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Month: October, 2012

Parrot Heads, Elections, & Kidneys

October 30, 2012

 

‘Tis the season to start getting silly and having fun no matter what. Even though I’m a flat out security professional, I need to be silly as well. Therefore, here are just a few tidbits that aren’t large enough for posts by themselves, but all together they make up a good post – I hope.

How many of you are Parrot heads? Do you even know what a Parrot head is? A Parrot head is a person who enjoys Jimmy Buffett and can sing along with all his songs. I am avowed Parrot head myself, but someone close to me has been a closet Parrot head and now has to admit it!

We went to the Jimmy Buffett concert in Las Vegas this past weekend. While the time in Vegas was not that enjoyable, the concert was absolutely fantastic! Anyway, the person who said she wasn’t a Parrot head is Eileen!

She has told me for years that she didn’t like Buffett that well and was only going to see him because of me. She wanted to do something for me for several reasons, including my kidneys, but I digress – ever notice I do that a lot? Anyway, we were sitting there at the MGM Grand Saturday night listening to Jimmy giving his soooo human and audience loving performance.

When he started singing his hits, she sang along with him! She knew all the words to every song he sang! She knew more of the words than I did! It was wonderful to hear her voice ringing out with everybody else’s there (she has a beautiful voice).

Jimmy sang every song off of his CD (album, cassette, & 8 track) ‘Songs You Know By Heart’.  The only one he didn’t sing was ‘He Went to Paris’.

And while, every singer doesn’t sing songs in concert like they did in the studio, this one was different. I enjoyed them that way. And I have to say that the songs on that CD can tell you a lot about life.

From Margaritaville to Son of a Son of a Sailor to Come Monday to Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. Every song he wrote and sings has something profound to say. And you can always find something in them to relate to your own life.

I said earlier that I didn’t like Vegas that well, here’s the reason I say that. On Saturday afternoon we went to ‘The Strip’ to walk around and shop. While I didn’t mind being in the company of a couple of ‘gatherers’ and not doing the hunter thing (find shirt, kill shirt, take home shirt), the crowds were irritating!

People would walk in front of me, trip over my cane (and then blame me with a dirty look), cut in front while we’re walking, and generally being rude to a blind guy trying to enjoy himself with his beautiful wife. I felt like going all Klingon on everybody!

It took us more than 3 hours to walk a mile and a half! That’s ridiculous! I can walk to the store and back in about a half hour – and that’s a mile! I did call the CVB and told them but there isn’t a whole lot they can do.

All in all it was a decent weekend for me. I got to go on a trip and see one of all time favorite performers. Got a couple of new t-shirts, like I really needed any more, and a cup that looks like a margarita pitcher – perfect for the desk! Stayed in a hotel room with 2 beautiful women (and get your minds outa the gutter) and even got to play the slots at the casino!

 

Next Tuesday as you read this posting it’ll be election day, get out and show your freedom and choose to vote. Don’t be a socialist living in Venezuela or a communist in Russia/North Korea. Make your vote count and get out there. Either show satisfaction or dis-satisfaction.

Lastly, I want to encourage everyone out there to be tested for organ donation. I am in need of a new kidney, one of the reasons I went to Vegas now. Even if you sign the donor card for after you pass on in a number of years, it’ll help someone else, including your family. You can donate your liver or kidney to a person you know, as long as you’re compatible. 1,700 people in Arizona are in need of a kidney transplant and the stats say that 204 of them will die before getting a suitable one.

Why is Security Important?

October 26, 2012

One of my favorite radio shows was a business call-in show. ‘The John Adam Show’ was a popular one with those of us who were in business and wanted to get advice and not have a lot of time to spend on it.

As a matter of fact, I was a regular on the show before my first company closed at the end of 2008, when the economy tanked. It was fun and interesting and talk about security on a show that had distribution across the country. I digress, on to the subject.

I was listening one day, a week after I had made a guest appearance, and heard a comment from one of John’s regular contributors at the time. The individual was talented and very successful in his field. But he made the most asinine comment I have ever heard from someone about the security field.

“Security is useless. The only reason we have security around is because they are constantly scaring us into believing that we need them. If we didn’t have security around us, what’s the worst that could happen? If we didn’t spend money on that garbage we’d have more money to grow our businesses!” I literally gasped at the remark and wrote John a letter and let him know what I thought of that!

