SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been a troubling weekend across the country as mass shootings on the west and east coast took the lives of many innocent people.
Companies and security personnel are on high alert. Businesses are revisiting active shooter training courses to ease the anxiety of customers and employees and to prepare just in case the worst were to happen.
“It’s the scariest thing we can think of,” said Jonathan Badger, president of local grocery chain Lee’s Marketplace. “It’s always concerning when you see this on the news. You see something happen, concerned about the possibility of it happening in your own area and your own store.”
Badger said active shooter training for his employees was originally scheduled to be months away, but they moved it up to this week. He did not want to disclose the specifics about how staff are trained and the tools they have, but he wants to assure staff and customers that all locations are equipped or prepared.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable as they walk in. We’ll do everything we can to mitigate this from ever happening,” he said.
For security officers, it’s an important reminder that in certain cases they must be the first to react.
“The officers sometimes have to be a little more proactive, not so scared of circumstances,” said Bob Conner, CEO of All Pro Security.
All Pro Security is a company that trains and places security guards in more than 25 cities across Utah, as well as in Mesa, Arizona. They have guards everywhere from malls and movie theaters to courts and government buildings.
“Security is now being called upon more and more to fill in that role where law enforcement is shorthanded to do,” Conner said.
All Pro Security offers a number of required training classes, including active gunman scenarios.
“We bring in a SWAT team and they’ll come in in an active gunman course where [security officers] know how to prepare for that and train our officers for how to screen for weapons,” said Conner. “You have to sometimes be quick on your feet and make a quick decision.”
Conner worked for the Orem Police Department for 33 years before starting the security company in 2006. He said he’s watched the need for active gunman training exponentially rise over the years, and he said the events of this weekend have only confirmed that need.