Educating customers is part of the job

I received a call from a potential client several weeks ago. It seems a production employee had gotten mad, and threatened to shoot several other employees. The caller wanted to know if we could provide security for a couple of days after the disgruntled employee was fired.

I started by asking this caller some basic risk-assessment questions, like whether the employee had a criminal background or history of violence. The response was the company didn’t do criminal background checks, but the employee has “anger issues.”

The caller wasn’t interested in risk management; he was antsy to find a solution to his problem, and how much would it cost him. What price do you put on stationing an armed guard outside a plant to confront a potentially armed and angry ex-employee?

When I told him we were reluctant to place officers in the role of bullet-catchers, he seemed put out that we wouldn’t solve his pressing problem for a couple hundred bucks.

Many people assume as security professionals we each have skills ranging from making good coffee to shooting three-leaf clovers at 200 yards with a Winchester rifle. The truth is the basic role of a security officer is to observe and report. Some officers make good administrators, and some don’t, but every officer needs competent skills of observation and reporting. Beyond that, some officers might develop specialized skills in rock-concert security, workplace violence or personal protection. But these specialized skills aren’t called for day in and day out.

So, the critical role is to fit the right security officer to the right job. As for the caller’s misconception about what we could do for him, I don’t know the end of the story, except my part. I didn’t agree to send an officer out on a high-risk job to fix someone’s problem for a few dollars. (TDH)