LEAVE ME ALONE! – Personal Experiences with Workplace Violence AND AN ANNOUNCEMENT
Written by Robert D. Sollars
Announcement: There is an addition to the website, I’d like everybody to take a look at. It’s on the front page and you may, or not, find it interesting. Possibly, it’ll show how avid I am about saving lives.
To give everyone a perspective of my personal workplace violence (WPV) stories I’ve been encouraged to write this, and spell out, my reasonings for some time. So, of the more than 4 dozen incidents that I’ve been a part of in my more than 40 years in security, I’ll begin…
When I started in security, originally special events in June 1982, In June 1983, I received my first verbal assault about 5 months later from an employee; The main office never notified me that they were going to work an extra shift on Friday, which is when my shift started and they only worked 4 – 10-hour days. The employee door was secured, as normal procedure, which forced the employees to walk around the massive manufacturing building, in the cold, ice, & snow, to gain entrance and work their shift. They were verbally and visibly upset at the ‘Barney Fife’ sitting upstairs at the main desk.
In the years I was posted as a security officer, I received more than a few verbal assaults. I then was transferred to a different post where I received a few more. A few were, or could’ve been viewed as veiled threats, but getting called names and dumb*** because of something the client did…is never fun when you’ve done nothing wrong but follow instructions.
I was at a different client site, a car rental exit gate at Kansas City International Airport (KCI) when I nearly got run over by a few customers because they didn’t want me to hold them up checking their paperwork or anything else. They were too busy, or late, to bother with the stuff that prevented thefts. When they berated me for doing so, I took the paperwork, checked it against the car, and then calmly referred to the manager in charge and gave them the manager’s name.
After a tumultuous exit from there, I went to work for a different company as a scheduler. An employee came in sat at my desk and refused to leave threatening to ‘pound my ass into the carpet’ if he didn’t get paid for hours in which there was no record of him working.
Later I was an Account Manager with another company where I got my next 2. I was patrolling the front of the office building when a homeless man pulled a butcher knife on me after I asked him to move along and not panhandle the tenants. The tip of the blade was about a foot from my face when he turned and left via the AMTRAK station.
A few weeks later… I had a .45 pistol pointed at me by someone who was bothering female workers at a Corporate Office inside the office building, no idea how he got into their space, by asking them if they wanted to take an all-expenses-paid vacation to Hawaii. He then took off and disappeared down the stairs and out the door to the then still abandoned, but under extensive restoration, Union Station.
At my last security job before blindness, an officer told me if I didn’t stay out of another officer, and his dealings with her, business, she had loaned him some magazines or some such and asked me to retrieve them, he promised that I wouldn’t be able to work for a year. I told the VP & President and they transferred him to another supervisor.
After moving to Phoenix and working for a day labor Staffing company, there were a few more verbal assaults. I had several threats of physical violence but as was the case for me, nothing came of it.
I’ve also had things thrown at me in anger, pens, pencils, coffee cups, paper, & even a stapler, by people, which is also considered a WPV assault. I’ve also been a part of numerous extra security coverages because a client’s employee threatened violence. These came with all security companies I worked for, all 5 of them.
Before I began studying, researching, writing, & speaking about it, I never considered any of these as WPV. But as I have done my ’due diligence’ on the subject, I see that they were. And my experiences have led me to believe the University of South Florida’s study in 2005 on WPV.
I’ve long been a student of workplace/school violence, ever since I joined ASIS in 1991, as well as the incident in my hometown in 1988. And since then, I’ve been doing everything I can to help clients and people of all sorts try to stay safe while they are at work or school.
The one thing that I have definitively learned about WPV…you can’t stop learning and re-evaluating your views and observations about this crime. Every time you think you have it figured out, then the facts take a wiggly waggly meander and force you to throw out your old conventions. And this is one reason I don’t follow conventional wisdom, to try and stay one step ahead.
That’s what makes me so passionate about it. There’s always something to learn, read, research, or listen to about the subject. So, even being blind I continue to try and learn and protect people from this crime.
No one knows better, except the families, the carnage that it causes.
Like these blogs? Then please feel free to pass them along, with proper attribution, to friends, colleagues, or anyone who may benefit, with proper attribution. Have them subscribe to my website: Sollars Violence Prevention Training & Consulting
It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Anywhere… For any Reason
I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Copyright 2022 Robert D. Sollars