The Allen Mall Security Guard Worked for My Company. He’s One of Many Everyday Heroes. Thank a Security Guard Today.
The Dallas Morning News -- Op-Ed by Steve Jones
Our colleague, Allied Universal security professional Christian LaCour, was tragically killed May 6, while shielding shoppers and employees from a gunman in Allen.
Allen police Chief Brian Harvey said Christian escorted one person to safety and then remained on site helping others before he was shot. “He just wanted us to be safe,” a store employee said. Christian’s grandmother wrote on Facebook that he was “such a beautiful soul.”
He had moved in danger’s direction. He protected others. That’s the definition of a hero. As so often happens when violence arises, security staff were on the scene, even before first responders.
Last May, another of our security professionals, Aaron Salter Jr., lost his life when a gunman opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. He was a 30-year veteran of the Buffalo Police Department. He was a hero.
These stories of remarkable bravery are rightfully acknowledged. Often ignored, however, are the daily acts of courage by security professionals. Our ability to go about our lives — at school, work, sporting events, concerts, places of worship, restaurants and a hundred other locations — is made possible by security professionals.
As local government budgets are being stretched, forced to cover a range of challenging issues, trained security professionals fill a vital need. Here are just a few recent examples:
- A K-9 team (one of more than 900 squads in our company) has removed more than 2,000 guns from a national mall.
- More than 500 security professionals have worked as special emergency response team members dedicated to hurricane relief efforts.
- A security officer in Minnesota assisted police in apprehending two suspects in a robbery and assault, leading to a commendation from the city.
We employ industry-leading training programs to prepare our team for this kind of work. Our fire and life safety training provides comprehensive emergency preparedness for every type of facility. Our workplace violence training incorporates the latest in threat prevention and mitigation. And our employees are trained to save lives in all natural disasters, from earthquakes to hurricanes.
Like all professionals, especially those who operate in high-pressure and dangerous environments, we are not perfect. We learn from experience and take responsibility as part of our commitment to continuous improvement. But the public should know more about our work, our professionals, than what they are hearing today.
Security professionals are among the few people whose entire workplace role is to protect others, and who may be injured or killed in the line of duty. Tragically, horribly, that is what happened to Christian and Aaron. You now know their remarkable stories.
What you may not know are the security professionals who, in just the last few months, have administered lifesaving medical aid, extinguished fires, foiled human trafficking, prevented suicides and removed firearms from public spaces. There they are protecting others, helping our communities. Their stories should be known, too. Heroes, every day.
So, let Christian and Aaron’s lives serve as a reminder: Thank a security guard today.
Steve Jones is CEO of Allied Universal. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.