Seattle Bus Tunnel Case Prompts Changes in Public Security Policy
An assault case in a Seattle bus tunnel has local officials looking more closely at protocols for security guards in that location, according to a Seattle Times report. The incident involving the beating of a 15-year-old female drew fire from some who watched it on a security videotape.
As several individuals assaulted the girl, the unarmed security guards followed orders not to intervene, but to “observe and report.” The security personnel did call police.
After looking at what happened, local authorities had different opinions about whether the security guards should have intervened. In retrospect, some claimed it was fairly clear that the guards could have acted and prevented the assault and robbery of the victim. Others cite the reasons for the official protocol, saying security persons put themselves and others at risk when acting on their own. In this particular case involving several defendants, police officers had intervened prior to the conflict in the public transit tunnel, but had not taken steps to ensure the safety of the assault victim.
Olympic Security, a private company that contracts with Seattle to provide security staff, is looking at making changes in overall guidelines for security personnel. All three of the guards involved in observing the assault were Olympic employees.
The issue demonstrates what happens when a standard protocol conflicts with personal judgment. Several local officials and law enforcement agents have commented on how tough choices about intervention can be. There seems to be no easy answer on how to prepare for every eventuality as an unarmed security guard. However, knowing more about legal guidelines can help workers be prepared for criminal law issues that might arise during the course of their work day. As for the attackers, four defendants in the case are facing criminal charges. The primary attacker, a juvenile, faces up to two and a half years in juvenile detention.