Safety in the Workplace – Perpetrators of workplace shootings

Lost in the myriad of the news stories this weekend as we celebrated our independence was a spate
of unfortunate incidents of murder-suicide in the workplace. On Friday, in Belton, Missouri, a
Kansas City man shot and killed his estranged wife outside her place of employment then killed
himself a short time later. On Sunday, in Killeen, TX, a soldier killed his wife inside a Dollar
General store as customers looked on before killing himself. There were several other similar
unfortunate incidents over the weekend that occurred inside homes and apartment complexes. As
we see in the first two instances, there is little that can be done to control domestic problems from
following an employee to work. The question becomes how do we protect and notify our employees
and alert emergency services as quickly as possible? At SafeDefend Systems we think of this
everyday and have the answer.

The FBI recently released updated information (2014-2015) on active shooter incidents in the United
States. Unfortunately, instances of violence in schools and the workplace are steadily increasing.
Some of the startling information that needs to be pointed out applies specifically to the work
environment. We know from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that 86% of workplace homicides occur
in privately owned businesses. The media focuses on those stories that occur in a public entity
where a grievance against government function is expressed. The reality is that the violence starts
much closer to the people we know. From the FBI report we have learned that 95% of perpetrators
of violence in businesses closed to the public are current or former employees. The other 5% is
generally made up of those involved in a domestic relationship with an employee. These are
considered your manufacturing, technology driven, or processing businesses with no direct customer
interaction. Employees from these businesses have left behind information on a variety of reasons
for undertaking a rampage. Notions of unfair discipline, termination, ridicule from coworkers,
perceived mistreatment for promotion, failure to receive a raise, love triangles, and domestic discord
to name a few have all been cited by perpetrators. Unlike school shootings, the suspect does not
often drop clues to the plan and often act after some triggered event. There appears to be a growing
trend to resolve problems with violence that is unforeseen in our country. What steps have you
taken to thwart an intruder that knows your day to day business operations?

In response to the increase in violence, companies have undertaken steps to reinforce the workplace
against an intruder. Enhanced fencing, camera surveillance and controlled access doors are the norm
for such an approach. Most of the shootings we have seen recently already have these in place. The
Naval Shipyard shooting is a prime example of how all the money thrown toward security cannot
prevent a determined employee from committing an atrocity. What is missing in each of these
incidents is the ability to notify staff and building occupants of a threat. As we have seen in
workplace shootings such as Excel Industries or Atlantis Plastics, for example, is that the shooting
started outside and the perpetrator then entered the building to continue the rampage. Office staff
were able to start the calls to 911 but there was no ability to notify employees inside the building.
This lack of notification cost lives. We are able to go back and watch videos of employees going
about their normal routine with no idea that the threat was literally walking up behind them.
Employees deserve to feel safe and secure at work. Companies have an obligation to notify their
personnel to a threat inside the building and provide accurate information on how to seek shelter and
safety. If you don’t have a means to do this you aren’t protecting your staff.

Jeff Green, CEO of SafeDefend, Responds To Arming Teachers With Guns

 

Earlier this week, a Kansas City Star article was published by Donald Bradley about teachers in the West Plains, Mo. area training to shoot back at active school shooters.  Jeff Green, CEO of SafeDefend, responded to the story.

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Photo: PANPOTE / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Green said, “My stance is the decision to arm teachers has to be determined by the district and their community. We provide a system of training, tools and notification to provide protection much like fire alarms and AEDs. It’s a passionate political debate that divides people. That decision clearly needs to come from a superintendent and his board. My system works really well with schools who choose not to allow concealed carry and for those who choose to allow.  My stance is the district makes the political decision, and we have the system that increases the effectiveness of which ever direction they choose.”
Green also stated that the training that is being used for SafeDefend is being taught by active duty police officers to ensure that everyone is provided the highest level of effective response with the system.

Former Principal Launches Personnel Protection System

 Jeff Green, founder and CEO of SafeDefend, spent 16 years working in education and shares his story of how the Sandy Hook tragedy moved him to walk away as a school principal in order to find a more effective solution to protect students, staff and people in emergency situations.

Founder and CEO of SafeDefend, Inc. Jeff Green

Founder and CEO of SafeDefend, Inc. Jeff Green

Jeff stayed late at work the night of Sandy Hook, as he knew something needed to be done to improve the safety and security of his students and staff at the time.

I was in my office looking over my school safety plan and realized everything we had in place, Sandy Hook did as well. In fact, Sandy Hook was BETTER prepared than most schools. I began researching what changes had taken place in school protection. Columbine began a shift in how law enforcement approaches active shooter situations. Unfortunately, the only changes to school approaches involved keeping someone out, and if that doesn’t work then hide and hope. This has been proven ineffective over and over again. No new and effective solutions existed. As a father and a principal, I wanted to effect a change that would work – THAT WOULD MATTER. What ended up evolving was a system that not only worked for schools, but created an effective and completely customizable system that provides the same high level of protection and peace- of-mind for employees and patrons in any business, church, hospital, government offices, etc.

Originally, Jeff never intended on making this a business.

