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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.

Photo of security guard shirt back

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 726

Active ShooterIn the 2 weeks between Part One and Part Two of this blog there have been 2 more “mass shootings.”  On June 17, 2018 at least 17 people were shot at an Art Festival in Trenton New Jersey, and  last week 5 more individuals were killed in a “mass shooting” in Annapolis Maryland.  Please note that the quotation marks around the words “mass shooting” are there to comply with the federal government’s definition in which “4 or more people are shot”.

When we look at the total number of 2018 shootings in which three or less people were shot, the number varies depending on differing statistics from a low of 100 to more than 154.  No matter what the actual number is, we can all agree that any number is much too high.

While Echelon security staff was not deployed at either site, it is our belief that the training our security guards receive prepares them for rendering immediate assistance to our clients in the vital minutes between the time the first shot is recognized, and the first responding law enforcement officer arrives.

Our officers are trained in the ugly truth that no matter how a venue is secured, that the assailant will always have the upper hand.  Unlike law enforcement, security staff or the general public, the assailant knew they left their house with the intent of coming to an event to take human lives –  everyone else did not.

Statistics have shown that nine times out of ten, the assailant is either a current or former student, employee, or patron of the venue and has knowledge of how to enter the building with the least amount of detection.

While many other security companies stress the basic training of our industry – customer service, patrol basics, and report writing (all invaluable security industry skills) we require that all applicants be competent in such areas before their formal training commences. Building on these core values we then focus on what to do when things go wrong:

  • Dealing with Difficult People
  • Observation Skills
  • Tactical Awareness
  • Crisis Response or Active Safety Response.

And, because about half of our guard force is unarmed, we focus on the role expected of them in such situations.

We do our utmost to impress upon each new officer that in crisis situations their role as an unarmed guard is to alleviate panic.  We make sure that they fully understand that in the precious few minutes until law enforcement arrives and the “threat is neutralized” that they will be the first person of authority that frightened employees, guests or patrons will turn to for guidance.

Their first duty is to get as many people to safety as possible, using evacuation routes that are the least dangerous.  Once this is done and people are safe, our guards are trained to alert authorities that there is a shooter on the premises.  We instruct our staff on how to call local authorities, 9-1-1 and what information to provide.

Our security instructors stress the importance of safely exiting a building and best practices for doing so.  We teach the basic skills to assess if safe exit is not an option and provide the knowledge through practical exercises such as:

  • Securing an area
  • Cover vs. concealment
  • Improvising locking devices
  • (and only when necessary) committing themselves to direct confrontation with the assailant
  • Interacting with law enforcement upon their arrival.

Echelon understands that the training provided to new security guard staff members is not equivalent to the rigorous training provided to law enforcement – nor is it designed to be.  Its purpose is to provide familiarity with concepts, empathy with victims, and to guide the proper actions in times of crisis situations.  Our first duty to our clients will always be to respond in a preventive and proactive fashion at the most critical times.

Yet, should the circumstances arise, and prevention is not possible, our security guard staff understands that our role is to:

  • Mitigate as much physical and emotional harm as possible
  • Decide upon the proper survival protocols
  • Make sure that techniques are correctly applied
  • Keep everyone safe and secure until law enforcement arrives and the threat is eliminated.

Every state has different standards in order to become a certified security guard, so Echelon provides our own proprietary training to ensure our officers are prepared to respond appropriately in any situation.

Security training

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 551

Security trainingThe basic security guard training and site-specific directives my company provides is tested and proven to work in almost any security environment to protect people and property. The exception to this rule are the security officers assigned to protect our education and religious institutions.  While most security training is focused on “detect, deter, observe, and report” our institutional guards are taught to “be vigilant, think on their feet, make tactical decisions, and in case of crisis – save lives.”

In addition to their basic security guard training, these officers receive additional high-level instruction in crisis response, stressing an “Active Safety” mentality, as opposed to an “Active Shooter” mentality. The end goal being the survival of themselves and the clients we secure and protect.

Knowing that most institutions now instruct their staff, students or congregants in the basics of RUN-HIDE-FIGHT or the A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) we train our school and institutional officers to understand these protocols and assist in their implementation.

These programs and many others, provide the end-user with extremely useful, rational, and practical information.  However, they are based on the flawed belief that rational answers to irrational acts of violence are effective.  Compounding the problem is the delivery of the training method.  Although, it’s not ideal to just watch a video, listen to a power point and perform a few active shooter drills a year, these methods are far superior to no training at all. Our officers are familiar with a variety of basic active shooter training methods, so they’re better prepared in any event.

However, instructors who have had extensive training or law-enforcement experience know the sad truth is that the RUN-HIDE-FIGHT training method (no matter how professionally presented) cannot adequately address the chaotic, and unpredictable reality of an active shooter attack.

