Like many people, I watched the riot at the US Capitol on 6 January unfold live through reporting on TV. And as most, I was
The Guardian SafeWorkplace Program™
During our work as security consultants specialized in managing risks of active shooter violence, we observed a pattern. Although the level of security and preparation varied greatly between client organizations, most shared a foundational problem—absence of a cohesive strategy for controlling active shooter risk by both preventing attacks and mitigating the consequences of active shooter violence.
Although standards related to workplace violence prevention and active shooter response have been published by organizations such as ANSI, SHRM, and ASIS International, most are skeletal ‘best practice’ guides and provide little direction in how to implement risk management measures. Further, most of these standards omit critical details necessary to effective performance in reducing risk. And as witnessed time and again during previous active shooter events, “The Devil always appears in the details.”
In response to this situation, CIS launched the Guardian SafeWorkplace Program™ in 2015 to serve as a comprehensive, integrated, and performance-based strategy for protection against mass homicide in workplace settings.
At the foundation of the Guardian SafeWorkplace Program™ is a multi-layered strategy aimed at preventing active shooter violence while employing performance-based physical security measures and effective emergency preparations to reduce the impact of events.
The following diagram describes how these measures contribute to reducing risks of active shooter violence graphically depicted as concentric rings of protection.
To establish a foundation for the program, our consultants work collaboratively with client decision-makers to improve and/or author workplace violence related policies and procedures addressing issues such as pre-employment screening, employee behavior and threat reporting, weapon prohibitions, termination protocols, and management actions in response to behavior of concern. All policies and procedures developed during this process are designed to comply with (or exceed) the guidelines defined by ASIS International’s new WVPI-2020/AA, Workplace Violence and Active Assailant – Prevention, Intervention, and Response Standard.
NOTE: WVPI-2020/AA is the 2021 revision and expansion of ANSI standard ASIS/SHRM WVP.1-2011 “Workplace Violence Prevention and Intervention.”
CIS consultants work with client leadership to develop a corporate threat assessment program, or improve the company’s existing program as necessary in accordance with best practices as defined by ASIS International and the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. Activities undertaken as part of this process may include drafting or amending policies and plans, training a corporate threat assessment team, and educating HR personnel and supervisors on recognition and reporting of threat behavior.
In the context of active shooter attacks, performance-based physical security design integrates Detection, Delay, and Response elements in a manner that mathematically reconciles the time required for an active shooter to commence mass killing and the time required for detection and intervention by armed security or police. As part of the Guardian SafeWorkplace Program™, our security consultants aid clients in identifying critical vulnerabilities and problematic egress conditions and design a prioritized improvement strategy with consideration to budget and other matters of practicality.
Upon commencement of the project, our consultants assess the status of current emergency plans, infrastructure, and staff preparations to identify critical issues of concern. After essential improvements have been identified and a plan for remedy is underway, our consultants work with the client to author a new all-hazard Emergency Response Plan (or improvement of existing plans) integrating new/amended procedures and communications systems.
After all new policies and plans are completed, our consultants conduct a series of training sessions to educate employees and Emergency Team Members in threat awareness and reporting and critical aspects of new emergency response plans.
Implementation of the Guardian SafeWorkplace Program™ typically proceeds in three phases:
In Phase One (Workplace Violence Prevention and Security Assessment), our consultants audit the organization’s existing facilities, operations, workplace violence policies, HR & management procedures, physical security measures, security and emergency response plans, and program implementation. The objective of the audit is to assess the effectiveness of current workplace violence prevention and security programs, evaluate existing emergency preparations, and identify potential issues of concern.
During Phase Two (Improvement of Workplace Violence Prevention, Security, and Emergency Response Plans), our consultants begin working in cooperation with designated staff to improve policies and procedures as necessary. Activities during this phase often include drafting new or improved policies and plans, structuring threat assessment and emergency management teams, designing improved systems for communications, and preparing specifications to aid in facility security upgrades and infrastructure improvements.
Phase Three (Employee Training) commences after all essential policies and procedures are completed and approved. During this phase, our consultants conduct live training classes to educate employees on critical protocols and additional training sessions to instruct threat assessment and emergency team members on more complex details of new plans and procedures.
Upon completion of the project, our consultants provide a document testifying to itemized compliance with ASIS International Standard WVPI-2020/AA, Workplace Violence and Active Assailant – Prevention, Intervention, and Response Standard.
ASIS International Standard WVPI-2020/AA provides an overview of policies, processes, and protocols that organizations can adopt to help identify, assess, respond to, and mitigate threatening or intimidating behavior and violence affecting the workplace. It describes the implementation of a workplace violence prevention and intervention (WVPI) program and personnel within organizations who typically become involved in prevention and intervention efforts.
In addition, this Standard also includes an annex which provides actionable information and guidance relative to prevention, intervention and response to incidents involving an active assailant/active shooter.
K.C. Poulin, cATO, CPS
KC is an expert on community-based public safety, crime prevention, security officer operations, and managing risks of predatory aggression (e.g., workplace violence, stalking, etc.). KC is the lead architect of our community-based security and public safety programs and is co-author of two criminal justice textbooks. KC is a veteran expert witness and has provided decisive testimony in multiple premises liability cases.
Craig Gundry, PSP, cATO, CPS
Craig is the Vice President of Special Projects for Critical Intervention Services and consultant with over 30-years of specialized focus on designing security programs for protection against acts of terrorism and mass violence. In addition, Craig is an expert witness and columnist for Workplace Violence Today magazine. As an instructor, Craig has trained over 5,000 security professionals globally im advanced security topics.
Patricia Schmitt, CPP
Patty is CIS security consultant with more than three decades of expertise and experience in the security management community. During the span of her career, Patty has assisted a wide range of organizations in matters including risk and vulnerability assessment and developing strategies for improving the overall performance of existing security programs.
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