- - Thursday, June 30, 2016


Donald Trump, backtracking on an earlier statement about how guns in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando might have saved lives, said a club security guard ready with a pistol would’ve been “a beautiful thing.”

He might be onto something, but with a big caveat. Simply arming a bouncer won’t necessarily prevent a disaster. But arming an employee who has been trained throughout his or her career to protect civilians in this type of place, in this sort of circumstance, could make a meaningful difference. This isn’t a bouncer; it is a skilled private security guard.

We now live in an environment where violence is a part of everyday life and attacks can occur at any time. There is a vital need for capable, well-functioning security in as many public and strategically important places as possible to deal with threats quickly, before law enforcement arrives. Because by that time, it is usually too late.

In the wake of recent mass shootings, it is worth taking a look at the Israeli model for protecting its citizens. Israeli security forces are widely considered to be the best in the world. They are expertly trained and experienced in counterterrorism. However, they understand that security is not omnipresent, and takes time to arrive on site when the shooting starts.

This is where the concept of micro-security comes in.

Largely comprised of private security personnel, these individuals are highly skilled and more than capable of protecting fellow citizens in the earliest moments of a crisis. They may be armed or unarmed, highly visible or undercover. The key is they utilize their experience and institutional intelligence of any given place. These personnel are trained in profiling, intelligence gathering, self-defense, shooting, First Aid/CPR, and emergency management, including fires, shootings, explosions and medical emergencies. They are skilled in and knowledgeable of a variety of technologies that enhance security, such as surveillance cameras, explosives detection and many others.

But most importantly, they have an intimate knowledge of the facilities they protect, and the immediate surroundings. They know all personnel by heart, who belongs, and who is out of place. They have detailed knowledge of the facility’s layout so if the worst occurs, they can respond quickly, effectively and professionally.

Mall cops, they are not. Security personnel go through rigorous training and education before entering duty. They undergo recurrent training throughout their careers to remain sharp and maintain professionalism.

Perhaps most importantly, security personnel in Israel are well paid with good benefits. This attracts many talented and professional people to the field, who frequently choose it as a career. The education and skills they acquire can greatly benefit society as a whole. For example, trained security personnel are ready to spring into action even when they are off duty, and since many carry a weapon at all times, they can further protect those around them.

Their wealth of knowledge, education, work ethic, discipline, and sense of responsibility and teamwork translate into other aspects of their lives. Even upon leaving the career or retiring, they can be a great asset to any school or workplace. Therefore, it is self-evident how valuable an investment in security training and education can be.

And it does take investment, in good, talented people and superior training. Security agencies in Israel take it seriously and do it right. They adopt preventive, rather than reactive, planning and strategizing. If families lose their fathers, mothers, sisters, children or grandparents, it is too late.

It is no coincidence that Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport is considered the safest in the world, and El-Al Israel Airlines is the safest to fly. ISIS has said they are not afraid of anybody except the Israeli military and that country’s security forces.

Private security personnel in the United States are more like doormen and concierges. Even those who are armed lack the skills and adequate training to save lives when a situation erupts, or to prevent that situation from erupting in the first place.

By learning from the Israeli experience, and adopting the concept of micro-security, the United States and many other countries can make great strides forward in protecting their citizens.

• Radek Lakomy served as an anti-terror consultant to the Czech Republic military and law enforcement, and an analyst for Israel’s International Counter-Terror Institute. He is a former member of both Czech and Israeli Special Forces. He can be reached at [email protected]

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