Wednesday, July 05, 2000

Steps in training for employees


        In addition to the stress debriefing most banks provide after a robbery, employees also receive security training so they will be prepared to act during a robbery. Although training varies by bank, one security consultant who specializes in training bank employees, outlined his method. Fred Lawman of the Canton-based Lawman and Associates stresses training employees on how to react before, after and during a robbery.

        • Before: Employees should greet people as they walk in the branch's door and pay attention to their surroundings.

        “A number of robberies have been avoided this way because robbers often case the place when they come in,” Mr. Lawman said. “If they feel that they have been singled out when someone says "hello' to them, they'll often leave before anything happens.”

        • During: The most important element is for employees to comply with the robber's demands and remain calm.

        “To react in a startled way or in a manner not prescribed by the robber is very dangerous because the robber is pumping adrenaline ... an unanticipated movement might elicit a negative response from the robber,” Mr. Lawman said.

        • After: Employees should preserve evidence. For instance, a note that a robber passes to a teller can be used to retrieve fingerprints. Also, safety after the robbery should not be neglected.

        “We tell them to lock the doors after a robber is gone because if the robber comes upon a cop car or an officer responding, our concern is that the robber might go back in the bank and take hostages,” Mr. Lawman said.

        Mara H. Gottfried


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