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November 16, 2020

Denver Riots: The Importance of Professional Security Guard Training

The October 2020 Denver riots led to the unnecessary death of a protestor.

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Denver Riots: Situational Overview

October 2020, there was rioting throughout Denver, Colorado. Channel 9 News was charged with covering the riots as they progressed throughout the day. Because this was a high-risk situation, the news station hired a security guard for protection. At one point, the crew was approached by a protester who attempted to pepper spray their security guard, who in turn responded by shooting the protester.  This protester later died from his injuries.  Per the reports, the security guard is now being charged with 1st degree murder. See video below to learn more.

A Lesson Learned

When evaluating the situation, who is the culpable party, the security guard or the security company who hired him?  Indeed, it’s both parties.  There are important measures that should’ve been taken by the hiring security company and the security guard that could’ve helped to better manage this situation.

Regarding the security companies, we suggest:

  1. Security companies must brief security guards before their mission with training on rules of engagement.  By assuming nothing will happen, something will happen.
  2. Security guard training should include repetitive rules of engagement. Security guards must know this by heart to understand what force is permitted and necessary under different circumstances.
  3. Real life scenarios must be included in security guard training to simulate physical and mental pressure the guard may encounter. Simulations help instructors see how the security guards make decisions under pressure and work with them on correcting mistakes that can be detrimental in the field.
  4. Refresher training is important every few months in shooting, tactical scenarios, and rules of engagement.
  5. Security guards that do not perform well under pressure, should not be able to receive their license and/or permits to go out into the field.
  6. The security company must know ahead if the security guard will require a firearm, considering the advantages and disadvantages.
  7. The hiring company or party should disclose their security exceptions to the security guard before going out into the field, so he can understand his purpose and responsibilities.

Regarding the security guards, we suggest:

  1. The security guard needs to truly understand his responsibilities; any decision he makes will have consequences.
  2. The security guard cannot begin his task before getting briefed by both the security company and the client.  It’s important he understands his mission, the goals, and the expectations.
  3. The security guard cannot accept a job that he is not qualified for, for example, doesn’t work well under pressure.

Importance of Relevant Security Training

This case study teaches us the importance proper security training has on the security work that we do. Unfortunately, in the case of the 9 News at the Denver riots, the lack of preparation from all parties involved, resulted in the death of a protestor and a man charged with murder. Security companies must understand that security is a profession and if it is not treated seriously, these types of incidents can happen again. Through professional training, we can reduce unnecessary force and harm in the field through better decision making under pressure.

To learn more about the event, watch the video below. Please be warned, this may be a little disturbing.

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