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  • The CYA Begins!

    I'm seeing many articles around the US where the media is contacting their local malls for responses on how well prepared they are for a situation like what happened at the Westroads Mall.

    From the montgomeryadvertiser.com (Montgomery, Alabama)

    Mall has security plan

    By Kenneth Mullinax
    [email protected]

    Montgomery's Eastdale Mall has one level, Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb., has three. So this makes a difference? Both, though, are enclosed and have roughly a million square feet of space. Both have four department stores. And both were packed with holiday shoppers Wednesday.

    It was a typical day at the mall in Montgomery. It was a day of tragedy at the Omaha mall. A 20-year-old man opened fire, killing eight people and wounding five before taking his own life.

    Eastdale works with specially trained private security forces and local authorities to ensure "a safe and comfortable shopping environment," said marketing director Anna Tadlock. They do something different than the Westroads Mall?
    The mall has a contract with ERMC, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based security firm that operates in 36 states.

    "ERMC has officers who patrol our mall," she said, "and we also have uniformed Montgomery police officers at our mall on a daily basis."

    Tadlock refused to disclose Eastdale's security plan but did say mall officials conduct safety drills on a routine basis. Don't most malls?
    "We train for weather emergencies or any other safety issue that may come up," she said.

    Eastdale has 85 retail stores and more than 8 million shoppers annually; Westroads has 135 shops and 14.5 million customers each year, according to General Growth Properties, the mall's owner.

    "In the 30 years we've been in operation, Eastdale has never had any major incident occur here," Tadlock said. So this means it won't happen here?

    The Montgomery Police Department has a team of officers trained to handle shootings in public places, according to Capt. Huey Thornton, a police spokesman. "We normally assign these officers, trained for active shooting situations, to school security details," Thornton said. "But we could use them at a moment's notice to respond to a problem at any of our malls." So does Omaha.
    The SWAT team with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has plans on how to handle attacks in malls, schools and public buildings. Sheriff D.T. Marshall, however, refused to disclose the plans.

    Right now, Marshall said, the department is teaching SWAT team members as well as deputies to go inside a building immediately to stop the gunman rather than negotiate with him.

    "We don't believe in waiting anymore because that can cost lives," he said.

    Prattville doesn't have any malls, but the city's police department is still ready to respond to any shooting in a public place with its 10-member special operations team.

    The city has added two fire paramedics to the team so anyone injured can get first aid immediately, said police Chief Alfred Wadsworth.

    Officers keep their skills sharp with training drills and target practice throughout the year, but Wadsworth pointed out that no amount of training can stop an angry or unbalanced person with a weapon.

    "You can't ever plan for what a nut is going to do like what happened in Omaha," Wadsworth said. "But you can look at what's happened and train your officers to be as best prepared as possible."

    Hope their responses to the media do not come back to bite them. Anyone know if their mall security officers are armed?
    From the ERMC webiste:
    'The ERMC menu of services include security and patrol services, facility maintenance, janitorial and housekeeping, parking lot services, landscaping, construction and construction clean up, a variety of customer service functions, and facilities business management consulting services. All served up with a selection of the general sub-disciplines as well as maintenance on specialized facilities and systems.'
    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

  • #2
    WOW! well what to say......

    "but Wadsworth pointed out that no amount of training can stop an angry or unbalanced person with a weapon."
    "The Montgomery Police Department has a team of officers trained to handle shootings in public places, according to Capt. Huey Thornton, a police spokesman. "We normally assign these officers, trained for active shooting situations, to school security details," Thornton said. "But we could use them at a moment's notice to respond to a problem at any of our malls." So does Omaha.
    The SWAT team with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has plans on how to handle attacks in malls, schools and public buildings. Sheriff D.T. Marshall, however, refused to disclose the plans."

    Should the attitude be so negative to say, if no amount of training can STOP an Angry or unbalanced person, then why train for it? With that logic, why train for a terrorist attack? Why even try to prevent one?

