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Month: September, 2016

“You can’t run a business without taking risks”- Sir Richard Branson

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, started in 1945 by the Department of Labor, begins October 1. Many people will dismiss this observation for the disabled because “They are useless and can’t do anything but sit and put screws in little baggies.” This attitude is more prevalent than most may think.

And this attitude has something powerful to say about those that are disabled and seeking fulfilling employment. Some will just give up when they encounter it, but most refuse to bow. It can be extremely debilitating, physically & mentally.

A question to ponder: What would you do if you suddenly became disabled and told you couldn’t work and support your family? What would you do? Disregarding the jokes about finally taking a vacation and a nice long rest, how would you feel in the pit of your stomach? Probably, you would feel useless and a burden. Remember, “Perception is Reality”.

           As an example, when I went blind in 2003, I had been having some vision issues. I was fine when I went to bed but when I woke up one July morning, I couldn’t see well enough to identify the icons on the computer screen. I can truthfully tell you I was a wee bit upset.

           You try and look for work, but no one wants you, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the economy, your skills, or knowledge. So, what are some of the reasons, or observations you make while on the job hunt? And to answer your question before hand, yes I have encountered these, unfortunately several times:

  • “That’s such a good disabled person wanting to go to work”. It is said patronizingly and it seems like they want to come over and pat you on the head like a good obedient pet.
  • Your disability/disease is contagious so we don’t want you around, like a cat with a wet paw shaking it in disgust.
  • You’re stupid because you’re disabled. Yes this is the way we are treated at times when applying for a job, especially one that may be outside the norm for a blind person.
  • You’re disabled, so you can’t do what we need you to do. And being honest, this may not be true but it leads directly into the next one.
  • Your accommodations to fit in and work will cost too much, so we’ll find a reason to deny the application without being overtly discriminatory.

           Many companies when they see a disabled person coming thru the door to apply, they simply don’t want anything to do with them, despite what their anti-discrimination policies may say. Generally, the policies are for employees not for applicants. To paraphrase an old adage “Why hire a potential problem, when you can just ignore it…?”

           I have filled out applications and been called for interviews several times. They are all excited to get someone with my knowledge & experience into the company to interview. Then they discover I’m blind. The interview is nothing more than perfunctory and I’m out in less than 5 – 10 minutes. Not very encouraging.

           What are some of the other disadvantages to being disabled and trying to find a job? Here is another small list of them. There are others who will have worse job search issues than I have had:

  • Getting the proper training. If you need training you have to go through the state vocational rehabilitation which can take anywhere from 6 – 24 months to get in. Or pay for it yourself, which can be very expensive, not to mention finding a place that has the software to accommodate you.
  • Finding employment that is fulfilling and utilizing your skills, experience, & knowledge. which is hard enough for someone who isn’t disabled.
  • Locating the proper resources including employment centers to assist. Most employment centers don’t have the necessary facilities for the disabled, government funded or not.
  • The system that the government has developed is cumbersome and time consuming. And the reliability…
  • Equipment you’ll need to do the job you’re hired for. Most employers don’t realize that there are programs available that can, partially, compensate them for the expenditures and there are innumerable options for freeware as well.

Those are just a few of the issues that disabled people have problems with in finding employment. Are their ways around those? For some, yes, others, no. And unfortunately this can leave us feeling totally useless. Despite being disabled we still want to pay our own way.

A minor statistic that no one wants to ever talk about… Of the blind people who want to work and not be on Social security disability, the unemployment rates are staggering. 59% of men and 69% of women who want to work can’t find employment. Those are higher than they were before the Americans with Disabilities Act were enacted in the early 90s. And you want to tell disabled people, that there isn’t an issue with us getting fulfilling employment?

Are you ready to see beyond the physical and hire a disabled person within your business? Does it really matter if they are blind, wheelchair bound, deaf, or paraplegic? If the person has the skills to do the job then let them do the job. Take another look at one of the world’s foremost entrepreneurs above and take the leap. Here is a quote from 60 years ago for you to ponder:

“We have all the typical and ordinary range of talents and techniques, attitudes, and aspirations. Our underlying assumption is not as it is with some other groups the intrinsic helplessness and everlasting dependency of those who happen to lack sight, but rather their innate capacity to nullify and overrule this disability to find their place in the community with the same degree of success and failure to be found among the general population.”
Professor Jacobus tenBroek

Cross of Blindness

National Federation of the Blind National Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana

July 6, 1956.


