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Month: June, 2016

Mrs. Kravitz…where are you when we need you?

For those of you who may not be old enough, at least 50 years of age, or don’t watch too many old television shows, let me explain who Mrs. Kravitz is. For those who do know who she is, forgive this indulgence. I will try to convey the thought succinctly.

On the television show Bewitched, in the mid to late 60s, Samantha Stevens was a witch married to a mortal, much to the chagrin of her parents & they made her husband rue the day he did at times. Mrs. Kravitz was a neighbor who pushed her nose into, literally, everyone’s business. She went far and beyond the busybody. She spied on her neighbors for her own uses. And no one who heard her rantings believed a word of what she said. Now that I’ve spent time on that…

It is unfortunate, but in this world of workplace/school violence (WPV/SV), terrorism, and the myriad of other murderous crimes we need people like Mrs. Kravitz to be around us. Someone who watches over the neighborhood and spots anything that is remotely suspicious.

Do we need someone like her, or a crotchety old man, to call the police, FBI, DHS, or some other alphabet soup governmental agency to report what they see? Not necessarily every single time. But like a good geneticist or Audabon Society member they need to keep a meticulous notebook of their observations.

Yes, I know the arguments against nosy neighbors and spying on them and meticulously kept notebooks. It’s reminiscent of a communistic or totalitarian society. And if it gets too far out of hand with literally everyone spying on each other, then no it’s not a good thing.

But we’re talking about people stepping onto the field and getting into the game to prevent any of the crimes I mentioned above. Many of those crimes can be prevented by people being nosy and ‘spying’ on their neighbors. Mrs. Kravitz was deemed a rude busybody with a rich imagination. And it was funny to watch her get befuddled on numerous occasions and trying to convince her husband of what she was witnessing. It was funny then, but deadly serious 50 years later.

The old cliché, which I certainly believe is ignored 99% of the time, of see something say something needs to be strengthened and put into a way that everyone will pay attention & follow.

And the issue with not saying something if they see something is fairly simple and you can confirm this yourself by listening to the news and asking your friends.

In addition to the many excuses that people use to not tell the employer or school administration about something that may happen,

it is the idea of being pegged as a racist, bigot, & trouble maker.  Not to mention being labeled not politically correct. Anyone who is not PC is labeled as a racist or bigot by the media, liberals, and innumerable other groups with a political agenda.

I will again bring up the woman in San Bernardino who didn’t want to be accused of profiling people. So she didn’t report the bee hive of activity at the house where the terrorists lived. Nor did she report on the number of different cars & the late night visits from…

It comes down to saving lives. It’s not as simple as banning firearms. No one wants to see, or hear about, someone dying because of a firearm. Not the gun lobby.  Not conservatives. Not the Republican Party. No one wants that, except a few ideological extremists Christian or Muslim or, pardon the expression and not being PC, whack jobs who want to even a score on someone.

The great work of the Guardian Angels, the group formed by Curtis Sliwa, from 20 odd years ago or the neighborhood watch areas within cities were the same thing as Mrs. Kravitz. They stood watch over us and either wrote something suspicious down or called the police. And we need more citizens to do this.

If we can get more people to be like the old style Mrs. Kravitz we would be so much better off in this world. Do I mean that you should start snooping around people’s backyards, looking through windows, or going through their garbage? Of course not. But what you do need to do is pay attention to the neighborhood.

Is someone sitting in a vehicle and idling for an indeterminate amount of time? Is someone cruising the block slowing down in front of houses with no For Sale sign in the yard? See some stranger walking slowly and seeming to take notes about certain houses? Call the police and let them investigate.

It may be nothing. But do you really want to take the chance that one of your neighbors will be broken into? And if you spot the 21 warning signs of someone ready to perpetrate a WPV/sV violence incident then don’t rationalize it, say something! Will they be mad at you, probably. But is it worth saving a life?

Oh Mrs. Kravits where are you when we need you to teach this country a thing or two about being watchful, helpful, and being a complete total pain in the ass by spying on us?


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

You need the best people, so

Every organization needs the best & brightest people they can find. And it doesn’t really matter if you’re involved in security or not, you still need the best people. Sometimes you find them rotting away at a car wash or sitting at home twiddling their thumbs. So what should you look for in the way you recruit and interview?

