Dennis Rovere, MA; Expert Witness, Architect & Scholar

One major factor that leads to litigation among ‘trained’ security personnel is that the certification they receive involves only on-line or in-class theory. Subjects such as de-escalation (good skills to have to reduce the likelihood of lawsuits) are mixed with explanations of the criminal code and use of force models and continuum (theories that break down in practice). These courses all fall short of coupling theory with real-world application. Often, security officers are left to their own devices once situations escalate beyond the limits of their theoretical training. Several cases I had written expert opinion on involved deaths (and manslaughter charges) from security over-reacting due to a lack of practical options.

‘Another factor involves hands-on training that is either short in duration or has infrequent, or no, review or recertification process. These types of courses are often taught by instructors with minimal qualifications, or qualifications based upon sport martial arts, and most have no real understanding as to how a trained assailant will actually attack.

One case I reviewed involved an ‘expert’ who had a three days instructor’s certification course in knife defense. It is important to understand that this was not simply a knife defense seminar, but rather an instructor’s course – three days for certification as a qualified expert. The individual named in the law suit then used his certification to teach weekend knife defense seminars. We often hear what I consider to be an erroneous mantra being repeated as gospel when discussing  encounters involving edged weapons. That is, you should  ‘expect to be, and will be cut’ (more on that in future Observations). This particular instructor expanded this manta and advised students to be willing to “sacrifice the arm” to gain the advantage in such confrontations. This advice resulted in one student permanently losing the use of his right (dominant) arm after an assailant severed his muscles while he was trying to defend. Following this ‘expert’s’ advice resulted in a permanent and crippling disability and the resulting lawsuit.

The moral of these types of situation is obvious: Certified does not mean Qualified.

In Part 4 I will discuss issues with Improper training.