Now being serious about this and not overly ‘protective’ of my career field or overly paranoid about remarks like that I’ll tell you why we need security in today’s world. So, all you managers out there, business owners, and anyone else who think security is a cost center and not a profit center.

Relating to my business specifically, workplace violence is a very serious issue for any business of any size. It can happen in business with as few as 10 employees and obviously large multi-national corporations and the federal government.

Is it a fore gone conclusion that you’ll have an incident in your business? No, it’s not. In fact the incidence of workplace violence is way down from its high point in the 90’s. But it is still a danger to any business, any-where, any time, for any reason.

If you have 10 employees who witness a murder at your site let me tell you what the financial impact can be. This is an average number of course and every single case will be different. But if you have 10 witnesses and 1 death you could be looking at a hit of around $6.5 MILLION. The question then becomes, how much will your insurance cover?

As for theft in the workplace, most thefts are committed by employees accounting for roughly 81% of all losses. Losses in the retail sector is over $150 BILLION per year! How much lower would that Double Mocha Latte’ be if loss wasn’t counted in by theft?

Crime was up by nearly 50% in 2011 according to the Uniformed Crime Index compiled by the FBI. Assaults, theft, arson, fraud, and etc. are all included in those numbers. And because they’re afraid of being caught, how many illegals don’t report personal or property crimes?

If that ‘business expert’ would do his research about security, he’d know those numbers as well. Too many people who are experts in business are quick to disregard security professionals as simple-minded, plodding, and paranoid fools. Yet, we are expected to treat every word they say as gospel, whether they are speaking proven facts or prognosticating.

Security is as important as a business keeping accurate records of what they’ve spent and earned. And some businesses don’t even do that very well. Have you seen the recent reports of churches and other businesses without adequate procedures for their finances? Several of them have lost millions before catching the perpetrator! And after conviction, how much will they really recover and how much will they be reimbursed by insurance?

In a perfect world, there would be no place for me and the millions of people who provide protection, in one fashion or another, to the world and companies. And that would be okay by me if my job was to go the way of dinosaur. That simply means a couple of things could have happened.

#1 is that we’ve entered the Star Trek universe. WE could all be dead and buried and living a dream in heaven (or where ever – according to your beliefs. Or the world has ended and Jesus is ruling the world from his heavenly throne. But I don’t think any of those are accurate or will be any time soon.

Our jobs in security, when done right and with the professional diligence YOU deserve, are vitally important to everyone we’re around. In financial and physical terms we need to be here for you and your companies, not to mention your employees.

Where would we be without the police, highway patrol, border patrol, and others in law enforcement? Far up a creek and headed to the ends of the Earth because we don’t have a paddle! There are security for the masses like we as security professionals are to individual businesses.

Want to know more or even why it’s important to your business? Call or write me. Or you could find a security professional in your neck of the woods to talk to. Questions, comments, suggestions?

What Side of the Fence are You On?

October 23, 2012

 

Two weeks from today is Election Day. We get to choose a President as well as numerous congressional representatives and a senator. And that’s just in Arizona.

The ballot is long and involved. It will take the average person more than an hour to go through it and carefully consider everything in it. Much less if you’ve studied the issues in depth. Or in my case, know which side of the fence you’re on.

Let me be completely up front with my political persuasion, as I am with most everything else I do. I do business this way because unless I hurt someone’s feelings I don’t really care what you think of me! You can think of me as a chauvinist pig, hitleresque, radical, or other-wise. Now that I’ve digressed, on with the rest.

I am a conservative Republican. Someone told me years ago that some-times I’m so conservative that I make Pat Robertson look like a drag queen! Just calling me a conservative is not enough, though

I prefer to call myself a Republitarian. Taking in the best of both the Republicans and libertarians. Now that I’ve thoroughly confused or enraged you, let me explain a bit.

I have to tell you that I firmly believe in the Star Trek vision of the future. I would like everyone to get along and work for the betterment of mankind, no matter your skin color or ethnicity – whether you’re black, white, purple, or green I could care less!

Most people would therefore believe that I am a very liberal Democrat, but obviously I’m not. I do have a couple of liberal ideas in this shaved head, but not enough to make me on that side of the fence.

I would love to have the whole world lay down its arms and ammunition. I want everyone to love each other and help one another to achieve their highest desires. I want everyone to live their lives the way they want. However, in this world we live in, that’s not possible, at least not at this point in history.

If you know anything about Star Trek, it took another world war and more than billion people dead. Years after we started to work together and overcome all of our problems i.e. poverty, health care, employment, enjoyment of the finer things, and etc. Do we want another worse and devastating war to bring us there? I don’t think so.