That is not an easy question to answer. And I’m sure that there will be many who will disagree with me on this topic. But I fervently believe that these are the best qualities for any organization, especially a security one, to look for in hiring officers, supervisors, managers, & directors.

  • Customer service, retail or service, background was an added bonus. This would allow them to concentrate on the customer as well as security and add value to the client. Security experience was nice but not necessary, mainly because they may have learned some bad habits from a company that didn’t care about nothing but a warm body and the client check getting there on time
  • Held their past jobs for at least 12 – 18 months. This would mean that you can hold onto them for a while, if they have been trained & management is competent enough to do their jobs

  • Able to answer all of your probing questions quickly and succinctly. Whether that is in the interview or when on post is of paramount importance. It shows that they have given thought to their answers and have analyzed an issue. If it’s routine while on post even better, they know their site
  • Willing to listen and learn from an experienced pro. Too many inexperienced, and even older more experienced, officers refuse to listen and learn, which is usually to their or the clients detriment. They should be avoided
  • Do they think creatively, or in the vernacular, out-of-the-box? These are some of the best people I ever hired. Their solutions may have been on the weird side, but…they worked. And they were very good at solving problems on post, with or without a formal edumacation
  • Willing to give value added service. If they do something extra for someone and the client notices… then it helps everyone, including the employees
  • Attentive and observant of their surroundings. If they can have the situational awareness on post all the better for you & the client. They may actually complete the job of securing instead of observe & report
  • Talkative and alert – even at 0300 hours. This usually meant that they had had too much caffeine or actually got enough sleep. And unless they have health issues because of it…
  • Willing to volunteer to complete extra duties or hours. And whether it was for the extra money or to genuinely help didn’t really matter they’ll be there when you need them
  • Always willing to learn something new that was changed on post or in the company. This showed me that they were open minded. It also shows how easily they can adjust to a changing situation
  • Arriving early for the interview or post. 10 – 15 minutes was absolutely wonderful, because it allowed the person on duty to pass along necessary information quicker, talk about other things, and leave early. The interviewer also had more time for probing questions
  • Showing up in apparel that was appropriate for the interview. Not trying to make a fashion statement with their uniform with baggy pants, shirt hanging out, & etc. And should we mention shaggy hair, unkempt beards, and no personal hygiene? And of course that would go for officers & applicants
  • If they are willing to ask questions during the interview. This was also a vital aspect for me. Asking thoughtful questions during an interview. If they stop you to clarify or ask you a question then it shows initiative and the willingness to do the job and question something
  • Do they have personality and willing to show it? Do they wear a beard for non-religious reasons? Are they a little bit on the bizarre side? How about just a quirky personality and like to laugh & joke. Many companies would summarily dismiss them after the interview, but these are the ones that make the company fun


These are just a few of the qualities I looked for in an interview. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. I’m sure that you have your own list. Likewise in the interview, you’ll usually know within a couple of minutes whether this person is for you and your company.

Have I ever been disappointed by someone we hired on my recommendation? Of course I have! Have I ever been disappointed that an officer turned out totally different after we hired them, in other words a lazy bum instead of the bright eager person I thought? You durned right. Have I ever been burned by a bad decision after following the above & my gut? Of course I have. But, then again, who hasn’t?

Did this dissuade me from looking at these qualities in a security officer? No. Some of these traits are what makes the best lead officers, supervisors, and managers. And the industry is constantly looking for these kinds of people.

Now, go make your list and stop hiring by the Warm Body Syndrome. It literally means you are so hard up for people that you will literally hire anyone that walks through your door and fills out the app – even if they can’t spell or write gud. And you know what that means for you and the client.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Who is this Alice & why is she involved with active shooters?

Is this ALICE person someone like Patty Hearst, a spurned lover, wife, or girlfriend? Or perhaps could she be a very irate mother out to avenge her daughter’s reputation and emotional well being from the animal that calls himself a man. Fortunately, it is none of those scenarios, although I don’t know of many that are scarier.

In our never ending battle to stop or at least slow down the perpetrators of workplace & school violence (WPV/SV) there is a new acronym for law enforcement and security professionals to learn. And it shouldn’t be that hard to do. The reason for this is that is simple steps that we probably already take to limit the damage and life altering events.

