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  • Advice on new position

    Hi,

    I had a few questions for you guys. Along with the part time residential security position I have, I will also be taking on a loss prevention agent/security position at my full time job at a newly opened large national "box store" home improvement retailer. My store is in a primarily rural college town in Michigan. Other large stores in our community have had issues with shoplifters brandishing knives and other sharp objects when confronted. Thankfully nobody has been injured. We had an issue at our own store with a customer using a folding Buck-type hunting knife to open a package in a concealed location...when confronted by our LP staff his natural instict was to hold the knife up when startled. He immediately dropped the knife. Now, his intent probably wasn't to stab anybody, but the weapon was there and could have been used to injure or kill. With a high degree of meth use in our area it seems as though our small rural town isn't what it seems.
    After consulting with a sworn LEO friend of mine he suggested that I consider wearing a lightweight concealable stab/small arms vest while on the job. In my mind this seems extreme, but I have been told by other LP agents in my company that they have been stabbed and actually shot at during encounters in larger cities. I would rather wear a vest and not need it than not have one and end up injured. Our previous LP agent did not wear or use any type of protective vest during his employment. Do you more experienced guys have any advice? The vests I have looked at are big $$$ and I am sure my company would look at me like I have two heads should I suggest them assisting in payment! I am sure they would say I don't need one and maybe I don't, but I figure you guys are the best to ask. I would be willing to spend some of my own money now if it could benefit me. Thanks

  • #2
    Vests

    Nighthawk,

    I have limited experience in LP, but would like to help-

    In my opinion, the use/purchase of a vest depends on several issues:

    1. What is your employers policy on pursuit and use of force?
    Most large retailers do not allow pursuit of suspects, and require that the LP disengage from the apprehension if the suspect becomes aggressive in any way.

    2. Do you really want to continue apprehension if the suspect has a knife or firearm? No amount of property or merchandise is worth your life.

    3. What is the employers policy on the vest?

    4. Do you have the money to spend on this equipment? If so, think about using the money for additional training or possibly a college course in industrial security or loss prevention- this could help advance your career.

    5. The use of the vest may have a negative impact on your relationship with the employer.


    Just my 2 cents......

    Comment


    • #3
      Gentlemen:
      Your tasks are to perform your duties to the best of your abilities, and at the end of the shift, go home in one piece.
      The vest you describe must be both bullet resistant as well as puncture proof. They are not cheap and are worn under your dress uniform.
      Remember always as N. A. Corbier has brilliantly pointed out, slashes to the other parts of the body can be as fatal as to the troso. That is where training and awareness are key elements to your survival.
      Costly, yes but what is your life worth and what of those you leave behind? At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own skin, try not to wrinkle it. When you get to be my age, Mother Nature will have done that for you. You would like to live long enough to go through that natural process.
      Enjoy the day,
      Bill

      Comment


      • #4
        Your employer will frown, usually, on your wearing a vest, as it seems "wannabe." Especially if this is a uniformed position.
        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
          Buy it.

          So what if your employer frowns. Do you think they really care about you? If they expect you to get physical with the shoplifter, then buy the vest or look for another position.
          Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mr. Security
            So what if your employer frowns. Do you think they really care about you? If they expect you to get physical with the shoplifter, then buy the vest or look for another position.
            When an employer frowns, they usually frown with the statement, "You are wearing unauthorized equipment, remove it, or we will terminate you." Some people care about being terminated.

            Many companies and LP departments prohibit vests because it acknowledges the liability of being shot, stabbed, or otherwise injured, and has a liability issue of "condoning" such actions that result in being shot/stabbed/injured. Since the company allows vests, the insurance company argues that they condone activity that the company SWORE its agents would not engage in, ie: confrontation, and therefore the company isn't getting its insurance money.

            Talking to insurance companies has really, really, really made me paranoid. But, also speaking with them, I have found its easier to be really up front with them, and they'll go, "Ok, you have increased risk, which equals increased premiums, but we have your back." I'd rather my insurer have my back if one of my people kills someone than hear, "You stated that your guards will not become confrontational with violators, and we're considering shooting a violatior to be pretty confrontational. This shooting is not covered."
            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


            • #7
              Ok, so if your company does allow it and your willing to shell out some bucks for the vest check out www.bulletproofme.com they have stab resistant vests that are also level II ballistic also. Also, maybe consider taking the initive to go to the local PD and request copies of reports that involve assaults on LP, and put together a presentation for the company you work for. If you have an open minded boss he/she might see the danger you are concerned about and if at the least approve the use of a vest. Most police reports are public record, (unless they involve a JV) so it is feasible for you to get the reports, however it does cost usually 2 or 3 dollars per report to have a copy made.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ff000525
                Ok, so if your company does allow it and your willing to shell out some bucks for the vest check out www.bulletproofme.com they have stab resistant vests that are also level II ballistic also. Also, maybe consider taking the initive to go to the local PD and request copies of reports that involve assaults on LP, and put together a presentation for the company you work for. If you have an open minded boss he/she might see the danger you are concerned about and if at the least approve the use of a vest. Most police reports are public record, (unless they involve a JV) so it is feasible for you to get the reports, however it does cost usually 2 or 3 dollars per report to have a copy made.
                The only problem with this, is that once you prove to your employer and other employees that there is a "real" danger (proven by incidents at the police station), then they must acknowledge that there is a problem, and cover the liability.

