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The new kid on the training block.

SECURITY AWARENESS has been defined by Timothy Walsh and Richard Healy, authors of the Protection of Assets Manual, as a "state of mind through which an individual is conscious of the existence of a security program and is persuaded that the program is relevant to his or her own behavior."(1)

Further, Walsh and Healy state that the purposes of awareness are to "help understand the relationship between security and operations, perceived program objectives, and security measures; carry out personal responsibilities; comply with statutory law and regulatory requirements; and comply with contract obligations."(2)

By teaching employees about awareness, what it means, how to become more aware of problems, and why it is important to be involved, crimes can be prevented from occurring and people can avoid situations where they may be victims of crime.

People should learn about crime by reading the latest publications and attending crime prevention presentations. Staying abreast of the situation is the best possible crime prevention plan for any scenario, in any environment--whether on a campus, in the workplace, at home, or around the community.

Awareness programs increase people's cognizance of crime, motivate them to practice preventive measures to reduce their vulnerability to crime, encourage them to report criminal or suspicious activity, and provide options for individuals to protect themselves, their families, and their property.

"An attempt should be made to recruit all employees as part of your security department, and every employee's job description should include security tasks and have a reward system set up for successful execution of these tasks during employee evaluations."(3)

John Tippitt, supervisor of security support services at Lockheed Missiles and Space Command in Sunnyvale, CA, explains that as many as 70 percent of the 26,000 Lockheed employees voluntarily participate in security awareness.(4) Nearly all Lockheed employees work with government classified information.

Lockheed logged seven times more employee referrals or suspicious incident reports in 1990 than in 1985. Awareness orientations and annual reorientations--teamed with posters, videos, and literature--make security part of everyone's daily routine.

Promoting cooperation and participation between the community and the police in crime prevention and promoting the same kind of cooperation and participation between the employees and security in awareness programs in the private sector is accomplished with basically the same methods.

Employees, like the community, must know the purpose of the program and why they should become involved. They must also participate in developing the strategies, goals, and what means will be used to achieve these goals.

Ed Stamper, vice president of The Network (National Business Crime Information Network, Inc.--a company that consults businesses starting or refining awareness programs), explains, "Input from many departments helps define the program's goals. Clearly identify the objectives as you would any other advertising or marketing program."(5)

Stamper suggests meeting with marketing, training, and employee communication department representatives to identify their needs. Questionnaires distributed to employees also identify interests. Stamper's guidelines are to present all information in a positive manner to employees and keep the message coming.(6)

Employees expect to reap some benefit, too. This does not always mean money. Employees expect a nice place to work; to be safe from accidents, thefts, and attacks; to have a clean work environment; and to work in a drug-free environment.(7)

In "Four Steps to Security Awareness," an article that appeared in Security Management, Marshall M. Meyer, CPP, suggests that guidelines for a security awareness program include orientation, visible deterrents, a continuing training program, and management support.

Orientation includes an introduction to the security program by a security manager to include explaining the purpose of security, what it means to the employee, how the employee can help support the effort, and how management places value in the program.

Visible deterrents include security officers, hardware, equipment, a program of inspection and maintenance, and adherence to the rules.

Continuation of the employee awareness training program includes developing an employee council to support the awareness program, increased communication between security and other employees, an understanding of requirements by employees, ways to obtain employee compliance, a review of existing problems, and a search for corrective measures.

Management team awareness includes management restating its support for policies and procedures, providing guidance and funding, and monitoring the program.(8)

A written security document with specific instructions to follow should be incorporated into the facility's formal awareness program.

Some information for awareness programs include crime prevention and awareness posters, meetings, pamphlets, displays, presentations, in-service training, an awareness and crime prevention committee, newsletters, videotapes, employee hot lines, employee orientations, and even reminders to employees in the form of stickers with their paychecks or left in their workplace.

People retain more information if they are able to see and hear about a topic. An example of this would be explaining a procedure while demonstrating it to the employee at the same time. Letting the employee attempt to perform the function is extremely valuable. Using as many of these forms of training as possible is the best way to make sure people understand.

BUSINESSES ARE HELD LIABLE FOR THE actions of their employees through the legal theories of negligence, intential torts, and vicarious liability. Employers can be held liable for acts of a superior. This doctrine holds an employer liable for acts of an employee committed within the scope of employment. To prove the employee has committed a negligent act, the defendant must establish the following duty, breach of duty, proximate cause, and actual injury.

Let's focus on breach of duty and how it creates a need for employers to provide security awareness programs for their employees in their work areas.

The courts look at two questions to decide breach of duty: What standard of care should the defendant be held to? Was the event in question foreseeable?

Most businesses are held to a standard of reasonable care. Reasonable care is determined by what type of business is under scrutiny. For example, if an employee of a hotel causes an injury to a guest, the court will evaluate whether the hotel breached its duty by a standard of reasonable care for hotels.

There is an exception to the reasonable care standard. Common carriers such as taxis, trains, or buses are held to the standard of "the highest degree of care" when a passenger is injured in transit.