I will break down each of the letters and attempt to simplify the entire thing;

Alert – The basic premise is twofold with this. As security professionals, we need to stay alert to what is happening and the potential issues with employees. The 2nd reason of this is to notify the employees of a potential problem. We have seen these and the following steps with educational institutions for a long time. So it shouldn’t be that difficult for businesses to follow along and alert their employees.

Lockdown – If you can do it safely, and even if it can’t be done safely, the building or office must be locked up tighter than the proverbial purse strings on a Scotsman. All doors to individual offices, hidey holes, and safe places (if there are any) need to be locked to prevent the perpetrator from gaining access to their main target, if there is one, or others in order to get to the main target. And while some will say that lockdown is a bad idea, if you lock ALL the doors and spaces it will confuse the perpetrator.

Inform – Don’t keep the employees in the dark. You must tell them what is happening, at least in general terms, so they know which action they should take to ensure their safety. Figure out the best system for your facility and go from there. Hopefully you’ll get 100% compliance on this. That may be unrealistic but… And if you don’t get 100% compliance on it… have a good PR person around.

Counter – How do you counter a perpetrator? Remember the individual may be attacking with a bladed weapon as well as a firearm. Can you run, hide, or fight? If you can, fighting is always the best option. My reasoning for this and you risking your life? The 10 seconds or so that you fight the attacker and distract them, then that is 10 seconds that others have to get away and be safe from immediate harm. Could it result in serious injury to you? Of course, but you will also have the satisfaction of knowing that you helped others to survive.

Evacuate – Again, if you can, evacuate the office or building in as calm, orderly manner as you can muster. Is this realistic? Nope. Do I expect anyone, ex-military excepted, to be able to remain calm and orderly when someone is stalking the building trying to kill you. That is laughable. If you can, then do it. But if not… And keep in mind as you try to evacuate the area, you may actually run into the person trying to kill you and your co-workers. Then your hand will be forced into possibly either submitting or  fighting.


Stopping the threat of WPV or SV is not a goal that can be obtained easily. Even the best experts in the world, even those with more education and experience than I have, will tell you that nothing is 100% guaranteed. That means that the possibility of an incident is always there despite the security measures we put into place.

Despite the awareness programs, training we provide, officers, alarms, gates, fences, & innumerable other physical security measures we plan for & implement, someone can still get inside. And when they get inside the weapon could be anything, from firearms, bladed weapons, pipe wrenches, pencils, and etc.

With WPV/SV taking the angle of any physical assault it is here to stay. Unless you live in the fantasy world of Harry Potter. But even then Hogwarts was attacked and students assaulted within those hallowed walls of magic. So, no matter how safe you think you may be… better to learn and allow ALICE into the facility without an access badge.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Responding to terrorism

The United States and most of the western world are becoming targets of radical Islamists, jihadists if you wish. They are trying to ensure that their terrorism scares us into submission. Unfortunately, for most of the governments of the world, and their populations, it’s working. But should we be frightened or just remain as vigilant as we can?

In America we have lived with the wrongful perception, perception is reality, that nothing will ever bother us here. We live our lives in our snuggly warm sequestered homes. Our kids, dogs, & a glass of whiskey by the fireplace bathed in the warm presence of utter civility.

Unfortunately, that is all it actually is, a perception. As I have said hundreds, if not thousands, of times, Perception is Reality. What we perceive is the reality of our lives. If we perceive that everything is sunshine & rainbows then we are sorely disappointed when we get hit with a tornado. And if we perceive conspiracies everywhere… then, ‘they’ are really out to get us.

            I have been called paranoid & a conspiracist. I have also been told that I’m not paranoid but rather hyper-vigilant. And I’ll make no arguments about it. Being hyper-vigilant has kept me safe from being injured or assaulted, especially being blind. And it has saved clients I worked for from suffering losses.

Being vigilant means you know what is going on around you at all times. Paying attention to anything & everything. You might only notice something peripherally out of the corner of your eye or hear something odd.  It doesn’t concern you at the time. But you have to file it away for future reference in case it does become relevant.

With radical Islamists utilizing the internet to convert/recruit citizens to commit mass murder on our doorstep we need to become more hyper-vigilant than ever. They are using drones, buying firearms legally, and making threats everywhere, & supposedly organizing to set forest fires where it is drought ridden in order to frighten us into submission or worse.