Robert D. Sollars, who has been blind since 2003, 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

Nanoseconds OF Interaction

From, at the very least, the early 80s the operative key phrase of customer service used to be moments of truth. But life and business have sped up considerably in the past 35 years or so. It doesn’t, and can’t, go at the normal relatively lazy laid back pace it did 20 years, and more, ago. Now life and business has sped up to the point where a moment has to be easily considered a nanosecond.

           How you handle one of these nanoseconds of Interaction with your customers can literally mean the difference between gaining a new customer, forcing them to a competitor, or forcing re-organization of the company, at your level for ‘budgetary concerns’.

For a current customer, we could lose their respect if we manage that nanosecond poorly. Losing the respect of your customers would be tantamount to losing the customer to a competitor. And any time you lose a customer to a competitor it will impact your reputation within the city, region, or industry you’re in, if that loss was due to poor service. Remember when Hollywood went from using Ford vehicles to Chevrolet in the late 70s and early 80s? Ford lost respectability, and market share, because of it. And it gave away valuable free advertising to a major competitor.

But now you’re asking the main question. What actually is a nanosecond of Interaction? Simply put, it is an episode in which the customer comes into contact with ANY level, or aspect, of the company, department, and employees and gets an immediate impression of the level of customer service provided by them and the company, overall.

It is of paramount importance that all nanoseconds of interaction are handled professionally and courteously. Take answering the phones as a good teachable example: If an officer with a bad attitude answers the phone and is surly and arrogant, what is the caller going to think and therefore believe? More than likely they will never want to use the company that employs such an arrogant unfriendly, can we say surly as well, person.

So, how do you handle that nanosecond of Interaction on the phone? Think of it this way: If you knew it was your mother, significant other, or small child calling would you still answer in such a surly, arrogant, or stand-offish manner? Probably not. More than likely you would be likable and kind. The lesson of this? Always act like someone you love is on the other end anytime that you answer it.

What about a nanosecond in which it involves a personalized face to face? It’s just as simple to handle the right way. Treat the customer as if they were your mothers. Use all of your professional skills, knowledge, & experience to make them feel like they are welcome at your facility.

But one of these nanoseconds is more than just how you act. You’ve heard the old cliché about first impressions? Have you heard the phrase I coined in the early 90s, Perception is reality? Both of these can have a positive or detrimental effect on your nanosecond of interaction.

First impressions can be lasting ones. That is exactly what the phrase Perception is reality means. What someone believes is the truth will be their truth. Whether it is real or not it will become ingrained in their minds as if it was. It may be impossible to get that perception out of their mind without decades of work to do so and change their perceptions. You don’t think so?

How about the term guard or watchman instead of officer? Even after I’ve been using the term officer, and seeing its use rise, for more than 30 years, in everything I have done. Yet that phrase persists. Why? Because it has become so ingrained in the psyche of the public who view them as nothing but lazy, incompetent, rent-a-cops.

Another perception when someone sees an employee in clothes that resemble a table cloth at the slopping trough for the hogs. If you work in a manufacturing plant or other dirty job then it will probably be excused. But if you are working someplace clean and barren of anything more than dusty shelves…

Ensure that your working clothes are clean & neat at all times. An old trick is to keep an extra shirt and trousers in your car. Your hair should be neatly combed and clean. What about your fingernails? Do you have a genuinely friendly smile?

These small, seemingly trivial, things will allow you to manage these nanoseconds of interaction in a professional manner. With any luck, you’ll leave a lasting, hopefully excellent, impression of yourself & the company. You surely wouldn’t want your appearance  or demeanor on the phone to lose a nanosecond of Interaction and possibly a customer, would you?

(this post is excerpted from the forth coming book ‘Customer Oriented Quality Service: The COQS method’ set for publication in early 2017)


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 makes perfect sense…

          Because the perceptions of the perpetrators is their Reality. Once they have that perception in their mind it is nearly impossible to change those perceptions.  Just like political parties demonizing each other, people not liking cats, dogs, snakes, spiders, or rodents.

           In other words all of the workplace violence (WPV) incidents you will encounter, whether it is in the media or personally, will make perfect sense to the perpetrators. If you want to consider it even worse… They can argue for the murder, or assault, logically. Possibly even worse they will argue something in total contrast in court when faced with that reality.

           The phrase that I began spouting more than 25 years ago is the reason why. Perception is reality, meaning that their perception of reality is why they commit these incidents. Like in any WPV, school (SV), or domestic violence (DV) situation. The perpetrators will figure a way to distort their reality and begin thinking they were right in doing what they did, no matter what the actual reality may be.  

           It is and will be practically impossible to dissuade them of their perceptions in their reality. And you may be thinking why would it be so difficult? Here are a few examples of reality being distorted for known, or unknown, reasons and horrible things happening because of that distorted vision;

The murders of Muslims during the Crusades

The murder of innocents by the Catholic Church during the inquisition

The subjugation of natives during the Spanish conquest of the Americas, for religious purposes

The genocide of American Indians during the frontier wars

The genocide of Armenians by the Turks before WWI

The Jewish holocaust in WWII

The genocide of his own people by Pol Pot

The Son of Sam who murdered for no apparent reason

The man who abuses his wife and says ‘she had it coming!’

The person who cuts off his wife’s head and his arm because they offended him

The individual who kills his boss because ‘the boss didn’t like me and kept me down’

The individuals who assault law enforcement for being racist

The teenager who says ‘I was bullied and they wouldn’t stop’

The politicians who demonize others for their beliefs that they consider wrong

The murder of Christians by ISIS and other radical Islamic groups

Shall we go on?


           Do any of these sound familiar? Of course they do. And mainly they sound familiar because we’ve heard it out of many perpetrators of WPV, SV, & DV. Not to mention those spouting their hate speech in the name of religion, race, gender, or ethnicity. And their reasoning, spoken or not? Their perception of their reality.

           As unrealistic as it may sound to us, these acts of violence were NOT senseless. It makes, and made, perfect sense! At least to those committing the crime. To the rest of us it doesn’t make sense to anyone. From law enforcement, to the media, to employees, shoppers, or visitors who were frightened out of their minds possibly for months or years to come. As well as anyone who refuse to see any other reality except of how their own perceptions of how reality should be.

          Perpetrating these kinds of violence against others, for what seems no identifiable purpose or reason, can mean the individuals are mentally disturbed in some form. Including, but not limited to:



Religious fervor

Political fervor

Mental disease

Anger management issues

Jealousy, which ties in with many of the above as well

          These perpetrators are just a few of the people who have a distorted view of the world and a real perception of reality. The key is that while 99% of all people believe that the violence was senseless; to the perpetrators of these incidents of violence, it made perfect sense, and supposedly they just snapped with no warning to anyone about what was going to occur. Which, of course security professionals know better, there are always the warning signs.

           If you look at every incident of WPV and SV over the past 30 years, the perpetrators had a distorted perception of the world. And literally no one could dissuade them of those perceptions. Whether that perception was of persecution, stalking, extra marital affairs, losing control of someone, being terminated from their employment or other reasoning, it was there, and in their mind it was perfectly acceptable to do what they did. All because of their perceptions of their reality.

           So were these all senseless acts? To us perhaps. To the perpetrators it made perfect sense to take other people with them when they went out. Did they have remorse after killing and wounding innumerable innocents? Most committed suicide, in WPV 66%, so we’ll never know. Those who survived, for the most part, they didn’t… “They deserved it”.

           The perceptions of an individual can be powerful within their own minds. We see it on a daily basis throughout our personal lives, culture, and society at large. Some of those perceptions can be termed wrong or misguided, but it is the perception of reality that helps to make people who they are. And in most respects the differences that makes us ponder, create, innovate, and push our limits forward.

