Under the gun: An Interview with Jason Russell
Jason Russell, Firestorm Partner and CEO/Founder of Secure Education Consultants, is a former Secret Service agent with a wealth of knowledge on how to prevent, prepare for and respond to active shooter situations. He was recently interviewed by MiBiz, based in Grand Rapids, MI on emergency preparedness plans.
Under the gun: Experts urge employers to prepare for active shooter situations
Many employers adopt emergency preparedness plans and train employees how to react in crisis situations like a building fire or when the company faces an imminent threat of severe weather.
But given the all-too-frequent headlines about workplace violence these days, many companies realize they must now train employees on what to do if somebody walks in and starts shooting.
Private security firms, local law enforcement agencies and even chambers of commerce say helping employees prepare for and react to an active shooter in the workplace should become part of any company’s emergency preparedness plan, especially because of its life-saving potential.
“People need to have a plan for a variety of emergencies,” said Jason Russell, founder and CEO of Grand Rapids-based Secure Education Consultants LLC, a provider of defense training. “Human beings in an emergency don’t rise to the occasion. They sink to the level of their training.”
Russell and other experts say they’re seeing growing interest from employers to train workers in active-shooter scenarios. The interest typically spikes in the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting, although many companies or organizations call after experiencing “some type of scare,” whether a threat by a former employee who was terminated or a domestic dispute that spills over into the workplace, he said.
“(P)eople who may be putting it off have thought, ‘Yeah, this is something we eventually need to do.’ They see an incident and it kind of sparks a reminder to them,” Russell said. “It’s kind of that resignation, ‘We’ve been putting this off and we realize we kind of need to do it. We talk about it a lot at meetings and we need to finally take that step and actually take some action on it.’”
Secure Education Consultants offers training for organizations in how to respond to an active-shooter incident, as well as offers site assessments and develops custom emergency plans.
About Jason Russell, Founder/President/CEO of SecureEd:
Jason is the founder of Secure Education Consultants, LLC (SEC) and is its President and Chief Executive Officer. He is responsible for overseeing all company operations, product development, and quality assurance. SEC is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and serves 100’s of clients in over 30 states.
Prior to founding SEC, Jason served with the United States Secret Service as a Special Agent. During his tenure, Jason was involved in protective and investigative assignments as well as protecting the President and Vice President along with all living former Presidents. In addition to protection assignments, Jason served as the Secret Service Lead Instructor at the International Law Enforcement Academy, a Physical Fitness Coordinator, and on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Jason began his law enforcement career with the Lansing Police Department (LPD). While with the LPD, Jason was recognized with a lifesaving award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Jason has worked on the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and various multi-jurisdictional enforcement initiatives.
Jason is a frequent Keynote and content speaker at conferences on the topics of emergency preparedness, active shooter response, and safety and security process. Jason additionally has taught criminal investigation and security courses as an adjunct professor.
Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Jason holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Western Michigan University and his Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Security Management from Michigan State University.