Many states have heavily overloaded highways that can be easily obstructed for innumerable reasons. Does anyone remember the wild fire near San Bernardino in November 2015? It neared a highway and the travelers had to evacuate quickly. A 5 mile stretch of the highway was left with burned out cars and people scrambling for their lives because of the grid lock. Can we say a massive kill zone if it had been chosen as such?

Would I want you to be as hyper-vigilant as I am? No, it’s best to leave the heightened sense of vigilance to law enforcement & security. What I do want people to do is to watch for those warning signs of terrorism. The ones that everyday people ignore so well, especially with their own love ones. As with workplace violence, the signs are there, always. You can choose to either ignore or react.

In today’s violence ridden world you have to remain vigilant at all times. It does no good for anyone to hide away from the world and believe everything will be all hunky dory in the morning. Therefore being vigilant is the best way to protect both yourself and your family.

And I’ll add that being just a tad bit paranoid isn’t necessarily bad either. It’ll help keep you on your toes and hopefully fine tune your own gut instincts to be more vigilant. And if you can become more vigilant hopefully…

But no matter what we can’t sit and sequester ourselves away and cover our windows with plastic wrap and duct tape. If we do these kinds of things then we might as well bow down to ISIS and convert to their form of Islam or die. By conforming to what they want us to fear them and for our own lives, then they win. I don’t want them to win and I would be willing to project that 99% of Americans don’t want that either. Therefore we have only one course of action.

Be vigilant and paranoid. Pay attention to people doing weird things and spouting off the Islamic, or any other group, propaganda of extremism, & hone your own gut instinct. If someone is acting furtively and sneaking about… Don’t wait and be the one on the evening news that says in amazement “I didn’t think they’d do that. I didn’t think about that sort of thing in my neighborhood!”

And we can’t afford to become so politically correct that we ignore these warning signs either. Remember the neighbor of the San Bernardino killers? She stated that she seen weird things going on at their house at all hours. So why didn’t she report it to police? She was afraid of profiling them and being ridiculed for not being PC.

So, how do we respond to terrorism? Remain vigilant, use the tired old cliché of see something say/do something, and arm yourself & family with a firearm if you are so inclined. The only thing that citizens can do in this time of terrorism is these, so let’s ensure that we do it and not worry about being PC (which is an oxymoron in some respects).

     NOTE: not all Muslims are or have been radicalized. Most are kindly citizens and only wish to live peacefully with everyone else.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page,

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

What is your mantra for an active shooter?

The mantras are nearly identical: Run, Hide, Fight or Avoid, Barricade, Confront during a workplace violence (WPV) incident. But there is another one that is popular in Europe and gaining popularity in the United States that turns those 3 words on their ear. It basically turns them around into a better model: Fight, hide, or run or in other terms confront, barricade, or avoid.

But with all the things floating around about an active shooter plan and what employees should do, what should you do? My answer is to take the attitude of Flight 93 that crashed in Shanks Ville, PA. on September 11, 2001. In their case they could do nothing but fight.

And I believe that is exactly what you need to do. Fight the intruder first before anything happens. It has been proven that if you attack the shooter or attacker, remember they may not all have a firearm; you can overwhelm and stop them. And if you don’t stop them, you will slow them down and allow your co-workers to escape.

Now the question arises how do you fight or confront them? For some people this will never be easy. Some people are very reluctant, understandably, to face a firearm in the face. Those people who feel that way still need to keep their wits and use the final 2 points of these mantras, hide or run.

For those that have the courage, whether it is bravado or adrenaline doesn’t matter, you need to do what you can to prevent any more carnage. You can do this by;

  • Throwing things at the perpetrator. Anything you can including coffee cups, staplers, phones, or whatever you have
  • Trying to distract them, anyway you can. If you are a ventriloquist or standup comic…
  • Calling attention to yourself & away from your co-workers
  • Acting like a linebacker from your favorite football team

These are only a few tips to use. IF you decide to attack it’s always preferable to have a gang of 2, 3, or more to assist. Again, the evidence is in that memorialized field in Pennsylvania. And in the case of a WPV assault the more people you have to knock down and hold the perpetrator the better your chances of keeping them from killing someone. As for the other items of hide or run… Let’s take them separately for better understanding.

