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A class act.

TRAINING IS THE CORNERSTONE OF every successful security operation. Not only does training increase the capabilities and confidence of the managers and protection force officers, but it also helps reduce the liability risk.

Unfortunately, not every security organization or department has the resources to provide its staff with the required training. To fill this training void many organizations are turning to out-of-house training companies. These specialized training companies are a valuable asset. Not only do they provide training in particular subjects, but some also conduct related assessment and evaluation services.

Various philosophies exist as to how training should be conducted. The methods can be divided into three categories: classroom, hands-on, and a combination of the two.

At the Institute of Public Service (IPS) all training provided is a variation of the final method. The institute firmly believes that when security or law enforcement officers are trained, they must have the opportunity to practice what they have been taught in the classroom.

Certain subjects are best taught through classroom instruction, others through hands-on training. For example, a subject such as legal issues is not well suited to a training exercise. It needs to be taught in a classroom environment.

At the other end of the spectrum, holds and restraints is not a subject that students can grasp while sitting in a classroom. They need to get on a mat and practice the various holds to determine which works best for them.

This is not to say that the previous two examples should always be taught in the classroom or as hands-on exercises, respectively. An elaborate scenario could be developed to test a security officer's understanding of certain legal issues. For example, role players could act out certain scenarios that required the officer to determine whether to detain or arrest a subject.

The institute incorporates classroom presentation and practical training exercises into all its courses. Although most security officers would prefer to be out in the field during training, feedback from students indicates they enjoy and benefit from receiving classroom instruction before they are allowed to practice what they have been taught.

A critical element of combination training is scenario-driven exercises. In such exercises, the students are placed in scenarios that emulate situations they may be involved in at their site. When developing these scenarios, IPS adheres to the following guidelines:

* Scenarios must be realistic.

* Scenarios must be timely.

* Scenarios must pertain to the geographical region of the students involved.

* Scenarios should use role players.

* Video documentation should be included.

* Joint exercise between various courses should be used to enhance the learning experience.

* The purpose of the exercise--to assist students in the learning process--should always be in focus.

Scenarios do not have to be extremely elaborate or costly. By following these basic guides, managers can design scenarios that will enhance a training program.

Make scenarios realistic. Students concentrate better, get more involved in the scenario, retain more, and feel better about themselves when the scenarios are realistic.

If students can envision the scenario taking place at their job site or feel that what they are doing during the exercises will be put to use when they return to their jobs, the exercises will be a success. If they feel, however, that the scenario is unrealistic or the exercise was conducted simply to fill time, they will become uninterested and not take the scenario seriously.

It is critical that factors built into the scenario be based on real-world factors. A real-world crisis situation could be a hostage taking, a natural disaster, or perhaps a demonstration or sabotage at a site.

Whenever possible, trainers should use real names the students can relate to but not the names of actual victims. For example, names of current or former employees can be randomly chosen and used as names of victims. This adds a degree of realism to the scenario.

Scenarios should be timely. A training program should prepare officers for events that may occur in the near future, not events that may occur in the distant future or that happened 20 or 30 years ago.

Who would benefit from a scenario that included events that may happen or weapons that may be used in the year 2050? Nobody. To give the scenario's bad guys futuristic weapons or equipment would place the security officers at a distinct disadvantage because they work with today's weapons and equipment. It would be too farfetched to try to have the officers envision the adversary with ray guns, flying around their site in Hovercrafts. The officers need to be prepared for today's criminals, not Darth Vader.

At one time it was appropriate for security officers at defense contractor facilities to be concerned about and train for possible incidents perpetrated by members of '60s terrorist groups. Today, however, they need to be much more concerned about demonstrations at their facilities by environmental activists or antinuclear groups.

Base scenarios on the security officers' geographical area. An example of incorporating geographical concerns would be developing a scenario for a security operation in Montana. No realistic scenario would have a hurricane devastating a facility in Montana.

Use role players. The ideal situation uses other instructors as role players since they know how the scenario was developed and what the exercise's objectives are. Many times, however, this is not possible because instructors are needed to monitor and run the exercise and evaluate the performance of the students.

Using role players is an answer to this dilemma. Possible role players include

* local, off-duty security and law enforcement personnel,

* security and law enforcement personnel already participating in the training course,

* drama students from local colleges or universities, and

* civilians (people not in security and law enforcement).

Each group has advantages and disadvantages. Off-duty security and law enforcement personnel, for example, are the most commonly used role players during training exercises because they are the most readily available group to choose from.

Security and law enforcement personnel can bring distinct advantages to training exercises. They know how the bad guys are going to act based on their dealings with individuals during real-world incidents.

Security personnel who are used as role players also may have been through similar training, so they understand the course concepts. This helps prepare new personnel for their role.

A problem, however, can arise in using off-duty security and law enforcement personnel as role players. Officers have a tendency to overplay their role or go beyond the parameters of the scenario and throw in unrealistic demands. They do this because they like to see if they can trip up or force a mistake by the officers who are going through the training. Trainers should monitor them closely to ensure they do not put unwanted elements into the scenario.

