Workplace Violence is more of a concern with companies than Terrorism

We’ve said it here before – violence in the workplace – often resulting in death, is one of the main concerns facing U.S. businesses every year.

While terrorism is something that is never too far from our minds these days, most companies are far more likely to experience a workplace violence incident than a terrorist attack.

This is further reinforced by an article in which a senior accounts manager for a defense and Security Solutions company states that W.P.V. concerns far outweigh and is more prevalent than threats of terrorism.

Another interesting point raised is that relating to background checks. While the majority of companies do conduct background checks (around 65%, which means that many still do not), less than 5% conduct any periodic check once the employee has been hired.

If no further checking is hardly ever carried out, that means that 95% of companies are leaving it up to the employee to tell them when they have been arrested or served with a restraining order. I am hoping that when business owners see this in print, they will realize how bad that sounds.

How many spouses/significant others could be expected to come into work on Monday morning and inform the HR Dept., that they spent the weekend in jail for beating their mate? Or that they have been charged with possessing narcotics with the intent to distribute?

About 2 years ago we were called in by a Govt. contractor to prevent workplace violence from occurring when they fired an employee who had been charged by the Police for operating a Meth Lab on his off-hours. Thankfully a corporate investigator discovered the case and when they checked into the employee more fully, also discovered that he had been stealing company supplies and selling them on E-Bay.

It’s wise to think about terrorism, but don’t forget to look for problems that may be lurking right under your nose.

Fidel Castro exports his criminals, but we give guns to ours.

I was shocked to hear the news on CBS yesterday that the Army and Marine Corps are allowing convicted Felons to join their ranks. Are recruiters that desperate or just plain lazy?

The newscaster said that the Army and Marine Corps are going to open their doors to Felons who have been convicted of Robbery, Burglary, sex offenses and making terroristc threats. What can they be thinking? Have the lunatics started running the assylum?

These are some of the worst offenses on the books. I could somewhat understand if they said: “we are going to make allowances for those who have been convicted of multiple DUI/DWIs and as a result, have been declared felons”. This new policy sounds like a plot taken straight out of Hollywood….”The Dirty Dozen” springs to mind.

One would think that the military upper echelon have enough on their plate everytime a story breaks about a young girl being raped in Iraq or Japan by U.S. military personnel. One can only imagine the future problems that will arise when they willingly open their doors to convicted child molesters, rapists, robbers, burglars and terrorist sympathisers/radicals.

The Navy and Airforce should be congratulated on failing to stoop so low. I hope they resit the temptation to put the same uniforms that have been worn so proudly in the past by decent human beings on those who should be wearing prison jump suits.

Maybe if the Government paid soldiers a decent salary, which is to say, much more than the $3,000 per month that they now get to put their lives in harm’s way instead of giving it to Government contracting companies who charge the Government as much as $250,000 per year per contractor AND many times overcharge and over-bill the very same Government who are willing to pay a king’s ransom in the first place.

The problem with Government contracting

I am often asked if we “do government contracting’. When people in the Washington D.C. metro area find out that I am the president of a private security firm, they immediately think “government”. While there are small (and not so small) fortunes to be made in that arena, it is also rife with problems.

The Washington Post on Friday ran a story about such a problem involving Air Force officers “steering” a contract to a company that “barely existed” but had a recently retired four-star general onboard. The article describes how the head of the selection team almost immediately “caved” and gave in after the highest ranking officer in the room, Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein advised them that if he could pick the winner, it would be SMS (the company with the recently retired four-star General)

Another member of the team described it as the dirtiest thing he had ever experienced. This is one ofthe reasons why so many small businesses can not compete in the lucrative but unfairly biased world of government contracting. While we work hard to attract customers and retain clients AFTER we run the gauntlet of bureaucratic requirements: licensing, federal and state compliance, insurance, building permits, etc. – those with a retired general on their payroll can win a $50 million dollar contract when they barely exist.

My question is this: if we are willing to jail unscrupulous CEOs who act fraudulently and unethically, why can’t we send these high ranking officers to the brig (USDB) at Ft. Leavenworth after they have been stripped of their rank and pensions? I have a feeling that this action would send out a pretty clear message. These brassed-up bullies need to be taught a lesson. It’s about time that we gave the “little guys” a break and punished the bullies.

Murky waters for Blackwater

In what seems to have become a never ending litany of abuse and wrong doings, Blackwater, the North Carolina security contracting company, is being investigated for the illegal smuggling of high velocity weapons into Iraq. As a security company charged with the personal protection of U.S. diplomats and as the premiere choice by the State Department, there is no doubt that Blackwater had a viable need for bringing weapons into Iraq. Unfortunately, it is now believed that these weapons have found their way into the hands of the very terrorists who are killing U.S. military personnel and civilians alike.

A NewsObserver article written by staff writer Joseph Neff highlights the fact that two Blackwater employees have already pleaded guilty in connection with a U.S. weapons smuggling investigation into Blackwater. Of course there will always be opportunists willing to break the law for their own personal gain, but one wonders if this is an isolated case or is it far more prevalent? The article also mentions how both Congress and the Iraqi Government believe that Blackwater act with impunity.

This feeling of “above the law and beyond approach” appears to be the common denominator in every one of the breaking stories. The recent killing of 11 civilians by Blackwater guards threatened to have the company kicked out of Iraq. However, the U.S. government has grown so dependent upon Blackwater’s “private army” that a deal was struck by Condoleza Rice allowing them to stay. How many more times must Ms. Rice come to the rescue before the decision is made to “back a different horse”? Maybe it is time to give another company a chance to show that they can protect our people without trampling all over the others who are just trying to get through this mess alive.

The State department should not be worried about hurting Blackwater’s feelings. Afterall, they have really made a killing in Iraq.

Blackwater in Hot Water

Articles abound today about the shootings of civilians in Iraq by Blackwater contractors. An AP article even states that Blackwater “loses license after eight civilians killed in firefight”.

This is not the first time that civilians have been killed by foreign contractors in Iraq but what makes this so newsworthy are the sheer numbers. Reports coming out of Iraq this morning state that eight civilians were killed and as many as thirteen were wounded.

It is hardly likely that Blackwater will be “kicked out” of Iraq. Quite frankly, they are too big. They are a private army and as such, are more than likely, indespensible. I think it more likely that an investigation will be held to determine what actually happened. Then a number of indivduals will be found to have acted improperly and they will be terminated and sent back home. This should appease the Iraqi Government and they can be seen to save face by having “kicked out” those responsible.

But it brings me back to my prediction on the future of Personal Protection and those returning from places like Afghanistan and Iraq, coming back to the States seeking employment. These guys will have to undergo extensive Executive Protection training before they will be able to “fit in” with the Corporate scene here at home. It is unreasonable to expect that a bodyguard operating in Baghdad for the past couple of years is going to be able to blend in at a corporation the way most of us do here everyday. Hopefully with professional training though that transition will be successful and seamless.