Homeland Security Consulting
& Investigations, Inc.

Chicagoland Consulting and Detective Agency
Licensed by The State of Illinois

The High Cost of Knee Jerk Reactions

We all have witnessed or seen the knee-jerk reactions from a large segment of high profile decision makers immediately following a national crisis. On a much smaller scale these impulsive reactions are often made by corporate executives and/or organizational administrators and in some instances inexperienced and/or inadequately trained security professionals.Knee-jerk reactions often stem from a high level of emotion and anxiety. Political agendas also seem to prevent any reasonable outcome and outweigh any common sense approach. In the direct aftermath of a national crisis/ mass shooting many voices and agendas tend to surface such as gun control, tougher security measures, mental health evaluations/interventions and more. The truth be said all of these issues have some merit and value which require our attention, but we cannot afford to react impulsively and be focused on our own self-interests. We must be willing to sit at the table and discuss all of these concerns with reason, understanding and practicality; if not…The inadequate training, understanding and lack of experience in aspects related to risk/threat management will impede on our real progress and fail to address the specific security concerns. Many institutions and organizations will continue to respond to a threat or crisis by employing guns for hire, thinking they have done their due diligence. Some institutions and organizations overreact or remain passive due to an inappropriate fear of litigation. Some institutions will lean heavily on one focused aspect and neglect the other safety/security parameters. These reactions will hinder real progress and cost us highly… The High Cost of Knee-Jerk Reactions:  <https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAe0AAAAJDUxOGY1MTk5LTBkNTQtNGZiZi04NDYxLWI5Y2YwYTdhN2RmNA.jpg> An organization once spent well over 20,000.00 dollars solely based upon one communicated threat delivered via voicemail. The threat was considered low by the assessor.On another occasion, a large number of security professionals would have been called to come to work and given assignments and postings during a public event to handle what was determined to be nothing more than a hoax. A top school official learned of a communicated threat and quickly identified the student responsible. He went on to explain to the community that law-enforcement and the school administrators were handling the situation. He attempted to reaffirm to the concerned community that they had everything under control. He spoke primarily about access control issues and having only one single point of entry.Access control protocols primarily address threats that originate from the outside (no known connection). The student was clearly an insider and already had uninhibited access, unless of course the choice to expel the student had been made, then follow-up measures and perimeter type security would become an appropriate action plan.A threat management team would be in a best position to address the risks associated with the communicated threat and the student’s behavior. Strategies and interventions should be carefully assessed by threat assessment professionals and/or the schools threat management team. Outsider Threats: Outsider threats usually require some type of perimeter security and at least one team member that is knowledgeable at gathering and disseminating protective intelligence to those individuals on a need to know basis. The security professional appointed to such a responsibility should possess keen behavioral and tactical insights. This will enable the team to deploy all their resources strategically and prudently. Some things to consider are access control protocols, closed circuit television, security staffing, training programs and more.Institutions and organizations should carefully consider the need for implementing armed security. Insider Threats and/or Concerning Behaviors:  <https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAhAAAAAJDc4ZDFlYzhhLWM0YWEtNDUyMi05OTI3LWVjZThhNzdlYzZjZg.png> Insider threats typically require having a threat management team that is comprised of several disciplines such as; (Law-Enforcement/Security, Mental Health, Legal, HR/Administration, etc…) Maintaining those healthy check and balances is key to our success. Healthy Checks and Balances: A Multi-Disciplined Approach  Case Example… A woman in her upper thirties believes her married bible study teacher is romantically attracted to her. She imagines every look and gesture he makes is a mutual connection. She insists this man is unhappily married and she is truly his first and only love. Clearly she is exhibiting behavior that suggests that something is wrong. We established and maintained an open line of communication for monitoring purposes. Aligning ourselves with her misconceptions was essential to keep the flow of continuous intelligence coming so we could actively monitor her behavior. We also enlisted the assistance of a mental health colleague who had experience with delusional behaviors/disorders. He became a huge support and provided us with insights and practical guidance. Emotional Disturbances: Working in a large metropolitan city and open environment afforded us the opportunity and gave us the experiences needed to handle the many diverse and complex