At the Frontline: 2013 ASIS President Geoffrey Craighead

Universal Protection Service executive discusses how he got his start in the industry, evolution of profession

Craighead: In my experience, in the mid-to-late 90s, there was quite an interest in workplace violence. It seemed to be the vogue subject. There were a lot people out there on the speaking circuit talking about it. Then that sort of went away for a while and then this whole wave came in about terrorism. The statistics that are coming out… they don’t necessarily say that the number of workplace violence incidents is increasing; in fact, I’ve seen stats that say they’re dropping, particularly since 1990. I think it’s these high-profile, multiple fatality incidents that’s really stepped the entire issue up and I’m sure there are things going on in society that may have contributed to it, such as economic difficulties and the stress that people are under. I think that the way that society has loosened up its morals, its integrity and its ethics may have contributed to the problems that are going on in personal relationships because one of the aspects about active shooters, or at least workplace violence, is some of the stuff from domestic relationships is spilling over into the workplace.

SIW: What role has ASIS played in helping to improve the information available to security managers on a variety of risks?

Craighead: One thing that I think has improved over the years with the security industry in general is the type of things that have been written, the research that has been done because a lot of the books that I have looked at through the 70s, 80s and up until the present time, many of those publications have become much more professional. Rather than being anecdotal, they’re based on what is really happening and they’re better researched. ASIS has been involved in a number of research papers with CRISP (Connecting Research in Security to Practice) reports. There are a number of those reports that we’ve done and they’re really well-produced papers.

SIW: What kind of impact will the recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School have on the security industry in general?

Craighead:  I don’t know what the full repercussions of this incident will be. I think it comes on top of others that were just so horrific that its caused this incredible awareness among the general public. When I was coming into work this morning – I happen to live in Southern California – they were talking about LAPD officers going into schools for 30 minutes and doing a walkthrough and having a look at what their security plan is like. Obviously, different jurisdictions are already reacting in a different manner to it. We are definitely taking this very seriously and we will be looking with regards to what changes may occur so that we can meet the needs of our members. Already, if you go to our website, there are a lot of tools there that are available to people to help them have resources to prepare for active shooters. I think (the ramifications) are still unfolding as we speak.