The Defuse Podcast - Taking the guesswork out of protecting your privacy, reputation and status.

The Online Bodyguard - Protective Intelligence featuring Dr Russell Palarea

October 10, 2022 Philip Grindell MSc - The Online Bodyguard® Season 1 Episode 9
The Defuse Podcast - Taking the guesswork out of protecting your privacy, reputation and status.
The Online Bodyguard - Protective Intelligence featuring Dr Russell Palarea
The Defuse Podcast - Taking the guesswork out of +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript

In this podcast we discuss the subject of Protective Intelligence and how it can help professionals identify who might pose a threat, whether that is from a lone actor’s perspective or in the workplace. How can we identify problems and create strategies to prevent these problems happening. We discuss the 4 different types of workplace violence and what distinguishing them from each other.

Bio: Dr. Palarea is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Operational Psychology Services (OPS). He is an internationally recognized expert on threat assessment, insider threat, protective intelligence, and counterterrorism, providing consultation in these areas to Fortune 500 corporations, global security firms, law enforcement, U.S. Government agencies, and universities.  Dr. Palarea has been an active participant with the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP) since 1996 and served as ATAP’s President from 2017-2021.

Support the show
Philip Grindell:

Hello again and welcome to the online bodyguard podcast. My name is Philip Grindell, and I'm from Dfeuse®. I'm delighted today to have Russell Palarea, who is the founder and chief executive of the operational psychology services. Russell's an internationally recognised expert on threat assessment, insider threat, protective intelligence and counterterrorism, providing consultation in these areas to Fortune 500 corporations, global security firms, law enforcement, US government agencies and universities. Russell has been an active participant in the association of Threat Assessment Professionals aid app since 1996, and previously served as the president from 2017 to 2021. Russell, I'm absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to spend some time and chat with you today. Can you just elaborate a little bit on your on your bio in terms of anything I've missed, or you know how you got into this environment how you got into this subject matter?

Russell Palarea:

Sure. And thank you for having me, Philip, I appreciate being on your show. My background is as a forensic, clinically trained psychologist working with law enforcement. So I spent 10 years consulting on investigations for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service NCIS, like the TV show, and I was working across the board violent crimes, counterintelligence, counterterrorism, the breadth of NCIS investigations, and that included threats against the leadership of the Department of Navy, which is their protective security operations department. From there, I started my own company, operational psychology services, and began consulting with Fortune 500 companies, including their protective intelligence units and their workplace violence prevention and insider threat units. And there's much overlap between those since those three different units are all doing some kind of harm prevention or violence prevention programme. In addition to that, in 2012, I was contracted with the US State Department, Diplomatic Security Service, working for the Office of Protective intelligence investigations. And that work focuses on protecting the US Secretary of State and the other leadership, as well as our embassies and consulates overseas, and the foreign embassies and consulates that are here in DC and the rest of the US addressing any threats to those and preventing violence against those as well.

Philip Grindell:

So that sounds like it must keep you busy, a little bit.

Russell Palarea:

I try to stay busy, is how I can keep my brain going and stay healthy.

Philip Grindell:

So let's start from the beginning because I think I think a lot of people will not necessarily have heard of or necessarily understand the term protective intelligence. You're the expert. So what is it? What is protective intelligence?

Russell Palarea:

