Ready to Respond

By Jennie Mclamb, CPP, PSP, PCI

Security officers are charged with the safety and security of employees, contractors, visitors, and anyone else who comes onto the sites they protect. While there are many threats that security must protect against, one key concern these days is workplace violence. Proper training can help officers detect, deter, and respond to this type of threat. One company uses a five-day training program to prepare security officers to deal with workplace violence. Any company can adapt the principles of this program.

The program teaches officers how to detect signs that a person is moving up the violence continuum and how to respond once they become aware of a problem. The program incorporates lectures, discussions, role-playing scenarios, practical application exercises, and a final scenario of an incident in which officers use simulated firearms to respond to a workplace-violence incident.


Training begins with a general discussion of workplace violence. As a starting point, officers are given a working definition of workplace violence. The preferred definition is drawn from the one used by the FBI and includes any conduct that induces a sense of fear or otherwise disrupts the normal course of work, with behaviors ranging from disruptive, aggressive, hostile, or emotionally abusive conduct to physical assaults with or without weapons.

Instructors explain that although active-shooter incidents garner the most attention, nonfatal incidents make up the vast majority of workplace-violence cases. This part of the training emphasizes that the security officer’s job is to intervene before an incident escalates into an active-shooter situation.



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