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  • WalMart Fires LP

    Walmart fires Layton guards for disarming shoplifter.

    By Roxana Orellana and Melinda Rogers
    The Salt Lake Tribune
    First published Feb 10 2011 05:22PM
    Updated Feb 11, 2011 12:01AM

    The whole incident happened in matter of seconds, Lori Poulsen said. She and the other security employees at the Layton Walmart Supercenter had stopped a man who had unwrapped a laptop and hidden it under his clothes. Trent Allen Longton was taken into an office, where he handed over the merchandise. Read the story.
    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
    CoAuthor - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

  • #2
    These kind of situations make it even harder for rest of us in retail, it gives the "thief" even more power. If he/she announces they have a gun, there is no way I'm tackling/apprehending him if it's a currently safe situation but obviously one is acting on impulse in that situation. It's just frustrating to have no wiggle room or at least room for discretion. Touch and be touched, is essentially what the laws are now.

    But in that situation if he announces he has a gun without the proper permits as applicable in said regions, he most certainly is in violation of the law and for that I would be hesitant to let him walk out the door. What if he starts shooting? At what point does liability exist? While admitting I am new to this side of Criminal Justice, couldn't one perform a citizens arrest? A non permitted gun in a retail environment has to be justifiable.

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    • #3
      Had to jump in

      Upon reading through the forum I came across this article. I did not want to jump in and start posting right away however I just cant believe this article.

      Quote
      Poulsen watched as Longton, 25, reached to the small of his back and pulled out a gun, placed it on the side of his leg and cocked it. Poulsen announced "gun — hand" to let everyone know. Longton moved closer to the office door, where three other employees were standing. They raised their hands at the sight of the gun.
      Security workers Shawn Ray and Justin Richins each grabbed Longton by an arm and spun him around. Poulsen then took the gun away from the man.

      If I was put in that position I would fear I would actually freeze up. Going hands on with a subject that has a firearm is IMO the stupid thing ever. The subject more than likely gave the staff notice saying I just need to leave so why dont you just let him.

      Now I never have been placed in a scenerio like this so I cant say how I would respond to it. However wouldnt just letting him leave be the best method? We arent paid to be super hero's, we are paid to protect assests. My biggest assest IS ME I want to go home at the end of my shift. A laptop aint worth my life.

      Even then when they made that choice to preserve thier lifes how can the store not back them up? I am new to the security industry but shouldnt a company back you up?
      "The difference between being a coward and a hero is not whether you're scared.....it's what you do while you're scared."

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      • #4
        OK, let me give posters at least my point of view on this. WalMart LP offices are pretty small. The articles says that there were witnesses standing in front of the door and they raised their hands when the gun was produced.

        First off, it appears there were to many witnesses in the room, they were blocking the exit and froze at the sight of the gun and the announcement made by the thief. And, the thief now is standing behind a Manager with his hand on the Managers shoulder and the gun in his hand.

        Under those circumstances the LP in charge has to make a split second decision. They decided to disarm the suspect. I have been in the same situation and was faced with the same split second decision as the WalMart LP staff. My thought at the time was, I'm coming out of this alive, and would take the same action today - no matter what the company policy was.

        EdmontonLP - You say you would freeze up. You don't know that - you don't know what you would do until faced with the decision.

        Brentjk1 - Forget your Criminal Justice class on this one. The lesson in this case is about survival.

        In my case something the gunman/thief didn't know - I was an ex-police officer and one of Corbier's "Angry Marines."
        Last edited by Curtis Baillie; 02-15-2011, 01:27 PM.
        Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
        CoAuthor - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

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        • #5
          Longton stood behind assistant manager Gabriel Stewart, holding his shoulder with one hand and the gun inside his pocket with the other.
          A week later, the four employees were fired.
          Is my reading comprehension a little weak today, or did the fire the assistant manager who was taken hostage along with the three LPOs who saved him?
          "A good deed’s like pissing yourself in dark pants. Warm feeling but no one notices." - Jacob Taylor

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
            OK, let me give posters at least my point of view on this. WalMart LP offices are pretty small. The articles says that there were witnesses standing in front of the door and they raised their hands when the gun was produced.

            First off, it appears there were to many witnesses in the room, they were blocking the exit and froze at the sight of the gun and the announcement made by the thief. And, the thief now is standing behind a Manager with his hand on the Managers shoulder and the gun in his hand.

            Under those circumstances the LP in charge has to make a split second decision. They decided to disarm the suspect. I have been in the same situation and was faced with the same split second decision as the WalMart LP staff. My thought at the time was, I'm coming out of this alive, and would take the same action today - no matter what the company policy was.

            EdmontonLP - You say you would freeze up. You don't know that - you don't know what you would do until faced with the decision.

            Brentjk1 - Forget your Criminal Justice class on this one. The lesson in this case is about survival.

            In my case something the gunman/thief didn't know - I was an ex-police officer and one of Corbier's "Angry Marines."
            Survival trumps being a good worker drone that died in the like of LP duty.

            See also: The only reason he isn't dead is because I didn't have a gun. Once I got his, he didn't have a gun, so I didn't kill him.

