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CEO Shot! The Case for Executive Security

prevent workplace violence

The Case for Executive Security During Times of High Risk

Last Friday, August 1, 2014 CEO Steven LaVoie of Arrowstream honored a request for a private meeting from an recently demoted employee. The employee, Tony DeFrances, was also an old friend so there was little cause for concern in the CEO’s mind.

Unfortunately, instead of discussing the reasons for his demotion, DeFrances pulled out a gun and attempted to kill his old friend and boss by shooting him in the head. LaVoie remains in critical condition. The firm had not invested in executive security surrounding the termination and now a nightmare scenario for nearly any corporation has played out.

Could Executive Security Have Prevented This Tragedy?

executive security

Executive Security personnel can prevent an incident like the one in Chicago.

The short answer is YES! … Had the company hired a qualified security firm to provide executive security surrounding the termination, the incident would almost certainly not have played out the same way.

The problem is that it takes more and more incidents like this for companies to realize the potential for violence during an employee termination.

The value of having professional executive security personnel present before, during, and after the employee termination shouldn’t be underestimated. To this day, many executives still say “Security… nah, there won’t be any trouble”. There’s little doubt in my mind that Steven LaVoie felt the same way about his old friend and colleague of many years.

Executive Security Should be Used for All Employee Terminations

Whether one employee or a mass reduction in workforce, any employee termination is a time of heightened risk for workplace violence. Most workers understand the fact that their employment is being terminated (or they are being demoted) and the reasons. Most people take it in stride and go on with their lives.

However, for a small percentage of people having their employment terminated is tantamount to an attack on all they hold dear. The termination or demotion may be the “triggering event” that pushes them over the edge when they have had several other things go badly in their lives. Or losing their job may represent the end of life itself. It is often difficult to tell until investigators put the pieces together after another tragedy like the one in Chicago.

In some cases, there are warning signs that an employee is troubled and executive security personnel can be called by human resources to manage the situation, if it looks like terminating the employee will be necessary. However, in other cases there are no overt warning signs and it can be nearly impossible to tell who will “snap” when the news in delivered.

Many lay-offs and demotions are simply a result of economics and can happen very quickly once the decision is made. Thus, it can be impossible to assess how any one person will respond to the news.

For these reasons, some companies have made it policy that executive security personnel will be involved and present during all involuntary terminations… Just in case. Companies should think of having executive security personnel present during terminations like a kind of disaster insurance.

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