Having high moral standards and ethics is a very fine and grandiose idea. It’s unfortunate that the world doesn’t see it that way. If the United States takes the lead in peace, then there are a number of countries that just waiting to pounce on that weakness and tear us down into something we’re not nor ever wanted to be.

The list of enemies we have that say they would follow us and the do it are few and far in between. Look at the nations that are arrayed against us, even only in policies and acts.

Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, (and others in South America), Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, (and many others in Africa), Russia, China, Greece, Iran, Pakistan, China, Burma, should I go on? Some of these who are against us proclaim themselves to be friends.

I believe that President Obama is an apologist for America. He bends over backwards to please the world. He said 4 years ago he wanted to bring us together, has he done it? Not by a long shot. We are more divided now than ever before.

Liberal vs. conservative, Democrat vs. Republican, white vs. black, rich vs. poor. Those who have and those who don’t. Do I feel like victim of corporate America and Wall Street?

I do feel like a victim but not from capitalism. The victimhood I claim is from the liberals and Democrats. If you’re a white conservative Republican, the you are obviously a racist Uncle Tom who want to keep the masses down for our own money and enjoyment to bully around.

As I said above the election is 2 weeks from today. Which side of fence on you on. Will you vote? If not you shouldn’t say a word about anything that occurs in this country. Do you want a deficit so large we’ll be like Greece in less than 10 years?

Do you want a government that intrudes on everything you do whether you want them to or not (and they are monitoring your electronics at this moment). Do you want to depend on the government to ‘make your business or do you want the chance to do it yourself?

These are just a few of the issues at stake on November 6. I have cast my ballot and almost to a candidate I voted Republican – mainly to keep the Democrats out. Fewer taxes and more freedom. And I certainly don’t believe what Janis Joplin sang – ‘Freedom is nothing more than having nothing left to lose’.

Freedom is precious and the right to vote comes with that freedom. So exercise your freedom and don’t just talk about it in the abstract. Thank you for listening to this conservative political rant.

Varying Levels Of Quality Service

October 19, 2012

Just like all of us have a different level of skill in our lives, from home to business, so do companies when it comes to providing quality in their relationship with their customer’s.

Generally there are five levels of quality service. Not all companies will easily fall into any of these. Some are in between, while others are in a category all by their lonesome – both good and bad. Let’s look at each level and identify some of the type of companies that are at that level.

 

1. Ready for the Fire Sale. These companies and their employee’s – management and hourly alike – are so far out of touch with their customers, they are ready to go out of business and most of them don’t even know it yet. This is mainly because they are so large and don’t have a good concept of customer service, much less how to provide quality service for any reason.

 

2. Rapidly pursuing mediocrity. These are the company’s that may be in business for the long haul, but customer service is not a part of their strategic thinking, despite what they want to think and spout in their advertisements and other media appearances. Most governmental agencies operate in this way. They don’t like to think they provide bad service, but I have come across more than a few who do and have no clue what in the world they’re doing to drive away their base!

A great Many security companies operate this way, again, despite the economy. In contract security it is accepted that you will lose accounts and then gain new ones to make up the losses. Little attention is made to maintaining, even in a bad economy. And let’s not forget about the service they provide to their employees as well as their client’s, the turnover rate has dropped a bit, but is still at roughly 300% per year!

 

3. Hey there! They know the basics of quality service, but it doesn’t play a big enough role in their overall plan of success. The changing of attitudes has started, but it hasn’t hit all levels of the company yet. Many of the ‘old guard’ companies are at this level. GM, IBM, Oracle, and a few others are starting to change but still lagging.

Many employees have the attitude that what does it matter, we’ll get new and easier to work with customers’. Or ‘they need our products so bad they’ll be back no matter what we do!’ These companies need to make a concerted effort to ensure that their customer service plan and attitudes trickle down to every level.

 

4. We’re over here! HEre! HERe! HERE! These are the companies that are working hard to wield quality service as a weapon. They have an immense amount of risk taking and a huge amount or organizational focus about quality service goes on this level. The trouble with some of these companies is that quality service becomes a buzzword for a few months and then is forgotten and they slide backwards. Their processes are weak or complicated and therefore it is easy for all levels to slide back. The one thing you need to do in this is ensure that your customer service attitude and procedures are easy to understand and implement, don’t make them complicated.

