Author: todaystrainingblog

…Another Door Opens

Yet another transformation in my professional identity and what I truly am. My blog site is moving once again. And just like last time it is for the better. The new site will allow you to keep up to date with me and events such as media appearances and new seminars.

The security field and it’s many and varied functions is both my vocation & avocation…I am dedicated to saving lives of adults and children while they are at school. My new book, due in May, was inspired by the shootings in Parkland Florida on February 14, Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention.

I finally decided that it was time to start my own website that more finally tunes my professional identity and tell you, the reader, my different functions. This website will host my blog as well as other items to help you, your loved ones, schools, and business stay safe, and secure.

I have worked in a wide variety of fields in my 35-year career in the security field. From temporary labor, fast food restaurants, and hospitality to name a few not in the security field. Therefore I believe I have the experience and knowledge to write what I believe in. Yes, my posts are full of quirky, weird, and unusual ideas. But they are time tested and have been proven to work. You will have to tweak them for your own use but…

If you have any security questions or wish to have me consult for you and your company, either in person or telephonically we can discuss it, just send me a message with a phone number or e-mail address through the website.

I write my blog posts for one reason & one reason only. To help protect lives, property, and assets.

Please visit my new website at and read what I can do for you and your company. You can also follow me on twitter for insights on customer service and workplace violence prevention at @robertsollars2. If you prefer to contact me through e-mail then click the contact link on the website.

Thanks for sticking with me through all of these changes and I hope to have you continue to read and visit my website to keep getting these and read more of my ideas and quirky thoughts on security. Have A Safe Day!

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses & schools to safeguard the lives of their employees & students to lessen their risk of violence as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his website, twitter@robertsollars2, or by e-mail at

He is the author of 2 books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses:

Never to Grow-Up: Preventing Violence in our Schools

One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence

both available on Amazon. His upcoming book will be available in May, watch for more details on

Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention

                          May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear


Permission to reprint? Of course, with these guidelines; the original content must be printed in full with original wording, with grammatical corrections, and full attribution.

Copyright 2018 Robert D. Sollars

Do you have guards or officers–Part 2

This is the second and last part of this series on attempting to turn your guards into officers. It won’t be easy and you will be labeled a hard ass but…it is necessary.  To over haul the industry in a time of dangers never before thought of in this perilous world. As security professionals we need to maintain a security watch on people, property, & assets like never before.

We can start with our security force and ensure that they are officers not just rent-a-cops and guards of yesterday going back 5, 20, or longer ago…they were little trained, with even less motivation in most cases. Hopefully these posts will assist you in beginning to turn your guards into professional officers.


  • Testing


Training is a good first step, but testing is a mandatory 2nd. After training someone, whether it is orientation or On-the-Job, you need to test them. If you don’t test, how do you know whether or not they learned, and retained anything? How can you correct any issues that come about because of a lack of understanding if you don’t test?

Written tests should be administered at the end of any training class. The written, not just T & F or multiple choice, forces the officer to think out their answer and put it in writing.

When you see them in the office or on post, ask them a question about their assignment. And require them to answer you in as detailed answer as the two of you have time for.

Both of these tests will keep them on their toes and keep them thinking and learning about their assignment. Additionally, it will keep them up-to-date on their post, client needs, as well as the industry and company news. Which to be a professional they should know that as well, not all but most.


  • Field supervision


When you, or your staff, are out conducting post inspections, you need to be doing more than just shooting the breeze. Delve into their knowledge of the post, security, post orders, and other such items. After the breeze has been shot, leave them with something to think about, a motivational thought or security tidbit.

This will also help to get them into the idea that they need to be an officer not a guard. Your field level supervision needs to be the official presence of the company and uphold the industry and company standards.

Guards see field management as a royal pain in the butt. But to an officer they will see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, whether within the industry or company, and learn from a more experienced officer.

Should your field managers become friendly with the officers and be personable? Why not? As long as the delineation of roles are carefully defined… You can’t just walk onto a post and be all business and bluster. Whether they are guards or officers they will see that as a ploy to fire them rather than assist them in becoming better at their job. Shoot the breeze all you want as long as both understand that it is also a business conversation.


  • Be curious and paranoid


Yes paranoid. Does that mean call someone every time they hear a sound? Of course not. What it means is that they should take nothing for granted and be hyper vigilant. If you hear a noise in a dark facility, no matter what kind, then don’t think it’s just a rodent, it could be a criminal. And curiosity killed the cat, but it won’t kill the officer… unless you’re in a horror movie!