The court will look at all the facts surrounding a case, such as type of business, location, crime rate, past similar events, and other similar businesses in the area, to determine whether an event that led to injury should have been, or was, foreseeable to the defendant.

When courts evaluate whether a business has used reasonable care, they have looked to see what other similar businesses in the area have done to provide care.

In Early v. N.L.V. Casino Corporation, the court addressed just this type of issue. Three members of a family entered the casino to have lunch. Mrs. Early excused herself to go to the rest room. While there, she was robbed and severely beaten by a male assailant. Mr. Early and his daughter found her on the floor in the rest room. Mrs. Early suffered psychological trauma in addition to her physical injuries.

Three casino security officers, including the chief of security, testified as to the security measures at the casino. The testimony indicated there were no formal training sessions for the officers, no written materials on security, and few, if any, staff meetings. In many instances, no officers were on duty for long stretches of time at night. Officers had neither an elevated security desk with good visibility nor access to the CCTV monitors the casino used to monitor the premises.

The chief of security described the officers' job as glorified porters. He was also aware of monthly security chiefs' meetings in town, but he was unable to attend these meetings because there were not enough security officers to cover the casino if he left.

Expert witnesses testified that almost every casino in town had training programs for their officers. The security officers' logbook listed 92 crimes committed on the premises during the preceding two-year period. However, none of these crimes were committed in the casino rest rooms. Another witness testified that during the two to three years prior to this incident, rest room crimes and remedies to them had been discussed at almost every monthly meeting of the security chiefs.

The court held that the casino owed a duty of care to Mrs. Early as a business invitee, and it had a duty to keep the premises in reasonably safe condition for foreseeable events.

The evidence relating to past crimes on the premises and to the location and character of the casino's business could provide the prerequisite foreseeability. A gambling casino where cash and liquor are constantly flowing may provide a fertile environment for criminal conduct, such as assault and robbery. These crimes are most likely to occur in rest rooms and other areas removed from the protection of crowds.

As to the issue of reasonable care, the court held that the casino lacked the requisite reasonable care required. The standard of conduct is graduated according to the danger attendant on the activities of the business and the facts in each case.

Factors considered in this case included an inadequate number of security officers, security officers who were minimally trained, a lack of access to existing CCTV monitors, and a lack of department representation at security meetings. Thus Mrs. Early's injuries were a proximate result of the casino's breach of duty.

This case is important to note because it specifically points out the importance of training employees and the relevance of the security meetings. The courts have not coined the phrase security awareness for employees, but they are describing the necessity for training employees on current issues and offering methods of handling potential problems.

Fenton, Ruid, and Kimball address the new suit of negligent training. They make the following recommendations to employers regarding training employees:

* Prior to employing an applicant in a job specifically requiring important skill levels or prior experience, the employer must confirm the existence of such skills or experience.

* If employees, particularly new hires, work with equipment, materials, or processes that are dangerous by nature or if their misuse could result in someone being injured or harmed, these employees should be required to complete extensive training to abate the risks of harm.

On completion of the training, management should confirm--through testing or demonstration--an employee's ability to handle or operate the equipment, material, or process in question safely and effectively.

* Training should include important policies, practices, and procedures that the company wishes to enforce, particularly if they are designed to protect a third party's health or safety.

* A training and education program should be designed to meet a specific need or concern.

* The need to evaluate training efforts relative to effectiveness in reducing training negligence risks is important.

* On completion of training, management should document the training, and place a record of it in the employee's personnel file.

* Paralleling the professions, where possible, and standards of competent job performance should be established. Skill levels should be identified and complemented with appropriate periodic training. Evaluation of performance relative to the established standard should be conducted on a reasonable cycle.(9)

The time has come for all employers to train their staffs to protect themselves and their businesses from litigation for injuries to third parties. Now that suits are being won on this legal theory, it is the only cost-effective way to protect businesses.

John Chuvala, CPP, is an assistant professor in the Law Enforcement Administration Department at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. He is also an editor of the Journal of Security Administration and a member of ASIS Standing Committees on Crime and Loss Prevention and Academic Programs. Julie A. Gilmere is an associate professor in the Law Enforcement Administration Department of Western Illinois University and an attorney. Tammy S. Gillette is a graduate assistant in the Department of Law Enforcement Administration of Western Illinois University.


(1) Timothy Walsh and Richard Healy, Protection of Assets Manual, (Santa Monica, CA: The Merritt Company, 1988). (2) Walsh and Healy. (3) Brenda Moss, "Security Awareness at Work," Security, March 1991, p. 35. (4) Moss. (5) Rebecca D. Russell, "Security Awareness: Your Next Challenge," Security, April 1988, p.41. (6) Russell. (7) Moss. (8) Marshall M. Meyer, CPP, "Four Steps to Security Awareness," Security management, June 1982, p. 32. (9) Fenton, Ruid, and Kimball, "Negligent Training Suits: A Recent Entry into the Corporate Employment Negligence Arena," Labor Law Journal, June 1991.
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Title Annotation:Security Awareness
Author:Chuvala, John; Gilmere, Julie A.; Gillette, Tammy S.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Aug 1, 1992
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