Some companies will make their customer service so complicated that it is so much easier for the customer to just plain give up! And unfortunately, most of the companies that do this want you to give up. This goes for complaints, returns, getting accurate answers, and the like. Make it easier on your customers and you’ll make it easier on your employees and the company as well.

 

5. Customer Heaven! These are the companies that are legends in their fields when it comes to providing COQS and literally set up as examples of excellent customer service. They go to great, sometimes extraordinary, lengths to satisfy their customers. A few examples of this are at Disney, all employees are instructed to take control of lost children and make them feel at home, buy them ice cream, and help to reunite them with their parents.

Nordstrom Department Stores will go as far as exchanging or refunding money even on items that they don’t carry, if the goodwill involved outweighs the cost.  Very few companies that are at this level.

 

Not every company will have every employee at the ready to serve their customers all the time. You will run into the occasional bad attitude at every company. You will have a few positive customer service oriented employees at a level 1 company. Consequently, you’ll find a few level 1 employee’s – no concept of quality customer service – working for a level 5 company.

            So where does your company fall in the level of customer service? Are you a level 1 or a 5? Are you trying but can’t get the employees over the hump? In this economy, no matter what you’ve heard, you will have to conquer it or be prepared to be a level 1 in bankruptcy court!

 

            Excerpted from another book of mine on ‘The COQS Method’.

Policies & Procedures

October 16, 2012

 

This could possibly be the longest chapter in the book. But I’m not going to tell you these policies & procedures. I’m going to give you the map and how to write and what to write, not actually the language you need in them. This is fairly simple to explain.

Whether I give you the words or you write your own in it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that you write clear-cut, concise, & succinct guidelines for your supervisors and managers to follow. Add to this being simple enough for any of your employees to understand and follow and you have a policy & procedure manual to, hopefully, safeguard you from anything that comes up, whether it be workplace violence or not.

If necessary, but a long convoluted guidebook from your local on-line book store or professional organization, there are literally hundreds of them out there. Some are excellent, others were written by hacks that have no clue.

But over and above all of that, here are the area’s you need to concentrate on when writing your policy & procedure manual. Once again I will emphasize that it is not an all-inclusive list. These are only guidelines. Your industry may have issues that others may not have and I’m not familiar with.

So do your own ‘due diligence’ and investigation, utilize your own legal department or human resources managers (or go to the expense to hire a consultant) to read, write, and revise anything you find in another book. But I will state emphatically, again, make the language readable and understandable! Don’t make it so legalistic that only attorneys and managers with MBA’s can understand it. As with all writing, no matter where, it should be written at a 6th or 8th grade level.

There are several areas that you need to concentrate on when writing policies and procedures and thinking about WPV. These will obviously be different and possibly need to be lengthened depending on your company and its culture.

Discipline – The idea here is to make it as reasonable as possible. As we’ve already discussed, it needs to be as equal and dispassionate as you can make it. Does this mean that you can make exceptions for exceptional employees or circumstances? Of course you can. But if you decide to do these, ensure that they are included in the policy and not just left to a differing manager’s personal decision.

 

Termination – I know that you already have set policies and procedures on how and when you terminate people, but are they written so that any potentially violent employee can be ‘turned down’? That’s what you need to do when writing your termination policies. From knowing when and where you’re going to terminate someone, to how to who will be in the room when it occurs.

And lastly on this aspect, remember the 10 steps we talked about a month or better ago. Always leave yourself room to escape or signal for help. In the Minneapolis shooting last month, the shooter was in a room with 3 other people. All 4 were shot and 3 died. Numbers don’t always ensure that nothing will happen.

 

Media Contact – Do you have a corporate spokesman, like General Motors, IBM, or other such Fortune 50 companies do? More than likely not. Therefore you need to write a policy, and procedures, pertaining to contact with the media if something bad should happen to you and your business.

The likeliest candidate for the job as spokesman is the owner or Vice President. But what if they aren’t available, then what? You need to have clear delineated lines of communication and who can and who can’t talk to the media during a crisis. The last thing you need is for someone, not with company management say something wrong, and then have the media run away with it as verified and truthful.

 

Zero Tolerance – Ah, one of the biggest bug-a-boo’s and buzz words in the business and academic worlds today! I have to tell you that most schools and companies have it wrong and continue to get it wrong every single time they utilize this phrase with an employee.

You have to use common sense with using this policy. Should you allow weapons into your business? More than likely no. But does this mean you need to suspend, discipline, or terminate someone for violating the policy? Not necessarily.