To be clear, we advocate RUNNING-ESCAPING as the most sensible option of all, but RUN-HIDE-FIGHT training encourages a mindset that better prepares people to save themselves and others during an active attack.

Among the problems in RUN-HIDE-FIGHT is the proven fact that this model is based on rational thought, linear thinking, fosters a non-aggressive/victim mindset, and fails to adequately deal with fear induced panic, fear, and freezing that human beings are prone to exhibit.

The linear thinking of RUN-HIDE-FIGHT has the psychological danger of falsely setting into clients’ minds that fighting should always be the last resort. This may waste precious time looking for a place to hide, when tactical circumstances dictate that physically confronting the attacker is the best response.

The bottom line is training people to realize that there is no one best answer and accept the reality that the best plans, locks, cameras, and alarms are no match for a determined attacker. Remember, that in every instance, the active shooter attack began long before the first shot was fired, and that the majority of the bloodshed occurs before the first law enforcement person can respond.

Our security instructors and curriculum planners spend hours teaching our guards the concepts of a survival mindset, the basics of tactical thinking, the valuable of each second, and the paralytic effects of fear and how it can be conquered.  The most important message of all is that in times of crisis – we do not rise to the occasion, but rather fall back on our training.

…to be continued.

Background Check Form

By: Stuart J. Visnov, Chief Executive Officer, Echelon Protection & Surveillance
Word count: 755

Background Checks FormAll reputable security companies run background checks before hiring new guards to be certain that both the client and the company itself are protected and represented by reputable individuals. For the most part, states require that a background check be performed before a guard can be issued state credentials like the so called “Guard Card.”  The most important duties of a security guard are to protect the clients’ property, possessions, and personnel, so before hiring, a good look into the guard’s past can shed light on how successfully they might be able to perform their duties.

Background checks and credentialing are in the best interest of the client, the security company and the guard him/herself. While the discovery of some minor legal “issues” may be forgiven, most states and security companies must be cognizant of prior felony convictions or open charges, particularly ones involving theft or violent crimes. Additionally, knowing if a conviction on “minor” charges was a result of a plea agreement (which originally included felony-level offenses) can be a major indicator of an applicant’s potential for success or failure.

Not only do background checks help in hiring decisions, but they may also protect a business in the case of potential lawsuits or other legal complications. For example, let’s say a business chooses to hire a guard on their own, without the help of a reputable security company. If that guard was previously convicted of theft and then steals from the business, that business will probably not be able to file a claim for stolen property, regardless of whether they knew about the previous infraction or not.

Individuals applying for a security guard positions should be informed and expect that a criminal background check will be a major part of the hiring process, a tacit demand requiring 100% honesty on their application. Companies will compare the information on an application with the information garnered from background checks and a uniform and unbiased process for weighing prior minor infractions in an applicant’s youth may be no problem, unless of course they’ve lied about it.

A reputable security company will conduct fairly extensive background checks before hiring a guard that might include any or all of the following:

  1. Criminal Background Checks – Obviously, a security company making a hiring decision needs to know about past criminal activity. But they also want to see that the information on a potential employee’s application matches the information in the background check. An applicant who lies about past criminality, even if it is a very minor infraction, will have a hard time convincing a company that they are honest and should be hired.
  2. Fingerprints – In many cases, guards will also be fingerprinted so the hiring company can run the prints against the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. There can be issues in an individual’s past that do not show up on a standard state level criminal background check.
  3. Driving Records – Many guard positions require driving duties, so a fairly clean driving record is important. Confirming that the applicant possess a valid/current driver’s license as well as a registered and insured vehicle should also be considered before hiring employees to fill spots where public transportation is not an option.
  4. Sex Offender Database Checks – Security guards will interact with all manner of people in the course of performing their duties. An applicant whose name appears in the Sex Offender Database will not be eligible for employment.
  5. Credit Checks – A check of a potential employee’s credit history is becoming normal for many jobs, even outside the security industry. Most states require security guard applicants to consent to a credit check, and in most cases, if an employer turns down an applicant due to a problem on their credit report, they are required to show the applicant the report and the reason for the rejection.
  6. Open Charges – If an applicant is in the midst of legal battle, for example, if they are engaged in a civil case with a spouse or family member, or perhaps involved in a domestic violence case or under a Protection from Abuse (PFA) order, it is unlikely that they can be hired.

Established and well managed security providers will have their own battery of application and interview questions that add depth and detail to the typical background check process. Despite how extensive state and federal background checks might be, there is no substitute for sitting across from an individual and asking probing questions about their current legal status as well as their past.

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