When using officers who are participating in the course, many of the advantages and disadvantages previously mentioned occur. However, another distinct benefit comes from using these individuals for class demonstrations: As role players, students get an opportunity to evaluate their fellow classmates. They get a chance to observe firsthand how certain tactics work under specific situations and how others do not.

The third group, drama students from local colleges or universities, may be the best role players. Drama students are well received by the students and add an additional degree of realism to the scenario. Drama students do an excellent job of providing one element that police officers and security personnel many times are not able to: emotion. Officers can talk the language of the streets and know what may happen in certain situations, but sometimes they lack the ability to bring emotion to the role. They can scream and yell, but screaming and yelling do not necessarily mean emotion. Drama students are trained to incorporate emotion into every role they play.

An example of this occurred during a recent exercise. One drama student played a hostage. When she was released, she was interviewed by a student from the class who played an investigator. The drama student was hysterical during the entire interview. Another drama student played a hostage taker who had surrendered. During his interrogation he orally challenged a student from class. These two incidents added a level of stress and realism that may not always be present in a training exercise.

Although drama students do an excellent job, some precautions need to be taken when using them. First, they need to be thoroughly briefed. Drama students do not have much experience in dealing with a hostage, barricade, or drug-raid situation and thus do not know what happens during them. They need to be briefed on what to do when certain situations develop and how much latitude they have during the exercise. They should be given as much leeway as possible but not go beyond their role.

Drama students also need to be briefed on how to critique the students participating in the class. They are a vital element of the exercise, and their input is important--assuming they know what to criticize. This applies not only to the drama students but also to all role players.

The final group of role players is other civilians. They are the least recommended group. Given time, they can develop into good role players. In most cases, however, they cannot bring emotion to the role and are not experienced. The best use of civilians in role playing is as extra hostages, demonstrators, or bystanders.

Videotape the exercise. Using video to record training has many advantages. It is an excellent tool for analyzing an exercise. Students can be asked to think back and visualize a specific action they did wrong, and suggestions can be made to try another technique. However, by showing them what they did wrong, they are much more likely to remember what they did and correct the mistake.

Video documentation is also valuable when used in conjunction with classroom lectures. While written critiques point out certain aspects where instructors can improve their lecture or presentation style, they are not as thorough as video documentation. An instructor may be doing something that detracts from the lecture. Video documentation can objectively record those problems for later analysis and correction.

Videotapes can also be an excellent decision-making device, allowing management to see the progress made by their security personnel or police officers during training. In addition, videos help in justifying to management the need for advanced training or equipment. For example, videotapes can show what disadvantage security personnel have due to the lack of proper equipment.

Videotaping can also be invaluable if the security program is ever challenged in court. If allegations surface that the corporation is liable for contributory negligence for not properly training its officers, videotapes document the focus and depth of the security training.

Design joint exercises. Some security personnel or law enforcement officers have only been trained in one aspect of a crisis situation. As a result they may not fully understand what is involved in the other phases of a situation. Whenever possible, design exercises that involve more than one training course. Joint exercises allow students from one course to see what is involved in another.

Joint exercises can be conducted with courses in tactical training and tactical management, or hostage negotiation and tactical training, or hostage negotiation and command post, or emergency response and command post. The variations are only limited by the types of course offered and one's imagination. Joint exercises also need not be limited to two courses. Three or four courses can be involved.

Remember the purpose. A common mistake made when designing training exercises is forgetting why the security personnel are attending the course. The purpose is to train the officers. Scenario exercises should be developed so that if the security students properly perform their assignments, they successfully resolve the situation. If, on the other hand, students continually make mistakes, then the likelihood of successfully resolving the situation diminishes.

Also, the outcome of the exercises should not be predetermined. The exercise results are established by how well the students perform. There is little benefit in stacking the deck against the students. The purpose is not to have one side or the other win or lose. The purpose is to prepare the students properly for situations they may encounter when they return to their site.

It's easy to design a scenario that forces the students to make mistakes or lose. This, however, does not benefit the students. Not only do they not learn from such a scenario, they do not feel good about the training or what they accomplish. Students need to feel good about their training and how well they perform. If they are constantly losing, then training does not increase their confidence.

Training is one of the most important elements of a security operation, if not the most important. Unfortunately, no universal standard has been established when it comes to training security personnel. As a result, everyone has his or her own idea as to how officers are to be trained. The guidelines presented here provide a method in which students not only study theories in the classroom but also practice them hands-on.

About the Author . . . Scott M. Carlyon is the hostage negotiation specialist for Johnson Controls, Institute of Public Service, the primary instructional agency for hostage negotiation training for the US Army. Carlyon is a member of various security and law enforcement training organizations.
COPYRIGHT 1991 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:security personnel training
Author:Carlyson, Scott M.
Publication:Security Management
Date:May 1, 1991
Previous Article:Managing security around the world.
Next Article:A window on security.

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