?


As I stated above, these are only a few of the points that need to be looked at and covered when discussing a WPV and other crimes against the company plan of action. These plans can be detailed oriented and time consuming. That’s why I would always recommend a consultant for them. They have the time to devote to giving you a plan that is complete and detailed in all aspects…if you are willing to pay for that level of detail.

However, if the financial resources for security are tight, as most are, then you’ll have to purchase something that may not be as effective or efficient. A Plan of Action in a box/book/program/app is a good starting point. Unfortunately that starting point is like saying you can build a car with a tire as the foundation.

Take the pains to do it right. The consequences of not doing it right can cost you, and your company, the lives of employees, vendors, and millions of dollars in litigation and potential bankruptcy. All you have to do is look at other cases of inadequate security, WPV, inadequate training, & supervision and the like to understand.

After the incident, which is when you’ll usually get the resources, is too late to do it the right way. Lightning does strike twice on occasion and you really don’t want to have to go through it again do you? That would be a total waste of resources…and lives. And do I really have to mention the bad publicity of having a second incident with you explaining why nothing was done after the first one?

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page, facebook.com/oneistooomany, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                     I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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