  • Customer service


I know what you are thinking about providing customer service in the security field. There are many levels to customer service and your new officers must be proficient in learning how to deliver it. There is so much more to customer service than smiling and being respectful to others. Customer service is not an act but a habit. Therefore, in order to make your officers into customer service extraordinaire, you need to make them effective, efficient, & train them in the skills they need.


Did you get to your level of expertise by sitting and doing nothing? More than likely you put in years and study to become the professional you are. There isn’t a magic elixir to take to make you a security genius. Nor is there a metal helmet you can put on to attract the universes knowledge. So, that leaves one thing and one thing only. Observe and learn!

Have your officers learn and keep learning about everything. Have them observe everything and record it mentally and in their pocket notebooks, mandatory,. If you can get them to change their perception of themselves, and the client, management, & employees changes their perceptions then you are on the way to having officers not guards. And if you can do that, then your officers will gain and be respected as such.

Here’s an interview for a podcast that I did. I hope you enjoy what I have to say about how observe & report is obsolete and the wrong way for security officers to complete their duties;

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses & schools to safeguard the lives of their employees & students to lessen their risk of violence as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his website, twitter@robertsollars2, or by e-mail at


Robert is the author of 2 books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses:

Never to Grow-Up: Preventing Violence in our Schools and

One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence, both available on Amazon.

His upcoming book will be available in May, watch for more details on

Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention

                       I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

What kind of manager are you?

Ah, the majestic old days of management when we could rule with an iron fist. Don’t care about your employees just their productivity. Tell them what to do and where to go if they don’t like it, my way or the highway. If it made them upset, not our problem.

Unfortunately, back in my days with Wells Fargo, that’s what we were told to tell them. If I was asked a question by an officer as to why they didn’t get a raise or something was changed, my answer, coming from the corporate line, I was a good corporate minion, was just that. “If you don’t like it then leave, we’ll find someone to replace you at the minimum wage”.

It took me a while to see the light, but I began to change my management style. From one of being a bureaucratic corporate toadie to one that was liked and respected by my officers. And what did I do differently to change? I became an employee’s manager. With this change I didn’t exactly engender myself to the company because I was an employee’ advocate, which got me in trouble more than once.

I changed my style of management by doing only three things…listening, empathizing, and putting myself in their shoes. I listened to them and what their concerns were and attempted to do what would be best for them, the company, & the client. Sometimes it didn’t work out so well for 1, 2, or all 3, but I did try to strike that balance. I usually came away with 1, 2, or all 3 mad, or ecstatic at what I did.

The innumerable incidents of workplace violence are plagued with stories of people who weren’t listened to or taken seriously with their grievances, real or perceived. They then subsequently brought a weapon to the office, or used something already there, and injured someone, thousands since the 80s. A good example…

At General Dynamics in the early 90s an employee returned from a leave of absence after burying his 6-year-old son who had died of leukemia. It was obvious that his work performance was suffering because of his grief. A meeting was held to discuss terminating him. The next meeting was to be where he was actually terminated but instead he terminated the HR manager and the union rep. Unfortunately, there are innumerable news stories like this, maybe not fatal but a company being insensitive to employees needs.

It is imperative as managers that we, sometimes, be the hardass of the company. We are tasked with enforcing the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures that may not be very popular with the employees. Some will resist and others will simmer slowly until the boiling point is reached, if ever.

But it is just as imperative that we listen & make accommodations, if possible, for them. And with our own employees, it’s even more important to listen and care about what they are saying and doing right or wrong. They are after all part of the extended family of the company and therefore needed to accomplish your mission of manufacturing your product or delivering your services.

An employee, who may be having difficulties showing up on time or not being properly groomed, could be indicative of a problem. This is not saying that we need to solve their problems for them, but we do need to be a sounding board and show that you are interested in both their welfare as well as the security of the company/client. And the only way to do this is to take the time to learn who they are as well as the problem. It may not solve the underlying issues, but it may prevent some bad results by not listening.

Other times it may be a blatant attempt at just plain insubordination for whatever reason or they are trying to play you for a fool. Which means that you have to come down hard on them and deny them whatever is against the rules in a harsh tone? And in the case of an officer write them up and counsel, or a harsher penalty, them. And make no apologies for it, sometimes it’s necessary.

I’ve had to discipline & terminate my officers in the office and on-site. But for the sake of the company and/or client it had to be done. And I would rather have done it than by someone else which didn’t engender me to my now ex-friends.

The lesson for all of this is that you have to be willing to take the time to listen and care about your employees. It may also be necessary to defend those employees if they are accused unfairly, simply to get rid of them, which can be another trigger for a violent incident and happens far too often…even now.

