After news broke of the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in the early hours of Sunday morning, many were left wondering what could have been done to prevent the attack that left 50 people dead—including the gunman—and wounded 53 others.
To find out and to discuss what this latest attack on a soft target means for the security industry, Security Management Assistant Editor Megan Gates spoke with subject matter expert Kevin Doss, CPP, PSP.
Doss is president and CEO of Level 4 Security, a security consultancy, and author of Active Shooter: Preparing for and Responding to a Growing Threat. Below is a transcript of their conversation, which has been lightly edited for clarity.
Gates: When you first heard about what was happening in Orlando, what was your initial reaction?
Doss: I certainly was not surprised. I worked in nightclub security in my early 20s, and you just don’t think about venues like that being attacked by active shooters.
So my first thought was, ‘Wow, someone decided to hit a nightclub, which changes the game.’ It changes the game for all the different businesses out there that are soft targets, that are open to the public.
In the case of a nightclub, security typically does not carry a firearm, even if they’re off-duty police officers, because of the environment and fights. You wouldn’t want someone to take your weapon during a fight or if you’re breaking up a fight.
So you typically have no firearms at a nightclub or a bar. Also, concealed weapons permits usually do not allow you to conceal carry into an establishment that sells alcohol, or sells more alcohol than it does food.
So it was a venue that I thought, from an attacker’s point of view, is a target-rich environment with very little protection.
(Editor’s note: The off-duty police officer who was hired as security for Pulse nightclub was carrying a firearm.)
Gates: As more details about the attack emerged, what did you as a security consultant begin thinking about?
Doss: I started thinking about what should a nightclub do? If I’m the consultant coming in, how am I going to put a security program in place that would mitigate—maybe not stop, but mitigate—the risk of an active shooter or any act of violence, whether it’s a gun, whether it’s a knife.
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