           But then again, some of those perceptions are absolutely wrong. From trying to force others to do what they don’t want to, except for our laws to wanting the genocide of an entire race because of religion or ethnicity. Unfortunately the perceptions of reality to a handful of people will allow WPV, SV, & DV to continue and create chaos and havoc within our society.


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’s to blame for school violence?

This is never an easy question to answer. Unless you are a in the media, politicians, &   pundits because they are all quick to jump on the bandwagon and blame someone. To them it doesn’t matter who the blame, just blame someone and get their soundbite into the news cycle.

In many instances they will be correct in assigning blame. Yes, the perpetrator is ultimately to blame despite their cries of bullying, harassment, being misunderstood, racism, or whatever. however, in my estimation they still miss the target in actually discovering who allowed these incidents to occur. Because enough wasn’t done to prevent them.

There is enough blame to go around for everyone involved. Everyone? Yes, everyone. It’s not just the school administrators or perpetrators fault. I do blame the administrators of the school and its district, or university system. This is where the majority of the blame falls. The leadership for the school and/or the policies comes from them. If the administrators try to sweep incidents under the rug, then more than likely they will be.

If they decide to ignore the schools policies… Also these administrators don’t contact police if an incident occurs, in many cases. Although with the proliferation of cell phone cameras…

A couple of prime examples of these: Several years ago in the Baltimore School district, a teacher was brutally assaulted by a female student. Severely enough to call for an ambulance. As the paramedics were transporting her out of the school, the student again attacked her. The school administration did not inform the police until the teacher called to press charges and was asked ‘What assault?’

In the Phoenix area, including several cities around Phoenix, it was reported by several news stations that teachers were prohibited from discussing problem students amongst themselves. The superintendents were afraid it would ‘profile’ students who just didn’t like the teacher and lead to violence. It did lead to violence but because of not reporting it to others and administration who usually swept it under the proverbial rug.

From here I can blame the teachers for not reporting unusual or threatening behavior in or around their classroom. The reasoning is three fold:

#1 is the fact that they don’t want to get involved with these incidents and have their school given a black eye for violence.

#2 would be they can become targeted themselves. For the overwhelming number of teachers who are female, that is not a happy prospect, especially if they are trying to teach in an inner city school with gang involvement and limited funding.

#3 they want to see the good in their students. That is a failing, not a legal issue. We should all strive to see the good in people. However, respect, like a paycheck, must be earned. And if a student doesn’t earn that respect, then it won’t be given – no matter how threatening their weapon.

So who else is to blame for the violence in our schools, both real and hoaxes? Let’s take a brief look:

The parents. Yes, in practically every case it is parents that can be blamed for violence. The term ‘helicopter parents’ is the operative word that best suits most of them. They hover over their kids and will swear that their lil angel would never do anything like that! How could we even think about it! We are such horrible people to believe their lil angel could do anything like that!

While these parents like to have the perception they are involved in their kid’s lives, they ignore everything the kids do wrong and blame someone else for what happens. It’s always the administration, district, teacher, ethnic issues, money, and even God for doing this to their lil angel (and yes I’ve heard a few blame the Almighty).

Then there are the ones who have to work 2 jobs or more for their kids support and their habits. Habits such as eating, having a home, clothes, school supplies, and extra-curricular activities. I can’t blame them for that, but I can offer that maybe they need to ask their employer to assist in working around their schedule.

Then comes their friends. These people are the ones who may be closest to the teenager and probably know them better than the parents do, much to the parents chagrin. These kids literally will ignore the warning signs of a friend who is about to ‘Go Columbine’. And if it’s someone they don’t like, then they avoid them all together. In either event they won’t report anything of the sort because they don’t want to be accused of snitching.

Let me leave you with these thoughts:

If school administrators had taken care of a bullying, or other such issue listed above, problem in the past, would the bullied student have turned around and ‘bit the bully’ like a snake?

If the parents had been more involved and communicated better with the teenager would it have happened?

If friends had told someone of their behavior could it still have happened?

The answer is simple. Yes it could but shouldn’t we be trying to do everything in every fashion to prevent more teenagers from being murdered and injured at school?


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


Sticking a live wire into your company–Part 2

This is the 2nd part of this post on shocking the culture within your company. The previous post focused on the problems, with an example of really shocking an account I had in the 90s, along with a few others.

