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