The LDS church security incident is an interesting case in what you want to avoid (in my opinion) at all costs.

I want to preface this with the statement that I don’t have all the facts, I wasn’t there, and I don’t know all the laws in the state of Utah.  I am also not sure if there was a police officer on scene, or whether state law allows a “citizen’s arrest” for a trespassing on private property.

However, in this case, the city prosecutor dropped the charges against the two men being handcuffed. The decision was made because the prosecutor believed it was difficult to prove the two men knew they were trespassing on church property.

This incident sparked “kiss-in” protests on the property. I am interested in your thoughts regarding this incident and what is shown on the video.

In this video, you can see the church security personnel approaching the men and talking to them.  The incident becomes heated and the men are immediately separated and a struggle takes place.

The men refused to leave and the security personnel placed them in handcuffs and contacted the police.

A few questions to consider:

1.  Was the safety of security personnel or church members in jeopardy prior to seizing the men?

2. Did the church security personnel have a lawful right to place them in handcuffs?

3.  Was the force used against the men reasonable or in defense?

4.  What kind of training has the church provided for the security personnel?

5.  Was the training documented and the performance of personnel recorded?

6.  Was there a better way to handle this situation?

7.  Given the political and community relations implications, was the confrontation worth it?

How would you have handled this situation?

Controlling Your Emotions

When confronted with an angry person, it is difficult to maintain your own emotions, especially when someone is violating your personal code of conduct.

It is especially important at this point to have a plan of action ahead of time.  This can easily be accomplished with scenario based training.

Essentially, the more a person is exposed to a stressful incident, is given an appropriate response, and an opportunity to respond appropriately within the training environment, the more likely the person will respond well under a real incident.

A decision made in haste is often regretted in leisure.

When your personal safety or the safety of people visiting your campus is in jeopardy, it is important you have an appropriate response.

Very often, without the proper training, especially in the stress of a conflict people tend to underact or overact…both of these instances can be disasterous.

When we underreact or freeze this is when an injury to us or those we are protecting are most likely.  For example, somebody is kicking a person in the head and we try to use verbal commands to stop it.  Using verbal commands when somone is being pummeled is useless  and does not stop the aggressive/deadly actions.

Conversely, the opposite is true.  If we feel challenged, like we are losing the confrontation, or we are scared, we tend to over-react and the tendency to really harm someone is greatest in this moment.

We may do things that don’t make sense, like hit too many times, pursue a fleeing aggressor, or hit inappropriately (which is hard to imagine in a fight, but I don’t think anybody really wants to fight in church…kind of defeats the purpose).

How can you guard against under-reaction or over-reaction?  TRAINING.  Specifically, scenario based training.

Show your team members the appropriate technique (verbal skills and defensive tactics), allow them to practice it, and then place them into a scenario where they can utilize this training (if you don’t have training equipment-be careful-even in scenario based training it can feel very real, especially to those who don’t like conflict).

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