What is your management style? Are you one who will listen and care for your officers? Or are you so tied into the bureaucratic corporate mentality that you can’t bend for anyone or anything? Being too far on either side isn’t good for anyone. You have to strike a balance, somehow, between being a*****e and an employee’s manager, and not compromise either side or your integrity.

It is not an easy task to accomplish to become an employee’s manager. But it can be done without getting fired or raising the ire of upper management, maybe. The question then becomes…can you do it?

“To be a successful leader you must Engage, Empower, and Encourage”

Marc Koehler

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming website or twitter@robertsollars2.

(Watch for my new book…not on customer service but on preventing violence in our schools due in May)

                                                        I May be Blind, but my Vision is Crystal Clear

School Shootings & Threats Rule February

Starting with the horrific shooting in Parkland Florida on the 14th, Valentine’s /’day no less, a rash of threats and shootings have occurred at the nations schools. According to both ABC Radio and my local FOX TV affiliate, more than 200 threats of shootings have been reported in the 14 days since that shooting. Obviously I have not heard of all the threats, like last year with the Jewish Community Center threats.

However, the ones I have listed below are the ones that I have heard about on both national and local news casts. This is by nomeans an all inclusive list, since I know I’ve missed any number of them while sleeping or being out and about. The number of incidents has been increased by 200, the approx.. umber of threats n schools, although again not officially named.

Los Angeles, CA. February 1 (school) 5w

Las Vegas, NV. February 1             1w

Mesa, AZ. February 2                                      1d

Tempe, AZ. February 4                                   1d

Corpus Christi, TX. February 4     4w

Richardson, TX. February 7                           2d

Phoenix, AZ. February 7                                 1d

Boulder, CO. February 8 (school) 1w

Flagstaff, AZ. February 8 (school)              0

Phoenix, AZ. February 13                              1d

Ft. Meade, MD. February 14        3w

Everitt, WA. February 14               0

Parkland, FL. February 14 (school) 21w   17d

Phoenix, AZ. February 14 (school)   1w

Kirbyville, TX. February 15 (school)           0

Rochester, NY. February 16(school)          0

Seattle, WA. February 16 (school)             0

Phoenix, AZ. February 16 (school)             0

Atlanta, GA. February 18                               0

Scottsdale, AZ. February 18                          1d

San Antonio, TX. February 18       3w

Kirbyville, TX. February 19 (school)           0

Jackson TWSP, OH. February 20 (school) 1d

Phoenix, AZ. February 22 (school)             0

Los Angeles, CA. February 22 (school)     0

Prescott Valley, AZ. February 21 (school) 0

Tempe, AZ. February 23 (school)               0

Winchester, MA. February 24                      2w

Phoenix, AZ. February 25                              2w          1d

Yuma, AZ. February 27 (school)                  0

Dalton, GA. February 28 (school)               1w

(School violence threats have been added in to the number of 200 as reported by ABC Radio/FOX 10)

February:231 incidents  26 dead 42 wounded

Year-to-Date: 257 Arizona: 19

44 Dead      66 Wounded

Do you have guards or officers?–Part 1

I don’t like the term guard because it demeans what we actually do. Yes we guard the lives and property of the company and client, but the term guard is a verb not a noun. If we call them officers, that puts them in a more professional light and hopefully they will live up to the new designation of a professional.

The question that many people have is “what the hell is the difference?” The difference lies in the perception of a lazy good for nothing rent-a-cop and a professional observer and protector. That is what we truly are, except in rare circumstances. Meaning that an officer has to go above the narrow definition that the municipality or state mandates.

It starts with management. They must refrain from using the term guard, unless it’s being used in a derogatory manner because of poor performance. Many security companies still call their officer’s guards as do their clients. They have been doing it for so long it is a habit and it’s a hard one to break. The level of training, pay, or ability doesn’t matter. They are all guards and nothing more. And not many people think of it differently because they have been conditioned to think that way. So the first thing is to change the perception of them.

The company and client can change, but you have to change the perception of the employees. And how can you do that, when the employees think that the officers are more of a hindrance than a help. Eventually the employees will follow management, to a certain extent in calling them officers. The officers must prove that they are worthy of the respect that calling them officers involves.

Next in the line of change are the officers themselves. The biggest question you will face is “How the hell do I do that?” The simple answer is…you can’t. It is up to them. You can certainly put into place disciplinary measures and a code of conduct but over and above that…it is their mindset. You can ask and order, but unless they are in the mind set to do it, then they won’t. To those guards, it’s all a bunch of hooey, and they don’t want to do anything more.