Running is always an option for someone who may be fearful of the perpetrator and especially if that person knows the shooter is after them. People such as an ex-wife/girlfriend, supervisor, (hated) co-worker, or anyone need to get out of the way quickly. If they can get out of the area of damage, he it by firearm, bomb, or sharp instruments, they need to do it. If they don’t then the murderous intent of the perpetrator has no reason to go on, with their intended victim dead and they will usually stop at nothing to get to them.

A caveat here for evacuating the office or building. Always find a different way of getting out of the area. Don’t rely on specified evacuation routes. If it is safe, as most wouldn’t be in a fire, then take it. My thought on this is that the perpetrator will know those routes and if the attack doesn’t work…

As for barricading or hiding yourself before they find you, it’s just as simple. Your hidey hole needs to be as small as it can be for you, dark, and easily barricaded with a desk, file cabinet, or something similar if it doesn’t have a lock on it. The only issue with that would be, is that if there is no external lock on the door, or handle, then the perp will know someone is in there, so take that into consideration.

Also if you have a serious asthma condition, COPD, allergies, or some other similar health issue   that may give you away you may not want to have anyone else with you as you hide. The reasoning here I think is fairly obvious, even with the exploding blasts of the firearm. You don’t want to put someone else’s life in danger because of your health issues.

Studies have shown that it takes the police approx. 5-10 minutes to respond to an emergency call such as an active shooter. These same studies also show that the incidents are usually over within 2 to 3½ minutes. That means you can’t depend on law enforcement to stop the perpetrator before they get to you

And to go along with that is the fact that most people, employers, or security personnel, unfortunately, assigned to your office or building will have no idea how to react to such an incident. If they do offer the necessary training, you need to take full advantage of it and learn it, not just attend for brownie points.

WPV is a growing concern in the United States. Whether that violence be because of a work dispute, domestic violence, terrorism, or something else we as security professionals need to be prepared. That means developing a plan, which by necessity, includes the fight, run, or hide plan as well as the evacuation plans and alternates.

With more than 15 million incidents of WPV every year it’s clear that we need to do something. And if we can’t turn our businesses into gulags, which wouldn’t be so good for business, we have to train and prepare for such an event.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Using the correct training method for…anyone

What training method should you use to train your employees? Whether they are security staff or not, they need to have the training, orientation, on-going, or refresher. And no matter the reason for the training you have to ensure that the method is engaging, interactive, effective, & efficient.

No business likes to spend financial resources on training. Some realize that it’s necessary. Others…eh, not so much. Many managers believe anything beyond orientation is dubious at best, I know that for a fact because I’ve ran into a few of them. And it is usually those companies that need it the most, whether customer service or security.

Many employees will be, and are, reluctant to get trained. Some have been around for so long they know it all & don’t need any more. Others will believe they aren’t being paid enough. Yet others will readily accept the additional training for several reasons. The key in training your employees is to let them know that they are valuable and that you appreciate what they do. As in Customer service they never hear it enough. They usually own hear when an f*** up occurs.

Writing and implementing your employee training program is not the easiest thing to accomplish. You need to do a couple of things first.

  • Gathering the necessary materials.
  • Picking an instructor or ‘teaching aids’
  • Scheduling to reach the most employees in the allotted time
  • Most importantly, what training method will you utilize?

You may not think much about this aspect of your training but it is important. If you pick the wrong kind of training, then it will be ignored, and conveniently forgotten, by virtually all of your employees. Pick the right one and they’ll soak it up & talk about it later. So how many different ways are there of training?

  • Videos
  • Posters
  • Lectures
  • Books, manuals, or audio recordings
  • KISS
  • Socratic

Let me briefly explain why each works or doesn’t;

  • Videos-Strictly using videos you risk putting your audience to sleep, especially if you’re trying to instruct after the shift is over. If you have instructors around at the same time it’s better but not efficient (money).
  • Posters-a silent way of getting the word out. The problem is that you’ll never know if the employees have taken it to heart or even read it. But a good reminder of the training.
  • Lectures-This is as bad as plain videos. Pick the wrong lecturer and you’ll put everyone to sleep no matter if you have gallons of coffee and interesting material.
  • Books, manuals, or audio recordings-Should we revisit plain videos and a monotone dull lecturer?
  • KISS-Keep It Simple Stupid will go a long way in achieving your training goals. Small digestible segments in a succinct manner which the audience understands. Not overly flowery or verbose verbiage for them to comprehend.
  • Socratic-I call this making the audience train themselves. And it is very effective & efficient.

