Webinar presenter Mark Warren answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Does Preparation Equal Prevention: Why Prepare for an Intruder Response Incident. Here are some of his responses.
Audience Question: If an employer doesn't have a plan in place, what would you recommend as the best approach for an employee to bring this up?
Mark Warren: Know your boss – what's his personality, what's his hot buttons. Those play into it as well as understanding time an opportunity. You should start researching OSHA's General Duty Clause, which specifically mandates that employers must provide training for and have a policy in workplace violence. The statistics to back that up according to OSHA is that homicide is the second-leading cause of fatalities in the workplace.
Audience Question: In your experience, do you think other justice agencies such as Victim Advocates, Probation Officers, and Courts are as prepared for potential violence from an awareness and planning perspective?
Mark: It depends. My wife, who worked for Missouri State Probation and Parole for a time, didn't have anything in place. When assessing risk factors, these organizations are dealing directly with the criminal element. Because of this there has to be a higher risk probability assigned for that workplace. Once you understand the risk then you can start applying mitigation factors in place to lessen the risk, this could be making sure the building is access controlled and compartmentalized to prevent free movement to other areas in case someone gained entry.
The same types of risk apply to victims' assistance advocates, shelters and court facilities. Each one of these locations will have people using them that have the potential to become emotionally overwrought or involved in a highly emotional event. Many times there is an appearance they are secure but they are not always as well prepared. They may even have armed personnel assigned but that alone doesn't mean you're prepared. Based on experience, even those in law enforcement, have lapses in security, thinking we're better prepared is a false sense of security. I try to challenge police officers to teach other people what they need to do before police assistance arrives, however, sometimes, even police officers don’t know what that might be.
Audience Question: Do you have some recommendations that you can make in terms of securing religious organizations, churches, synagogues, mosques, that you can't really ask for driver's license at the entrance?
Mark: Approximately 40% of our company business is working with churches to assist them in establishing their security ministry. We try to assist them in deciding what their needs are whether it be armed, unarmed, a combination of the two, uniformed or plain clothes, etc. We want to develop a security program that does not override the core mission of the church, which is a place of worship, comfort, refuge and learning. If a church selects the wrong consultant it can be very frustrating due to a lack of understanding the core mission of the church, many times leading to an aggressive security program that is not accepted by the church body. I am currently an assistant team leader on our church security team and we have 83 protectors assigned to the team for a 6,000-member church.
Most of the attendees are not even aware that we have security, and if they are aware of security to what extent or depth the security provides. We teach what we call “aggressive friendliness.” This is employed from parking lot greeters to door greeters, ushers, deacons, elders, etc., – allowing at least three touches to every person that comes into the church. If a person has got bad intentions and wants to self-isolate, to be unnoticed, they've got people everywhere smiling and welcoming them, shaking their hands. This aggressive friendliness is also used as a vetting process, to evaluate their body language. There are 9 various courses specifically for church groups on preparing themselves, or as we say; Pray, Prepare, Prevent and Prevail, with options on overt or covert presence, police involvement, response capability, armed or unarmed, etc.
Audience Question: Are you familiar with the Israeli model of screening high-risk facilities? And if you are, do you have thoughts you're willing to share?
Mark: Yes. We worked with one of the developers of the Behavior Pattern Recognition Course that was developed for the primary airport in Israel, Ben Gurion International Airport. We worked with them specifically to use their program to detect terrorist activities and modified it to work in schools and businesses. As an example we use our school-based Threat Assessments Behavior Pattern Recognition Course to train personnel that work within a school to evaluate and prioritize threats and take appropriate action based on that. It's the best model that's out there as far as I'm concerned.