Parents send their children to school expecting that their kids will be safe. The parents trust that the school's staff will act in their place and look out for their children's welfare in the same way they would. The presence of security guards, school police, or resource officers at the school may even strengthen their trust, but this can be a false sense of safety. Just because guards and school police officers wear a uniform does not always mean additional protection for students. Reviewing and assessing the potential for harm to students and others on school grounds and at school-sponsored events requires careful consideration and proactive initiative to keep students safe, even when the presence of a security guard or school police officer may provide a veneer of safety. Inadequately screening, training, and supervising security guards and school police officers; failing to provide guards and officers with clear instructions for handling special circumstances known to the school; and inappropriately delegating the responsibility for keeping children safe can all be linked to student injury or death.
Schools, campuses, houses of worship, recreational sites, transportation hubs, retail facilities, those thoughts ring out day after day. Replay in your mind’s eye the horrific images of Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University (Valentine’s Day), Aurora Colorado movie theater, Sandy Hook Elementary School
As reported by the local ABC affiliate, on August 3, 2016 a patron of the Travelodge Motel in Costa Mesa, CA was assaulted with a tire iron while confronting suspected thieves in the adjacent parking lot. Fortunately, the patron received only minor injuries and was treated at a local hospital. As can be seen in the reference articles below, confrontation of persons attempting property crimes has often resulted in physical harm or death to the victim. In matters in which I have provided consultation, these parking lot confrontations have resulted in a beating, a stabbing, and a shooting.
A simple internet search disclosed that there were over 40 school gun incidents in 2016, many resulting in injury or death to over 30 innocent individuals. Additionally, there were numerous incidents where it was reported that school campuses were placed in Lockdown because of potential threats in the immediate neighborhood. These Lockdown situations for threats in the surrounding neighborhood of our schools are reported regularly in the news media.
A report of shots fired at the Navy Yard in Washington, D. C. brought a huge response from law enforcement from all areas. The response was immediate and overwhelming. As it turns out, the report was false. The incident remains under investigation at the time of this writing.
Coordinating security for corporate offices, hotels, apartments, convenience stores, and just about every other possible location can have its challenges. Coordinating security at major events, however, is especially challenging. This article will focus on some of the challenges I faced when coordinating security for several events and locations in Houston, Texas for Super Bowl XXXVI.
At schools, campuses, sporting events, and retail facilities, those thoughts ring out day after day. We have watched with horror the increasingly more frequent news of violence at establishments we once thought "safe" from wanton violence. One has to just scan the news to see that no place is immune from any type of random act that injures or kills innocent civilians, be it a movie theater, retail mall, sporting event, school, or church. In this column, let's take a look at a few basic elements.
Authors note: I am a nightclub security expert witness. I've never worked in a bar. What qualifies me as an expert is my decades-long experience in security management. Security personnel are known under many different titles such as, most commonly, bouncers but they are also called ushers, greeters, door men, crowd control specialists, etc. The truth, however, is that there are basic tenants to any security program, regardless of business environment, and bars and nightclubs are no different with the exception of alcohol. Bouncer = Security.