Tuesday, July 11, 2017
5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Guest: Lance Bella
Brenda: Show Intro
News: We would like to remind our listeners that state road 130 will be closed tomorrow in both directions between 375N and 150W/Froberg Road for railroad repairs. This work is scheduled to take place tomorrow July 12th. This is a one day closure that is tentatively scheduled to take place from 7am to 5pm. Please plan to leave early for that appointment or work and also plan an alternate route to or from Valparaiso.
PSA: The annual WVLP Community Dinner Hog Roast will be on July 14 at the Butterfield Pavilion from 3-8 pm. Come meet your favorite WVLP on air personality as well as others in the community. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by emailing email@example.com or contacting your favorite show host.
On July 12th Kim DeSalvo Hommes will be holding a book signing at Fluid Coffee Bar in Valpo from 6pm-9pm. Come enjoy some great coffee and treats and talk to Kim about her latest novel Sanctuary.
Bill Moran: Thank you. We had a great event over the weekend to raise fund for the Porter County Special Olympics – Livin’ It Up Music Festival. There was great music and food at Zao Island. What a great venue. The Wrights were excellent hosts. If you are looking for an outdoor or indoor venue for a concert or gathering, please consider the good folks at Zao Island. Congratulations to John King our fellow host her on WVLP on yet another Livin’ It Up.
Bill Moran: Intro of guests: Lance Bella the CEO of Vertex Tactical is with us today. Welcome to our show Lance. We are honored that you as our guest today. Before Lance became an entrepreneur and started Vertex Tactical Lance has had over 30 years of experience in safety, security and emergency services. Most recently;
United States Steel Corporation: Master Chief of Corporate Security & Emergency Services prior to that he was the
Chief of Emergency Services, Indiana Operations Responsibile for Emergency Services at the Gary, Portage and East Chicago facilities. Yet prior to that he was the
Complex Senior Safety Manager, Indiana Operations
Responsibile for safety operations at the Gary, Portage and East Chicago facilities. Prior to that
Lance served as a Patrol Officer, Gary Works, which included the responsibilities of patrol, firefighting and emergency medical response at the Gary facility.,
Lance actually started his public safety career as a firefighter at the Merrillville Fire Department.
Lance obtained his BA in Organizational Leadership from Calumet College
About Vertex:Vertex Tactical specializes in Crisis Preparedness, Security, Safety, and Emergency Response consulting services. Vertex offers a wide range of assistance including training, tabletop exercises, security assessments, program & procedure development, risk assessment, hazard analysis, personal coaching and auditing.
Lance, what brought you to decide to start up Vertex Tactical?
Lance Bella: Well Bill, after 21 years of service with U.S. Steel, I walked in one day and had my job eliminated. It was the first of many big job-cuts they instituted. I sat back and said, “Well, what do I do now?” I looked at the fact that I’ve been in public safety in one form or another for over 30 years. After all that time, I kept going back to the original reason I got into the field, which was to help people. That may sound cliché to some people, but after all these years, it’s how I still felt. I realized that I had learned a great deal over the years and could apply that knowledge to help organizations and private citizens be prepared for different types of crisis situations. With that in mind, I formed Vertex.
Vertex offers Courses services that help people become more aware of their surroundings and key items in their environment that have an impact on their safety. Let’s review some of these offerings so our listeners can have a better understanding of Vertex’s products
Surviving an Active Shooter Incident
Bill Moran: Before you tell us a bit about this course I want to share some statistics with our listeners that were compiled by the Department of Justice in a 14-year study from 2000-2013. 160 Active shooter incidents occurred during that time period, 20 Occurred in 2016, 70% occurred in business/educational setting, 1,043 casualties, 486 (46.6%) killed, 557 (53.4%) wounded, these shootings occurred in 40 of 50 states, 66.9% ended before police arrival.
