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About EPS

Uniformed EPS guards

By: Stuart J. Visnov, CEO, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 489

Uniformed EPS guardsSecurity guards are seen by many owners as a substantial business expense. But this is the wrong way to look at it. Rather than an expense, security guards are an investment in your business. That’s because security guards can save businesses money in a lot of different ways. The truth is that virtually any business could see an increase in their bottom line if they employed one or a team of security guards. Here’s why security guards are worth the money.

They create a better, more profitable environment

When people feel safe in a store or office, they are more likely to come to that store and they are more likely to work harder or spend more money. Security guards offer both offices and retail stores this benefit. When security officers patrol your offices, employees feel safe coming to work. When security officers patrol stores, customers know they will be safe shopping there and will be protected if something happens.

Reduce damage and vandalism

One large, inconvenient expense for both offices and stores occurs when property is damaged by vandalism. When a workplace or a retail store gets vandalized, it is important that everything is replaced and repaired immediately to reduce negative impacts on the business. No one wants to spend money in a vandalized shop or do business with a firm in a vandalized office. A security system comprised of both security guards and surveillance cameras is an excellent way to remove the threat of vandalism completely. With your business monitored day and night, vandals won’t have a chance to damage your property.

Fewer unaccounted for products

Shoplifting is a huge problem for stores that do not have a sufficient security presence. Of course, the risk of shoplifters can never be eliminated completely, but when you have both security guards and CCTV cameras in operation, thieves have very little chance to successfully make off with your goods. That means fewer lost products and more sales.

Increased security

In the same vein as the previous point, security guards can also eliminate the possibility that stores or offices are robbed. Businesses that hold large amounts of cash on-site are prime targets for would-be criminals, and thefts can result in big losses. A strong security presence is often enough to discourage thieves. And armed security guards can neutralize a thief, should one try to perpetrate a crime regardless.

Not just any security guard will save you money, however. If you are serious about increasing the safety and security of your business — and seeing an increase in profits as a result — then you need to take time to make sure that you only hire experienced and well-trained security officers. This means speaking to a number of highly rated security service providers like Echelon Protection & Surveillance. Call our team today at 610 831 0277 for a free consultation to discuss your security plan.

Pope Mobile

By: Stuart J. Visnov, CEO, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 614

Pope MobileIf you’re a successful individual, it means you’ve undoubtedly taken some calculated risks in your career. You had a goal, did your due diligence, developed a plan, considered your return on investment, and then executed your plan. Of course, when it comes to a person’s well-being, the risk equation changes because no amount of success is worth their physical safety. Therefore, if someone has reason to believe that they or their loved ones are vulnerable, they will take the precautions necessary to mitigate that risk or threat until it has been resolved. One such solution is hiring personal protection.

My security company gets several calls every week from businesses or private individuals who have received credible threats or perceive a risk from clients, employees, spouses or family members. They call requesting protection solutions from volatile ex-husbands or uncles who want to ruin a wedding, patients who threaten doctors, defendants intimidating prosecuting attorneys, fear of retribution from disgruntled employees, and high profile executives, celebrities or dignitaries who hire protection for home, office or travel, or simply for their own peace of mind.

Personal protection units are comprised of highly trained, vetted and insured professionals who often have state or federal law enforcement, military, intelligence or investigative experience. In order to protect their clients effectively, they work in teams of at least two, because the situation often calls for a range of skilled services performed in unison. These services may include: advanced planning, background checks, protection directive, emergency protocols, location sweeps, patrol routes, travel itinerary, vehicle transport, covert communications, and concierge-like customer service.

Although the type and degree of risk varies greatly based on the industry, demographics and other factors, below are my top reasons why people hire personal protection:

  • You have a high level of public exposure. Executives, politicians, dignitaries, celebrities, athletes, professionals, activists, and their loved ones are all at more risk than the average person, especially if they are regularly in the public eye.
  • You have a high net worth. In an increasingly interconnected world, it is easier than ever to find out how much someone is worth through public records, news articles or corporate annual reports. If you are known to be wealthy, own a business or even appear to be wealthy, you could be vulnerable at your home or office.
  • You have received threats of any kind. If you or your loved ones start receiving threats, whether in person or electronically, your life can quickly become very stressful. The rule of thumb is to take every threat, no matter how casual or seemingly ridiculous, seriously. Often a few days or weeks of protection and surveillance is all that’s needed until the risk has subsided.
  • You have a business or provide services in high crime areas. If you work within, or travel to high crime areas, you’re statistically more likely to be targeted for theft or violence. This might include professions such as a traveling nurse who may carry prescription medicines, or a traveling salesperson with valuable merchandise.