    "Officers keep their skills sharp with training drills and target practice throughout the year"

    I am sure all that target practice at a flat piece of paper really helps when training for a building full of people that are running around for cover and a or multiple shooters who are moving as well, not to mention all them other moving people......
    "You don't hurt 'em if you don't hit 'em."
    (Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC, Marine, 1962.)

    Comment


    • #3
      Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker

      Here's a must read for people who desire to be proactive: "The Gift of fear" by Gavin De Becker. As said in the book the violent act is only one link in a chain of events but most people only focus on the violent act and say "who could have known". There are always red flags also known as pre incident indicators which themselves are part of the incident. It's a good read and will get you to see things in a different light. Be Safe.

      Comment


      • #4
        So, in other words, the mall will have this happen:

        Someone comes in, shoots the place up.
        The security staff, being unarmed, will call 911.
        The police will show up.
        The police and the shooter will have themselves a gunfight.
        The police will kill or arrest the shooter.
        The incident will conclude.

        Folks, this is the way they want it to be. The mall "has done all they can do" by having security on site. But they're not directly responsible for killing the bad guy. That's the police. The way its hammered into people for a long time now: Don't be a hero, don't be a vigilante, call 911.

        But if the guards are not capable of taking immediate action, then the mall has "done all they can do," without the PR and legal nightmare of "killer security guards.'

        We normally say that "it'll take a few killings" to get something changed. In this case, I don't think it will change. The only glimmer of hope is that companies are arming their guards with pepper spray. A company that gives out chemical weapons is expecting their guards to use them.
        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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
          So, in other words, the mall will have this happen:

          Someone comes in, shoots the place up.
          The security staff, being unarmed, will call 911.
          The police will show up.
          The police and the shooter will have themselves a gunfight.
          The police will kill or arrest the shooter.
          The incident will conclude.

          Folks, this is the way they want it to be. The mall "has done all they can do" by having security on site. But they're not directly responsible for killing the bad guy. That's the police. The way its hammered into people for a long time now: Don't be a hero, don't be a vigilante, call 911.

          But if the guards are not capable of taking immediate action, then the mall has "done all they can do," without the PR and legal nightmare of "killer security guards.'

          We normally say that "it'll take a few killings" to get something changed. In this case, I don't think it will change. The only glimmer of hope is that companies are arming their guards with pepper spray. A company that gives out chemical weapons is expecting their guards to use them.

          The only way it will change is for the tables to be turned in the lawsuit arena. The injured victims & the families of the dead victims need to bring lawsuits against the mall for NOT having armed security who could have done more than dial a phone. It is sad, but this is the only way that this type of thinking will change.
          "Gun control, the theory that 110lb. women have the "right" to fistfight with 210lb. rapists. " Author Unknown

          Comment


          • #6
            Experts agree???

            From Security Management (ASIS)
            "Malls Debate How to Protect Shoppers From Violence"
            CNN (12/06/07) ; Meserve, Jeanne; McLaughlin, Eliott; Arena, Kelli

            The killing of eight people at an Omaha, Nebraska, mall Wednesday has raised security questions at malls across the country. Although Robert Hawkins was flagged by mall surveillance after he left the mall and re-entered six minutes later concealing something in a sweatshirt, there was no time for security to intervene before he opened fire on the third floor of the Von Maur store at the Westroads Mall. Security officials at the 1,200 malls and 50,000 shopping centers in the United States are expected to consider adding more security measures and updating their emergency plans. Most malls are patrolled by unarmed security guards, but experts agree that arming these guards would do little to improve safety. Instead, security should watch people as they enter the mall, looking for suspicious behavior that could signal a violent act is about to take place. Focus groups conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers showed that shoppers would accept additional security measures, such as bag checks and magnetometers, only if the national threat advisory system was raised to level red. Malls are doing more to train their guards after a 2006 study revealed that only a few states require training or minimum hiring standards. The Council worked with George Washington University to create a training video that has been seen by an estimated 6,000 security guards over the past year.