So I mentioned the three different areas of violence and harm prevention. And if you understand the three areas, you understand where protective intelligence fits. So, from a corporate perspective, for example, most corporations in the US at least now have a workplace violence prevention programme. They're required by the government to have some capability to identify any potential threat of harm to their employees and mitigate a threat. And that does include communicated threats and threats of violence, as well as faulty equipment, and things that that law was originally set up for. So that's workplace violence prevention. The second type of programme is insider threat. And those were born out of the Bradley Manning WikiLeaks case back in 2011. President Obama had issued an executive order requiring all US government agencies to have an insider threat programme. Now the insider threat has a dual purpose because originally it was focused on information security, protection, prevention of espionage, and in leakage of of sensitive information. But workplace violence, which we just discussed, also falls under insider threat, because that's committed many times by employees who have inside access. So the third category is protective intelligence. Now, we've discussed focusing on the employees. What we haven't discussed is focusing on the executives. So the your senior executives within government positions, your C suite executives within the corporate offices. That's where protective intelligence fits in. For example, in the corporate world, and in the government world, people. The principals will have executive protection details that are there to do physical security work with them when they're out and about, in case anybody attempts to attack them. What protective intelligence does is it gathers information about potential threats that certain people may pose to that protect D. For example, we may have someone who is writing, threatening and harassing letters to the CEO of a company, because they're very angry that the product that they purchased from the company failed, and they want their money back. And they are raising it all the way to the CEOs attention. Well, we know that person, they provided their their name and their address. And we know that the CEO is having a public address in the city where the subject lives, were concerned that that subject is going to show up. So we can use our knowledge of the subject and their grievance and looking at their threats and take certain measures in order to protect the CEO when they're in that city, liaison with the local police to see if there are any known criminal records criminal charges with that subject, or any known interactions that should make us concern that subject may act out violently against the CEO. Having the executive protection team, maintaining a Be on the lookout, where we have the subjects photo and a description of the problems that the subject has developed against the CEO over time. Those are steps we can use being proactive, to protect the leadership of a company. Now, the other thing about protective intelligence that makes it unique from the other two categories is that it's not only protecting leadership, but it's also protecting facilities. I mentioned things like the embassies and consulates, the corporate headquarters building, corporate field offices, instead of somebody committing an attack against their supervisor, or, you know, traditional workplace violence scenario, we have people that will attack companies because of a grievance. Classic example of this was the gentleman who was in Tennessee and set off a very large explosive device, in front of the 18 T building on Christmas day, he had no intention of harming any people, as far as we know, because he did it in the early morning on Christmas Day, knowing that the streets would be empty. And he broadcasts a warning telling everyone to evacuate the area before he killed himself in that large vehicle. And with that very large explosive device. So targeting of facilities, and that is particularly important, both for government and corporate sector, that we're looking at somebody coming to one of our facilities, and trying to commit an act, whether it's with firearms, with explosive devices, with knives, whatever, with a vehicle, whatever that weapon may be. And then the third element of protective intelligence is protecting the organisation as a whole. So sometimes people aren't threatening the CEO, they're threatening the company. And when they write letters, they address it to the company. So there's no one person that we're focused on protecting, we're focused on protecting the entire company, all personnel, this subject may drive up to the company headquarters, and just park in their parking lot and lay and wait. And when employees come out, at the end of the workday, they open fire on those employees or run them over with their car. That would be a demonstrative attack against the company, without any specific person being targeted. That subject doesn't care who those people are, as long as they are representative of the company, then they are striking back at the company as a whole. So that's what makes protective intelligence unique in areas that it covers. And so presumably, you need to know either who the person is that's posing that threat. Or even if you don't know, necessarily their identity, you know, that there is an individual that is communicating or in some way, has come to notice as an individual. So it's not a kind of fishing expedition in terms of Is there somebody out there that's posing a threat? It's very specific about a person that you're aware of? And you're looking at that individual and that individuals behaviour and communications? Yes, so it's important to understand the concepts of defence versus offence, reactive versus proactive in our world, within the executive protection, they are in a defensive posture. Physical security around a corporate headquarters building is a defensive posture. We don't know who's out there and who wants to commit any kind of violence against the company. So we build tall walls and have security cameras and concertina wire and armed guards and all those things and when they

Unknown:

When the leadership of the company is out and about in the community, they have an executive protection detail that may be armed, or at least is ready to defend from any subject moving toward an attack against their protect . Now, that's all defensive. What we want to do with behavioural based threat assessment and management methodologies is be more proactive, which means identifying who out there may be thinking about researching, planning or preparing to conduct an act of harm or violence against that protect at that building or that company. There are a variety of ways we can do this. Many times they come to our attention because they write angry letters, or send angry emails or making phone calls. And they're have no qualms about identifying themselves to us. So we'll know who they are, where they live, and what they're angry about. Now, more recent times, social media has been played a very important role in protecting intelligence. When companies are out there looking for people who are mentioning their company and their product, they will come across angry customers just go on Google or Yelp or any of those, you'll find plenty of angry customers and bad reviews. But what the company is looking for from the protective intelligence security role is the person who is extremely hostile, discussing violent themes, communicating threats of violence, demonstrating a fixation on the leadership or on the company as a whole. Those are the risk factors that make us concern that individual may be moving toward an act of violence, or at least is so fixated on the company, they're not letting go, and their hostility is escalating, that escalation may result in them making an approach to the CEO or a company's facility. And even if they don't have the intent to commit a violent attack against the entity they're approaching it, they may still get violent when security intercepts them and tries to send them away. And they decide to take out the pocket knife that they carry with them all the time and stabbed that security officer. So those are all the elements of being aware of people who may pose a threat to the organisation. And knowing if they are making approaches to the organisation, and staying on top of what they're communicating to the organisation through emails, phone calls, social media, etc.

