Unexpected events can happen at any place, at any time. When we talk about securing the workplace, many times we are referencing the typical events faced such as unauthorized entry onto the premise, employee theft, cyber threats, etc. But what about domestic violence? The U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) reports that domestic violence events can cost employers upwards of $1.8 billion dollars in lost productivity from employees and up to 8 million days of paid work leave annually due to Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requests and vacation/comp time used for employees to seek treatment or allow for recovery.
Needless to say, domestic violence incidents are extremely dangerous. Having responded to hundreds of domestic calls in our careers, we can recall only a very few that did not end up in someone resisting arrest or worse. These are highly trained, well equipped police officers with back up, 35 lbs of gear, a ballistic vest and a side arm that are responding to these calls and, for most police agencies, it is required that at a minimum two officers respond for safety reasons. Why? Because they are so unpredictable, highly emotional and unbelievably dangerous – remember, they are on their own turf with a variety of weapons available to them and at their fingertips. We certainly do not want an unarmed, ill-equipped, but well intentioned, security officer attempting to de-escalate a situation such as this. For this reason, security professionals want to take every opportunity to ensure that they can gather information, secure the location, and keep employees safe while the police respond.
If you are not familiar with the “General Duty Clause” outlined in the DoL’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, it basically states that ALL employers need to provide a safe working environment from recognized hazards. As a security practitioner we recognize that our employees’ personal lives may, at some point, creep onto our property and we have a duty to safeguard them from the potential threats associated with that. OSHA points out that a solid domestic violence prevention plan in the workplace is to assess the location and identify ways to mitigate these instances. It is recommended that written policies, awareness training and control methods be put into place to reduce the likelihood of these instances.
The Crime Fighting Win
Now let’s discuss a real case that was shared with our Client Experience team recently. A young lady was picked up by a male subject from her place of employment to go to lunch. The couple returned after being gone for roughly an hour and an argument was taking place inside the vehicle as it drove into the lot and parked. At that point, the situation escalated with the male subject violently striking the female in the face.
The female exited the vehicle and reported the attack to the security team. During a video review with local law enforcement, it was found that although the entry and exit of the vehicle was captured by pole mounted HD cameras, it did not provide a sufficient view for the security team or law enforcement to see the assault.
The security manager then went to their Knightscope Security Operations Center (KSOC) and pulled the video from their Autonomous Security Robot. The entire incident that was captured at eye level and in full high definition. Not only was the entire incident recorded, but it was captured at eye-level where the actual assault was in plain view the entire time. The video was successfully saved, downloaded and turned over to law enforcement and a prosecution followed. It was a win for Knightscope, its client organization and for the employee!
This is a wonderful example of a company looking out for its employees. Although they could not stop the incident from occurring, they had all the applicable security technologies in place to bring justice to their female employee and effectively place the bad guy in jail. Had Knightscope’s ASR not been in place, it would have been a prolonged incident to attempt to end. With the undeniable proof of the assault, it was yet another slam dunk case for our client and local law enforcement.
As you are walking around your the places you visit, work, study, live and play and take a moment to think about the possibilities of different events occurring in your area. Does the security technology meet the needs? Is there something that could be done better? Perhaps Knightscope can help!