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Month: December, 2015

Pertinent Workplace Violence Articles

2015 Mass Shootings: Security Experts Advise Companies to Re-Evaluate Safety Following a

Series of Deadly Attacks
IBTimes (12/04/2015) Nordrum, Amy

Several mass shootings in America over the past year have occurred in workplace settings, prompting companies to take a second look at security systems to prevent employees from coming in harm’s way. “It behooves anybody to take some sort of an action at this point, whether that is re-educating your people on your safety programs or implementing them for the first time,” says Edward Yost of the Society for Human Resource Management. “Every business is different so security is going to be fundamentally designed around what the culture of your organization is suited for in the context of what are the risks, threats and vulnerabilities?” says Arnette Heintze, a former Secret Service agent and co-founder and chief executive officer of security company Hillard Heintze. Experts generally recognize certain industries to be more vulnerable to workplace violence than others. Occupations that require workers to be alone in unfamiliar environments, carry cash, or interact with the public are particularly susceptible. Some of the most obvious protections that companies might consider following these attacks are physical, such as security guards, surveillance systems, metal detectors, and fences that line a facility’s perimeter. However, according to security experts, two of the most important first steps companies should take are creating a workplace safety policy and completing a risk assessment. Once a company has a safety policy, risk assessment, and reporting protocol in place, experts say it is important to keep these documents updated and remind employees of their contents through training or seminars. Such framework can also inform a company’s decisions to hire a security guard, invest in a surveillance system, or upgrade building entry procedures.


Companies Increase Security, Training in Wake of Shootings
Boston Globe (12/08/15) Johnston, Katie

Recent mass shootings across the United States has prompted a growing number of employers to implement security measures in the workplace. Cambridge Health Alliance has begun to stage dramatic drills to teach workers how to react in a mass shooting, and manufacturing firm Taco Inc. is providing classroom training to help employees learn to identify exits or ways to fight back. Many businesses have implemented policies that inform employees of suspicious behavior and what should be reported. Other companies are increasing their physical security measures, such as installing cameras and hiring security staff, and forming partnerships with local law enforcement. The increased preparedness may have contributed to a reduction in workplace homicides, which fell from more than 1,000 in 1995 to just over 400 in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfatal incidents, however, such as employee stalking or assault, remain problems, says Marian Ryan, the Middlesex County district attorney.


The Latest on Terrorism and Building Security
From “The Latest on Terrorism and Building Security” (12/10/15) Rossenfeld, Carrie

RiverRock Real Estate Group has received an influx of questions regarding the use of armed security personnel following the recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., according to President Steve Core. There are some universal concerns building owners should consider when contracting for armed-security services, such as whether their property insurance allows armed security and whether the company contracted has specific insurance for armed personnel. In an interview with, Core discussed building security. Core said security concerns have been rising in recent years, and the focus has increased on what managers do in qualifying vendors and employees. Training and sharing of information has been top of mind for owners and property managers. “We can have 24/7 manned security, cameras, card readers, etc., but if building occupants and service providers circumvent established policies, the systems don’t work,” said Core. He noted that people are sometimes not aware how actions can create or contribute to a situation. Ultimately, remaining vigilant is key, and everyone plays a role in security, not just management, added Core.


Suspect in Colorado Planned Parenthood Rampage Declares ‘I’m Guilty’ in Court
New York Times (12/10/15) Fausset, Richard

Robert L. Dear Jr. announced to a courtroom on Dec. 9 that he was guilty of the charges brought before him after his deadly rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic. A series of angry outbursts included more declarations of guilt and expressions of anti-abortion politics. Dear is facing 179 felony counts, including eight first-degree murder charges, for the Nov. 27 shooting that killed three people and wounded nine. Dear’s declaration of guilt came before his formal arraignment, which has yet to be scheduled. His lawyer, Daniel King, a public defender, said in court that he wished to explore issues of Dear’s mental health, and said that there are “serious concerns about competency in this case.”