What do you have to ask and order them to do to become officers not guards? Again it is all up to them to want to change and be an officer not a guard. Hopefully, the following tips will help you answer that question for yourself;

  • Education

I don’t mean they have to have a Bachelor’s degree or any college education. Even if the individual is only a high school gaduat, they can be an excellent security officer. The key is to start learning and never stop, no matter what it is; security, local/national/World events, or computers. It all helps them to learn and establish their skills.

I consistently surprise people when I tell them I’ve never been to college. Many people ask me how I’ve become so educated in security, not to mention my specialty of workplace violence. I started learning and never stopped and that is the key. How did do that?

Before going blind I was used to reading as many as 4 – 5 newspapers a day. Additionally, I read magazines all the time as well. That’s where I self-educated myself. I read whatever and whenever I could, even industry specific magazines from clients.

I have managed security officers that were conscientious and dedicated to completing their assigned job in a professional manner, but they jes weren’t edumacated or looked thoroughly professional. On the other hand, I’ve also had ‘guards’ that had college degrees and could me to shame mentally, but they were guards.

The key is to let your officers know what’s going on within the company & industry. And it doesn’t matter what the industry is. If you are in a plastics plant, do you read any manufacturing or plastics magazines? Those are just as important. If you’re contracted, you have to know your client’s business and how it works in order to be effective and efficient.

Most companies will put you through an initial orientation training class to give you the basics, hopefully. It will be different from company to company, but remember this is generalized training. If you work proprietarily and the training is adequate, pay extra attention in orientation, because this is where you’ll first learn about being a professional officer. 

lastly, just because you’ve completed however many hours of training videos or OJT it’s not even close to being enough for  training you. Nothing can compare to the advantages of actually working the post and being trained on it, on-the-job training (OJT), and the black & white cleanliness of formal classroom training.

The 2nd part of this post will be next week.

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

                      I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Are Millennials responsible for increasingly bad customer service?

A new study by Jive communications states that millennials could be responsible for increasingly bad customer service. While the study doesn’t say that so succinctly, it does state a number of facts that create an atmosphere of customer no service:

Patiently waiting on-line/phone for longer periods

Never complaining about receiving poor service

Continuing to visit the stores they know have bad service

Never seemingly getting upset when they have to wait or receive poor service

These areas are the vital aspect of providing unparalleled customer service, but millennials refuse to complain about customer no service. I don’t know why nor do I really care if it is their upbringing or anything else, this isn’t a psychology article. We should not expect, or accept poor customer service, period.

As a baby boomer, I have been raised to have respect for people. I still address people as sir and ma’am, even if they are younger than I am. I call them by their first name, if they give it. I tell their supervisors when I receive quality customer service and I definitely inform the company when I receive poor or non-existent service.

This attitude of millennials simply accepting poor customer service is intolerable. Eventually, the cartoons of years past will come true i.e. the skeleton sitting at a keyboard with cobwebs on them when the IT person shows up and asks “Been waiting long?” That is just one example that has in some ways come true, waiting on-line/hold, for sometimes hours, for computer assistance.

It is already at that point and will only get worse if we can’t change these attitudes. I am hoping that my forthcoming book will address that and reverse that trend. We shouldn’t expect poor service as a matter of course. We can’t be expected to be waiting in line for an interminable period of time to either get a question answered or purchase an item, even in the express line.

Poor service will happen no matter what, at some point while we are out shopping or having fun. But it shouldn’t become the norm, that is one way communism and socialism failed… long lines and no service from the state. Every business has its hiccups in service…to think otherwise is as bad as expecting poor service.

Do you like being abused in any fashion? Either an abused toadie by the boss, significant other, governmental agency, financial companies, criminals, or literally anyone who will take advantage, read abuse, of us? By accepting poor customer service, we are allowing, and telling, the business, no matter what it is, that we “like it, we love it and we want some more of it “.

As consumers, we want to be abused as customers by the business and we like it. We are paying for the privilege of having them keeping us waiting, not answering our questions, running us in circles, denying that it is their fault, and maybe transferring us to someone else where it starts all over again.

As I state in my book, most people will go to a business where they receive the best customer service. That is even if they have to spend a few pennies more, overall, for the items they wish to purchase. Those businesses are the ones that have phenomenal growth in their revenues. It is proven that some businesses are so big no matter what they will succeed i.e. Wal-Mart, Amazon, General Motors, & many others (remember the bailouts of 2008?). But can your business, with you as an employee, manager, or owner survive with poor service?

