THE MAGAZINE

Ready to Respond

By Jennie Mclamb, CPP, PSP, PCI

Legal considerations. Trainees also learn about legal, regulatory, and contract requirements when handling workplace violence situations. They learn the importance of interviewing witnesses as soon as possible and of documenting the incident. Accurate documentation serves many purposes. First, it is the key to recognizing and understanding patterns of behavior that might signal the escalation of potentially threatening activities. It can also provide evidence that bolsters the case for terminating an employee or that exculpates the company of negligence charges or provides proof of security’s due diligence in the event of any court case related to workplace violence.

Exercises. This portion of the training includes tabletop exercises and role-playing scenarios based on the information presented in the previous day. The tabletop exercises involve various incidents, such as a disgruntled employee, a customer confrontation, and the arrival of an angry individual demanding to see his or her spouse.

Officers are taught standard protocols and procedures for handling each situation. They learn to match the response to the situation. They are also taught that in high-risk situations, safety is always the top priority. Later, they are presented with similar situations and must write a brief description of the actions they would take.

Next are role-playing scenarios in which instructors play the part of potentially violent individuals. During these role-playing scenarios, the security officers are expected to tailor their actions to the level of risk presented by the threatening individual.
For example, containment and de-escalation are the primary goals in medium-risk situations involving verbal aggression. Security must isolate the individual and allow him or her to calm down. Security personnel are also trained to inform the person’s supervisor and the security command center of what is happening, and they are trained to summon help if the behavior turns from verbal to physical.

Security officers learn that after threatening individuals have had a chance to cool down, they should be interviewed by a member of the security team. During this process, officers must listen calmly and without interruption. This helps the subjects further calm down because they are being given a chance to explain their actions. The individual’s cooperation and compliance must be gained, so security is trained to be objective and sincere in this interaction.

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