By Felix P. Nater, CSC - Nater Associates Ltd. (IAPSC Member)
On January 19, 2016, I represented the IAPSC at the ASIS / NFPA Active Shooter Stakeholder Meeting at the Ritz Pentagon, Arlington, VA. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the need for active shooter protocols and identify next steps. There were approximately 100 attendees from various private, public, and law enforcement organizations around the United States and Canada. It was not clear if there were any attendees outside the U.S. The group was broken down into 5 subgroups to discuss management concerns and operational measures in avoiding, responding to and recovering from an active shooter incident as well as identify next steps. A significant value to be derived from the NFPA collaboration is the potential production of a compatible joint operational document.
The last time such a forum was held on the topic of workplace violence those gathered to develop the current ASIS/SHRM Workplace Violence Prevention and Violence Response Standard and Guidelines. It produced a document of approximately 100 pages plus. It is important to note that this document is hardly used and, judging from the attendee acknowledgement, its existence is not widely known.
Common points of concern were potential difficulty in getting employer commitment and investment, budgetary constraints, training, CPTED, role of management and technology solutions, legal and regulatory issues, internal/external coordination, first responder issues and disaster recovery.
IAPSC could clearly approach this project most effectively from a security management consultant and forensic perspective. A common theme noted during my subgroup’s discussion, and followed in general reports by the various groups, was the interest in and lack of understanding of workplace violence prevention, existing laws and regulations, impact on organizations and acceptable risk management practices. An apparent objective was mandating implementation of Active Shooter Protocols. Such an objective will only serve to further commoditize the Active Shooter effort as seen with workplace violence prevention and resistance from employers especially corporation counsels and human resources.
While there are sufficient pro and con studies and research on the mind and behavior, I am not one who believes in mandating active shooter standards for non-law enforcement/security personnel involving what the human response “must be”. I prefer “should be” and avoiding the “one size fits all” approach. We are now seeing a push back to the various run, hide and fight videos, which recommend that people take out the shooter, because they are in conflict with workplace violence prevention policies. Standardization and mandating will only serve to receive objection from internal and external legal counsel, who are likely to balk at the legal implication of mandating implementation.
A major drawback noted to the production process is an interest in inviting as many inputs as possible, in that it creates issues during the distilling process and conflict during the final production.
The ASIS/NFPA Active Shooter Stakeholder Meeting Coordinators will develop minutes to be published and made available to the attendees. They will extend future invitations for all or some to participate in Next Step activities in person or via WebEx, and will determine the viability of going forward and identify other considerations overlooked.