The United States is currently experiencing a moment of civic unrest with mass movements of demonstrators mobilizing across the country. Mass movements of people introduce new and potentially damaging variables for private businesses in cities across the nation. Whatever your opinion is on these movements is irrelevant because private security companies should be prepared to deal with potential threats to businesses by creating a plan that protects both people and private property. Here are a few things private security companies should consider when working during civic unrest.
Presence is a Priority
When you are doing security during a protest a majority of people participating are not going to be a problem and you are looking to deter a select few people that are looking to start trouble by throwing a rock through a window or spray-painting graffiti. Your primary line of defense against agitators is making sure your security team is seen protecting your client’s property. Your presence is a clear deterrent against property damage. Establishing a presence means having your security detail position themselves confidently and vigilantly in different areas of the business to let potential trouble know that you are there to stop them.
Follow Social Media and the News
A good security company should always know what is going on in the area they are working in and understanding the realities on the ground is even more vital when dealing with civic unrest. Monitor the news to get an idea of what happened during a protest the night before. Were the demonstrations peaceful? If not, where did criminality occur and what crimes were committed? It also helps to check social media. Most demonstrators will publicly state where protests are occurring and you may be able to spot potential trouble before it happens. Mass protests are widely covered events and their public nature allows you to gather intel and better prepare your team.
Create a Defensive Game Plan
A good security company will be honest about what they need to protect their client’s property and and employees. Create a game plan that tells the client bluntly what you need to do your job safely and successfully. Do your homework and preplan how you plan on safely working security for your client. Know how many people you need to safely deescalate potentially dangerous situations with demonstrators. Most importantly, make sure you created an escape plan in preparation for a worst-case scenario. A good escape plan takes into account all exits and entrances on the property you are protecting in order to escape accordingly. It is important to have this backup plan in case demonstrators get aggressive. The safety of your security team is always a top priority.
Creating an escape plan does not mean that your team needs to run at the first sign of trouble, but a good team knows when to stand their ground and when to retreat.
Hire the Right People
You are only as strong as your weakest link and that is why security companies need to ensure they only hire guards that are properly trained to do their job. The last thing you want to do is put someone who is not cool, calm and collected in a high-pressure situation. Hire people who have worked large-scale events before and ask them about their training. If your client requires armed guards make sure your team is licensed to use firearms. A good team will have a strong understanding of use-of-force guidelines, state statutes, proper report writing and patrol techniques. Don’t put yourself or your client in a compromising situation by hiring people that can’t handle themselves during periods of civic unrest.
About the Author:
Michael Morrison is the Founder and President/CEO of LionHeart Security Services in Tempe, Ariz., which specializes in providing high-end, customer service-focused security, training, and consulting solutions.