Philip Grindell:

So we understand what their mindset is, and what their behaviour as if they are escalating and violence risk. And let's get one of the big topics out of the way that so what part does mental health actually play in these these individuals who come to notice?

Russell Palarea:

Mental health has been a very challenging topic to discuss when we talk about violence risk in the US and globally. But the challenge we've had in the US with the surge of mass shootings that we've had over the past, say 1015, even 20 years, but they've really increased in numbers over the past five to eight years. The politicians who are in front of the cameras, the media reporters themselves, often will communicate the message that this person is crazy in quotes, that this person they will use use the term has mental health issues. Well, I have a surprise for your audience. We all have mental health issues. We're all humans and all humans have health issues, physical and mental. We've all experienced symptoms of depression. At some point in our life, we've all experienced symptoms of anxiety. Some folks out there will experience alcohol abuse or drug abuse, some people will become psychotic, because they dropped LSD, or because they were sleep deprived. Or they might have been so overly stressed, they became out of touch with reality. But mental health and mental illness is so common in humans, that it's not a useful construct to look at as a standalone risk factor for violence. What we're looking for with these protective intelligence cases, is somebody who may be showing symptoms of depression or anxiety. But more importantly, they're showing despair, that they're at the end of their rope, or as my colleagues in the UK say end of tether that they don't see any way out of their situation other than committing an act of violence. They may be diagnoseable with depression at that point. They may be suicidal, they just may be angry. A lot of these folks don't have any formal diagnosis. They're just angry when they commit their attacks. And that's why we want to be careful about identifying symptoms behavioural symptoms that may be indicative have a diagnosable mental illness, but sticking the diagnosis on person isn't helpful. In these cases, it's more about understanding their mindset and whether or not they're in touch with reality or not. And if we can actually talk with them to literally change their mind about committing the attack, if they're out of touch with reality, and they have the delusional belief that the government is stealing their thoughts with satellites, you're not going to get very far talking with that person and trying to change their mind. However, if they're angry about a product that failed on them, and they're moving toward committing an attack against the company, well, we can talk with that person who is grounded in reality and just really angry, and tried to defuse their anger and find a way to get them off that trajectory toward violence by problem solving with them. I appreciate that that's a very novel approach. People don't think about problem solving. But many times in the corporate world, this comes down to customer service. Yeah.

Philip Grindell:

And so even if somebody does have those diagnosable mental health issues, or mental illness issues, I think what's interesting is, that doesn't mean necessarily, though, that they're not capable of rationally planning an attack. And so, you know, the danger of writing somebody off because they've got a significant mental illness or a diagnosed mental illness. But actually, in the moment, they're behaving totally irrationally.

Russell Palarea:

Right. And that's the thing. When people see symptoms of mental illness, even, you know, security professionals, they don't have that psychological background to understand what it is and what it means to risk and violence risk. And what I generally will see is one of two pathways are taken, either people downplay vil risk saying, Oh, that guy's just crazy. And they're not appreciating the risk that is present because of the mental illness symptoms in that subject. On the other hand, they may be overreacting saying, Oh, my God, this guy's out of touch with reality is going to come to kill us. And I say, No, he just has a psychotic disorder. He's not intending on killing you. So don't be scared by his psychotic symptoms. Some of these folks, you know, will do things like have auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations, they look unpredictable. They look irrational, and it can be quite intimidating. Now, what I want to help the security folks that I work with, and law enforcement understand is, yes, this guy is showing symptoms of mental illness, but doesn't pose a violence risk. There's nothing that suggests that this person is going to move toward committing an act of violence. On the other hand, we have that gentleman who believes that their thoughts are being stolen by satellites. And they have started to make threats against the company who makes the satellites. And they have started to show up around the company's facilities making approaches. Now we're getting more concerned that that individual who has a delusional belief is actually moving toward committing an attack.

Philip Grindell:

And it's fair to say that more people with mental health become victims of violent crime than they doa perpetrator of violent crime.

Russell Palarea:

Overall, it is fair to say because a lot of times, the public is looking at mental illness and getting intimidated or scared by it. But they're not understanding all of the times that people who have diagnosable mental illnesses are victims of crime, or end up in situations that become altercations, where somebody is intimidated by their mental health symptoms, and then committing an act of violence against them, even if it's a punch to the face. But we have to be very sensitive to people who have a diagnosable psychiatric conditions and what their needs are, and then looking at the risks that may be presented. The majority of them aren't going to be acting out violently.

Philip Grindell:

And so when we meet when we're talking about people who are making threats, there's obviously this this Hunter Howler concept. What's your perspective on that in terms of, you know, those who make threats and those who pose threats? How do you differentiate that?