Lance Bella: Bill, all you have to do is follow the news to know these types of events, unfortunately, are not going away. In fact, there has been a steady increase of their frequency over the years you described. I’m not here to tell you that everyone will face this type of situation, but the numbers show it certainly is possible, and the time to learn what to do is not in the middle of the situation. From the statistics you read, it’s also important to point out that a majority of these situations are over before the police can arrive. That’s not a knock at the police. Their response times are very good. I’m simply pointing out how rapidly these situations unfold. With that said, citizens need to be trained. The premise of the class is to teach them what they can do to greatly increase their chances of survival. We start with the events in history that caused paradigm shifts in response. I think it’s very important to know “why” we do certain things and not just the “what”. Then we cover the Run, Hide, Fight thought process. However, we don’t stop there. We talk in detail about how to barricade doors, why it’s important to know which way a door swings, what types of materials offer increased protection from gunfire and how to gain the element of surprise on a shooter in the event you do have to fight. This isn’t a combat class. However, there are certain things you should know if it comes down to that. No one should have to be a, “sitting duck”. Also, people need to know how to interact with law enforcement when they do arrive. As you can see, there is an awful lot to cover. You can take shorter versions of active shooter courses, but I strongly believe there are certain subjects you just can’t skimp on if you want people to know what to do. We teach you concepts and skills so that you can think your way through the situation. No two are exactly alike. You have to be able to adjust with what’s going on.
Security Strategies for Women
Bill Moran: We’ll share some statistics for 2015 with a population of 321,418,820 there were 1,197,704 reported violent crimes. Reported murders were 15,696, there were 90,185 rapes, 327,374 robberies, 764,449 assaults
Lance Bella: Unfortunately, women are often the target of many criminals who prey on what they perceive to be, “easy marks”. There are a lot of steps women can take to increase their level of safety for themselves and for their families. We start out with home security; focusing on how to better secure your home. I cover aspects we look at while performing home security assessments for homeowners. Physical layout, landscaping, lighting, alarm systems, tricks to deter criminals and creating a home security plan for your family. We move from there on to vehicle security strategies. Getting into and out of your vehicle, routes taken during daily activities, how and where to park, what to do if you think you’re being followed. From there we talk in detail about situational awareness and how it can keep you out of a lot of bad situations. The goal is not interject yourself into those situations, if possible. To do that, you need to recognize the potential for a volatile situation ahead of time. Most people are completely oblivious as to what goes on around them. We talk about recognition and counteractions. Through studies, there are certain behaviors that criminals exhibit prior to striking. Many of these behaviors are demonstrated, with the hope that they become “red flags” for people when they see them. These red flags, should initiate the thoughts of evasive action should it be needed. We discuss what some of those actions should be as well as what to inevitably do if they are attacked. Again, this is not a self-defense class. However, we do cover tools that can be used as well as improvised weapons should they become necessary. We also talk about vulnerable strike-points the ladies can take advantage of if they need to fight their way out of a situation. We address actions that should be taken if they were in-fact abducted. This includes how to escape from a vehicle trunk, how to kick out a vehicle’s window, how to escape if illegally restrained by duct tape, rope or zip ties. This phase of the class includes practical exercises where we actually restrain ladies and they use the skills they were taught in order to escape. This builds confidence so they know what they are capable of. The first time to try it is not when you are in trouble. The entire class is extremely empowering. Although the class is longer than some, the women who take it say things like, “I can’t believe how fast the time went.” “This could easily be an all-day class.” “I feel so empowered now.” It’s just a great course.
Security Strategies for Realtors
Bill Moran: A realtor is constantly meeting strangers to take them on a tour of an empty house.
In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics were available, 25 real estate professionals were the victims of homicide, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to a 2015 National Association of Realtors study, 46% of Realtors said their brokerages had safety procedures for agents. Another 40% said they have experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety.
