The Garden City Telegram
7/25/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Threat help

Training one necessary step in warding off violent acts.

No community is immune from workplace-related violence, and even incidents of mass violence.

With that in mind, experts in handling such threats recently joined with representatives of local businesses and other work settings in an effort to explore ways to prevent and prepare for dangerous scenarios.

The Garden City Police Department, St. Catherine Hospital and Garden City USD 457 recently served as hosts for training by the National Tactical Officers Association.

One goal was to start discussions on how to best be prepared for workplace violence. Such conversations should help ensure that everyone is on the same page if called on to respond to a violent incident.

Participants also learned about warning signs among individuals, as well as signs in the work environment that could lead to a serious situation.

It's worth noting that in states where concealed carrying of weapons is legal and on the rise — as in Kansas — violence prevention experts recommend employers conduct preemptive threat assessments as part of a preparedness initiative.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, workplaces where guns were specifically allowed were nearly seven times more likely to experience an employee homicide than workplaces that banned weapons.

In spite of opposition from many threat assessment and security experts, the interest in seeing more people bring guns to work has gained steam. Kansas lawmakers even thought it wise to let school districts determine if their teachers and other staff could bring guns to school (although a reluctance of insurance firms to cover districts encouraging as much should hinder such moves.)

In a state where so much of the response to violent incidents elsewhere has been to encourage more people to carry firearms, it's good to see a more realistic, comprehensive approach in training that equips people with knowledge and other proactive ways to be prepared.

Knowing the warning signs, embracing better strategies to deal with troubled workers and making sure employees know how to react and escape should an incident occur will do more to keep people safe than any movement intent on arming more people with guns.