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

The inadequacies of security -Part 2

Shopping Malls
Let me tell you exactly what I think of malls, in a security context. It is the proverbial barrel to keep fish in. They have security officers, cameras, control stations, and employees of all stores are trained, supposedly, for criminal activity.
But the truth is that the security officers are rarely armed with anything but pepper spray and sometimes a baton, maybe if they are fortunate enough to be armed with anything but words. And employees are like school kids with high social media demands and then having to tell their parents they wrecked the car, they generally freak out at a robbery or gunfire.
One last little note here for historical perspective; remember the terrorist attack at a Kenyan mall in 2013? It killed how many people and wounded how many more? And the damage was so extensive that it took 2 years to re-open it. That kind of incident can, and will eventually, happen here in the United States.

Office Buildings
These can be as bad as any shopping mall. They are, mostly, open to the public with no barrier to gaining entrance to the floors or employees. And even if a security officer is at the ‘welcome/receptionist’ desk, they aren’t usually trained in anything but evacuating the building.
I was an account manager at a Class A office building in Kansas City. There were 2 of us on duty at a time. We housed 3 corporate offices as well as IT centers and the like, typical tenants for such a building. But because we were not supposed to hinder anyone unless they were panhandling in front of or in the lobby, we had 3 WPV incidents, including 1 against me personally. None was fatal, fortunately, and the perpetrators disappeared.
Despite the fact we had corporate offices for a nationwide distributor of lumber yards, law offices, and a national healthcare insurance provider, none had their own security. They paid a little extra for a contractor to be there to prevent any issues with criminal activity, which was totally inadequate for the kind of tenants we had.

Sports Stadiums
Sports stadiums have become more secure, look at the Super Bowl, BCS Championship game, & other high profile events. The only saving grace with stadiums is the fact that most crime is petty theft and pick pockets. Very seldom will a WPV or other serious incident happen there.
There are reports of fights between fans and the like, but those are simple enough for stadium security to handle, usually because they are backed up by regular police. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t happen at a sporting event. If someone wanted to perpetrate an incident of major proportions look at smaller venues.
Division II & III as well as the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) could be very soft targets. They don’t have nearly as many security or police at an event, because they are so small and the ‘big boys’ of Division I of the NCAA dominates college sports. And any major league sport is just like them.

You go there because you’re sick & need to get better. But hospitals are also a soft target for crime. The security staffs are often very limited for the space they have to cover.
Usually, in a hospital of 600 beds they will be 1 possibly 2 officers on duty at a time. If the area is crime ridden, you can see maybe a 3rd outside in the parking lot. These officers are not well armed and not trained to confront someone.
And keep in mind, that according to the Centers for Disease Control, 85% of healthcare workers have experienced an assault while at work. And I do know that one hospital in the Phoenix area has a staffer assaulted at least once per shift.
The hospital systems fight a losing battle against being safe & secure places for visitors, patients, & staff and being open, friendly, & inviting to the public as well as those who need their services. And of course this is also because they have a duty of care to anyone who needs help, from gunshot victims of gang violence to significant others who walk in unimpeded.

These are just a few of the places where security is virtually non-existent and doesn’t do much but sooth ruffled feathers. They are not ‘hardened’ like a dedicated office building or manufacturing facility can be. The difference between a soft business target and a hardened one is the amount of money the company/property owners are willing to allocate to the security departments.
Other businesses and venues have begun to harden themselves against problems. But the truth is, if someone really wants to, and is ‘deadset’ on doing it, commit a crime they will. And WPV is among them, especially when the perpetrator can be a significant other. And unless warned by someone, significant others, as in hospitals, can, and usually do, walk about unimpeded.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
               I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