SafeDefend evolved into the most effective solution available, and I knew this would save a life somewhere. I NEEDED to do this full time.

 

Experts in Law Enforcement, the School Resource Officer, Friends, Family Members and Former Parents were reached out to immediately. Jeff was able to bring together a substantial number of experts for collaboration.

It truly was as simple as just asking. I had no trouble getting in to police and sheriff’s departments and from each meeting, momentum built and word would spread.

 

Law Enforcement, threat assessment experts and medical personnel helped guide him to shape the direction of SafeDefend by providing extensive input and recommendations for a comprehensive emergency response system that supports staffs in almost all emergencies.

Consistently I would hear “anything we can do to better protect our staff and students really helps”. Getting multiple perspectives and input was vital. Eventually we settled on our current system and continual law enforcement reviews overwhelmingly support our current configuration as the perfect items and number of items for this system.

 

Training was also a vital recommendation.

Training is critical for several reasons. First and foremost, the training provides staff who are not typically familiar with nor need to use frequently the tools and practices SafeDefend provides. Training allows for staff to maintain the ability to use the system effectively when needed without it interfering in their job requirements. Training provides familiarity and allows staff the ability to quickly and effectively respond to emergencies under high stress situations. Training also provides critical information to ensure a teacher’s ability to respond is at the highest levels for each of the tools provided.

 

 Training will be customized for each customer depending on their needs. Jeff believes, though, that SafeDefend’s Personnel Protection System will substantially enhance the safety of all settings for schools, hospitals and offices, in almost any emergency.

What is great about our system is that the training, tools and monitoring provides an effective response for ANY organization. The potential crises are the measure for the items, not the setting. In addition, our system can be customized in multiple ways to meet the needs of our clients.The crisis itself dictates the appropriate response and truly that can be addressed with some consistency across all settings. Of course the building design, the people present in the building, etc. can dictate some specific needs.

 

Law Enforcement told Jeff first responders to an emergency scene take 3-5 minutes on average. But sometimes it can be up to 10 minutes. Empowering teachers and staffs to assist law enforcement through SafeDefend will greatly reduce the imperative seconds needed to deter a crisis situation until they can arrive.

SafeDefend substantially reduces the reporting of a crisis through our monitoring ensuring that seconds, maybe minutes are saved and lives will be too. Immediately, our professional monitoring will receive the alert and make the call to the local 911 dispatch. Currently, a 911 call is vetted; meaning it identifies the caller, location, nature of the call, etc. Dispatch does start sending units once the location is identified, as they continue to vet the call. Our system provides dispatch with an immediate notification of building and room number and that it is an active shooter system that was activated. In addition, there is typically a few moments of time to process an active shooter situation, locate your phone, connect and begin the 911 process. This is all removed from a staff member, and they are able to focus on getting themselves, students or keeping others safe. Our text alert feature also sends text alerts to identified personnel in the building allowing them to immediately implement an organization’s safety plan to help protect others in the building.

The SafeDefend Kit includes necessary items such as pepper spray, a baton, a high-volume whistle, a strobe flashlight and a trauma pack to help in any emergency.

The SafeDefend Kit includes necessary items such as pepper spray, a baton, a high-volume whistle, a strobe flashlight and a trauma pack to help in any emergency.

 Jeff believes that SafeDefend is the best method to deter a crisis effectively; along with a properly trained staff.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to prevent someone wanting to do bad things from doing them. Systems and even security personnel have been proven recently to not be effective in preventing or mitigating a crisis. The high school stabbings in Pittsburgh and the Fed Ex shooting are two very recent situations where security personnel were the first injured. SafeDefend is the only system to give law enforcement supported response options and a reduction in law enforcement response times to empower staff to survive.

 

Currently the program is being piloted at the Louisburg Library in Louisburg, Kansas and the Cure’ of Ars Catholic School in Leawood, Kansas.

Our first full system with monitoring is implemented in Louisburg and the system functions perfectly. Cure has individual systems in place for three staff members. The system functions perfectly and the response regarding the training is overwhelmingly positive. Staff are reporting a much higher level of confidence and peace of mind with the system in place.  

Jeff has three small children and would want their school to have the SafeDefend System in place to protect their safety.

A member of the Las Vegas Metro Anti Terrorist team said it best. “God forbid that it would ever happen. But if it did, it would make a difference if my teacher fought for my kid.” I understand that we now have to be proactive in protecting our children and ourselves. I want my kids’ teachers to have the most effective system to get law enforcement there as quickly as possible and for the teachers to have options to help survive until law enforcement does arrive. The system works for any staff member and if they only open the system and get help on the way; they are much farther than without the system. The tools and training available once a system is opened far exceeds anything else in the classroom to help get everyone’s kids home for hugs that night.

 

While he misses being involved hands-on in education, and would consider returning, he has devoted himself to securing the safety of our schools, hospitals, government buildings and corporate offices.

There are absolutely things I miss about education every day. The kids by far are the most rewarding aspect of the job, and I miss the opportunities to interact with them on a daily basis. As SafeDefend becomes successful, and with its potential to save lives, I see continuing on this path. It is definitely nice to know that if I decide to move on from SafeDefend that a job I loved is an option.