This past March I wrote an article on risk management in regards to the possibility of an active shooter who may someday enter your premises. This prompted some responses that indicated several missions are either looking to hire a security company or perhaps even train their own staff in security protocols. This is truly good news as it is better to be prepared then to correct deficiencies after a problem. Let me address some considerations for the training of staff as well as hiring an outside firm.
If your mission is going to train your own personnel to address security, it is essential that they be trained by a reputable security training agency. Check the references of such a training agency, and call other organizations whose security personnel have received training from that trainer so as to ascertain how it has been for them. Not only should the initial training have been well orchestrated but there should be a commitment to continuing education as well.
Will the training agency keep your mission’s security personnel “up to date”? Procedures, tactics and equipment change over time. What may have been standard protocol in the past may no longer be recognized as such today. Stay current.
If your mission is going to hire an outside security detail, again, check references. Just because the company has an impressive website with professional-looking images and moving testimonials does not mean their security “officers” are well-trained. Require a contract, ask for references and check with those references as to both positive and negative past experience with that security company. Always ask for proof of insurance in the form of a Certificate of Insurance, and require that they name your mission as an Additional Insured. This way, should their staff be held liable for the injury of someone at your facility, it will be their insurance company that will defend you.
Finally, as was advised in the prior article on active shooter protocols and means of securing your mission, it is highly recommended that written policies be put in place to address your expectations of all security personnel. This is true regardless of whether those security personnel are your staff or outside contractors. Lawsuits are more readily won when written procedures are well-considered and adhered to consistently. Matters to address, in these policies, should include your stance on handguns or similar weapons, requirements for background checks and reference checks, hours for security personnel and where they are to be stationed. Remember to notify your own insurance company of your use of security personnel.