The inadequacies of security

Physical security, and I’m sure you’ll agree, is the first line of defense to prevent any incident of crime or workplace violence (WPV). But is it really the first, and possibly only, line of defense. In most cases yes. In others… eh, not so much. That’s because security is an afterthought to the business or facility, no matter what they may say.
When working in certain places, physical security is most definitely the front line. Sometimes it’s the only line of defense a company may have. If you don’t believe that, check and see how many companies simply have fences, gates, doors, and possibly a security officer at the door. Once you get past that…Sometimes these are completely inadequate to perform the necessary job of securing ‘property, people, & assets’.
But many other places have virtually no security to prevent an incident. And it will surprise you that you probably visit one at least once a month, some of you multiple times a week. And while there is an illusion of security, it is not for WPV incidents or other crimes. It is set up that way for courtesy, for the most part, & liability sake.
You’ll find security officers dressed in uniforms. They will be inside and outside the place, maybe. They may be driving around on little Cushman carts. But it is an illusion. The security operation is compromised before the day even gets started.
The main reason for this is simple. The willingness to allow openness, friendliness, & ease of accessibility to the facility. This brings up an illusion of security that can, and usually does, have deleterious effects. It may not be a fatal or even injurious issue but a crime nonetheless.
And I will admit that I have never worked for one of these places full-time. I’ve patrolled them while with Wells Fargo, Allied, Universal Protective (now defunct in Kansas City), and First Response in Mission Kansas. The employees thought we were too invasive because we drove through and locked up doors or made sure no one was in the swimming pool after it closed. Which led to us being more hamstrung than before.
So what are these places that I’ve been talking against and was never assigned to work at? Let me give you a short list and explain how they are so vulnerable with inefficient security, and no offense to the security providers. The providers do their best to ensure security, management anyway because a lost account is lost revenue;

Apartment complexes
One of the worst at preventing an incident of… anything. The uniformed ‘courtesy patrol’ has no authority to do anything but report loud noises and call maintenance for an issue. I know of several problems at apartment complexes in the St. Joseph MO. & Phoenix area where the security officer on duty had no idea anything had happened.
And why? It wasn’t within his purview, duties, or responsibility to do anything or even to know about it. How do I know that? I either wrote or consulted on, the post orders, list of responsibilities, and the patrol route as well as drafting the responsibilities to the tenants. And the tenants were instructed to call the police for parties and other disturbances not the ‘courtesy patrol’, because they were there to be management representatives and not ruffle feathers of other tenants.

Auto Dealerships
They have cameras, gates, locks, lighting, and other security devices such as those everywhere. But would it ever stop a criminal act or WPV? Absolutely not. They are not put up for that purpose. The main purpose, even if unspoken, is to ensure insurance reimbursement for any loss.
Those kind of physical barriers only work if a criminal wants to stay out of the property. And camera’s? They are only good if they are being monitored 24/7. And the monitoring would need to be done by a qualified person, who would have to be trained by someone who would pass along the cost.
There have been numerous cases in the past 2 decades or so where someone perpetrated a criminal act simply by smashing through the gates, windows, or doors. They then either assaulted someone or stole thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, tools, or even a vehicle.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Is it just a cliché?