Lance Bella: Unfortunately, Realtors have been targeted for a while now. Something that really strikes me is that 46% of Realtor brokerages have safety procedures for their agents. That means 54% do not. Over half! Every organization should have safety and security procedures. I have family in the business and have heard stories from them about Realtors being assaulted and even one from their local area being murdered. This has been a concern of mine for a while now. A few months ago, I decided to draw a line in the sand when I saw the news report of a Realtor from the South Bend area being assaulted and found unconscious. I decided to build a training program specifically for Realtors. This course is the first of a three-part series I am offering. The initial course teaches about office security protocols, prepping for appointments, general vehicle security, situational awareness, tactical positioning and red flags of criminal intent. Other courses cover escape and evasion techniques as well as principles of online security. I keep seeing violence against people in this profession and it has to stop. I am really driven to do everything I can to help these people stay safe.
House of Worship Security Awareness
Bill Moran: Outside of schools or companies, places of worship have the largest concentration of people in a town or city. Logically, when such a large group of people gather, the risks of something happening naturally increase.
The FBI labels places of worship as one of the top five soft targets for crime. That includes everything from mass shootings on down to burglary.
Houses of worship have been a concern for a long time now. Recently, there have been terrorist organizations who have targeted them and in some cases murdered the priests or pastors right at the pulpit. Houses of worship are presented with a unique challenge. By the nature of their mission, they need to present an open-door to people who are in need, while at the same time taking measures to protect those who attend their congregations. This can be done without turning people away, but it requires thinking differently. This course introduces houses of worship to key concepts of hard/soft targets, building security, personal safety strategies, child safety, dealing with difficult people and basics of developing emergency action plans.
Home Security Awareness
Bill Moran: There are an estimated 3.7 million household burglaries every year.
1 occurs every 18.2 seconds
Most occur between 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
58% involved forcible entry
Account for 21% of property crimes
73% are residential
Result in $3.9 billion in property losses annually.
Average $2,251.00 / household occurrence
Who are the burglars:
85% cased homes beforehand
50% posed as service people
FedEx, UPS, etc.
94% were high on drugs
Committed 30% of violent assaults
Committed 60% of rapes
Lance Bella: It’s bad enough having people out there who are looking to steal from people and possibly do them harm in the process. Sometimes, without even knowing it, people actually help the criminals by presenting themselves as easy targets. Criminals look for this. Most don’t want any problems. They want to be in and out. By not being that easy target, hopefully the criminal will move on. This class teaches concepts of how to do that. We talk about effective doors and locking systems, landscaping, lighting, alarm systems and a lot more. It covers some of the items included in the women’s class, but has additional content added and in much more detail. This class is great for homeowner’s associations who want to sponsor a class for their area, companies wanting to offer the knowledge to their employees or individual citizens who want to get a group of people together to learn.
Lance Bella: Many people think that conflict is bad. In some cases, it can be, but there is also good conflict. However, conflict must be managed properly. This class talks about how to do that, using principles like determining the underlying reasons behind the positions people take and looking for win-win solutions in place of the old adversarial mentality.
Bill Moran: Here are some statistics
Here are some statistics for workplace violence. There were about 403 workplace homicides per year. Out of 4,679 9% are homicides, 7% of injuries were due to criminal activity.
Lance Bella: There are many forms of workplace violence. Generally, we see the ones on the news that have ended in tragedy. During many of these reports I see people being interviewed who say things like, “He just snapped.” “There were no warnings beforehand.” I have seen and been involved with countless investigations. I can tell you that in most cases, as the investigation progressed, signs were found. The problem is that no-one recognized those signs. The main premise of this class is to teach people the signs that could potentially lead to violence. By recognizing the signs, our ultimate goal is to interrupt the cycle and get the person some help, so that hopefully, it never escalates to violence. Obviously, prevention is our number-one goal. However, we also talk about what you do if it all goes bad. There are different levels of violence, each with different responsibilities for action by the front-line employees and the supervisors. We break those down and talk about practical application in the workplace we are dealing with. This is a good precursor to the active shooter class we talked about earlier.