            Here's the CNN story:http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/06/mal...ref=newssearch
            Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
            Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

            Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
              Most malls are patrolled by unarmed security guards, but experts agree that arming these guards would do little to improve safety. Instead, security should watch people as they enter the mall, looking for suspicious behavior that could signal a violent act is about to take place.
              I like how the experts are unidentified. I also like how they don't say what the guards should do about the suspicious behavior they observe, although I asume it would be a two step process consisting of 1) call the cops, and 2) hide, with an option (at the guards' discression) of 3) pray and 4) kiss your a$$ goodbye.

              Idiots. They would rather that the entire America consist of blind, dumb, stupid moving targets rather than accept that an adult could and should have the right and the means and the ability to defend him or herself from predators.

              What is the matter with people? We are at war- man up, grow a pair, and be ready to defend yourself!

              There is no reason for this mall shooting, or for the Viginia Tech shooting, to have happened.

              End rant.
              The CCTV Blog.

              "Expert" is something like "leader". It's not a title that you can ever claim for yourself no matter what you might know or might have done. It's a title that others bestow on you based on their assessment of what you know and what you have done.

              -SecTrainer

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
                I'm seeing many articles around the US where the media is contacting their local malls for responses on how well prepared they are for a situation like what happened at the Westroads Mall.

                From the montgomeryadvertiser.com (Montgomery, Alabama)

                Mall has security plan

                By Kenneth Mullinax
                [email protected]

                Montgomery's Eastdale Mall has one level, Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb., has three. So this makes a difference? Both, though, are enclosed and have roughly a million square feet of space. Both have four department stores. And both were packed with holiday shoppers Wednesday.

                It was a typical day at the mall in Montgomery. It was a day of tragedy at the Omaha mall. A 20-year-old man opened fire, killing eight people and wounding five before taking his own life.

                Eastdale works with specially trained private security forces and local authorities to ensure "a safe and comfortable shopping environment," said marketing director Anna Tadlock. They do something different than the Westroads Mall?
                The mall has a contract with ERMC, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based security firm that operates in 36 states.

                "ERMC has officers who patrol our mall," she said, "and we also have uniformed Montgomery police officers at our mall on a daily basis."

                Tadlock refused to disclose Eastdale's security plan but did say mall officials conduct safety drills on a routine basis. Don't most malls?
                "We train for weather emergencies or any other safety issue that may come up," she said.

                Eastdale has 85 retail stores and more than 8 million shoppers annually; Westroads has 135 shops and 14.5 million customers each year, according to General Growth Properties, the mall's owner.

                "In the 30 years we've been in operation, Eastdale has never had any major incident occur here," Tadlock said. So this means it won't happen here?

                The Montgomery Police Department has a team of officers trained to handle shootings in public places, according to Capt. Huey Thornton, a police spokesman. "We normally assign these officers, trained for active shooting situations, to school security details," Thornton said. "But we could use them at a moment's notice to respond to a problem at any of our malls." So does Omaha.
                The SWAT team with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has plans on how to handle attacks in malls, schools and public buildings. Sheriff D.T. Marshall, however, refused to disclose the plans.

                Right now, Marshall said, the department is teaching SWAT team members as well as deputies to go inside a building immediately to stop the gunman rather than negotiate with him.

                "We don't believe in waiting anymore because that can cost lives," he said.

                Prattville doesn't have any malls, but the city's police department is still ready to respond to any shooting in a public place with its 10-member special operations team.

                The city has added two fire paramedics to the team so anyone injured can get first aid immediately, said police Chief Alfred Wadsworth.

                Officers keep their skills sharp with training drills and target practice throughout the year, but Wadsworth pointed out that no amount of training can stop an angry or unbalanced person with a weapon.

                "You can't ever plan for what a nut is going to do like what happened in Omaha," Wadsworth said. "But you can look at what's happened and train your officers to be as best prepared as possible."

                Hope their responses to the media do not come back to bite them. Anyone know if their mall security officers are armed?
                From the ERMC webiste:
                'The ERMC menu of services include security and patrol services, facility maintenance, janitorial and housekeeping, parking lot services, landscaping, construction and construction clean up, a variety of customer service functions, and facilities business management consulting services. All served up with a selection of the general sub-disciplines as well as maintenance on specialized facilities and systems.'