I’ve been told and heard recently that a saying that has been trumpeted for years is becoming a cliché saying. In other words no one pays attention to it anymore because it’s become common in the vernacular.
“See something, say something” is the quote I’m talking about. It is a very real and reasonable quote for everyone who wants to stay safe and help to prevent another heinous act by some despotic terrorist organization, be they Amerikan or Islamic, or perpetrator of workplace violence. So why is it becoming overused and underutilized?
Is it because we as Americans don’t think anything can ever happen? Or is it we have such short memories in this age of social media and instant gratification? Or is it because we can’t ever imagine anything like that happening here in in our soft, quiet, sequestered lives?
Security professionals, not to mention military, law enforcement, and several others believe in this saying wholeheartedly. We believe it because as these professionals we live it nearly every single day. We have too. It’s our job to protect those who don’t have a care in the world until…
So what can we do to enforce this saying and stop a, so-called senseless because it always makes sense to someone, slaughter here in America? Being perfectly honest, we can’t do it as the professionals we are.
If we keep parroting this quote, no matter how real and effective it is, we’ll be called alarmists and trying to scare people into giving up their freedoms. And whether those freedoms are at work or in their personal lives, we’ll still be called names.
On top of that we’ll be called racists, bigots, Nazi’s, trashy pigs, and innumerable other slanderous names about both us and the work we try to do. But that is all a part of the job for those of us in the field. And we have to try to train other rookies, guards, & military misfits’ what it truly means.
Like Californians with earthquakes, Floridians with hurricanes, Missourians with tornados, & North Dakotans with blizzards, it begins to be totally passe until something actually happens and the threat becomes real. Unlike most Americans, they live there and prepare as much as possible.
I am afraid that until something disastrous occurs that the threat will never be taken seriously, can we say San Bernardino. Then, as it always does, a knee jerk reaction will be demanded from the public. And we will have our freedoms and liberty censored and obstructed.
And we as security, law enforcement, & military professionals will sadly shake our heads and silently ask ‘Why didn’t you listen when we tried to warn you? Why didn’t you say something when you seen it as obvious as the Facebook page or smart phone you have in front of you?’
The reasoning for this is simple and causes us to feel even more useless sometimes. “I don’t have time for that! Besides what they do isn’t our business. Why do I want to get them into trouble? And what if I’m wrong? Look at how embarrassed I’ll be! Don’t you understand that?”
a quote from a neighbor, after the San Bernardino massacre, is that she saw numerous middle eastern men going in and out of the home where the San Bernardino shooters lived. Why didn’t she report it? Because she “didn’t want to make rash generalizations or profile people.” I can guess she wishes she would have now.
And as professionals all we can do is say okay and leave it alone. Otherwise we’ll be called racists, bigots, Nazi’s, trashy pigs, and innumerable other slanderous names about both us and the work we try to do. So what can we do to try and stop a terrorist attack on us? I think it’s simple, to me anyway.
I’ve been called names my entire career because I tried to do my job in security. I know of many other professionals who have endured the remarks as well. I also remember what our soldiers were called when they returned from Vietnam and the way they were treated. So I have to say one thing to it. Tough noogies!
We will keep reminding you of what needs to be done. If you see something then say something! So you may be embarrassed, s what. Would you rather see the bodies and brains of a dozen people spread out on the street or wall behind you than be embarrassed?
We’ll keep doing our jobs and hindering your life so you can continue to stay alive and well and hindered. And then complain, bitterly no doubt, about it afterward. We’ll stand there as security (officers & managers), military, & law enforcement professionals and listen to your diatribes with all the professionalism we can muster.
And then after we help usher you out of the collapsing building, shout a warning, or take a bullet meant for you we’ll accept your thank you as humbly as we can. Usually we’ll tell you “No thanks necessary. It’s our job to protect you and your life.”
So the next time a security officer, or some other professional, tells you “If you see something, then say something” maybe you’ll take it a little more seriously and listen a bit more closely. Because it could mean either your life or the life of someone else you know. Maybe not this minute, hour, or day. But possibly you’ll never know because the prevention will happen behind the scenes and never be announced to you or others.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Workplace Violence incidents for November

I’ve learned of an incident in Michigan that occurred at the end of October. The numbers have been recalculated.
Argentine Twsp, MI. October 30 (school) 0
October: 25 Incidents 16 dead 27 wounded

Tempe, AZ. November 2 (school) 0
Tuscarora, PA. November 2 (school) 1w
Madison, WI. November 3 0
Wichita, Ks. November 3 0
Merced, CA.November 4 (school) 1d 4w
Mesa, AZ. November 6 (school( 1w
Austin, TX. November 6 1w
Mesa, AZ. November 7 2d
New York, NY. November 9 1d 2w
Columbia, MO. November 10 (school)0
Los Angeles, CA. November 12 1w
Chestertown, MD. November 16(school) 0
Boston, MA. November 17-0
Flagstaff, AZ. November 17 0
Salt Lake City, UT. November 17 0
Washington D.C. November 17 0
Tucson, AZ. November 18 (school) 0
Fayetteville, GA. November 190
Baltimore, MD. November 24 (school) 1w
Colorado Springs, CO. November 27 3d 9w
Chicago, IL. November 30 (school) 0
Prescott Valley, AZ. November 30 0
November: 22 Incidents 7 Dead 20 Wounded

Year-to-date incidents: 186 Arizona 67
125 Dead 217 wounded

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Can our cubs protect themselves at school?