 The Solution:

           This is where the shock of touching a live wire to your skin comes in. You can call it whatever you wish. But I will guarantee you that this will work and speak so much louder than mere words alone, no matter the size of your site or company;

Back in the mid-90s, I managed a large national account. It had an Account Manager, 30 buildings, 20 supervisors, and well over 130 officers. The main issue I faced was turnover, 400% per year. The root cause of the turnover? The supervisors were over-bearing, arrogant, ‘do as I say not as I do’, & bullying their officers.

So the solution was fairly simple. I offered a proposal and it was surprisingly accepted by the branch manager, who didn’t like any of my ideas much although they satisfied the clients. An ultimatum was given to the supervisors. Our exact words? “Get better or else you’re terminated, period. Simple as that. No dancing around the issue, no pleasantries. No second chances and no complaining about the changes that were coming down.

In 30 days the officers gave their evaluation of their supervisors. It was kind of surprising how quickly the supervisors shaped up and came into line with corrective actions and current management styles. The officers rated them on the same scale and framework that the supervisors graded the officers.

The officers were not totally adept at the performance evaluations. But after questioning them and taking the time to learn exactly what they meant in their evaluations, it was fairly simple to grade the supervisors. (Note: the officers were asked to rewrite their evaluations after they understood exactly what was needed for documentation purposes.)Most of the supervisors were rated either average or not adequate, which wasn’t exactly earth shattering to anyone.

After the evaluations were completed, we held supervisory training classes and instructed them on the exact policies of the company and clients. They were told exactly what was wanted and needed from them. Some of them…well read on and you’ll see.

The Results:

In my opinion, the results were above average. We lost about half the supervisors within 6 months because they couldn’t maintain the changes they had made during the initial 30 day period, or they didn’t want to. We also terminated about 30 officers in the same amount of time. The Account Manager was also faced with the same fate, before leaving on his own volition within 6 months.

Was this a shock to both the culture of the company/account and client? Of course it was. Supervisors/managers were not normally called out and issued such ultimatums. Will this approach still work today, in any field? Yes it will, I can guarantee it, with 99% accuracy. Sometimes you have no choice but to shock it in order for it to start operating efficiently and effectively.

The experiences I’ve had in the corporate world, working within the restrictive framework of a corporate giant, was never a good fit for me. I’ve had my greatest successes with smaller local/regional companies. However, if you read closely and begin using your own experiences and knowledge of the company, for your own situation you will be able to change the culture nearly instantaneously (which means within the 1st year. If you make it that long without getting fired.

Yes, getting fired is a distinct possibility. Because to put a live wire onto the skin of the culture of your company you have to be ready to do a couple of things. What are they? Break with company policies& procedures, go outside the rules and go against best practices and conventional wisdom. Is it easy to do this, especially in a company that mandates like an Emperor and his fiefdom, from the top down? Not really.

You may think that it is an impossible task to change the culture after what I’ve said, but I can assure you that it will work given time. As with everything I write and talk about you have to take your own situation and tweak the way you start it rolling by your own individual issues. Some cultures can be transformed simply by bringing in a new supervisor, Manager, or other management. Either at the site, local, Regional, or corporate level.

Others take time. The amount of time it will take? It may be weeks, months, and yes even years to totally transform it. But it can be done and it is very much worth the effort. You have to plow your own field and be willing to make people mad at you as you change things, both sides are mad at me. I must be doing something right!


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 you afraid of being sued over security? You should be!

Some security companies and their clients need to read this post closely. Mainly because neither one doesn’t know the several ways you can be sued. This would be in spite of the ‘disclaimer’ clause in most contracts. And if you don’t know them, then they might get bit in the butt even if they claim they knew…which is another issue altogether.

Unfortunately not knowing, or paying close enough attention to these, can lead to financial disaster for both of you in bankruptcy court. So, it is in the best interest of both to look at these and then decide whether or not you can wiggle out of these. There are literally hundreds of terms that attorneys will use in their filings, but it basically comes down to three main areas;

Negligent hiring

If you hire the wrong person it could cost you literally millions of dollars. A recent survey stated that even for front line employees with minimal training, it could cost the company as much as $20,000 to replace them. Remember, it’s not just the hiring but add in the recruiting, training, time consumption in the process, and other such things.

If you hire a convicted felon, even if they did so by false pretenses, and they assault someone on the job, you could lose cash and have your officers, not to mention office staff, wearing barrel pants. And even if you manage to stay in business, your insurance will go up. This means that your clients will be demanding that your background checks have overwhelming proof they were completed… and were thorough. Which also means extra expended financial, and time, resources?

As for other hiring issues, such as those with a hidden mental disability or illness? Many people with depression, and other mental issues, can hide it well. That is until it rises up and explodes. And there are a multitude of issues that can cause a negligent hiring suit. Therefore, with diligent action, you may be able to avoid these issues. But it will cost some resources to ensure it.

 Inadequate training

           What if your security officers and supervisors were not properly trained for the duties that they were assigned to the post to complete? If you work in the contract industry this is one of the biggest issues that you have, training your officers adequately, effectively, and completely to ensure this issue doesn’t suddenly arise and result in loss.

On the other hand if your supervisors or managers aren’t properly trained, they don’t know what to do, efficiently. That’s as bad as putting an untrained person on site if that person who should know doesn’t know what to do in certain situations on a particular post. Those situations can end badly for everyone concerned if not addressed, even if they are relatively rare.

A prime example of this is in the nursing field. A nurse who is supposed to know how to handle certain medical issues doesn’t, because she has been out of school too long and never been refreshed. Would that be negligent training and the possibility of a suit against both the hospital and the nurse?

 Inadequate Security/Staffing

More than likely, somewhere in the paperwork that is filed, there will be a case for not having enough security or staffing on the site when an incident occurred. This could mean a multitude of issues have happened.  Or possibly not, just an attempt to get something from the corporate deep pockets.  No one was observing the video monitors, abandoned the front door for the restroom or, that the company didn’t pay enough for a good pad lock on the gate. Unfortunately, there are innumerable other reasons this would be cited in a lawsuit.

What about if you’re short an officer, or an employee, to observe the back door while materials are being brought in? You have to avoid, at all costs, the all too common WBS when filling a post, whether it is a call off or a no show. It is one of the riskiest ways for you to fill a post at the last moment.  Far too many security companies fall into this trap and rely on this at 0300.  This usually occurs so a contract violation can be avoided.

You may be asking what WBS is? In the contract security industry if you run short of people, for a multitude of reasons, you may plug someone into a place they’ve never worked at before, causing Warm Body Syndrome. And if that post requires even a minuscule amount of training, then you’ve committed WBS because the ‘guard’ they’ve posted there has no clue and no training there. Which can lead to other even worse issues.

          In today’s litigious society that we live in, and especially the supposedly deep pockets of businesses, you have to ensure that you cross your T’s and dot your I’s on everything. Otherwise, someone will spill hot coffee on themselves and sue you for serving them hot coffee or some other nonsense.

Attorneys will have innumerable phrases and legal terms to file, and they hope befuddle, against you. But they mostly come down to the 3 areas listed above. So you have to ensure that everything is operating the way it should with no shortcuts that may threaten the business. Shortcuts are fine, as long as they don’t come back to bite you in the butt. Cross the T’s and dot the I’s. And try not to violate the 3 areas above.


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.

Sticking a live wire into your company

There are many times when a change in culture, either at a corporate or local level, needs to be accomplished. You expect a new manager to totally change it, overnight. But, there is no quick fix for anything at the corporate level. Others can be brought in, who have no clue of the issues you face, which happens all too frequently, and then they fail at their primary job, shocking the culture.

It is the words ‘all too frequently’ which is the problem with trying to change the culture in companies. Unfortunately, it is also quite reasonable that the new manager can, and will, be spoiled by those who refuse to change with new philosophies. Those people, no matter if they are employees or supervisors, can be effective at throwing smoke screens at the new manager, and obfuscating the fact they are only biding their time and actually avoiding the changes.

When the manager finally realizes it’s happening this way, they get frustrated and for expediencies sake won’t discipline or terminate those who are the ones refusing to change. In many respects it is the cost of replacing them if nothing else. Being succinct, the inmates are running the insane asylum.

It is usually the senior management/C-suite which is putting pressure on the manager to do with what they have and not make waves…although they brought them in to make those waves, as a show of faith to other employees that they can point to showing that  they are trying to remedy the problems within the company. What they need is a live wire stick to their skin.

The fact that I haven’t done this often doesn’t mean that it won’t work on any company, branch, or site. Usually it’s been done on a security post with less than 10 people, which is the best place to begin the transformation. I don’t really fit the corporate image of a transformational guru or agent of change.

Mainly because I follow the book, my favorite business book of all time, ‘it ain’t broke, then break it’, which of course goes against all, even with the tech industry, corporate dogma and conventional wisdom. Corporate managers and execs don’t really embrace attitudes like mine very well because of the hornets’ nest I generally stir up.


The Problems:

The culture in your company may be rotten, like a 5 day old apple core, and you know it by an array of items that are occurring on a continual basis;

Turnover of employees

Overtime is beyond manageable

Mistakes everyone makes them, but some are just too egregious

Reports are not professional, in any manner

Forgetting to change the disk, or tape, for the CCvs, which allows potential crimes to go unreported

Attendance problems, which in turn leads to overtime and turnover

There are, more than likely a myriad of other issues besides these. So now you know what the symptoms of the problem are; now you have to find the original issue. And that is probably the hardest part of all. Because it can be detailed oriented and time consuming for you to discover it.

You will have to spend hours, days, weeks, or possibly even months to figure out the main issue that is causing the problems. To do this you should employ the method that I prefer, to talk to everyone and take careful notes of the 5 W’s & H of journalism and report writing. Who, what, when, where, why and how they say it.

In this instance it is the manager that needs to be the one asking questions and not an outsider. It doesn’t matter where the questions arise from, his own observations or accusations, just that the employer knows their people. If the manager is potentially the problem then a consultant will be, unfortunately, mandatory.

In addition to taking copious notes on the items that are discussed with the officers, there are a couple of other things that need to be watched closely: Are they nervous or have anxiety? What’s their body language? Are they being overly calm? You have to pick up on the little subtleties of their body language and tone of their voices. As you probably know, what is left unsaid can be louder than what is vocalized.

(Look for the 2nd part of this next week)


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

Weapons for security officers

In the 3 plus decades I’ve been in security there has been a debate about arming security officers. And being perfectly honest, there should be a debate. A healthy one not full of bomb throwing rhetoric like political ones are. I believe that there are other considerations to think about as well.

What are some of the reasons more security officers aren’t armed in modern society for the innumerable threats we encounter daily:

  • The position doesn’t warrant an armed officer, either because of the environment or low crime rate in the general vicinity. This is generally accepted, despite what may have happened in the area in the recent past, (It Can’t Happen Here).
  • The financial cost and liability issues, which can number into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And why? Because the recruitment and training costs are prohibitive for the client, who don’t want to pay up.
  • Warm Body Syndrome (WBS) within the contract security industry. This basically means whoever can fill the uniform and be on time to man the post.
  • Recruiting of qualified officers. This in and of itself can be a costly and time consuming endeavor for most companies. Finding the right person individual to place a firearm into their hands and know they will not freeze when the time comes.
  • Training of those qualified officers. This part of the process requires certified instructors, in most jurisdictions, and time on the shooting range in addition to the state mandated requirements of regular training.

But over and above the issues that companies don’t want armed officers there are several ways to arm your officers with a few less issues. There are weapons that a company can arm their officers with that are just as effective as a 9mm Glock (and please I hope the .38 detective special has been outlawed everywhere). So, what are these alternatives that are just as effective? They are not a throw together and forget about it solution. But they are effective and should be considered wherever appropriate.

  • Night sticks, ASP batons, or similar
  • Tasers
  • Pepper spray
  • Training

Each of these items has their own inherent risk of either a lawsuit or not being effective. And they all require significantly more training than a state mandated requirement. Let’s look at each a bit more closely:

  • They can break bones, cause significant injury, noticeable bruising as well as pressure cuts, what a boxer would get above the eye many times.
  • Tasers or other ‘stun guns’. These can be effective for normal people, however if they get someone who is high on drugs or has a hidden medical problem it may or may not be effective. It can also lead to many other legal and liability issues because of an unintentional death or injury.
  • Pepper spray. It has a tendency to disperse everywhere and could injure others in the area. And those injuries could be blindness if they already had vision issues. It can even cause death if they have a severe allergic reaction or breathing problems such as severe asthma.
  • This is your best overall bet instead of a firearm. Yes simple words and role play. By instructing your officers in the ways to verbally disarm and talk someone down from their tirade and keep them calm and others away can be just as effective as having a police officer pull their firearm on a suspect.

In the mid-80s we had several accounts that required firearms for the FSLIC. We had none, and never gave any, training in the use of the .38 detective special. Most of them didn’t even work and we stuck them in our uniform pockets not a holster. Some of them were even rusted. It was real professional looking or reminiscent of the Keystone Kops.

Role-playing with these tactics is also effective and should be mandatory. If the officers don’t use these skills after learning them, then they will atrophy and most will be forgotten within a few days. And a hand book and continual training should also be used in conjunction with a lecture, please no videos only lessons, and role play.

Is this cheap? Absolutely not. A one-time training session can cost a company easily a few hundred to several thousand, depending on how well and deep they get into the subject. If you can bring in an expert in any of these it could cost you even more, but would be well worth it.

But is it worth it to lessen liability, prevent employee injury, and prevent financial losses due to crime? Unequivocally, YES. A hundred years ago 90% of security ‘guards’ were armed. Now the number is less than 7%. But the world is getting more dangerous by the minute. Companies are demanding higher and better levels of protection from their providers. Therefore, the training that is involved in instructing your officer in various non-lethal ways to subdue someone should be considered, because you never know if the person will cause these issues or not.

That should be reason enough to want to arm your officers. But you have to factor location of the business, crime rate in the area, public perception, training, and liability before the decision can be made. All of these, especially public perception should be uppermost in your mind as you contemplate this question.

Lastly another simple question is this: What do your officers need to enable them to disarm a hooligan or criminal in your business and prevent liability, injury, or loss of resources?


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 August

An incident just learned of on the 2nd, that occurred on the 23rd:

Charlotte, NC. July 23                     4w

In another incident just learned about: On the 31st in  Florence, AZ. a detention officer was attacked in a pre-planned assault at the Pennell County Detention center . He suffered major injuries but is expected to recover.

July:  23 Incidents   23 Dead  58 Wounded


Phoenix, AZ. August 3                    0

Glendale, Az. August 5                  1w

Phoenix, AZ. August 5                    1w

Layton, UT. August 8                      1w

Scottsdale, AZ. August 10             0

Tempe, AZ. August 12                    0

Raleigh, NC. August 13                   0

New York, NY. August 13                            2d

Eastman, GA. August 13                                1d

Milwaukee, WI. August 14           0

New York, NY. August 14              0

Fairfax, VA. August 16                                   1d

Tempe, AZ. August 16                                    1d

Tempe, AZ. August 17                                    1d

Chandler, AZ. August 18                                1d

Phoenix, AZ. August 18                 0

Phoenix, AZ. August 18                 1w               1d

Phoenix, AZ. August 18                 1w

Glendale, AZ. August 20                                  1d

Phoenix, AZ. August 21                                   1d

Springfield, OR. August 23            0

Phoenix, AZ. August 25                 0

  1. PalmBeach , FL. August 2     1w

Ithaca,, NY. August 28                      1w                       1d

Los Angeles, CA. August 28          0

Phoenix, AZ. August 29                 2w

Blacksburg, VA. August 29            0

Baltimore, MD. August 29            0

(NOTE: these 2 incidents immediately above were part of larger incidents reported at 10 locations nationwide. Only these 2 are reported and reflected in the numbers)

Albuquerque, NM. August 30     0

Tucson, AZ. August 30                    1w

August:   30 incidents    11 dead  10  wounded


Year-to-Date incidents: 206 Arizona: 76

107 Dead   203 wounded