Russell Palarea:

Well, we give credit to the origin of making versus posing a threat with Robert vine and Brian Wasik Hills work. They are the grandfather's of the behavioural threat assessment and management model. And their first publication was through the US Secret Service in 1995. They're friends, they're brilliant leaders in our community, and making versus posing a threat was one of the most important times divisions that we've had to our field. We want to appreciate that when someone makes a threat, we, this is probably the first time that we've been introduced to this individual, whether it's government or corporate. And we don't know, the actual violence risk that is posed in their threat. We have to do some investigative work to learn more about the person look at do they have a history of criminal charges? Are those violent crimes or nonviolent crimes? Do they have to have a history of violence that was not resulting in criminal charges interest is this the guy that likes to go out to the pub every Friday night, have a few pints and then get into a rumble. And just because that's what's fun for them on a Friday night. So they have a history of violence, but they never been arrested for that for those violent acts. So we want to be mindful that when someone is communicating a threat, we always take it seriously, we always need to do some initial initial triage investigation, to learn a little bit about their background. So that may be looking at publicly viewable social media, or any other internet footprint they have out there, it may be talking with the person who reported a concern to us, it may be a direct interview with the subject, just learning more about their grievance and asking some questions that will gather risk factors for us about violence risk. Ultimately, we investigate those threats, the ones that we start to find some concerning information. That's where we're going to dedicate our resources and have more investigator manpower, having more analysts conducting research, learning more about that subject and the violence risk that they pose. On the other hand, we do have a lot of people who make threats for venting anger, for achieving a desired outcome. And they have no intent to commit violence. So in those situations, I mentioned the customer service problem, we can research, we can identify the background of a subject, we appreciate that we're not finding anything about violence risk in their history, and we talk with them and they say, you know, I'm so angry that my computer failed, and I lost all of my data for my dissertation. And so I blame the computer company for this. And I threatened them because I wanted to get their attention. In the US, if you say now I understand why people commit these mass shootings, you will get their attention these days. And when you talk to these folks, many of them say I don't have any intention to go commit a mass shooting, I don't own a gun, I don't have access to a gun, never fired a gun in my life. I just wanted them to answer my email, because I'm angry, my computer crashed. That's why we have to do those initial investigative steps to know who we're dealing with. And then assess the risk of violence that posed.

Philip Grindell:

But if we look at if we look at, excuse me, look at Robert Fein's research and the exceptional case study project. And as you know, I had the pleasure of interviewing Reid Murray, a couple of months ago on this same podcast, and he talks about, in his experience, people who make direct threats, you know, he talks about sort of 5% of times that actually transfers into a genuine threat. And actually, what what often happens is for the uneducated, if you like, is that we assume that if people make a threat, it is a threat. And therefore, you know, we have this kind of thing, when's a death threat, a real threat? And, and actually, statistically, when we're looking at public figures and executives, what have you wish, you know? Yes, we have to take it serious. We have to look at it. But we can't assume that somebody who makes a threat automatically poses well,

Russell Palarea:

correct? Correct. And so we have to do that background work, because on one hand, we have to take every threat as credible, if we are notified of that threat, and we don't do any investigative work to learn more about the person and the situation, and the motivation behind that threat. And somebody then goes and commits an attack. You know, that's our liability. Once it's brought to our attention, whether you're law enforcement or whether you're corporate security, we have liability once it's brought to our attention. We have to conduct due diligence to do some initial investigative steps and learn what's going on. And therefore, we have people who make very scary direct threats of violence. They'll say, I'm coming to kill you. And their intent is just to scare people. Or to say, I'm coming to kill you if you don't give me the benefits that I am rightly owed when you fired me. Well, they want their benefits. They don't want to murder anybody and We just have to do that initial work and then design the threat management strategies to get ahead of any attack that could be taking place, like I mentioned, talking directly with the subject, to get them to change their mind about committing that attack. So we ultimately won't know the credibility of that threat until we look into it, no matter how direct it is, no matter how violent it is, we have to do some digging to understand the motivation and intent of the subject in order to determine if they pose a violence risk.

Philip Grindell:

And is there any research around how it's being communicated? In terms of, you know, we know that it's very easy to sort of send a threatening message on social media, for instance, as opposed to taking the time to write a letter, for instance, or physically saying it to somebody? Is there any difference between how that message is communicated?