There are numerous examples of employees and students who try to do the right thing and then get punished for it. Here’s an example;

2 employees are a arguing and one pulls a knife on the other. The 2nd employee takes the knife away from the other and turns it into the supervisor who has come, running because of the heatedness of the disagreement. Who gets suspended? The employee who was threatened not the one who pulled the knife! The 1st employee only got a written reprimand! This is the nonsense that I’m talking about.

When writing the policy you need to put in the disciplinary actions, but you also need to use your own common sense when writing and following thru with the policy! Not every incident will require an employee, or student to be suspended or terminated.

Depending on your industry you may need many more and varied policies than these few I’ve listed. But, again (and yes I know I’m harping on this point), whatever policy and procedure you write. No matter here you get them or how they’re written, they need to be clear, concise, and succinct to be effective.

Will you think of every single possible outcome and inevitability that may arise when putting them into effect? If you do, then you’ll have a manual that is as thick as all of the government books and manuals put together! So that answer is no.

But you have to be able to use your own common sense, mind, and the policies and procedures when utilizing them with employees. Just like when ‘spouting’ the company line about something that doesn’t allow for any human compassion or rational thinking , then it could certainly lead to something you don’t want – no matter how you’re trying to avoid it.

 

This is excerpted from the book ‘One is too Many…’ Questions, comments, or suggestions?

What is Workplace Violence?

October 13, 2012

 

I believe that this is one of the first questions anyone needs to look at and ask when beginning the task of trying to prevent an incident. What exactly is workplace violence and why should I be concerned.

                WPV is not just a term of endearment to the employer or employee. It means a lot of different things to practically everyone you ask.. It is kind of amazing that so many different interpretations can be used on one term.

                Some people will tell you that it only happens when someone comes into the building and kills someone else. That is their only interpretation. Others will tell you that WPV is only when someone gets hurt at work. Hmmmm, I’m sensing a theme here. Only at work or only when someone gets hurt.

                While that is partially true it really misses the entire point. And if you’re not utilizing the entire truth, then you’re thinking, talking, and acting like a politician or at the very least someone trying to hide the truth and get by.

                Not very many people will acknowledge that WPV is a term that has a much wider and more varied definition than what has been said above. What do I mean, you ask? Let me give you my definition of WPV.

                Workplace violence can happen any where, at any time, to anyone for any reason. That means that workplace violence can happen even away from the business and work environment. It is a problem that can occur to any employee at any place. In other words, it can happen even off work. If it happens because of work then it is WPV.

                If it starts at work or ends at work then it is wpV. Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean, from recent memory.

                In Glendale Arizona, a pipe bomb went off in a person’s driveway early in the morning. Was it terrorism, racial, religious, or what? In this case, the perpetrator was a co-worker of the victim and the 2 had been having a long running feud at work in the Peoria (Arizona) School District. Because it was work related it is WPV.

                Another incident that occurred in the Phoenix Arizona area in 2004 that I consider WPV is with a bus driver. A bus driver accidentally cut off another vehicle on the highway. The driver of the car came up alongside the bus and started firing at the bus driver. This is WPV. Why?

                The bus driver was at work and working when the incident occurred. It was not a traditional place of work because his moved on a constant basis. But it was WPV. The bus driver was not seriously hurt by the shots and the driver of the other vehicle was arrested.

                There are numerous incidents where a perpetrator has gone to a supervisor’s house and killed them before proceeding to the business to ‘take care of a problem’. If the supervisor is killed and then 4 people are killed at the business, how many are attributed to WPV. According to the government, most of the time only 4 fit the criteria. While it is actually 5 people.

                So what else is considered WPV and not reported as such? What about an incident of a bomb threat in a business? When someone phones in a bomb threat, then it should be considered an incident of WPV, unless it can legitimately be classified as something else, i.e. terrorism or racial tension.

                The purpose of most bomb threats is to disrupt the workplace so that normal functions can’t be accomplished. And when a business has to be evacuated because of a threat, then it should be considered WPV.

                But what else is considered WPV? Ah and here comes the rub with many in the security, psychological, & behavior fields. With what I said above, I consider many instances as WPV, where others may not.

                If an employee gets upset and blows their cork by throwing a stapler across the room next to someone, is that workplace violence? Of course it is! They may not have meant to hit the person, but it certainly was meant to threaten and/or intimidate them. And with the size of the object, there’s no doubt about it.

