Security guards are put in dangerous situations every day. The repercussions from these situations can be as real as life and death. Because of that, we are going to break down a real-life incident that recently occurred, resulting in a horrific outcome and determine if there were steps that could have been taken to lead to a different result.
On June 3, 2019, in Charlotte, NC, an on-duty female security officer was sexually assaulted. After the officer completed her perimeter rounds, she was confronted by an unknown male who displayed a firearm and forced the female officer into an unoccupied building under construction. After the horrific assault, video surveillance captured the male leaving the scene with a flashlight in hand at 02:55 hours.
Following the attack, the officer immediately contacted the police and was transported to the hospital where she informed officials that she had encountered the man twice before, asking him to leave when she found him sleeping on the property. It appears the predator had waited for the officer to complete her perimeter rounds and enter the building alone before assaulting her. The predator was monitoring the site and the officer’s routine in an effort to isolate the officer and assault her.
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After hearing this story you may ask, why was the officer working alone? Was the officer unarmed? Did her supervisors and/or client know of her previous encounters with this man? Let’s explore these questions and identify ways that this outcome could have possibly been prevented.
Why Was She Working Alone?
Many security officers work late shifts in remote locations. Businesses hire security companies for a reason – to watch over and in some cases protect their property from intrusion, theft, and other crimes. This puts security officers at high risk as they are often the first line of defense.
If a security officer is working alone in a remote location late at night, it is crucial that he or she is supplied with a functioning communication device to request backup should it be needed.
Was She Unarmed?
We noted that the perpetrator fled the scene with a flashlight. The assumption is that the flashlight was the security officer’s, and it might have been her only form of defense.
While it’s not necessary for every officer to be armed, having advanced training to know how to utilize less lethal devices such as batons, electronic control devices and chemical agents can be enough to provide the protection someone may need to avoid an unfavorable outcome. Walking a site alone, late at night or early in the morning with nothing more than a flashlight is asking for trouble.
For additional tips on how to diffuse a hostile situation, check out our blog 5 Steps To Surviving As A Security Guard.
Did Her Supervisors Know of Previous Encounters?
The officer shared that she had a couple previous encounters with the perpetrator prior to her attack. If her supervisors had known about any prior issues with this man, they could have provided the necessary backup to protect her against something as awful as what happened.
Enforcing a proper reporting and communication strategy between supervisors, employers and the front-line workforce is crucial to protecting your most valuable asset, your employees.
The Importance of Protecting Your Workforce
Where many security companies fall short is when they prioritize monetary gains over investing in certifications and trainings that could protect their workforce from the potentially dangerous situations they are put in. The level of training a company requires their officers to obtain can be the difference between life and death for an officer. In addition, being aware of growing crime trends allows you as the employer to enable your workforce with the proper training and backup they need for the type of job they are assigned.
At JS Security Consulting, our security guards’ well-being is our number one concern. We hope to provide our security guards with the highest level of training to prepare them against poor outcomes.
On the heels of this tragic event, we would like to extend our prayers to the officer and her family.