                The police don't want armed security because they fell it threatens their monopoly and their potential for off duty work. They tout their "training" as being so great, but they have proved time and time again that they aren't that great at marksmanship.

                I'm sure there are police officers who are good shots, but alot of them are not. Yet the rest of them are so concerned about the image of police officers in general, that they have created this "myth" that once they get the badge, it makes them some sort of super hero, with super powers and abilities.
                ATTN. SPECOPS AND GECKO45 my secret username is CIDDECEP and I am your S2. My authorization code is Six Wun Quebec Oscar Fife. Your presence here is tactically dangerous and compromises our overall mission parameter. Cease and desist all activity on this board. Our “enemies” are deft at computer hacking and may trace you back to our primary locale. You have forced me to compromise my situation to protect your vulnerable flank. This issue will be addressed later.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Police are typically reactionary. Security is to be proactive or preventive. Mall security will never be in a position to provide armed quick reaction as the liability is far too high. As suggested, the owners of the mall will pay some compensation to survivors and next of kin. It's pretty much, shop at your own risk. We'll improve our security for safety but that rarely happens.
                  Malls that have histories of violence director toward customers or employees go out of business.
                  Please correct me if I am wrong, in all the items I've heard or read, at no time did mall security place a call to 911. They watched and recorded.
                  Enjoy the day,
                  Bill

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by CameraMan View Post
                    I like how the experts are unidentified. I also like how they don't say what the guards should do about the suspicious behavior they observe, although I asume it would be a two step process consisting of 1) call the cops, and 2) hide, with an option (at the guards' discression) of 3) pray and 4) kiss your a$$ goodbye.

                    Idiots. They would rather that the entire America consist of blind, dumb, stupid moving targets rather than accept that an adult could and should have the right and the means and the ability to defend him or herself from predators.

                    What is the matter with people? We are at war- man up, grow a pair, and be ready to defend yourself!

                    There is no reason for this mall shooting, or for the Viginia Tech shooting, to have happened.

                    End rant.
                    Well stated. Two armed guards could have taken this misunderstood piece of human waste out hopefully before he had a chance to kill 9. As I said in another post if you are armed and afraid to do your job then consider another line of work. The fact that he was observed acting odd could have been enough time to get near him before he acted. Not all mall guards need to be armed but having some on each shift would certainly cut down on the deadly force or at least be a distraction to the gunman until the police can get their act together. Columbine should be a lesson as to how the police waited out side for a long period of time while students were being killed.
                    Last edited by Chucky; 12-07-2007, 04:17 PM.
                    THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A 911 CALL IS FOUR MINUTES
                    THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A .357 MAGNUM ROUND IS 1400 FEET PER SECOND?
                    http://www.boondocksaints.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Minneapolis Security View Post
                      The police don't want armed security because they fell it threatens their monopoly and their potential for off duty work.
                      Sarcasm

                      How Dare they! Why don't they just do it all for Charity, just like the private security industry!!

                      WTF is wrong with people?!?!?! I mean, who in their right minds would oppose more Armed Sec officers as long as they get the generous 1 or maybe 2 weeks of training (if that) that is typical across this country???

                      /sarcasm

                      I always find it REALLY funny when private industry people challenge the motives of others. Private Security is one of the most cut-throat industries ever, willing to sacrifice not only the public's safety, but it's own (and anyone who doesn't believe it can browse these forums for discussions about security companies that would penalize it's own employees for wearing body armor the employee paid for...for example....) just to make a buck and/or limit liability, but some private security people love to speculate about the motives of others... Unbelievable.

                      The talk about training is even crazier. I mean damn, the overwhelming bulk of American Private Security's Front line Strength (including the 4 or 5% that are armed) is minimally trained if at all, some states having no training standards at all and many sec companies being totally ok with that because it means they don't have to spend money on training.