I prefer the Socratic Method along with KISS in conducting my training, workshops, or even simple discussions about security topics. So exactly how do you conduct a session in the Socratic Method? Simply put, you ask open ended questions and expect them to come up with the correct answer. If you have to, let them sit and stew for a bit. Giving them the answer is a last resort.

You don’t necessarily give them enough to answer the question to answer effectively, but enough to start a dialogue amongst the audience. Just a short quick question is all that you need in this instance. Don’t grill them like a dungeon master, just be casual about it and let them think about the question.

Some won’t answer very well in this situation because it makes them uncomfortable. And why does it make them uncomfortable? Mainly, because they’ve never been trained that way and they aren’t used to giving the answers but rather having the answers given to them.


The Key:

The emphasis in all of this is to know your employees thoroughly. If you know they wish to be detached and not interact, or trust, with management then use posters or videos. On the other hand if they are a lively bunch and regularly have talk back amongst themselves and supervisors, then maybe the Socratic Method will work best.

But as for KISS. That goes for everyone. If you’re speaking to college graduates then you can speak at a higher level. If you’re only talking to high school graduates or less then… But by no means under estimate them. Some of your ‘lower level learners’ will grasp your material faster when spoken to in a higher level & likewise with your college gaduates, they won’t be able to grasp the material.

And what is the last main point in training your employees, whether they are security officers or front line employees in a manufacturing plant? The same as I stated 2 paragraphs above. You have to know your employees before you can train them. If there is a great deal of mistrust with management… But if they do trust you then practically any method will work.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 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

If you ignore them…they will work for someone else!

Government regulations and the idea that we all have to conform is the way business is done today in human resources. We have to include everyone, even if they aren’t qualified to do the job. Not that I’m against the ‘assistance’ of rules to level the field but…

Decades ago I read from a nationally known management consultant that if you find someone you like, who can do the job, and can add value & vision to the company, then you hire them. That would go for whether or not you even have a position available. The point being is that if this person is really that good, do you want them working for a competitor?

In several postings here on LinkedIn, I have read 2 other posts that basically trumpet my philosophy and not following conventional wisdom and putting a square peg in a round hole. The first was an article by Elizabeth Hotson with the BBC entitled “Are you a disruptive influence like Sir Richard Branson?”

Another article on LinkedIn also parroted the philosophy I’ve held for my entire 33 year career. It was by Christopher W. Martin with Loriakin Seven entitled “Lay waste to the status quo, and embrace your inner misfit”. I would encourage you to go through the archives and read them. Most human resource professionals, management & C-suite executives seem to have lost their hiring mojo in this over regulated world. And that is usually because they are scared to step out of the norm.

I have to tell you that being outside the norm is the best place to be. I have done it for 33 years. I’ve also made my share of mistakes, and some have been huge. I’ve also worked for managers that didn’t want to fire me because I knew too much and they needed such an asset. And some managers were just plain scared of my philosophy and the way my brain worked with the thought process.

As I am fond of telling people in either in an interview or during networking events that the way my brain works, for the company and team mind you, is this: You know that dark corner of the parking lot, which can be found in all large complexes and sports stadiums, where the lights are so dim you can barely see anything? That’s where my brain and thought processes resides.

I have heard from people that I worked with for decades that certain people frighten them because of their opinions, views, & the way they do their job. But they never got to know them like I did. And most of them turned out to be good people. A few of them were just too weird, even for me. And then there were the ones who were considered ‘slow’.

In all of my experience, I’ve always expected, and trusted, the best from the people who were weird or ‘slow’. And for me at least it turned out well. Those people turned out to be some of the best officers I managed. Most of them were with First Response, Inc. of Mission Kansas. Let me give you a story about one such misfit:

He came to work for us in the fall of 2001. He was in the process of leaving his wife and his new girlfriend accompanied him to the office. The office manager, Mindy Mitzner, didn’t like him much because he was ‘cheating’ on his wife.

In a few months she changed her opinion of him 180 degrees. His ex-wife turned out to be a liar, untrustworthy, and constantly played the ‘victim’ card. He showed himself to be anything but a philanderer. To this day Mindy & myself are still good friends 13 years after I left.