Work Place Violenc
Bill Moran: Let’s go through some of the services that are offered by Vertex;
Bill Moran: What type of company or organization would be a prospective client?
Lance Bella: Really, any organization large or small can benefit from a security assessment. The goal of the assessment is to determine things that leave you vulnerable to threats such as theft, criminal activity, terrorism or crisis situations like natural disasters.
Bill Moran: Can you share with us what steps you take to perform a security assessment?
Lance Bella: Sure. We look at everything from the perimeter of the property, in. These are just some of the areas focused on during an assessment.
- Physical arrangement of the premises.
- Physical security measures.
(Alarm systems, closed circuit television (CCTV), access control, lighting, communication devices, physical barriers, fences, landscaping, locks, doors, windows, etc.)
- Lifesaving equipment.
(Fire systems, fire extinguishers, emergency medical equipment, emergency lighting, etc.)
- Environmental controls and redundancy.
(Ventilation systems, emergency power generation, etc.)
- Daily operations.
(Traffic flow, delivery handling, maintenance services, etc.)
- Existing emergency procedures and protocols.
(Evacuation routes, external evacuation assembly areas, internal sheltering areas, response to alarms and threats, etc.)
- Employee security procedures and protocols.
- Employee security awareness and training.
- Records information security.
- Hiring practices, are background checks conducted, drug testing, etc.
A complete report reviewing the assessment findings are presented to the client along with potential solutions for strengthening the overall security of the organization. Diagrams are also included in the report with items such as recommendations for camera locations, alarm system upgrades, lighting, etc.
Safety Hazard and Job Step Analysis
Bill Moran: The region has many manufacturing facilities as well as schools, hospitals and organizations that house many individuals and machinery.
Can you describe how these Safety Analyses can help reduce an organization’s exposure to accidents and injury in the workplace?
Lance Bella: Basically, we look at the specific safety hazards present in the workplace. We focus our attention on the goals the client wants to achieve. Some people want us to come in and identify all the hazards that exist along with actions they can take to either eliminate or control them. This is similar to a security assessment but for safety items. At other times, clients want us to look at hazards relative to a specific job. In those cases, we look at the hazard and how it relates to that job. We also look at the individual steps that are performed. Are they the safest steps to accomplish the tasks at hand and in the correct order? These questions, coupled with methods for controlling or eliminating the hazards are documented. This is really the precursor to a safe job procedure.
Bill Moran: There are many organizations that could use assistance in developing set procedures to make the workplace safer. Many times a business owner or manager is all too occupied with the day to day tasks that are required to keep the business running, be it a manufacturing facility, retail business or warehouse facility.
Lance Bella: Absolutely Bill. It’s a real problem that many businesses have. Whether it’s the example you just gave or maybe the business has a security or safety manager who is just swamped with their other duties. The key is that the problem isn’t going to go away by ignoring it. It’s the same as pulling the lever on a slot machine. You may get lucky for a short time, but eventually, that luck is going to run out and you’re going to get bit. The shame is that when it happens, someone usually gets hurt. In addition to having someone injured or even worse, dead; it ends up costing that business owner far more than if they had just payed someone to take care of it for them in the first place. We write many different types of procedures:
- Safe job procedures that are designed to accomplish a specific job function in a safe manner.
- General security procedures that guide the organization on how they should function in different capacities.
- Emergency procedures that direct the organization and it’s employees what to do in the event of a crisis situation. Most organizations have procedures for a fire. However, many don’t have anything to tell people what to do in the event of a severe storm requiring internal sheltering, a workplace violence incident, active shooter, an outside threat requiring a facility lockout (where you are trying to keep the threat out of the building), a lockdown situation (where the threat is already in the building and you are trying to compartmentalize the building in order to contain it to a limited area), an extended power outage, and the list goes on. We can help with these types of procedures and many more.
