Workplace violence incidents have tripled in the last decade, and it’s now the fastest-growing category of murder in the United States. Not only are active shootings on the rise in the United States, the country is also at the greatest risk for experiencing a mass shooting. One of our strategic partners, Hawkeye Security, specializes in workplace violence/active shooter response, and is headed by Dan Skoczylas – a former Chicago area police officer.
I spent over 24 years in law enforcement. I worked with some of the most amazing, dedicated and selfless men and women on the planet. Over the course of that 24 years, I watched the response by the police and fire departments develop and redevelop, with regard to active shooter events, beginning with Columbine. I witnessed the first responder approach to these events change with each incident. Law enforcement’s current approach to an active shooter event is probably the best it has ever been. Society must be aware of the dynamics of this response because your life may depend on it!
First it is important to understand the mindset of the shooter in these events. I will use the pronoun “He” for purposes of illustration however, an active shooter knows no gender boundaries. The shooter’s objective is to kill. He may be targeting a particular individual or have some other motive, but he will kill anyone who gets in the way of reaching his objective. He has no concern for human life, including his own, and the more casualties he creates, the louder his voice will be heard in the end. The active shooter often recognizes that he will not be coming out of this situation alive and many kill themselves before encountering law enforcement.
While the shooter’s objective is to increase the body count; law enforcement’s objective is to lower it. The best way to lower that count is to quickly identify, locate and eliminate the threat. To accomplish this task, first responding officers arriving on the scene are frequently forced to enter into the fray without backup from other officers and hunt down the threat. This is the officer’s objective and to effectively accomplish that task, it is absolutely necessary that the officer remain focused on that task. That means that the victims are not the priority. First responding officers will step over the wounded and the casualties in order to stay on task. The shooter has the upper hand. He has likely researched his venue and thoroughly planned his attack. The first responders and the intended victims are all forced into reaction mode, which is always a disadvantage.
So then, what is the answer? If the police, all well intended and here to serve and protect, are not going to save me, then who? The answer is YOU! You need to wrap your head around the fact that the only one that is going to save you is you. The truth is that saving you is no one else’s responsibility. That is not to say that there is no liability for failure to provide you with training and resources (a special note to employers) but dead is dead and assigning liability after the fact will not help you. The answer is mindset, preparation and training. We have become a society of instant gratification and technology dependent in so many ways. Someone or something is always going to have the answer to my problem and I can always defer responsibility. We are now being killed by simplicity and because we have ignored the obvious and refuse to act on our own behalf.
Therefore, every organization needs to address workplace violence by developing a policy that includes: Employee training; Creating an emergency action plan; Conducting mock training exercises; and Adopting a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence.
Are you prepared? Are you Hawkeye prepared? For questions and/or more information about Workplace Violence & Active Shooter Training contact Dan Skoczylas at:
Phone: 815-836-0236 x5
Any information and/or recommendations contained herein have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and represent the best current opinion on the subject. No warranty, guarantee, or representation is made by Vista Safety Consulting, LLC as to the absolute correctness or sufficiency of any information contained herein. This information is advisory and designed to assist clients with the implementation, management, and control of their own safety program and activities. Vista Safety Consulting, LLC assumes no responsibility for the implementation, correction, or control of any conditions or recommendations identified herein, and is thereby not liable for any health and safety violation(s) and/or injuries on a site.