                If an employee throws a pencil at someone in anger, is that workplace violence? Yes it is. The key here is anger. The same holds true for words.

                If someone is subjected to a barrage of the most ‘bellicose barrel full of bull Durham’ that you have ever heard, that should also be considered WPV as well. It is considered a verbal assault.

                Any incident that begins at work or ends at work should be considered an incident of workplace violence. Any incident that has violence attached to it, no matter what kind should be considered workplace violence, if it happens at a business. Domestic, child, workplace, customer on customer, or any other combinations you can think of.  Any incident that occurs whether someone gets hurt or not should be considered workplace violence. Here is a good example of that;

                Way back in the late 80’s, there was an incident in my hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. It all involved the new ‘Eur-o-Pee’n blend of coffee, but it was no joke. An employee had been bullied, teased, and generally harassed mercilessly for months. And the company didn’t do anything to stop the treatment.

                One day, the employees began noticing that their coffee tasted a bit funny. The coffee tasted more bitter and pungent than normal. It  made none of them sick it just didn’t taste or smell as good as coffee should. One of them set up a video camera in the break room and guess what they found?  The man who was being teased got his revenge. He was caught urinating into the coffee pot – before brewing the coffee.

                So where is the WPV here? What if this man had been sick with a disease? Something like hepatitis, HIV, Syphilis, or something else that could have been passed along through bodily fluids? It is fortunate that no one got sick over this.

                No one and no company is immune to the potential risk of workplace violence. Remember, it can happen any where, for any reason, to anyone, at any time. And I do mean ANY.

 

                This blog is an excerpt from my book ‘One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence’. It will be published next year, look for more details as they become available.

Managing Security Officers

October 9, 2012

 

By now, most of you know that one of my biggest bug-a-boo’s is security officer training. And while my list of pet peeves in the field are many, I thought that I may concentrate on just one aspect of the security industry that is one of them.

As you can tell by the tile, it’s how security officers are managed by way too many companies. And it doesn’t matter whether they are contracted companies or proprietary officers. How they are treated in many cases is just down right despicable.

I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always treated officers in the fairest way I possibly could. At First Response (Mission Kansas), I remember a couple of incidents where my judgment was called into question over the way I conducted business with an officer. And in all but one it was my fault, fortunately I had more successes than failures back then.

In many companies, even those within the security field, don’t treat their officers with the respect they deserve. It doesn’t really matter whether they are contracted or not, they are management’s ‘enforcement arm’ for company policies and procedures (I know that’ll rankle a few, but its true).

Yet, even client management don’t treat us with respect. In many cases, the security team is treated with the attitude of a necessary evil, and never backed up when a complaint comes in from an employee.

In my nearly 30 years in the field this has happened to me on more than one occasion. Disparity treatment to both myself and my officers was rampant. In a couple of posts where I was the Field Supervisor/Manager what the security staff did was never right. We were the end result of constant complaints and back-stabbing. And management didn’t back us up even once, even when they told us to do something and we did it to their words and satisfaction. These clients are best dropped from the list of paying clients.

Another aspect of this is training. And what bugs me the most of this, is that after we have invested the time, money, & energy into training officers specifically for that post, the client blames us for something that we did or didn’t train them in. And many times, we were never told to train the officers in this area. Or worse, we trained them the way the client wanted them trained.

Sometimes the security company is to blame for many problems with managing officers and keeping the loyalty of the officers. What do I mean? Let me explain it to you this way.

When we train an officer in one way and then they deviate from the ‘tried and true’ method, we blame them for something that goes wrong. And in some cases, we train them in certain areas and then we blame them for doing it the right way!

Then after we blame them for this, we either transfer or terminate them. It’s our fault but the officer pays the price for the client/company screw-up. That is not right at all.

I also remember a company I worked for in the mid 90’s (Allied Security), where I had to transfer several officers out of an account for what can be said were b—s— reasons. I didn’t like it and after voicing my opinion to the branch manager, he did it himself instead of letting me do it. And the worst part was that we weren’t allowed to inform the officer of the true reason behind the real reason of the transfer or we would have been sued.

That’s what I said, sued. In the security field I seen so many things that were illegal it was unreal, and this was one of them. One of the officers was a light skinned black guy with a red (not dyed) afro I know this because I went to school with him. We transferred him because the building manager didn’t like black people working security at his building, he didn’t trust him.