            If someone is stupid enough to introduce a gun into something, they should be aware that another person may respond with 5 to 21 rounds to center mass. All it takes is one bystander seeing a guy draw a gun and grab someone's shoulder, and our bad guy and possibly the hostage is dead or dying.
            Some Kind of Commando Leader

            "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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            • #7
              Its a scary situation when a shoplifter pulls a gun and cocks it and lies it on his leg. God was watching these LPO's that day, they did the right thing and disarmed the subject. Doesn't matter what the items are nobody should be pulling a weapon for items if somebodys life is on the line. Everybody would say oh i would do it this way if i was there. Doesn't matter what you say because you weren't in the moment. They did do the right thing, even if they didn't follow policy, they thought about themselves and their families and all the customers and associates that walk outside there doors.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mr. Chaple View Post
                Is my reading comprehension a little weak today, or did the fire the assistant manager who was taken hostage along with the three LPOs who saved him?
                Layton is about an hour north of my house and this has been in the news over the past week.

                You're correct. The manager and 3 LPO's were fired after the incident. Walmart cited their deviation from official company policy for the reason they were fired, stating that their actions further endangered themselves, other employees, and the patrons inside the store at the time.

                I worked as a restaurant manager near downtown Denver, and a franchise store 2 miles away from us was robbed at gunpoint twice. We were given "additional training" after these incidents and the main thing that was preached was "give them what they want, keep the situation stable."

                Although this situation wasn't completely under control, it was somewhat stable. By disarming him they caused a scuffle and suddenly this somewhat stable situation became very volatile. Had the LPO's failed at disarming him it would have thrown the man into a panic and he would respond with his own "fight or flight" instinct. Then you could be dealing with an active shooter.
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                • #9
                  I was hoping I had just mis-read the article. Although I do not agree with it, I understand their (very slim, and unreasonable) justification for firing the LPOs. But I cannot wrap my head around how the justify firing the AM. To me it sounds no different than firing a cashier for being robbed.
                  Last edited by Mr. Chaple; 02-15-2011, 04:51 PM. Reason: missed typo
                  "A good deed’s like pissing yourself in dark pants. Warm feeling but no one notices." - Jacob Taylor

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                  • #10
                    I'm just curious, does anybody know if searching an apprehended subject is common practice in the US?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mr. Chaple View Post
                      I was hoping I had just mis-read the article. Although I do not agree with it, I understand their (very slim, and unreasonable) justification for firing the LPOs. But I cannot wrap my head around how the justify firing the AM. To me it sounds not different than firing a cashier for being robbed.
                      Mainly because the employee(s) produced a potential civil lawsuit for various things, NEVER have more than 3 people in a room (and never block the door, let the real police handle that, with the suspect, 2 in this small of a room. You need space to read body language or in times like this, avoid a hostile room with a potential gunshot. First of all, who doesn't look for weapons before going INTO a confined space? Just asking ahead of time may have prevented this. Common sense saves lives. Barring something unforeseen, Wal-Mart would now be liable in civil court and face punitive damages and further loss of reputation as a employer and retailer.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nauticus View Post
                        I'm just curious, does anybody know if searching an apprehended subject is common practice in the US?
                        It depends on how you're detaining them, if you're doing a custodial arrest instead of a detention, your company policy, and state law.

                        When I worked at Wal-Mart, sometimes I would "make a personal decision to assist an assistant manager in an apprehension." If I did so, I would do so under the detention statute, which was not a custodial arrest which means "search incident to arrest" was out the window.

                        Wal-Mart had policy against handcuffing unless you had been through the Bentonville course, as well, at the time.

                        With those little issues in place, the suspect would be taken to the ground if he resisted the assistant manager, bowed up, or fled, and held at the scene for police, usually with every limb immobilized.

                        I don't have to search you if every limb is in a joint lock.
                        Some Kind of Commando Leader

                        "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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                        • #13
                          But you're not going to do that to the guy who steals a $30 headlight, so you need to know what you can do when and apply the best field knowledge you know. Reacting to the situation is knowing what can happen and knowing what is the safest way for your employer to protect it's assets while also serving and protecting the public. Laws and policies change as courts rule, so keeping an eye on the pulse of what's going in your area and within your company is crucial.

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                          • #14
                            They got fired because they put themselves in unnecessary danger.

                            When the guy introduced the weapon to the mix they should have decided it's best to get identification details such as scars/marks/tatoos and let him walk out of the store.

                            The laptop cost $1000, but the lawsuit you would get from the LPO's and AM's families would end up costing 7 figures.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bbertola View Post
                              They got fired because they put themselves in unnecessary danger.

                              When the guy introduced the weapon to the mix they should have decided it's best to get identification details such as scars/marks/tatoos and let him walk out of the store.

                              The laptop cost $1000, but the lawsuit you would get from the LPO's and AM's families would end up costing 7 figures.
                              If I understand this narrative correctly they already had the laptop. They were reacting to the threat they felt he posed to their co-worker(s).
                              "A good deed’s like pissing yourself in dark pants. Warm feeling but no one notices." - Jacob Taylor

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