PatMurphy active shooter, Crime Analysis, Negligent Security, Public Speaking and Security Training, School security, Security Assessments, Security Expert Witness, Security Guards, Security Management, Uncategorized, Workplace violence expert witness
Armed School Teachers
Is it a disaster waiting to happen or a Godsend? It depends. Here are my recommendations for this type of armed response in schools:
- Before there is a decision as to the path to take, make certain legal counsel is on board day one.
- What standards are going to be used to develop the hiring, training, and supervision as well as policy and procedures? There are no industry standards for this approach. The “standard” will be whatever the school district adopts unless standards are established through the government. That means your school district and its employees fully own the program. Liability for friendly fire, inadequate response, over response, failure to properly deploy, failure to adequately vet, train, and supervise need to be fully understood. A school teacher with a gun does not get a free pass if they shoot a student.
- Should all volunteers just be allowed to participate? This is a standard that needs establishment. Are the volunteers mentally and emotionally able to take another person’s life? Are they able to disregard their personal safety (as a trained teacher)? Can they focus? These questions will need to be assessed by professionals. Law Enforcement mentality is needed.
- What will be the standard firearms(s). Will there be matching firepower against an AR 15 or AK 47? Which handgun will they need to qualify with. Yes, they will have to qualify and re-certify.
- So you have them selected, vetted, and range-qualified. Now what? Drills of course. How much time and money is the school district willing to spend to constantly train BOTH the school and the teacher? This is clearly not a one and done. Are they working on force suppression or counter attack? How do they communicate internally and with law enforcement? Who’s in charge?
- Is the team “on duty” from the time the first student arrives until the lights go out? What about sporting events, plays, concerts?
- How does the security team identify themselves during the chaos? Do they wear a red armband or are they wearing ballistic vests with SECURITY emblazoned across them? If they are the quick reaction team, should they then be wearing their gear all the time?
- Is every school administrator on board…under penalty of termination if not. Where is the stick for the carrot? What information will your PTO want? How will the media be handled>
- Who has oversight? Who is going to be accountable (not responsible) for ensuring the plans meet the standards?
This is far more complex than the issues I have raised. Sure there are schools in the country that have armed teachers. Are they the good ol’ boys who are huntin’ buddies or are they a cohesive team? Just wearing a gun will never be enough.
The last consideration I want to mention is that most schools have open campuses. Doors aren’t locked or they are propped open to facilitate kids and teachers moving around campus. The buildings are porous, the office can’t see those who enter, and the perimeter is nothing more than a sidewalk. Should there be capital spent on an integrated security camera system and card access system? There must be a deterrent level, a detection level, and a denial level. Once the bad guy is in the building the role is to save remaining lives. How many will be killed before an effective response? The security planning aspect must fully compliment the desired end results. That will require hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Time and money. That’s all this requires…right? No. This requires so much planning and preparation that there is one thing that must be top of mind: Once you start this, you can never discontinue it.
I’ve been in the security and law enforcement arena since 1975. I have designed active shooter programs from the planning and analysis side. I have an encyclopedia of knowledge related to security liability. Even the thought of undertaking this approach is mind-numbing as the requirements and commitment is greater than anything a school will do. This is clearly not for a dusty 3 ringed binder.
The above is not intended to provide legal advice. It is intended to broaden the understanding and complexity of the planning considerations. There are no standards. Consult with both civilian and law enforcement advisors and don’t leave out the attorneys.
PatMurphy Background checks, church security, church security training, Public Speaking and Security Training, Security Assessments, Security Expert Witness, Security Guards, Security Management, Uncategorized, Workplace violence expert witness
Church Security: What is YOUR plan?
After every mass shooting, the experts come out and provide news outlets with their opinions on everything from gun control to background checks to police response. The news media does not, however, provide any insight into how things could have been done differently to save lives. Those decisions are left to the local community with little direction on where to obtain information. Church security training is necessary in today’s world and it starts with a thorough plan.
In my security career of over 40 years I have learned many things about the difference between the knowledge of risks versus how to prepare and plan accordingly. Whether it is a church, an office building, a school or a nightclub, there are basic approaches to plan development. What differentiates security planning for a church or school is the varied age groups, the location where people are known to gather, and the fact that people in these environments are very unassuming. Who would shoot a church or school full of kids and adults? This is not predictable and, for that reason, an emergency plan is suggested.
I use the term “suggested” because there are no standards as to what a security plan contains or how to approach it. The security planning must be specific to both the environment (church or school) and the intricacies of building layouts. For some there are large campuses of a multitude of buildings that need individual plans but ultimately there needs to be a method for notifying everyone of a particular danger.
A security assessment of a church begins with meeting the decision makers to best understand their concerns. This expands to others within the organization who are the line staff to understand their concerns. Decision makers don’t always know specific fears or observed dangers of others. That is where the process begins: conversation.
Security and safety planning does have methodology but the experienced security consultant knows to look for things that are not in place that could bolster security. It simply takes a fresh look to see things through a different lens. A fear of many who are considering security planning by an outside consultant is that the consultant will make recommendations that are complex, expensive, and the solutions may not be as transparent. That is not how I conduct assessments. My corporate experience taught me that simple programs last longer and are easy to update.
A church may want to expand their security training to include defensive tactics by armed volunteers. This aspect is where there is overlap between the assessment findings and planning the proper armed training. An aspect that is rarely considered in planning is the liability of armed staff or volunteers. This requires involvement of legal counsel to understand the path that is being taken. This is truly a holistic approach.
Firearm training should be conducted by licensed trainers. However, there is a wide difference between shooting at paper targets on a range and implementing an active shooter protocol within your own buildings. Learning when to move and when to stay put is very important. Learning where to move is even more important! Those skills can only be applied within your own facility. That is our approach. Is this with live ammunition? No. But even with training-firearms, you will learn a great deal regarding defensive positions and emergency evacuation.
LPT Security Consulting and ISI Training Center (see a list of their clients) are both licensed providers that can provide the best of both worlds to help your church or school gain new insight and new skills. Our mission is critical to saving lives and we will provide the resources that allows you to accomplish that.
Call us if you’d like to discuss our church security planning and firearm training. We are more than happy to help. We are based in Houston, Texas.
713-899-2402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org