In my experience, the need for personal protection can arise at any moment, so it’s wise to stay informed of your options, including: private investigations, surveillance cameras, access control and alarm systems, trained drivers or armed and unarmed security guards. Depending on the level of security that you require, the cost of personal protection will vary, but services are available for as little as one day to 24/7 coverage. Like Echelon, most security companies are glad to have a private consultation and provide guidance at no charge.

Learn more about Echelon’s Executive Protection Division at https://www.epsagents.com/services/personal-protection/ or call (610) 831-0277 and speak with James Dambach, our VP of Executive Protection.

door_guard_2

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 884

door_guard_2As a former Social Studies Teacher, Juvenile Probation Officer, 2nd Amendment supporter, NRA member and security company owner, my opinion on the nationally debated topic of arming classroom teachers is based on more than 40 years of professional and personal experience.

Recently, a program to train and arm school staff members in nearby Tamaqua School District, in Schuylkill County, Pa. has been put on hold as two lawsuits against the school district make their way through the court system.

While school districts in other parts of the country have already adopted armed educator programs, the Tamaqua School District would have been the first one in my state. I can’t think of a more opportune time to voice my opinion on arming public school teachers.

Bluntly stated, I’m against it.

Gun violence in our country is at epidemic proportions and active shooters are a symptom of that problem. We all agree that increased campus security is greatly needed, but turning teachers into armed officers is a recipe for continued heartbreak. The best answer to combat school shootings is to have members of the local police department in every school. Besides having an armed, highly trained law enforcement professional on patrol, the social benefits of exposing our youth to positive community role models would be invaluable.

Knowing that the cost for police officers to be in every school would be unsustainable for taxpayers, that leaves us with two basic options: Train and arm the teachers or hire an armed security guard company.  I stand on the side of partnering with an armed security guard company… and here are just a few reasons why.

1.      The arming of teachers in no way replaces a professional security staff as educators with a secured sidearm would be no match for the barrage of an assailants’ semiautomatic rifle. Assuming school budgets and time restraints could provide teachers with adequate weapons training, educators with little or no “immediate back-up” coupled with “inferior firepower” could never replace the proactive duties or immediate response of properly trained and certified security officers.

2.      There is no question that every teacher and student deserves the right to a safe and secure environment in which to learn, but our teachers never signed up for the double duty of educator and armed guard. In fact, national studies suggest that most teachers do not want to carry guns, and would not avail themselves of the option to do so.  This could easily create an imbalanced system where some school teachers are armed, and others must wait for the police to arrive.

Teachers do not want to be security guards, they want to be educators. Professional security guards can maintain an authoritative rapport with students to stay well informed of threats or perspective unwanted behavior. Professional guards also act as good-will builders with responsibilities to assist visitors and help students. Most school shootings are carefully planned, and students can easily find out which teachers are most-likely to be armed. Either way, it means that those teachers become the first targets. In addition, shooters often have experience with their target school and therefor know the layout, bell schedule and access control weaknesses. However, if security guards are posted and follow smart access control protocols, the school becomes a much harder target.

3.      The idea that a shooter would see an armed teacher as a credible threat is incorrect, because in the most recent school mass shootings, the perpetrators were suicidal and ready to die. However, if that shooter knows the school is less vulnerable due to consistent access control lock-down drills, and vigilant armed guards the shooter may choose a softer target. To suggest that we should arm teachers because gun-free zones invite shooters, ignores common sense and research.