Since there have been a spate of schools shootings, from k-12 through colleges &universities, in the past few years, there have been10 times more proposals to protect our kids, even if they are adults at college. Ban firearms, put armed guards in the schools, more money, study the problem and tons more minutia. And being totally honest, most of it is just political rhetoric for the 24-hour news cycle & the next election.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever stop people from committing heinous crimes in our schools or workplaces. We can legislate all the new laws that we want, like the law signed by California Governor Jerry Brown in mid-October banning firearms from schools & college campuses, but then the knife attack at the University of California-Merced occurred, should we ban knives as well? But the one thing we rarely ever hear about is how our kids, cubs, can protect themselves in such a situation.
What should we teach them about protecting themselves while in class? Should they just follow the ‘leader’, play possum, or actually do something? And just as importantly, what should they do if confronted by another student with a firearm or knife in the hallway, restroom, or on campus?
School administrators won’t, or can’t, tell you their security plans. Sometimes it’s because they don’t believe it can happen at their school and they rather not even think about it. Others because they don’t want to let the ‘kitty out of the burlap’ & let their plans be made public.
One idea that I will advocate for is our students fighting an attacker, if they can. The idea is for students to throw items at the attacker. Books, desks, backpacks, & anything they can in an effort to distract them long enough to get away. The obvious drawback to this is that most people, teens and adults alike, have a tendency to ‘freak out’ over social media posts and other items. Do they have the wherewithal to not panic in such a situation?
The question then becomes; what should we be teaching our kids about protecting themselves while in class, one of the places they should be safest? Here are a couple of ideas that may be safer and more advantageous than the fighting back approach.
#1 is teach them the school evacuation plan. Teach, teach and teach more. Teach them until they are sick of hearing it. Knowing where to get out of the school can help save their lives, even with firearms being involved. And keep in mind also that in an active shooter event, you may not want to follow the prescribed evacuation plan, because who knows the evacuation route better than another student wishing to cause death & chaos? Think Columbine, Dylan Klebold, & Eric Harris.
The answer here is for the teachers to think of a different evacuation route other than the planned one. In a tornado, earthquake, or fire, then a planned route is perfectly acceptable. But in an active shooter scenario you need to go a different route than one the shooter would know. But always keep the cubs together.

The other scenario is what if they can’t get out, due to the shooter being on their floor or wing. In this instance they need to learn how to barricade the door to keep the shooter from coming in. As in most security events, the shooter will pick the path of least resistance to accomplish their goals. They know that they have a limited amount of time and want to cause as much chaos as possible. So making it harder to get into a classroom will cause them to move to the next room, hopefully.
The active shooter will choose the easiest pickins’! This means, if they are wanting to cause chaos then they will move away from a door that may be barricaded. Unless their intended target is in that room, they will move on. And in many cases they’ll move along even if the primary target is there, to look for a much easier target.
And never forget the power of a door locking from the inside. A door that can be locked from inside could also be a good protective measure to consider along with other barricade items.

Alternate Escape Plans:
Remember in your newspapers Sunday magazine, you’d see the ads for the rope or chain ladders to help escape the house during a fire? Why can’t we not utilize this same idea to help evacuate a school where a disaster or active shooter event is occurring? These chain ladders could prove useful in the event of any other disaster not just an active shooter scenario.

Alert Codes:
Lastly, an alert system code use on the PA system. When the main office hears of a shooter, there may not be enough time to alert the school over the PA system. Something as simple as ‘Red West 2’ could mean an incident such as a fire at the west end of the second floor. “Black East 3 could mean a bomb threat or harmful person in the corridor of the east side of the third floor.

These are just a few simple ways to help, and help themselves, save our cubs. And again, this incident doesn’t necessarily mean a shooter, a fire, chemical spill, or a bomb threat. The main thing is that we think in conventional and unconventional ways to protect them, because after all that’s what we’re here for isn’t it?

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear