Questions Raised After Shoplifter Dies in Hands of Wal-Mart Security

Wal-Mart Death Begs for More Security Guard Training

As Wal-Mart security guards just discovered, altercations can turn deadly in seconds. Is your team equipped with the appropriate security guard training?

The death of an alleged shoplifter in a Southern California Wal-Mart is still being investigated. After attempting to steal clothes and body wash on Friday, June 1, a man was chased down by security officers and restrained in the parking lot. As soon as police arrived, paramedics were called and the suspect was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead. Although Wal-Mart is appropriately regretful, the unknown cause of death is odd, and questionable.

Why wasn’t it apparent that the suspect was in medical distress before Covina Department police officers arrived? While officials await autopsy results to draw conclusions, perhaps Wal-Mart should consider investing in more security guard training for their team. Whether there was a breakdown in leadership, police relations or physical procedure, equipping guards with extra security officer training is routinely beneficial. Regardless, we won’t be surprised if Wal-Mart sees some flak from this tragedy.

More training may help avoid wrongful death scenarios, and it will help protect more security officers, too. Oak Cliff, Texas is still mourning the loss of a security guard from an attempted robbery at a Bank of America last August. Wednesday was the first day of the murder trial for the accused, Courtland King, stirring emotional testimonies from bank tellers and relatives of the deceased guard. Another security guard was hospitalized after sustaining gunshots in a nightclub in Newark, New Jersey. The second gunshot victim, a patron of the club, died at the hospital.

When altercations can turn deadly in seconds, effective leadership and communication skills among guards are essential. But, it’s important to give a security team all the tools it needs, including security supervisor training, management training, and beyond, before a bad situation gets worse. Since many security guards have only a high school diploma or GED equivalent, they must be taught how to deal with life-or-death circumstances. Advanced security guard training keeps more people safe, plus it maximizes employee potential as an investment.

The rate of adults with only some college is both surprising and growing, which puts many jobs out of reach. However, adding security manager training to a high school education makes that employee significantly more valuable. And while job growth for the security industry as a whole is pretty average, technology and transportation security concerns are adding to the field’s overall demand. Considering the increasing need of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screeners and their recent public embarrassment, a wealth of well-trained security officers may come in handy.

Poorly trained security guards, or transportation screeners, don’t make anyone look good. More importantly, they put lives at risk instead of protecting them.

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