4.      Arming teachers creates an increased liability for them, school administration and their school district. Research shows, that individuals who own or have access guns are statistically more likely to have gun-related accidents than use than ever use the gun for self-defense. The same holds true for armed teachers, especially when you considers that a school environment has more opportunities for “incidents and accidents” than private homes. The financial liability to the school alone, makes the idea of arming teachers unrealistic. Add the general lack of school funding and the idea becomes even more untenable. Since all reputable security companies are licensed, bonded and insured, it’s also bad business for a school to spend their limited funds for extra insurance, rather than educational needs.

5.      By arming teachers, we are essentially asking educators to make a choice between securing their students or pursuing the active shooter. A highly trained security officer doesn’t face that moral impasse, because it’s their job to engage the shooter while the teachers safeguard the students.

6.      If you’re a leader in your community, it’s your moral duty to ensure the safety of the students, teachers and visitors in your school district. Please take my advice and follow these simple steps.

1.      Invest in a vulnerability assessment for your campus.

2.      Develop a comprehensive security plan that includes guards and technology.

3.      Hire a reputable security firm to partner with to execute your plan.

4.      School shootings are not an act of sanity.  You can you prepare for irrational behavior by preparation and practice… prepare and practice.

 

retail_suit_armed security

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 562

retail_suit_guardAs a business owner, you aren’t just responsible for strategy, finance, marketing, sales and HR. You are also liable for the safety and security of your employees and customers. In today’s world, every business requires a minimum of safety and security precautions such as access control, surveillance cameras, evacuation planning and first aid equipment. However, there are many businesses that can benefit from an additional level of protection in the form of armed security guards. The question is whether your business is one of them. If you’ve ever found yourself even considered the possibility of hiring an armed guard – the answer for your business is most likely yes.

An armed guard is more than just a person who can respond to shoplifters and vandals. When a person seeking to do harm sees that your business employs a guard carrying a firearm, they understand they will have to contend with someone who has the lethal force to stop them. Just the presence of an armed guard is usually enough of a deterrent to make most bad actors move on to another, softer target.

It’s much more than the threat of force, however. Armed guards have to undergo many hours of state certified training and classroom testing. Typically, a high percentage of armed guards have backgrounds in personal protection, law enforcement, public safety or the military. That means they have the skill set to bring much more to the table in a crisis situation than just a weapon in a holster. In fact, because the majority of armed guards are full time employees of professional security companies, they have the experience and assets to keep your people and property safe in nearly any situation. Whether you’re responsible for property management, retail stores, construction sites, religious institutions, critical infrastructure facilities, or a business that has large amounts of cash, merchandise, inventory or valuables of any kind – armed guards are essential to prevent loss.

If you think you may need enhanced security, the first step is to have a comprehensive threat assessment in which experts consider and review the vulnerable areas of your business. The deliverable is an in-depth executive level report on areas in which you can improve the internal and external security of your business. Then you choose if and when you’d like to implement the security strategies and tactics outlined in your report.

In addition, top security companies offer armed close personal protection for the secure transport, safeguard and escort of Executives, Dignitaries and Celebrities. These elite services provide the highest level of protection available.

Some organizations may prefer to opt for an unarmed security guard. These guards can also be highly trained and still do a lot to prevent unwanted or unlawful activity. The right security officer can also provide other valuable services such as acting as a good will builder or in a customer service capacity.

As an owner or CEO, you’re focus is business, but all you have to do is click on the news to remind yourself of the unfortunate reality and prevalence of violent crimes and mass shootings in our society. That’s why it’s crucial to seek the advice of experienced security service providers. As CEO myself, I know leaders in the public and private sector want to sleep easy at night, knowing they did their due diligence regarding the safety and security of their people.

 

Educating Your Religious Organization on Armed and Unarmed Security Guards

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance

Educating Your Religious Organization on Armed and Unarmed Security GuardsIn the wake of the tragic attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in October of this year, there has been an increased debate on the merit of installing armed security guards at Synagogues and other places of worship.

It is an unfortunate fact that acts of violence and hate crimes in places of worship are on the rise in this country, regardless of whether that place of worship is a church, a synagogue or a mosque. Yet unlike schools and other public institutions, religious organizations have been the slowest to adopt increased security measures.