                      Police training may not be as great as it should be, it's just light years past what the unbelievable majority of rank in file private security folks get. This should be remembered in these discussions, there are actual reasons why even well informed people are wary of expanded roles for private security.

                      ---

                      So, before the anti-Police Jihad that's sprung up here during these discusions about the Nebraska Shootings goes any further, how about this for a plan: how about the multi-billion $ Global private security industry fix itself 1st (thereby killing the negative stereotypes about private security, stereotypes soooo many S/Os perpetuate by their actions and appearance) and then start complaining about the shortcomings of the others.....

                      Just an idea ,mind you......
                      Last edited by Black Caesar; 12-07-2007, 06:25 PM.
                      ~Black Caesar~
                      Corbier's Commandos

                      " "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I onced filled in as a uniformed LPO at a mall due to illness about 10 years ago. I met the mall security (both of them) for a 90 store premises and right next door was the welfare office, methadone clinic and "beggers boulevarde" (where everyone is asked for $2.00). The only 2 S/O's were usually manning the loading dock for garbage trucks or answering calls for car theft. I witnessed a violent bag snatch on a customer inside the store and arrested the offender but was unable to take him to the security office as only 1 S/O was on duty that day and we was at the loading dock. Thankfully 2 bike patrol police officers were in the mall and handcuffed the offender. Malls are there to make a profit and by increasing numbers just 2 extra p/t staff and put them into the public as a visual deterence will have some impact.
                        "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nothing is 100% Safe.

                          Could armed guards have helped? Maybe, IF they happened to be in the right place when the shooting started. Malls are huge with many entrances, making them difficult to protect. One shopper said that she didn't want to see guns when shopping. This could be resolved by armed plain clothes security (like the air marshals) augmented by uniformed unarmed (Baton, etc. OK) security.

                          Still, response time will depend on location and even then, what about suicide bombers? We all know it's only a matter of time.

                          BTW: Look out for the copycats.
                          Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Curtis Baillie View Post
                            From Security Management (ASIS)
                            "Malls Debate How to Protect Shoppers From Violence"
                            CNN (12/06/07) ; Meserve, Jeanne; McLaughlin, Eliott; Arena, Kelli

                            The killing of eight people at an Omaha, Nebraska, mall Wednesday has raised security questions at malls across the country. Although Robert Hawkins was flagged by mall surveillance after he left the mall and re-entered six minutes later concealing something in a sweatshirt, there was no time for security to intervene before he opened fire on the third floor of the Von Maur store at the Westroads Mall. Security officials at the 1,200 malls and 50,000 shopping centers in the United States are expected to consider adding more security measures and updating their emergency plans. Most malls are patrolled by unarmed security guards, but experts agree that arming these guards would do little to improve safety. Instead, security should watch people as they enter the mall, looking for suspicious behavior that could signal a violent act is about to take place. Focus groups conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers showed that shoppers would accept additional security measures, such as bag checks and magnetometers, only if the national threat advisory system was raised to level red. Malls are doing more to train their guards after a 2006 study revealed that only a few states require training or minimum hiring standards. The Council worked with George Washington University to create a training video that has been seen by an estimated 6,000 security guards over the past year.

                            Here's the CNN story:http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/06/mal...ref=newssearch

                            Im not sure that arming these Mall Marines will do much to change the outcome either. Maybe after the fact (after the shooting has begun), but what about before the incident? What deterrence factors are in place? I think "Observation" is an important key overlooked here. How observant are these officers? Training standards need to be raised in every facet of this profession.

                            ......and please, stop closing the barn door after the horse is already out!!!!

                            Start putting pro active measures into place BEFORE something like this happens.

                            Hell, I work in Healthcare security and they are moved by this incident and "what if" it happens on our campus. This is 2007, incidents like this should have already been thought out by security management IMHO.

                            "Incident response to an active shooter"...........
                            K9...."Protect all who enter"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, being that they had eyes on the shooter before he started shooting, I would think an armed security response would lessen the amount of carnage this kid was able to inflict. Instead of ducking and calling 911, they would actually been able to respond.

                              Comment

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