Bill Moran: Let’s take an example of an organization that you would work with and describe for us how you would go about helping the company or organization setup safety procedures? (Answer)
Lance Bella: First of all, I like to learn about the organization. By that I mean,
- What do they do?
- Take a tour of the facility
- What are the different jobs within the facility?
- How does one area or job affect another, and so forth.
- If we are looking at a specific job function, such as for a safety procedure, I talk to the person/people who do the job.
In all cases, the worst thing you can do is come in and throw your opinion around before you understand the organization and the people involved. When you do that, things get missed and the procedure isn’t affective. That’s when people can get hurt, and that’s not good enough for me. After these things are done, we can start looking at what needs to happen relative to the development of the procedure. Too often I hear people say, “This is what the procedure says, but this is how we really do it.” If your practices don’t match your procedures, that’s a problem. You have to ensure that people can actually perform the things you are laying out. The procedure isn’t just a document to cover the company’s liability, it’s to keep people safe. It has to mean something to everyone.
Bill Moran:Furthermore implementing practices are a must otherwise why would one even bother having procedures written.
Is there any type of follow up or continued spot checks to be sure that the procedures are being followed properly?
Lance Bella: That’s a great question, and the answer is yes. I always follow-up to see how people are doing and that anything I create is effective. In addition, safety and security are cultures that must be built on an everyday basis. Everyone has to take ownership from the front-line employee all the way to the C.E.O. When I was in charge of safety for a facility I had a huge sign made and hung it up. It read, “You Will Achieve the Level of Safety You’re Willing to Walk Past!” The point being that everyone had a responsibility for safety, and if they walked past something without correcting it, they were condoning it and part of the problem.
Security Department Audit
Bill Moran: Running several businesses and working within an organization in the past 35 years, many times you assume your environment is safe and secure because you have a security or safety department on staff. However the statistics we mentioned earlier reflect an alarming trend in violence and crime in the workplace.
Can you share with us what you look for in a Security Department Audit?
Lance Bella: Even though you have your own security or safety department on staff (or one through a contract service), it doesn’t necessarily mean you are achieving maximum effectiveness. It’s human nature to develop blinders when you’ve been at a facility/organization long enough. It’s always good to get a fresh set of eyes to look at things. As the Chief of Emergency Services for the Indiana Facilities, I used to bring outside people in for that fresh look. I was always interested in finding out if there was anything I was missing or if there was a better way to do things. I look for these types of things when performing these audits. I also look at things like:
- Do they have enough personnel?
- Are they using their current personnel effectively?
- Are personnel being trained and is that training effective.
- Is the contract guard force doing what they are supposed to be doing?
Bill Moran: Do you get to the level of recommending additional lighting or security camera’s in certain areas that would are prone to unauthorized entry and suggest entrance security?(answer)
Lance Bella: All the time. I generally will diagram where the additional cameras and lighting should be located as well as the intended field of view. That way, the client knows exactly what I’m looking for. At the client’s request, I will also work with the companies the client has installing the equipment to ensure the best results are being achieved. If I can mention this, one of common mistakes I see clients make is having low-quality cameras installed. If you’re going to install cameras, you are better off spending the extra money and putting a good system in. it does you no good to see something on the camera system but have no idea what the person looks like or what they are doing. I see this all the time. Don’t skimp on camera quality.
Bill Moran: Vertex Tactical also distributes a line of self-defense products for women and children.
Can you share with us what types of products are available and how one would go about purchasing from Vertex Tactical?
Lance Bella: We are an independent distributor for products such as stun guns that are also functioning flashlights, pepper spray, wallets that block radio frequency (RF) signals, personal alarms, a hairspray can with a hidden compartment for valuables, and kits for vehicle safety. For kids, we have safety kits that include items such as books to teach them about safety, a door alarm, personal alarm and other items. These are great for turn-key kids who may be on their own at times. There is also an App. Available to protect families against identity theft, cyber bullying and sexual solicitation. The App. Is available for all your electronic devices and you can be alerted if something is detected. This is a great way to protect your family.