For many, installing armed or unarmed security officers at religious institutions has become a serious consideration. Many worshippers would rather be slightly slowed down by increased security checks than have no professional security measures in place whatsoever. Others, however, feel that the presence of security guards may feel intimidating and threatening.

That being said, professionally trained security guards are one of the most effective ways that religious organizations can protect their congregation and minimize or prevent future attacks on their place of worship. Not only will highly trained professionals be able to respond to an attacker quickly and safely, the visual presence of security guards — even if they aren’t armed — is often enough to deter would-be attackers because you are no longer viewed as an easy target.

These professional security guards don’t have to be intimidating to worshippers, either. There are several steps that both professional security companies and religious leaders can take to make worshippers feel safe and secure during services. This can include dressing officers down so that they don’t look intimidating. Religious leaders can also introduce officers to their congregation so that they know the people protecting them and stand with security officers at the entrance to the place of worship so that worshippers see a friendly face at the door.

Even if you aren’t ready to commit to armed security officers, there are steps that every religious institution should take to maximize their security. For instance, installing a modern, comprehensive security camera and access control system can help to prevent vandalism, robbery and active shooters. Locking the doors while service is in progress may slow down or ward off would-be attackers. Having an evacuation plan, whether in the event of a fire or an active shooter, is also a must-have.

It is clear that however they feel about armed guards, every religious organization should educate themselves by having a discussion and security threat assessment with industry experts about how they can increase the level of security at their place of worship. The cost of security will understandably be a big factor for religious organizations, but this figure will depend on several factors such as the type and number of structures as well as the size of your congregation and the level of protection that you desire. What’s more, a professional security company can help you build a custom security plan for your budget.

If you’d like to speak to a leading security provider in your area, call Echelon Protection & Surveillance at 610 831 0277 for your free consultation today.

Security drone with camera and building

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 802

Security drone with camera and buildingThe inclusion of drones in security operations is becoming increasingly more common, and more necessary. Drones have many advantages over traditional security and reconnaissance methods. On their own, drones can be a very valuable security asset. When combined with other types of security and surveillance measures, a real powerhouse security plan can be created.

Drones have an advantage over traditional surveillance methods (i.e. helicopters and cameras) because they are:

  • Less expensive
  • Easier to operate
  • Quieter and not easily detected by those being surveilled
  • Able to access remote areas and transmit findings quickly
  • Able to operate in various weather conditions
  • Equipped with infrared and thermal sensors that allow for night vision

So, what are the ways in which drones can be used? There are three key areas where drones have made a significant impact on security and protection: Events and Crowd Control, Commercial Usage, and Everyday Security.

Events and Crowd Control

Whenever there is a large crowd, there is a concern for safety. Large venues that host concerts, conventions, EXPOs and sporting events are exciting, but they are also serious security risks. Appropriate measures need to be taken to ensure personal safety and the security of the entire venue against any kind of unwanted behavior, hazard, attack or unlawful incident. Drones can play a key role in making sure an event runs safely by observing any challenges before they grow out of control.

Before the event happens, drones can be deployed to conduct remote advance reconnaissance of the venue. Being able to get an aerial view of the entire complex, including surrounding infrastructure like roadways and parking lots, can give a security team the information needed to analyze and evaluate the situation and put together a complete plan to handle any issues that may occur.

On the day of the event, drones can be used to monitor traffic and parking. This can prevent major delays, and possibly accidents, as cars can be directed or re-directed to appropriate areas. Drones also can monitor foot traffic. High traffic areas often lead to pushing and shoving, which can lead to fights and stampedes or trampling.  Drones can help manage high pedestrian traffic areas and prevent congestion, averting tragic accidents.

Commercial Usage

Drones can keep businesses safer and more secure. They can monitor buildings, facilities, and properties in ways that were not possible in the past. Nothing replaces the on-site responsiveness of well-trained security guards and well-planned surveillance cameras, but drones can bring additional level of security.

Drones can conduct perimeter surveillance to protect a company from sabotage, theft, and vandalism. For instance, they can monitor building complexes for trespassers by covering areas out of a normal surveillance camera’s sightline, or too remote or dangerous for vehicle or foot patrols. If a trespasser is observed on the property, they can be followed more safely because intruders are monitored from a safe distance before being apprehended, protecting security guards and police officers involved in the arrest. The oil and gas industry is a good example of an industry that has benefitted from drones as a way to protect their pipelines.

Port surveillance and shipping protection is another area where drones are important. Drones can monitor borders, ships, cargo, and the port itself. They can help send visual information when there is an accident and when search and rescue operations are needed, and they can also help in preventing piracy. While this may conjure up images of Blackbeard and Captain Jack Sparrow, the fact is that modern piracy is a real threat to the shipping industry, as is smuggling and illegal trafficking. Drones can follow ships, watching out for potential invaders. If a threat is found either at sea or at port, drones help authorities respond quickly, before a ship or cargo becomes vulnerable to theft or hijacking.

Agriculture and Farming rely on drones to protect their crops and their livestock. Drones can make routine trips over acres of land that otherwise may not have been easily guarded. Farmers can ensure their crops are healthy and haven’t fallen prey to disease, theft, or sabotage. The same is true for their livestock. Drones can be equipped with thermal sensors and sniffers that detect predators, poachers, and hazardous gases. And since drones are quiet and unobtrusive, they can track animals without scaring them and track poachers without being heard.

Everyday Safety

Drones are great additions to public safety efforts. Authorities can use drones for various everyday needs such as:

  • Daily traffic reports
  • Locating missing persons
  • Security for parking lots and other open areas
  • Protection of parks and landmarks
  • Search and rescue missions after disasters

There is no question that drones are a valuable security resource. They are inexpensive and provide a unique perspective for authorities and they should be considered whenever an extensive outdoor security plan is being put into place.

homeland security graphic

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 554

homeland security graphicAs we observe the passing of the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has reissued the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin to underscore the ongoing terror threat at home that continues to demand our attention.

The NTAS has been reissued seven times since it was first released in December of 2015. The Department of Homeland Security deemed it necessary to reissue the bulletin at this time based on assessments of the current environment.

Foreign terrorist organizations want to sow chaos and fear by attacking Americans both at home and abroad. These groups have become increasingly sophisticated in their ability to exploit technology, including social media applications, to instigate or guide individuals already in our country to commit terrorist acts which may include the use of vehicles, small arms or homemade explosive devices.

DHS is actively engaged in efforts to disrupt such activities and is committed to preventing threats to the public, working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well as foreign counterparts. DHS and FBI provide information and assessments to state and local law enforcement and business owners in the private sector. Heightened law enforcement and security activity may be visible at some public events and spaces.

Crowded places and other soft targets, such as sports arenas, shopping venues and transportation centers draw large numbers of people but have limited security in place. This can make them vulnerable to attack. Terrorist groups are well aware of the opportunity soft targets present to easily inflict harm to many people using unsophisticated methods such as attacks using rented vehicles.

Because DHS’s primary mission is to protect the American people, the Department actively fosters collaboration between the private and public sectors to heighten security and minimize risks in crowded spaces, large events and public gatherings. The public and private sectors working together on security efforts is critical to enhance the safety of people in locations such as parks, restaurants, transportation centers and event venues. The Department offers free tools and resources to assist communities in implementing security measures.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen recognizes that communities are the first line of defense in keeping the public safe and secure and that one of our greatest assets against terrorist activities at home is an informed and vigilant public.

You can stay informed by listening to public announcements from local and safety officials concerning potential threats. You can also help by reporting any suspected terrorist-related activities to local law enforcement or by dialing 911.

Resources are also available for businesses to plan and be ready for incidents or attacks. A four-step plan can be applied to help businesses and their and employees be better prepared to ensure their safety: Connect, Plan, Train, and Report.

An engaged community along with informed and prepared individuals provide a strong defense against possible terrorist threats to our homeland. However, DHS does not want to discourage Americans from continuing to attend public events, travel, or freely go about their daily lives. Simply being alert and prepared can help all of us increase our collective safety. Be responsible for your own personal safety, know where emergency exits are located, be vigilant in public spaces and report suspicious activity.