situations. The scope of our expertise was in identifying certain behaviors exhibited and understanding how to best intervene and manage the situation.Leaving the diagnosis to our mental health colleagues and knowing when to enlist the help of our mental health friends is absolutely essential to the process. This is why it is prudent to have a mental health practitioner on the threat management team; their expertise and input is of great value.Working with this population can be extremely challenging and create much anxiety in both the staff member and individual of concern. Inexperience and lack of adequate training that specializes in this population will often result in a multitude of problems.I am grateful for the years of experience that I worked in an environment where many individuals with emotional or mental health challenges can feel safe and truly find hope and acceptance, a difficult and delicate balance to learn. I have found that most indeed are harmless and needed our support, care and understanding.But occasionally, we may encounter some disturbed individual who exhibits certain behaviors that are threatening. Harming themselves or others is certainly not out of the equation. Mitigating Internal Threats…  Good Old-Fashioned Common Sense from the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit… A few years ago, we were visiting with some friends and mentors in Northern Virginia; they were renowned and respected for their expertise in criminal behavior. It was a hot summer afternoon; we all went to nearby restaurant to enjoy a meal and some good company. Our conversation was filled with inspiring thought- provoking true crime stories. All the men at the table wanted to make a difference and help alleviate the violence that continues to plaque our communities and is so prevalent in our society.One well-seasoned former Unit Chief from the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit began to share a true story about a workplace violence incident. He had all of our attention as he spoke; after all he had 30 plus years in law-enforcement and spent his entire career hunting down the most prolific evil (violent offenders and murderers) our society has known. The story impacted me because of its genuineness and simplicity. After all; it wasn’t complicated, it was packed with some good old- fashioned common sense and practical wisdom.  The true story goes like this…  A long time faithful employee was undergoing an enormous amount of personal stress, he had a terminal ill spouse at home, his vehicle had just broken down and he was now riding his bicycle to work while the repairs were being completed on his car. He tried his best to arrive on time as scheduled but happened to show up a few minutes late on several occasions. His past attendance record was spotless as was his job performance. He was called into a meeting to discuss his recent tardiness and not given an opportunity to communicate his situation.He tragically resorted to violence by fatally shooting his manager and took aim at the other leadership representatives in the meeting. All of this could have been averted if someone took the time to simply listen and care.  People do not just suddenly snap; there is usually an emotional build-up or a stressor/ trigger that precipitate the outburst or violent incident.  A Caring Leadership Team:  <https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/AAEAAQAAAAAAAAhKAAAAJGI2MDUxYTZmLTRjMTUtNGEwZS1hMDJmLTEzMjNlY2VhN2JiMg.png> Sitting with a co-worker or employee and sincerely listening and caring can alleviate a lot of stress and pay great dividends to any organization. We must show that we care and are offering to help in any way we can. A management team that cares enough to listen to the needs and concerns of their employees is taking a prudent step in the right direction. We may not be able to solve all of their problems, but there is something to be said of a caring leadership team. Pay Attention and Observe: We must pay attention to the words, behaviors, and actions of our employees and coworkers. If they feel there is no one to help them with their concerns and sometimes grievances, then making a dramatic statement is not out of the equation. We cannot afford to ignore the warning signs and behaviors. Sometimes the help someone needs is just beyond the scope of our expertise. We must be willing to acknowledge our limitations and abilities and enlist the assistance of someone with the experience for handling such cases.Just take a volatile person, add some powerful stressors into the mix, and we may be sitting on a huge powder keg. Workplace Violence Prevention Policies and Programs: Policies and training programs should be made available and properly disseminated to all employees, faculty and students.Having a dedicated person(s) who maintains a diligent oversight over our workplace violence prevention programs and policies should be clearly outlined and established. Our people need to know how and where to go with behaviors of concern and/or threats. Follow-up from this dedicated team of professionals is an essential aspect with threat managers. If the people with concerns feel that nothing is being done and there is no follow through they will eventually grow weary and indifferent to our programs and policies.  _____

Written by  <https://www.linkedin.com/in/bill-martin> <pulse://follow-author> ✓ Following   <https://www.linkedin.com/in/bill-martin> Bill Martin, PPS