The other was a lady who literally, they said, smiled too much and was too friendly! That’s what I said. And the sad part was that she worked the main lobby desk and was expected to be friendly, outgoing, and customer service oriented! Yet they wanted her out. BTW, this was the largest private telephone company in the country at the time, and now one of the largest. In both cases.

As security professionals, we need to be more aware of how we manage our officers and other personnel, so that we do it efficiently. Does this mean we should be lenient when they do wrong? Absolutely not. I’d be the first to fire someone if I thought they deserved it. And at the very least transfer then to a more appropriate post.

However, the one thing we have to consider is that the client isn’t always right! And I don’t really care what the old adage say’s. The customer is not always right, and sometimes they are just plain wrong.

And this goes for security company management as well. While we like to think that we are always right and our mistakes will never cause a problem or are so minor as to be annoyance, that’s wrong as well. We are just as human as the officers who work for us, and therefore just as prone to making a screw-up as anyone else.

So, we need to take a lesson from the Attitudes that foster violence in the workplace and learn that; Treat everyone equally and not disparately. No favoritism, And no shifting blame to someone else if we do something wrong – like a 2 year old.

Manage with compassion, as far as you can, distinction, and loyalty. If we do these things, then we’ll get loyalty and dedication in the process. And hopefully with the right training, officers who know what to do when and how.Treat them like adults, until they prove you rong. And if you remember an ealier post, treat them like a supervisor, even if they’re not.

As my favorite said, way back in the 80’s, ‘Trust but Verify’. Trust them but check on them and correct when necessary.

How Do You Write a Good Report?

October 5, 2012

One of the biggest complaints from clients in the protection industry, (‘guard’) is the fact that the officers can’t write reports. I should say, being more specific, reports that are legible and understandable!

                You may think that in this day and age that everyone who is working such a communication and customer service oriented field would know how to write. But, sadly, many don’t. Some officers don’t even know how to spell, even if they’ve went to and gaduated high skool!

                Do I know all the answers to writing good reports for clients and ones that will stand up in court? Not by a long shot. What I’m about to impart on you is what I’ve learned in nearly 3 decades in the field. I’ve taught this way of writing reports and the few times my officers ended up in court, they have held up.

                As you can tell by reading my blogs on a regular basis, I’m not a fanciful writer. I don’t write grammatically correct. Nor do I use a verbose or flowery language. This is the way you need to write good security reports.

                The basic key in writing a good report for security, law enforcement, medical, or any other field where it may be read by some outside the field is very simple. Write your report like you’re talking and telling a friend what happened. Obviously, with a friend you’ll not be correct in speech or include the details you would here, such as the exact times, but be conversational.

                You don’t need to add flowery language, much less college level words. Words like conflagration, contraindications, & industry jargon (flash Pulmonary edema (, and so on don’t need to be on a report that is meant for distribution to those outside your field of industry. If you have to go to court, all you’re going to do is confuse everyone in the court room and cause the procedure to go 10 times longer, while you explain.

                Always spell out any abbreviations the first time you write them. As an example you would write your name and title this way’ security officer (s/o) Sollars. Spell it out and then put the abbreviation right after it.

                Let’s start at the top of the report, or the bottom depending on the style and form you’re using. Each of the lines you’ll see at either end are self-explanatory, except for the time. A good officer should always put the time that they are writing the report in this spot, not the time the incident occurred. This is important for reasons that’ll become clear later.

                And speaking of time, you should always use military time. This helps to avoid confusion all the way around. For officers who are unfamiliar with AM and PM as well as anyone who is reading the report. Another little note on this is that military time starts at 0001. It doesn’t start at 0000. A midnight shift (3rd shift) would start at 0001. And the 2nd shift (swing) would end at 2400, and no there is no lapse in coverage and no one loses any pay – you may be surprised at the idiots or a provocateur,   I’ve managed in the past, but that is a story for another time.

                Since we’re talking about time, let’s stay with that theme in the body of the report. One of the biggest things I ever ran into as an officer supervisor/manager is the time line in which my officers wrote their reports. No matter what happens it should always be written in chronological order as the officer has experienced it.

                It should never be written as if the officer was omnipotent. If the incident happens at 0300 hours and the officer discovers it at 0400, then it has be written that it was discovered at 0400 not 0300.

                Likewise, when the officer discovers details about the incident that he didn’t know about before the report was written then they need to write it down that way. If the incident happened at 0300 and they were told that Hank Whoever did it at 0700, then 0700 is when they found out, and the time they should put in the report as when they found out, not at the top of the report as if they knew it all along. And whether they should have or not, is not the issue.