For more information, and to read the full DHS bulletin, please click here.

event security stage

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 537

event security stageHiring the proper personnel to staff a special event is a unique challenge to any security event company’s recruiting team.  An individual that is seemingly perfect for your Tuesday night event, could end up being the wrong fit for the Saturday night event.  So, when putting together the best team for an event detail, each event has to be viewed as its own separate function, with its own particular protocols, and needing a specific style of guard. Recruiting for a special event is truly not a one-size-fits-all style of recruiting.

By the same token, attempting to hire a full time event staff in order to handle all of your special events will present its own challenges.  When compared to hiring staff for your standard, 40 hour a week, recurring security jobs, the special events staff has to be more accommodating and flexible with their schedule.  The special event staff needs to have both a security guard mindset and a healthy understanding of customer service; thinking on your feet is mandatory and last minute changes in shifts and directives are the norm.  Both of these skills will come in to play when working an event.

Of course, the type, size and frequency of your event will dictate just how many experienced security guards you have available to work each event. The event staff that tend to be the best fit are people who are: responsible, enjoy various types of events (musical concerts, festivals, fairs, races, celebrations, weddings, holiday celebrations, etc.) have a flexible schedule, and are customer service oriented. In addition, event staff should have training in standard event duties such as: crowd and parking control, bag checks, ID and access control, alcohol management, perimeter patrols, VIP security, and coordination with local police departments and EMTs.

That’s why college students, retirees, municipal workers, and people who work part-time often make up the majority of the typical event staff.  Remember, the other main pool of event personnel will come from the full-time (and part-time) security guards, who are often tasked with providing supervisory and administration duties that require more experience, specific training or a special skill set.

The training of this style of personnel becomes a main issue, because each special event will come with its own unique challenges and protocols.  Always confirm with the client exactly what they are expecting from the event staff.  Is the staff member requested to be a higher-end guard or concierge type of staff?  Or does the event call for a more physical, visual deterrent style of guard?  Often, one cannot be expected to do the job of the other. And, as with many events, your team will most likely need a combination of the two.

The bottom line is that it becomes incumbent upon those of us in the security industry to make the necessary commitment and investment to be certain that all event staff are trained to a competent and capable level.  The most successful security companies have the ability to deliver a mix of personnel to any event. That is, a staff that is well trained, groomed, and able to follow and fulfill all of the client’s directives while responding to last minute requests with professionalism and grace under pressure.

 

 

Training-Blog-Photo

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 732

Training-Blog-PhotoOne of the issues that security companies must be realistic about is the need to discipline their security officers. The industry is such that guards cannot always be fully supervised because they may work alone, overnight or in a remote area. When no one is watching, there is always the temptation for the average guard to stray from company directives by napping, using their cell phone, checking-out early or even leaving their post. This lack of work ethic and accountability is a constant management challenge for companies that strive to be the best they can be. Many times, the problem is worsened by companies that choose to overlook poor performance in order to retain enough guards to maintain their workforce.

In all cases involving protocol behavior violations, the first question for any operations director to ask is: “Did this occur because the guard made an honest mistake, or in spite of the fact that the guard knew it was wrong?”  Intentional violations of policy require a more stringent level of disciplinary action than common mistakes due to lack of experience.

The second question is: “Is this a first-time violation, or a repeat violation?”  The third time that a specific protocol is violated, despite coaching or disciplinary action, requires a higher level of discipline than a first time offender, given the fact that a multiple occurrence can hardly be excused as an unwitting mistake.

Unfortunately, the combination of low hourly wages, high turnover rates, absence of on-site supervision, deficit guard verification technology, poorly motivated guards, and a lack of meaningful training provides a real challenge for the average security guard company. One could make the case that the industry itself has created the conditions that lead to poor guard habits by the way the average security company operates.

It’s no secret that in order to be competitive, many security companies must pay guards lower wages, which often make it hard to motivate and retain employees in an industry where employees will “jump ship” for a job that pays a little more per hour. This often means security companies may overlook minor guard infractions, which can lead to guards committing more serious transgressions.  Without a clearly communicated disciplinary process in place, many companies find themselves in a position that forces them to terminate guards who should have been better trained, supervised, coached and compensated in the first place.