As Sir Richard Branson said in the article in the BBC, people who are ‘square pegs in round holes need to be supervised a little more closely than others to ensure they don’t make monumental mistakes. But being a disruptive talent can be a good thing. And in a different way, Christopher W. Martin said the same thing.

People who don’t follow the ‘normalcy train’, are disruptive talent, or if you prefer just plain weird, can upset the balance you have within your team. This is not an altogether bad thing. Taking the corporate culture and turning it on its head… Disrupting the corporate culture to make it more efficient and more effective.

Efficiency will come from knowing that this person may point out the inefficiencies and that someone, can we say scared to be in the forefront, ‘might get into trouble’. And coinciding with this is the effectiveness of the team.

Again, by shaking up the status quo and pointing out the ineffectiveness of sacred cows

will make the entire organization better for its customers or clients. It will help to get you, and everyone else, back on track with projects and force them to think of better solutions, ostensibly to ‘save their jobs’, although that is the last thing a disruptive person normally wants.

So the last point to make in this post is simply this: Why do security companies refuse to hire people who are disruptive talent and are square pegs in round holes? They, like too many companies they hire a great manager from a different industry to make things great, but then the new manager fails just as miserably as everyone else has. Maybe if they would think outside the proverbial box…

“By making bold moves you can accomplish a lot”

“Fresh, new, & innovative ideas are frequently shoved aside until they are ready”


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Are we fooling ourselves?

How many of you remember the song back in the 70s by Styx, ‘Fooling Yourself’? If you do then you fully understand how this relates to security. But let me go a bit further into this issue and analyze it. And if you have never heard it, then check on uTube or one of your music streaming services.

In a survey by the job site CareerBuilder, earlier this year, with 3,000 respondents, younger workers seem to have a false sense of security. But being honest, I don’t think it’s just millennials that seem to have this false sense. I have noticed, throughout my career, ignorance of security. Whether that ignorance is because of several factors;

  • Employees don’t trust management and security is an extension of management. Is there possibly an adversarial relationship between them?
  • Security is useless; they are just trying to scare us, and the company, into hiring them or turning this into a prison
  • Nothing ever happens around here, why worry
  • This is a quiet small town, neighborhood, building (Hesston, KS.)
  • No one wants what’s in our computers, office, warehouse, etc.
  • All of this security stuff just slows me down and I’m busy
  • Speaking specifically of workplace violence (WPV), it can’t happen here

Does any of those sound familiar to you security professionals? And again, it’s not just millennials that say these things. I’ve seen, heard, & noticed these excuses against having security for 33 years. And you would have thought that with the threats in the world today, these ideas would be smaller, but instead I’ve noticed a trend of them actually getting larger, and more prevalent, with people I talk too.

As for the CareerBuilder survey, below is a sample of what it said. You read these results and see if they jell together with what you know;

  • 37% of workers say they have a security guard at their workplace
  • 31% say their workplaces are not well-protected from digital hacking threats.
  • 31% of workers say their workplace is not well-protected from a physical threat
  • 22% say they do not believe their companies have emergency plans in place should such events occur
  • 22% unsure how they would protect themselves in the case of an emergency that poses a physical threat
  • 17% of workers say their workplaces are not well-protected in case of a fire, flood, or other disaster,

And then there is this last statistic;

  • Ninety-three percent of workers say their office is a secure place to work


Are we missing something here? 93% feel there workplace is secure, yet nearly a third of them have no clue to the threats involved and a quarter don’t even know if there is a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in place! I certainly believe that there are innumerable mixed messages being sent out by the respondents of this survey.

As security professionals it is up to us to have a far better security awareness program in place.

These numbers, at least to me, are appalling. And the fact that even older workers feel this way… I would expect millennials to say these things, but older employees… this is a scary prospect.

So, even with all the other innumerable duties we must attend to, we have to develop the understanding that security is important and why it’s important. Or we’ll continue to listen to and sing along with Styx? ‘And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it. You’re killing yourself if you don’t believe it’.


