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<p>SAN ANTONIO – As the nation marks the seventh anniversary of the bombing of the William P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, would your credit union know how to respond to a bomb threat? When would you evacuate, where would you go, and how would you know it’s safe to return to work? Or in the more likely event of a robbery, have you established bailout routes that would protect your employees, enable them to communicate helpful information to law enforcement authorities, and track movements of the offenders? These are some of the questions Private Detective Richard Woldlt, a speaker at the Texas Credit Union League’s Annual Meeting and Convention, asked attendees. Credit unions have a responsibility to protect their employees from workplace violence, said Woldt. He defined workplace violence as any act, gesture, or dialogue that threatens employees, including burglary, robbery, fraud, extortion and terrorism. Establish a well-defined policy that communicates the message that workplace violence will not be tolerated, he told the audience. A key factor to the success of the policy is encouraging the reporting of suspicious people or activities, immediately investigating the reports and documenting all incidents. “With a plan, you’re in control, you fear less because you know what to expect, and there’s less guilt afterwards when you know you’ve done all you could in advance to prevent it from happening,” Woldt said. Woldt stressed the importance of teaching and training 100% of the staff how to handle a bomb threat. “Don’t hang up. Listen for background noises. If the radio station is playing Lawrence Welk’s music, he’s probably calling from the senior center nearby. Do you hear a dog barking? Is it a chihuahua or a German shepherd? Shut your eyes and visualize the person on the other end. I keep hearing the objection, `But we can’t profile people.’ Let me tell you, crooks profile others every day,” he said. Because employees know their own work spaces best, Woldt said they should perform a quick three-circle evaluation of their area before evacuating the building. “Turn around three times – once looking at the lower portion of the room, once at the middle portion of the room and once at the top portion. If nothing looks suspicious, lay a chair down at the room entrance to notify authorities you’ve performed a quick review.” Because the most typical risk of workplace violence to credit unions is robbery, Woldt said credit union employees must assess their environment, their practices and procedures on the way to and from work, as they arrive at work, and while at the office. He also urged credit unions to share information with all employees, other area credit unions and the community, to establish “defendable zones” such as secure teller counters and limited computer room access, and to plan bailout routes. Of course, Woldt said, if an act of workplace violence does occur, your top priority is to focus on the victims, to help them regain a sense of control and get on with their lives. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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