Disciplinary action must be fair to the officer, and the company. The primary goal is to train the guards to be compliant with well thought out company protocols. The ideal level of punishment for an offending officer is a balance between applying a learning process (remediation) and the appropriateness of the penalty to the infraction (the punishment fits the crime).  The discipline should always consider the specific nature of the incident, as well as the individual officer’s past history of performance on the job.

Disciplinary actions must also be consistent.  All things being equal, similar first-time offenses by different individuals should draw comparable penalties.  The old idea of “making an example” by punishing an offender severely not only violates the ideas inherent in progressive discipline, but also likely starts an officer who might have been remediated on a path that could lead to claims of unequal treatment from a human resources perspective.

A mindful system of discipline and reward is intrinsically tied to a successful training program which prepares new hires to perform their duties while offering coaching and reassignment to existing guards who do not represent the company as intended.  A training program must be well planned and executed to reflect the brand reputation externally and the company culture or personality internally.  Specifically, guards need to be clear on the penalties for poor conduct, as well as the rewards for superior performance.  The old saying: “You can’t tell someone they did something wrong, if you never taught them what’s right” certainly applies.  Careful vetting, updated training, effective orientation, engaged supervision, annual reviews and consistent coaching are key to cultivating a guard pool that is reliable, accountable and vigilant. This hard work directly benefits the client, company and ultimately the industry as a whole.

Progressive security companies use discipline as a building tool, not as a motivation killer.  The proper reinforcement of expectations through effective orientation and ongoing training, combined with a meaningful application of discipline will result in more vigilant security officers and satisfied clients.

 

armed guard blog photo

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 523

armed guard blog photoTraining programs for armed guards in the modern security industry can run the gamut, from non-existent to extensive.  In most corporate settings, limitations on the level of training provided to security officers are often the result of real world budgetary considerations.  State regulations and insurance companies also influence the type and extent of armed training initiatives.  The unfortunate reality is that merely meeting legislative, liability, or client financial requirements may lead to ineffective or unproductive security officer training to the detriment of everyone’s safety.

Remember, that the training of armed security officers is not only geared toward the use of a firearm.  Rather, it is only one component of the training that utilizes the option of deadly force during an encounter with an adversary.  Training to become competent in the techniques that could result in the taking of another human life encompasses a number of issues that come into play during and after a lethal encounter.  Regrettably, training security officers to anticipate the physical and emotional aftermath of incidents is virtually non-existent in modern training.

Often overlooked or disregarded are the numerous other aspects of security officer training that exist in a force continuum in addition to deadly force.  This non-lethal instruction includes the way a security officer reacts on the scene, such as making his presence known and using some measure of physical force to gain subject compliance. In addition, the use of verbal de-escalation techniques to manage aggressive behavior (MOAB), open-handed control, chemical weapons (OC spray), impact weapons (batons), grappling hand-to-hand combat, and non-lethal munitions are all force and training options, as well as legitimate choices for security officers when interacting with a combative subject.

While many law enforcement and security trainers refer to the alternate use-of-force options during lethal weapons training classes, few actually conduct the kind of comprehensive training sessions that leave individual security officers comfortable and capable of executing these options in a confrontational situation.  Arguably, verbal de-escalation techniques are the most important of all security officer responses to counter a threat, yet this remains the least thoroughly taught of the continuum of force options.  Verbal de-escalation becomes even more critically important given the fact that very few security officers are provided with the non-lethal weapons options available, because either the security company or the client tend to view those options as either too expensive to manage or another liability.  As a result, many security guards often lack the training and associated comfort level necessary to deploy these alternate weapons appropriately.

The bottom line is that it becomes incumbent upon those of us in the security industry to make the necessary commitment and investment to be certain that armed guards are trained to a competent and capable level.  The best security companies must train their guards to determine when deadly force may be necessary and react appropriately. However, they must also be proficient with utilizing all necessary non-lethal options when confronted with critical and demanding security situations. Decidedly, the great majority of incidents faced by security professionals will require the competent use of non-lethal force as the correct, and legal, response that keeps people safe and mitigates liability.

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