Oct 02 2018

How Unarmed Officers Can Handle Violent Situations

An unarmed officer doesn’t necessarily mean an officer who can’t help prevent an active shooter situation. A recent article by ASIS discussed tips for unarmed Security Officers to be on the defensive. Below is a brief outline of how an unarmed officer can help prevent and respond to violent situations.

Look for indications of threats

  • Be aware of pre-attack indicators (PAINs). This means understanding common movement patterns, facial expressions, and appearances. By having an understanding of behavioral analysis, you can be aware when something seems unusual or out of the ordinary. Clothing choices (e.g., trench coats) and carried objects (e.g., tote bags) in combination with strange behaviors are strong signals to be aware of.
  • Demonstrate your customer service skills. ASIS recommends the 10-5 rule: make eye contact and appear welcoming at 10 feet; greet the customer and smile at 5 feet. By following these steps, you can review the individual for PAINs.
  • If a PAIN is noticed, ask them politely where they’re heading. How the individual responds to your questions will determine whether or not they are a suspect.
  • Understand there are “low risk groups” and “high risk people.”
    • Low risk groups don’t need be to engaged with; they include families, children, people older than 70 years of age, and people known by the officer, such as building tenants.
    • High risk people are those that are still considered a potential threat after the officer speaks to them. If possible, the individual should be calmly escorted out of the area. Otherwise, supervisors should be made aware immediately, and the officer should follow the individual. The officer should be ready to explain their reasoning why they thought the individual was a threat.

What to do if an attack occurs

  • ASIS encourages Security Officers to read the situation before calling for any measures. Not all physical threats require lockdown and could cause more issues. Discuss with supervisors and managers ahead of time a plan of action for different scenarios.
  • Whether there is direct contact (no physical barriers) or indirect contact (there are physical barriers) between the Security Officer and the attacker should be the determining factor in what protocol to follow. The Security Officer should also be aware of the people in the surrounding area and be prepared to give them direction.

Following these outlined steps will help decrease, if not prevent, the level of violence in an attack.

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CATEGORIES:  Security Officers 

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