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Run, hide, fight: Workplace violence examined


Preparing for the possibility of violence in a workplace is a practice every business should be concerned with, according to Tod Hileman, Kansas Highway Patrol public resource officer.

During Hileman's presentation Tuesday for a meeting of the Western Kansas Human Resource Management Association at Thirsty's Brew Pub and Grill, he emphasized to the members the importance of being prepared.

"The problem is, if someone (who was threatening violence) came into your office now, what's your plan? Do you have a plan?" he asked. "You need to start running 'what if' scenarios in your head."

In addition to mentally preparing, employers should implement policies for employee evacuation in the case of a violent episode. Each business, he said, will have differing needs based on its specific characteristics.

Three basic words of instruction were emphasized in an educational video Hileman showed: run, hide or fight in reaction to the appearance of a shooter.

Motivations for violent behavior in schools and workplaces have changed in the last two decades and have altered how law enforcement reacts to the situations, he said.

"The intent of a shooter that goes into a school or business to do violence is to kill as many people and cause as much damage as they can possibly do in a short amount of time," Hileman said. "That has changed our response to these types of situations."

Law enforcement's primary goal, in those instances, he said, is to stop the shooter as quickly as possible.

Hileman's program was held in conjunction with a monthly meeting of WKHRMA, an affiliate of the national organization, Society for Human Resource Management.

WKHRMA Past President Phyllis LaShell said the group focuses on all topics that relate to human resources, from recruitment and retention to worker's compensation.

"This group is a very supportive group, and there's a lot of good networking within the membership," she said.

Each year, the local chapter provides a leadership or employment law seminar for local employers. This year's seminar will be in October and will feature speaker Tim Davis, attorney.