Last week I shared product highlights from the annual GSX event. This week I am sharing lessons learned from the educational class on the Pratt Manufacturing Plant murders. Aurora Illinois Police Chief, Kristen Ziman, presented that case study. Applicability to faith-based operations were abundant.
The assailant was a 12-year employee with a history of antagonistic and victim mentality. Descriptions of him by co-workers later included terms like hot-headandracistwith some recalling his feelings that others were out to get him. He had been sent home on 2/14/19 for failing to wear safety glasses.
Back to work on 2/15/19, he told co-workers he would, “shoot every MF in here”if he was called into the office. He was called, and tried to make good on that warning.
5 of the 40 employees in the building that day were killed by him.
Cameras throughout the facility provided a review of his movements and actions that day. He knew police would be responding and set up an ambush for them at the door he expected them at. He was right.
While no officers died, 5 were shot.
Chief Ziman’s lessons learned for facility owners are directly applicable to churches;
- Have paper maps of your facility and assigned people to copy them off and hand them out to officers in the staging area. Pratt Plant had this, and it was a crucial help. Not digital, not e-mailed, but a plain copiable map officers can carry.
- Doors were numbered. That was a huge help to the SWAT teams and medics. The numbers were on the maps handed out by the Pratt employee.
- Cameras are critical. Have law-enforcement access ready and tested before it’s needed. This could have been done but wasn’t. The cameras were only useable as an investigation afterwards.
- This was workplace violence. The killer was not an intruder, had no intentions of notoriety and no mental illness; but was known by co-workers to have significant anger issues.
- Have a culture of reporting, combined with determination to effectively handle grievances. In this case, everyone knew he would blow someday.
- Have an immediate intercom basis for reporting a situation to everyone in your facility (especially for larger buildings).
Think About it…
A deadly force incident is low probability, but high risk. Plan as if it is going to happen and plan for transition to responding authorities who are not familiar with your facility.
For a report, including some video of the attack, click the following link: