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Archive for June, 2011

The Workplace Violence Training Series

June 30th, 2011 Comments off

The recent release of IMAC’s Workplace Violence Training Series at www.imac-training.com is a timely response to what has again become the number one concern of today’s corporate security directors. The tragedies of 9/11 distracted attention from this problem and placed focus on how terrorism would affect the American company/organization. Though concerns regarding terrorism should not be ignored, there is a far greater probability in most American workplaces that there will be a workplace violence incident that will directly, or indirectly, impact the business and the employees.

Workplace violence is an often misunderstood phenomenon. There are many different types of crime and violence that get lumped into the workplace violence data. From robberies, to domestic disputes unfolding in the workplace, to vivid images of fired employees returning on shooting rampages, they are all contained in the sea of statistics on this problem. When this topic is discussed, most people only think of the disgruntled former employee returning to commit an act of vengeance. That is in fact, a small percentage of the problem. Workplace violence includes any conduct or behavior that creates a dangerous or threatening situation for the employees. Therefore, all of the reasonably foreseeable sources of potential violence, both internal and external, must be addressed in a prevention and response strategy.

A workplace violence prevention and response program must contain training, prevention and response strategies to address all of the following components:

  • A Proactive Violence/Aggression Free Culture
  • Effective Pre-Employment Screening
  • A Workplace Violence Policy
  • Employee Awareness Programs
  • Training Programs for Supervisory Personnel
  • A Trained Threat Response Team
  • Development of a Threat Response Process
  • Physical Security Reviews
  • Knowledge and Utilization of Critical Assistance Resources
  • Attention to (and Preparation for) Significant Events

Your company has a duty to your employees to provide a safe working environment that is free from violence and aggression, or the threat of them. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for workplace safety demand it; your legal defense and financial health may depend on it; and your employees certainly deserve it.

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Corporate Executive Protection – What Transitions Do Former Law Enforcement Officers Need to Make?

June 9th, 2011 Comments off

Law enforcement officers interested in making a career change into the corporate executive protection (EP) world need to be prepared to modify the way they operate on the job. This work requires a totally different mindset. Police and investigators are typically programmed to react to incidents and ‘handle the situation’. In most cases, prevention of those incidents is not a reasonable expectation. Law enforcement officers are simply relied upon to take charge afterwards. Executive protection demands a more proactive approach. The protective agent must keep the protectee out of harms way, and avoid conditions or environments that could lead to dangerous incidents. Not just react to them if they happen.

Law enforcement officers, when thrust into the role without preparation, will rely on instincts that are counter to the close protection mission. These same instincts which have been necessary for their own survival, and have been ingrained through years of experience, may not serve them well in executive protection. For example, in an assault attempt, their professional inclination would most likely be to respond to the aggressor and not the protectee. This makes them very vulnerable to a diversion and delayed attack scenario. Also, their instinct is to protect themselves – not be a shield for someone else. Their reaction cannot be to seek cover, but to be the cover! The EP agent’s first reaction should be to respond to the protectee, cover him or her with their bodies and evacuate from the area. This will not come naturally and requires specific training.

This is not a criticism. As a former police officer making such a transition years ago, I too felt that my savvy as a street cop afforded me the skills to do close personal protection work. Subsequent training from former US Secret Service agents taught me that, though some of the skills were useful, my approach had to change. It also taught me the value of solid intelligence and detailed security advance work to assure that I would keep the protectee out of positions of vulnerability and unnecessary exposure.

It is absolutely true that law enforcement operations require intelligence and careful planning, experience that will be valuable. Executive protection planning however focuses on minimizing risk, thinking logistically through each day, and always playing a ‘what if’ mental game with yourself. How will I respond? Am I positioned properly? Have I done everything possible to minimize the risk in the environment which the protectee must occupy? Can I affect the protectee’s decision to be there in the first place? The list goes on.

The so called hard skills developed in law enforcement such as interactive assertiveness, self defense maneuvers, weapons proficiency, control under stress, and many others are valuable. However, hard skills and physical prowess will not be more important than the ability to plan, think ahead, have contingencies, make necessary recommendations, avoid dangerous patterns and modify on the move.

Check out IMAC’s ‘Executive Protection – A Practitioner’s Overview’ course at www.imac-training.com.

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