Managing masks and firearms in banking situations

02.02.21 06:56 PM By Paula Keith

During Covid wearing mask have become a norm. This is difficult for securing banks because you have been trained to look for suspicious activity. Nothing used to be more suspicious then wearing a mask. Now everyone is wearing them. Below is an encounter one of our officers had while working with one of our credit union partners. His actions helped what could have been a difficult situation turn out great. Below Eddie describes the situation.

Hello all. My name is Eddie. I am a security officer with Praetoria Security. They have me assigned to a post at a Credit Union. Management at the Credit Union is limiting access to their lobby due to the Corona Virus scare. My assignment is to control access to the lobby of the Credit Union and patrol the exterior of the building.

The lobby has an exterior door, a short hallway, and a interior door. The interior door remains locked during business hours to help control access. The wall on one side is a glass window where my desk is. As part of controlling access I have a series of flash cards to show through a window asking pertinent questions about membership and who the client is there to see. Assuming all else checks out fine, clients have to show a driver’s license to be able to gain entry.

While on duty, I had an encounter which could have gone very bad. This is my story of how I managed to avoid a bad encounter. I was sitting at my desk monitoring cameras, when I saw a car pull into the parking lot and park in one of the spaces provided. Although this is sometimes someone who is filling out whatever they need before going through the drive through, that is usually not the case. I kept an eye on the vehicle while continuing to monitor other areas until I saw the door open on it. A lone elderly looking gentleman got out and then proceeded to the front door of the lobby. He was dressed in matching tan button up shirt, which was unbuttoned, and shorts. He had on what appeared to be an old brown army undershirt under the button up shirt. He had matching tan colored socks on. On his head was a Army Veteran ball cap.

Once he was inside the hallway, I started flashing the cards at him to ask if he was a member; who he was there to see; and, so on. When I asked to see his license, he reached behind him partially exposing a couple of items attached to his belt that looked like they could be cell phones.

This got me to wondering what else he could have attached under that shirt. So I asked him to “please open the shirt up so I can see anything else you have on under it”. He knew right away what I was looking for and just opened up the right side where there was a pistol in a holster. Upon seeing this I asked him if he was a police officer. He pulled out another wallet and produced a Tulsa County Sherriff’s office badge. I then showed him a thumb up and allowed him access. As he was leaving I said “Thank you for your service and have a great day”.

If he had not had a badge showing any law enforcement agency, I would not have allowed access. Instead, I would have asked him to return his firearm to his vehicle. The key here is that I did not jump to any conclusions. And, I remained calm so I could think things through.

After everything was done I went to the Credit Union management and informed them of what had just happened. I asked if I should have done anything different and they said absolutely not. It turns out that the gentleman in question sits on their board and is their lead security advisor.

The client was very pleased with Eddie's actions and because of his demeanor and professionalism, no one was offended or embarrassed with the situation. When security acts in a calm manner things naturally deescalate.

Praetoria Security is a local company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have specialized training and invest in our officers to give them the tools to handle difficult situations. Our staff will not only protect your property and employees, but be a strong part of your staff and company growth. Contact us today for a specialized consultation how we can help protect your profitability.