The all too common mass shooting hit close to home when an employee was in the process of termination where he killed five co-workers and wounded five police officers in Aurora, Illinois. The unfortunate reality is that employers need to focus attention on both prevention and the response to active shooter situations.
Details of the February 15th shooting are still developing, but it is known the shooter was a convicted felon who served five years for stabbing and beating his girlfriend with a baseball bat. Numerous orders of protection had also been issued against the shooter since his release from prison.
What are the focused efforts and prevention your organization can begin to help mitigate situations like this?
- Pre-Employment Background Checks
Most reasonable people believe it is a good thing to give offenders a second chance by offering meaningful and productive employment. However, a history of violence and threatened violence is a different matter, and most employers want to avoid hiring individuals with this kind of history.
In today’s employment environment, pre-employment criminal background checks can be tricky to navigate. In addition, there is no universal criminal background check system in existence. Criminal background checks require inquiries to the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed. For this reason, applicants should provide an extensive history of previous home and work addresses. Criminal background check services contact the jurisdictions in which the applicant lived and worked to identify if any crimes were committed.
There are differences in criminal background check services. The largest services build their own data base aggregating the data they collect on individuals from identified jurisdictions. This can save both time and money.
- Active Shooter Response and Training
The response to an active shooter situation can mean the difference between life and death. The most common training protocol is called Run, Hide, and Fight. Originally, many schools used this approach until it became apparent that cowering in the corner of a classroom guaranteed easy targets for the shooter and mass casualties.
ALICE training is a proprietary curriculum that focuses on getting out of the building immediately and distracting the shooter by engaging in distracting movements and activities. Training is provided by current and ex-law enforcement personnel. The primary objective is to get out of the building or space occupied by the shooter as quickly as possible.
- Early Recognition and Intervention
Another dimension to an effective active shooter program is recognizing changes in employees’ behaviors that could provide early warning signs to possible violence. With so many workplace shootings stemming from disgruntled employees, the ability to identify ticking time bombs can help prevent a tragedy. This specialized training should be provided to ALL employees, and everyone should be encouraged to come forward immediately when they identify suspicious or concerning behavior. If you see something, say something certainly applies here.
Bringing It All Together
The phenomenon of mass shootings is a sad reality, but one that must be addressed. The reason why people engage in mass shootings more now than decades ago is still unresolved. It could be the result of an increasing coarseness in society, or even the constant barrage of violence delivered through television, movies, music, video games, and social media. In many cases, the resolution of conflict communicated through these sources of so-called “entertainment” are through violence and the use of firearms.
Until the root causes of mass shootings are identified, and solutions to address these root causes are developed, employers must address the sad reality that it can happen at any time and any place. Criminal background checks, developing active shooter response plans, and training all employees to recognize potentially threatening behaviors are important steps in addressing this very depressing trend until the root causes are fully identified and validated. If you would like more information on these topics or to engage safety consulting services for your organization, contact Gary Glader at 708.845.3662 or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.