                Many security companies want to spend as little money as possible on anything, which is why most places pay just above minimum wage.

                After saying all of that, I believe in personal protection, but around here, the biggest threat, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE PASSIVE, is being hit with bear spray. How can you prevent that?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Warren
                  The only problem with this, is that once you prove to your employer and other employees that there is a "real" danger (proven by incidents at the police station), then they must acknowledge that there is a problem, and cover the liability.

                  Many security companies want to spend as little money as possible on anything, which is why most places pay just above minimum wage.

                  After saying all of that, I believe in personal protection, but around here, the biggest threat, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE PASSIVE, is being hit with bear spray. How can you prevent that?
                  You can prevent it, but you'll look pretty intimidating to patrons. Wear a gas mask rated for OC/CN/CS, such as a Federal Labs Advantage 1000. Otherwise, neutralize the threat before they deploy the canister?

                  And, yes, indeed. If they let you prove a threat, then they've recieved credible information. Much like the Port of New York and New Jersey did.
                  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


                  • #10
                    I don't mean to disrespect anybody's profession, I work in the unarmed security field myself. But if my employer wanted me to confront scumbags who could have knives or guns and then told me I couldn't wear a vest...I would quit. I know people need to pay the bills and make a living, its just sad that we live in such a legally paralyzing society that we can't even take precautions like a vest.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wvd1979
                      I don't mean to disrespect anybody's profession, I work in the unarmed security field myself. But if my employer wanted me to confront scumbags who could have knives or guns and then told me I couldn't wear a vest...I would quit. I know people need to pay the bills and make a living, its just sad that we live in such a legally paralyzing society that we can't even take precautions like a vest.
                      Its even more amusing when you work loss prevention, most LP departments specialize in "soft," trying to get away from the hard security image as much as possible. In other words: No vests, no weapons, no badges.

                      Its not really about paying the bills and making a living, its about maximizing the profit / expenditure ratio, without looking at the human aspect.

                      They say that when a police officer dies, it costs a department $1.3 Million dollars. (Source: U. S. Armor, of all people) When a Security Officer dies, it costs approximately $420 dollars. (40 hours x $10.00 + 2 hours x $10.00 for one week's pay, and two hours spent training a new employee.)
                      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


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by N. A. Corbier
                        When an employer frowns, they usually frown with the statement, "You are wearing unauthorized equipment, remove it, or we will terminate you." Some people care about being terminated.
                        I care. But if I have to choose between being terminated at work or having my life terminated, the choice is clear.

                        I remember working alone and unarmed at an isolated post during the night shift. My employer rebuked me for locking the door to the guard house and insisted that I leave it unlocked. I told him what he wanted to hear, waited for him to leave, and then locked the door anyhow. Take care of yourself. If you get hurt, they will just hire another body.
                        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Guys,

                          Thanks for the replies. I can see all sides to this issue. We are authorized to detain for shoplifting after specific elements are observed. We are also authorized to use reasonable force to protect customers and employees in any physical confrontations, fights, etc... YES, it is true we are trained if we observe a weapon not to engage the subject and let them exit the building because no piece of merchandise is worth getting killed or injured for. The only problem is if I observe and approach a shoplifter through store policy to make a stop, they usually won't tell you "excuse me sir, I have a knife in my back pocket and as soon as you get close enough I'm going to stick you with it." We are also instructed that when a stop is made it may be necessary to bring the people involved back to the office for questioning...what about then? And here is an interesting one. We have had other LP agents from our store followed off store property and confronted by people that had been involved with incidents at work. Our job is plainclothes (business casual) with no store related clothing on..nametags, etc. I think if I were to wear a low profile vest and somebody noticed (and knew what it was) they would definately assume "wannabe" and go on and on. If I had a buck for everytime I was asked "why don't you just be a cop?" I could retire and not have to worry about doing anything other than being out on the lake. My safety is more important to me than what people think. Right now I guess I should just do some fact-finding on the subject and see what I come up with and for now save my money for additional training. Our store actually offers a tactical certification class (given by certified instructors of couse) in the use of handcuffs and self-defense for advanced LP agents. Interesting. Thanks again guys.

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