As an advocate for Enhanced Non-Lethal technologies like the Pro V2, you’d probably expect me to be the type of guy who stands on a soapbox and preaches against arming private security officers with lethal force.
And I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not always the case.
Lethal force has its place in the private security industry, and clients ultimately decide what they are comfortable with when contracting a security provider or establishing their own internal security department. There are plenty of sensitive sites, buildings, etc. where an armed presence is very sensible. What I will advocate for, however, is layering an armed officer’s force options with an Enhanced Non-Lethal tool to create an “enhanced” armed presence.
A recent news story out of Tulsa illustrates the sensibility of this approach. Essentially, three security guards working at an event center opened fire after a confrontation brewed inside the building (where at least one shot was fired) and spilled into the streets. The shooting left four people wounded and a lot more questions than answers.
The investigation is in its preliminary stages, but I wonder if there was an opportunity to de-escalate or diffuse the situation before lethal force presented itself as the only option for the guards. It is rare for an individual to immediately escalate to lethal force without some sort of agitating circumstance, verbal back and forth, or physical posturing beforehand. In those critical moments, having an Enhanced Non-Lethal option can give guards an opportunity to de-escalate an incident in a less threatening way, especially if they can effectively communicate that the aggressor’s actions are being recorded.
But even before a guard gets to that moment, it is important for security companies to focus a critical eye on determining the most appropriate response plan for an event or facility where guards are deployed.
If you’ve been caught in the typical “Armed or Unarmed” silo, consider the following questions to help you determine if adding an Enhanced Non-Lethal or blended response option offers the best quality in terms of meeting your client’s security goals and elevating your officers’ confidence and sense of personal safety:
- How would I assess the violence potential at the event or venue based on past data and current threat levels?
- What is the expected guard-to-citizen ratio for the event and how many guards are necessary to cover the event or facility’s footprint?
- What sort of liability risk is foreseeable based on the answers to the two previous questions? (Hint: evaluate Armed, Unarmed, Enhanced Non-Lethal, and blended responses independently)
- Knowing the answers to the above questions, what are the differences in cost implications for each suitable response (for example, is the extra $0.04 to $0.05 per hour to add a Pro V2 to the mix worth the investment)?
- How will the reputation of my security company or department be affected by offering new technologies and response options to my clients/guards?
Answer these questions as you plan for a security response and challenge yourself to think outside the black and white (armed and unarmed) box. You may find that a blended approach is the best option to address your clients’ and officers’ needs.