Magazine article Security Management

Controlling a Crisis

Magazine article Security Management

Controlling a Crisis

Article excerpt

THE EFFICIENT AND PROFESSIONAL manner in which security forces handle life-threatening, high-risk incidents can mean the difference between life and death. This is particularly true in barricade and hostage situations. In these types of crises the goal of security is to resolve the event in a safe and acceptable manner. Therefore, security managers must familiarize themselves with the appropriate methods of responding to the initial conflict to ensure their security officers are performing this function safely and prudently.

Hostage and barricade situations possess several unique features that are not present in other day-to-day security operations, and managers must prepare themselves for the stress and pressure identified with these events. As the early moments of an incident unfold, the manager must implement the contingency plan designed for such an incident. The plan should outline the responsibilities of each member of the crisis management team and indicate the location of the crisis management center (CMC).

Just as important as taking the proper steps in activating the contingency plan is monitoring the first actions of the responding security officer. These initial actions set the stage for the intervention of specialized teams trained in tactics or negotiations.

For example, the manager must ensure the responding officer approaches the crisis site safely and cautiously, takes a protective position offering him or her maximum observation, and ensures the position prevents the escape of the suspect.

Possibly the most important factor at the initial stage of the crisis is containing the subject in an area and isolating the event from other individuals. Preventing the incident from moving beyond a specific area reduces the possibility of future violence. The next step for the officer is to determine the nature of the situation. The officer must communicate to the security manager the type of incident for example, whether it is a hostage situation or a barricade. Additional information such as the number of people involved, types of weapons involved (if any), and a list of injuries is also needed. As the early moments of the incident progress, the responding officer must establish an inner perimeter. The inner perimeter is an imaginary line that encircles the site of the emergency. It should be developed to contain the crisis. The security manager should work to isolate individuals involved in the event and prevent any unauthorized persons from entering the danger area. While the inner perimeter is being established, the first officer must evacuate people within the perimeter area and anyone outside it who may be injured.

While establishing an inner perimeter, the security officer should identify areas vulnerable to weapons fire. The officer should then relay the information to the manager so he or she can determine safe access routes to the crisis site and send additional responding officers.

If the security force is armed, the manager should order strict firearm discipline and follow up this order with periodic reminders. To ensure each officer has received the order, the manager should call each officer individually to acknowledge the message.

While directing the CMC, the security manager must rely on the activities of the supervisor sent to the scene. The supervisor should take charge of the overall scene when he or she arrives, reading the situation report and debriefing the first officer on the scene. The supervisor needs to evaluate the situation to determine if personnel are deployed properly, determine the degree of danger, ascertain the number and location of security personnel at the scene, ensure the inner perimeter is properly developed, continue to evacuate individuals from the area, and locate witnesses.

If witnesses are found, the supervisor must isolate and interview them as soon as possible. Doing so enables the supervisor to gather additional information for negotiators. …

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