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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

Reflections on 33 years. From guard to professional

At approx. 1430 on June 4, 1983 I was given the great news that I had been hired into the security field as a guard. I was given my assignment and then had to get another one, because my car wasn’t up to the punishment of driving 80 miles per day round trip for $2.65 per hour. But I have to say it was a relief that I could now support my family with a regular job instead of working sporadically for a temp agency.

That was my beginning with Wells Fargo Guard Services with the soon to be terminated and dishonest Branch Manager, who was fired for handling contract payments ‘under the table’. Since than I like to think I’ve grown and become a professional. I’ve been hated by officers I managed, clients (actually removed by a few) & employees, in some cases loathed. But just as easily liked and respected by many more than disliked. All for the same reasons.

Now after 13 years of being blind I can’t do the myriad of things I could do back then and enjoyed. Things such as interacting with the officers on a daily basis, training them both rookies and veterans, writing post orders & manuals, traveling the city, meeting with clients, & solving all sorts of problems for everyone.

But I still like the field and the people in it. I disagree with them sometimes but… And I do change my mind on certain issues at times as well but that means I can grow and see different viewpoints instead of being too stubborn and locked into just one way of doing things. Which if you’ve read enough of my posts; you know I loathe the status quo.

I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons along the way. One which still haunts me and people close to me yet, is my distrust of most people and their motives. This was started by the Vice President/Regional Manager for Wells Fargo Guard Services. It continued with my assignment at Johnson Controls when security was handed over to safety & hygiene, whose manager had no clue, & was one of those who despised me, for trying to expand our role. And with a few so-called friends who made my lower back really sore…

My best job was with First Response, Inc. of Mission Kansas. Scot Carmony, RIP Scott, & Jeff Taylor, now President of Rockwell Security in Overland Park, KS. let me do what I was best at. Supervision of the field officers, training the new ones, writing, solving problems, & working with clients and officers. And then of course there was Mindy Mitzner who was the Office Manager and still a close friend.

Now being blind, I do get a few requests for assistance, but nothing full-time or paying. As most of you know, I have been writing, and have published 2 books since going blind and contribute to the safety & security of the blind community in Arizona with my column in the National Federation of the Blind Arizona Chapter newsletter, basic home& travel security tips.

The only issue I have, after 13 years, with being blind is not being able to work and help my wife. It’s been hard on her and I would like to get the chance to work again here in the Phoenix area. But not many, if any, security companies have an opening for a blind security professional in their offices. And of course having moved here and not knowing anyone in the field or area when I did, the unpredictable factor as a newbie.

But it is fortunate that Phoenix was a liberating experience in that facet. I have yet to meet anyone here that was the equal of some of my officers & managers back in Kansas City and their deceitfulness & dishonesty. Everyone in the security community, and a few others, have been nothing but helpful.

It’s been a good ride so far and maybe I’ll be around for another 33 years just to be a thorn in y’all’s side. Possibly I can work for the next 33 years being that thorn, it just doesn’t pay all that well or should I say gud?


Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where 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 May

Dallas, TX. May 2 (school)                   1w

Ann Arnbor, MI. May 3                  0

Katy, TX. May 4                                 2d 2w

Phoenix, AZ. May 4 (school)       0

Bethesda, MD. May 5(school)        1d  1w

Bethesda, MD. May 6                     2d  4w

Dayton, OH. May 6 (school)               1w

Tempe, AZ. May 7                            1d  1w

Kansas City, MO. May 7                 0

Taunton, MA. May 10                     3d  4w

Chandler, AZ. May 11                     0

Queen Creek, AZ. May 12 (school) 0

Mesa, AZ. May 12                             0

Manchester, NH. May 13                   2w

Goodyear, AZ. May 13                          1w

Jacksonville, FL. May 14                   1d

Boca Raton, FL. May 17                  0

Phoenix, AZ. May 18                       0

Globe, AZ. May 19                           0

Seattle, WA. May 19 (school)             1w

Surprise, AZ. May 21                       0

Auburn, MA. May 22                       2d   1w

Albuquerque, NM May 24            0

New York, NY. May 25                    1d   3w

Anaheim, CA. May 25                     0?

San Diego, CA. May 27                   0?

Houston, TX. May 28                       3d   4w

Phoenix, AZ. May 29                               1w

Washington D.C. May 30               0

May: 29 incidents 16 dead 27 wounded


Year-to-Date incidents: 126  Arizona: 46

55 Dead   126 wounded