                One last thing on the time part of the report. ALWAYS use the word approx. when writing the times in. Why you ask? Because not everyone’s watch, clock, or time keeping device keeps the same time. By using the term approximately you keep both the officer and the report from being questioned about their time and veracity. I’ve had it happen on more than one occasion, especially at an unemployment hearing.

                Enough of time, let’s move on to the style of the report. It should always be written in the 3rd person. Again, this will help alleviate any confusion as to who did what when. By saying that s/o Sollars discovered the side door unlocked at 0300 hours is better than saying that I found the door unlocked at 0300. And when you have multiple officers or individuals involved, it will definitely help keep the story line straight.

                As for the formatting of the report, it should be indented as any regular paragraph would be, if the length warrants more than 1 paragraph. And not to mention too much on grammar and so on, but every line needs to be capitalized as it would normally.

                This part of report writing will help keep the veracity of the officer, not to mention their intelligence from being questioned. Proper grammar (6th grade level) as well as spelling, punctuation, and the like should be monitored. Always have the officer have a dictionary close by when writing their reports. Every dollar store has cheap ones – buy one for every post.

                At the bottom of the bottom of the report the officer needs to sign and date it. If allowed, then they also draw an X through the empty part of the report, to prevent someone else from writing and adding to it, after the fact. If not that, then maybe a line that says ‘end of report’.

 

                Every single client, security company, and other companies that employ officers, have their own way they want their reports written. While I think it should be an industry standard, it’s not. Therefore, the officer needs to write their reports as the company or client wants them to. And whether I like it or not, that’s not the point.

                These above tips are just a few of the tips I share and I’m hoping that will be useful to everyone reads them. Whether you’re in security or not, these should help clarify the report writing process.

                As always, questions, comments, suggestions?  

 

 

 

Does Anyone Have All the Answers For WPV?

October 2, 2012

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That question may rankle some of us in the security field and especially those who specialize in WPV, like myself. But I have to say up front that no one has all the answers to the issue of wpV. Sometimes, it is unavoidable. No one has the answers to prevent all incidents. I don’t, others don’t, no book can, and no book will.

                Anyone or any book that promises that, is ‘stealing‘ your money and not telling you the truth. The best we can hope for is to lessen the liability and reduce the risk of an incident happening. There is only one entity that can prevent such things, and he ain’t here right now to do it. So what I’m telling you is that if you are looking for a cure-all for workplace violence, this person isn’t it, nor is any other book or person you’ll talk to.

                And it doesn’t really matter whether or not they are a security professional, psychologist, behavior therapist, or other some such so called ‘expert ‘none of us has the full answer to this problem. We all like to think that we have all the answers and by hiring us or reading their books you’ll have no more problems it just doesn’t work that way. Myself, I make no qualms about it. I can give you the roadmap to follow and get the best results, but actually following that map and watching for the right signs us up to you.

                You can hire consultants, turn your office into a prison, and spend millions of dollars to prevent WpV, but the absolute truth is that there will always be the potential for it to occur in your office or business.

                I know you’ve heard this before, probably from your mother, father, or teachers, there are no guarantees in life. Basically this means that no matter how you plan or what you do, there is no iron clad guarantee that nothing will happen. And in the incidence of WPV, it is assured that someone, somewhere, some-how, will make an event happen despite your best efforts.

                And that is what it is about, your best efforts. Recognizing and preventing WPV is a full time job. You have to be ever vigilant and observant to what’s happening. It’s not an easy job. Many times, especially in larger companies, people fall thru the cracks and that causes them to burst forth in rage. Other times it allows them the time and presence to methodically plan and implement their anger against other employees, vendors, delivery people, or customers.

                So whether it be a verbal assault or physical, or even if it turns murderous (again another cliché’) Keep Your Eyes on the Prize. If you do that, then you might be able to recognize and prevent an incident. And if you don’t, then you just may find yourself cleaning up blood splatter off of the walls and floors. And that is something none of us want.

                All I’m trying to warn anyone about is that if you get a person coming into your business and ‘guaranteeing’ that they can prevent an incident or otherwise guarantee that nothing will ever happen, ‘don’t let the door hit’em where the good Lord split’em’ on their way out! Even the best business and security people can become overly enthused and accept what the consultant says as gospel.

                Stay alert and keep watch. Do that and I guarantee that nothing will happen! Well, at least you can spot it before it gets out of hand anyway.