I would surmise that we would not. Do you push the boundaries of what you can do legally to satisfy the customer? Do you allow your employees to do that, as long as they don’t give away the store? Does your business have a long wait for a customer to receive a refund on a large purchase, having to go through numerous layers of management to do so? They are many ways that you, employee, manager, or business owner can do to satisfy the customer by breaking the rules. You can, in many fashions provide unparalleled service in doing just this. As long as you don’t do anything that is illegal, unethical, or immoral why shouldn’t you do what you can for the customer and as a customer yourself?

Millennials would have a hard time working for me, and their reputation as lazy and do-nothings seems to be well earned in this respect, as I have always had a high commitment to customer service, yes even in security. I did what I could do within the boundaries of being a peon and being spit on by management, figuratively, for doing it. We can’t accept poor customer service if we want to grow our businesses, even as an employee we can grow the business by doing these things.

Read my book, when it comes out, and you’ll see that it is fairly simple to do these things. I expect it to be published in April or May and will post the announcement here.

Unconventional Customer Service: How-to Break the Rules in Providing Unparalleled Service

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming new website or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                      I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Security Operations Manuals for the Post-Part 3

This is the last post in this series. I hope, by the time you finish reading this one, I have given you enough so that you can have your security operations manual for your security posts. Again, I will reiterate this point. A Security Operations Manual on post will help you and your officers offer more professionalism to your client and company.

This section of creating your manual may be a little surprising to you. It is not something you would normally think of as being necessary, relevant, or integral to its creation. But trust me on this… it is nearly as important as the information inside.


This section should be in the back of your mind at all times when creating the manual. It really should be started as soon as you begin to create it. The appearance of your manual has more to do with the finished product as the ease of readability is when it is finished.

That answer is simple to explain in one word…anticipation. By developing an anticipation and expectation of the manual, it will help to create buzz and excitement before it is unveiled. With all advertising programs for anything in this world, from the latest car models to the new mobile phones and television shows, anticipation builds excitement.

Is it theatrical and over the top in the presentation of simple ‘post orders’? Of course it is, but in the world we live in don’t we have to do that in many respects to gain attention and have the officers and clients believe it is well worth the wait? If it helps the security team to become involved in its planning, organization, and assessment then it is well worth the theatrics.

This approach also helps in another way than just building anticipation…it helps to provide buy in from the officers.

So, what do you need to help create this anticipation and expectation of the manual? Keep in mind that your original will not be the complete version but a good mockup will do for the time being. The first thing you need is a 3 ring binder; the size depends on the site, with a clear cover insert on the front and back.

What do you put on your front and back cover? A logo and company name of both the contractor and client. Bright colorful graphics should be apparent. On the back…maybe a stock photo of the client site. The title of it should be centered and overlaying it in a large 18 or 20 pt. font.

Security Operations Manual


Large or small Client

At the bottom in much smaller font, possibly and 8;

Written By: Robert D. Sollars, Account Manager, Praetorian Security Services

Approved: January 15, 2018

Adding the date shows how long it has been since overhauled and if it needs to be again.

Additionally, section dividers with neatly printed tabs should also be included. This allows for easy access to know and learn what to do at the easy flip of a page. Adorning these section dividers with some imagery is also a nice touch, whether stock photos/illustrations or customized from the officers and site.

I have written hundreds of these and it didn’t matter whether they were grammatically correct or not on my posts. The only exception was with my large notable clients with many billable hours. Then the office took it and did their grammar editing, which I was never good at, ensuring it didn’t lose its simplicity.

The last question, which I addressed in the 2nd post and will again here, was how long should it be? That is an answer I can’t give you. Mainly because it really depends on your facility. I’ve written some for simple sites that were only 20 pages, including the 1st section of it. Others required as many or more than, 75 – 100 pages without the 1st section, because they were complex in their duties/responsibilities and had numerous small details that had to be included.

The presentation and appearance of your manual is just as important as it is with anything else. Look back at the new car designs, food networks, and nearly everything else for sale. If the presentation is good then it is more likely to be accepted as the best out there. Then if you allow the officers to help in the creation in some fashion then they will buy in to what it represents and increase the appearance of professionalism amongst everyone.

If your officers and clients believe that you are going out of your way for them to make their job easier and more of a return on their investment in you, then all that does is help. It should, if rolled out correctly and not immediately filled with revisions, increase the professionalism of the officers to you, the client, and employees.

It is unfortunate that today’s world we have to be dramatic, theatrical, and over-the-top to gain the attention, and keep it, of officers and clients. But as with many other things within the field, we have to change approaches to gaining and keeping officer engagement and this is one way to do that.

I hope these 3 posts have given you the information and impetus to form your own manual. As I always state they have been time tested and proven, even if they may be time consuming to put together.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming website, or twitter@robertsollars2.

                              I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear