The robber has just raced out the door, leaving behind a shaken staff and at least one empty teller drawer.What now?To answer that question, Credit Union Times talked to two experts-Dana Turner at Security Education Systems in Pipe Creek, Texas, and Barry Thompson, managing partner of Thompson Consulting Group in Oswego, N.Y.There is at least one clear message from both men. Just as it’s important to anticipate and take steps to prevent robberies, you need to establish in advance what to do when something does happen. A crisis management team should be selected ahead of time, and arrangements made with a qualified counseling firm.Every credit union should designate a security officer. That individual should meet quarterly with law enforcement agencies and should know that if the “Urban Center branch” is robbed, the city police will respond while the sheriff will handle a robbery at “Countryside branch.”That security officer will need to follow up with investigators after the robbery to learn the status of the case. Turner pointed out that the reassignment of many FBI agents has made it less likely that the FBI will appear. Local law enforcement will be the key contacts.Often, when a robber simply passes a note to a teller and walks quietly out with cash, others in the credit union may not even realize what has happened. It’s an emotional moment, so Turner suggested taking the teller to a quiet, controlled environment. If the teller has a best friend in the branch, that friend can stay with the teller to offer reassurance.Thompson added, it’s important for that teller-likely the best witness to the crime-be the one to phone 911 and provide initial information to law enforcement. He advised calling 911 directly, not the alarm company, in order to save valuable time.Won’t the teller be upset? Thompson said 90% of the time the teller will initially be calm and able to handle the call. “They’ll be fine until they have time to think about it,” he said.Post-robbery, each employee should have an assignment, Turner said. For example, the door should be locked, and someone stationed outside to explain to members that the credit union is closed. An announcement should be made to members who were present during the robbery that the police are on their way and will want to talk to them. Members can’t be forced to stay, but they should be advised that officers will follow up and contact them. It may well be more convenient to stay and get the interview out of the way.The crime scene should be protected, but don’t put plastic or newspaper over the counter or other areas. It is also a good idea to have copies of the videotape ready for officers.Thompson emphasized how important it is to let employees know that the credit union understands the trauma they have experienced. After the robbery, the CEO should bring flowers to the branch and shake hands with everybody. –[email protected]

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