If you go to our website at www.VertexPerformance.com and click on Women’s Self Defense Products, you can view the catalog. The items can be purchased directly from the website.
Bill Moran: There seems to be an upward trend lately in obtaining concealed carry and gun permits. National statistics show that 14.5 million concealed carry permits were issued last year. The largest increase in the nation’s history. Indiana is ranked as one of the top 10 states in the nation in the number of gun permits being issued to the adult population.
Can you share with us, being involved in emergency services and security for the past 31 years, what you would recommend to a person who was considering purchasing a handgun?
Lance Bella: Purchase the gun that’s best for you. One that fits your hand size and a caliber you can handle. A good gun shop can help you with this. Also, think about the intended use. If you have a conceal-carry permit, don’t get a gun so large that you can’t conceal it. If I’m carrying it around concealed for protection, I certainly don’t want the bad-guy to know I have it. It’s always better for the opponent to underestimate you. Don’t discount the advantage of having the element of surprise. On the flip-side, don’t go out looking for trouble either.
Bill Moran: How often do you think a person should train in order to stay proficient in the use of a gun?
Lance Bella: I am pro-gun and in favor of respecting people’s 2nd Amendment rights. Having carried a weapon for my job and received a great deal of training, I feel strongly that people need to obtain initial training on gun safety, the functions of the weapon and how to use it. However, standing still at a shooting range and hitting a paper target is much different than what happens in real life. I feel strongly that people who are going to carry also need to learn the aspects of moving while shooting. Also, this is a perishable skill. Going to the range a couple times a year isn’t enough. I feel people need to train regularly in order to stay proficient with a weapon. Someone who is scared is lucky to shoot 60% of what they normally do when they’re not scared. Training is so important. I also feel that the training needs to be coupled with shoot/don’t shoot decision making. Is the person your shooting at a threat, what’s behind them, are you putting someone else in danger of being killed by pulling the trigger, etc. Again, I support people’s right to carry a weapon, but make sure you know how to use it.
Bill Moran: What type of gun safety considerations would you recommend especially if the person has children at home?
Lance Bella: I recommend that anyone who has a gun at home purchase a gun safe and keep the weapon in it. That’s any time you aren’t wearing it. Don’t leave a gun laying around where someone else can pick it up. Also, make sure that it’s locked in the gun safe at night. The safe needs to be located close enough so you can get to it, but far enough that you have to get up and walk to it. Never store a gun in your nightstand, under your mattress or your pillow. Many people have shot a loved-one because they were half asleep or dreaming and grabbed their gun before they knew what they were doing. Also, always treat your gun as if it is loaded. Even if you know it’s not. I’ve seen so many people who have accidently killed someone with a gun they “thought” was empty. If you always treat it like its loaded, you can save yourself a lot of heartache. I don’t think anyone can fully recover from an accident like that. It’s not worth it.
Bill Moran: If someone wants to find out more about Vertex, what can they do?
We also put free tips out to people using two different methods.
- We publish helpful tips and articles on our Facebook page four times per week. We are listed under Vertex Tactical.
- We publish a free, monthly newsletter with articles to help people stay safe and prepare for crisis situations. At the bottom of our website’s homepage, there is an area they can sign up. We do not send you solicitations. It is only used for our newsletter.
Bill Moran: Close the interview: Lance thank you for being our guest today. We look forward to visiting with you again.
Bill Moran: We would like to thank all of you for listening today. This has been The Bill Moran Show on WVLP-LP 103.1 fm streaming live at wvlp.org. Rebroadcast of the show will be this Saturday at 4-5. You can also find our podcast on Podbean.com or iTunes.
Goodnight. As always, we wish you a safe and enjoyable night and week.