Russell Palarea:

Well, it is important to keep in mind that we have a phenomenon called keyboard courage, that people when they're behind their computer, are more willing, in many instances, to say threatening and violent things directed toward a person or an organisation. And when you interview them, they will not show you any of that rage. They apologise for making that threat, they say, you know, I was just angry, I was behind my keyboard. And I felt like I could say what I want to say. And they'll really downplay it, when and they're being honest, there's an I was just angry, that's it, I'm not gonna go hurt anybody. So, social media, definitely, we see the most keyboard courage, we also will see that in emails, when people are sending angry emails to government agencies or to companies, and angry phone calls. That's more confrontational. So we'll pay attention when somebody starts making threats over a phone call, because they're actually interacting with someone else, and having to talk with them. And the it's just a higher threshold to directly communicate in a live conversation with another person, a violent threat. Now, it becomes more concerning if that individual makes a physical approach, and communicates that threat, because now they're willing to expend time, energy, money and resources into travelling to that target. Now, that target the company headquarters could be, you know, 10 minute drive from their house. But if the company headquarters is all the way across the country, and they had to take an aeroplane that we're talking about time, money and resources and energy invested, which makes us very much more concerned about the potential for risk in that scenario. So yes, it does the methodology in which someone communicates a threat does matter.

Philip Grindell:

And I noticed, in your research, you, you quote, a passage out of inspire the ISIS publication around, you know, not always targeting people at work, and the reasons why you might target them elsewhere. Can you can you kind of expand on that?

Russell Palarea:

Yeah. When inspire was being published by al Qaeda affiliates, we became concerned that and both from government and corporate world because there was material being published in that that publication that was focused on targeting corporations and corporate executives. And the concern is that you have this organisation, trying to educate its followers and potential followers about target vulnerability. So somebody may be thinking, You know what, I'm going to target that company, and I'm going to make an approach to that company's headquarters, but the company's headquarters is fortified. And they may not understand physical security, and they may not understand attack methodology, they're just going to go out and commit an attack. Now, when you have a publication, like inspire, advising people know, don't go after the building, the building is fortified with security go after the people when they leave the building. That's concerning. Because from any organization's perspective, they have control over the safety of their personnel, when the personnel are in their facilities, but once they leave the facility, and they go to their local coffee shop, and they go home, and they go to a movie theatre, the company can't protect them everywhere all the time. And so it is concerning when you see adversaries publishing, advising, go target these individuals when they're more vulnerable. Because ultimately, it comes to each and every one of us knowing physical safety measures and keeping in mind our safety when we're outside of our workplaces.

Philip Grindell:

And it's interesting because in the UK, certainly then about the US but certainly the UK, one of the methodologies going back preoccupied or in ISIS and everything else, back to the animal rights liberate An activist movements. That's exactly what was in their playbook was to take the fight to your home address, because they could they could become far more intimidating to your family, and then your Family Start persuading you and talking to you around. Is this really worth it? You know, are we doing the right thing, etc. So. So it's interesting that that's become a kind of a terrorist tactic. And it started out very clearly as an activist, although some people will equally argue those are terrorists, but an activist technique as well. So that's not a new phenomenon. So so what we're looking at I know, you've got this, you're attributed to this 2007 threat assessment model. Can you talk to us about that? What what does that what does that involve? So

Russell Palarea:

the 2007 model that Chuck Tobin and I published in the International Handbook of threat assessment, Second Edition, that is my unique model of threat assessment, behavioural threat assessment and management. It is based on the original work of fine of ossicular, from their 1995 and 1998 publications. And it layers on to their foundational work with my operational experience from working with NCIS, and Diplomatic Security and corporations and schools and universities. And so it just has a nuanced approach to understanding the way someone is thinking, feeling behaving based on cognitive behavioural theory, which is the foundation of clinical psychology, and then understanding the nuances of the social situation, the relationships between the subject and the target, the nature of their grievance, and then identifying any key risk factors with their emotions, with their thoughts, and with what they are saying. And doing that suggests an escalation toward violence risk. So in my holistic threat assessment model, we're looking at factors within the subject. That's clinical psychology, individual factors, we're looking at factors within the context in the environment, that is social psychology. And then we're looking at factors within the subjects social network. And they're an organisation, which is a hybrid of social psychology and industrial and organisational psychology. When you bring this all together, we have what I call the holistic model. Because we're looking at a whole person, we're now going to have not a 2d view, but a 3d view a hologram of the individual looking at them in their life in their life circumstances, identifying the life stressors they're dealing with at this time to proceed grievance, looking at their background to see if there's any past history of violent attacks, communicated threats, criminal charges, grievances fixation, and they're looking at the current situation to assess the risk we're dealing with today. And with that, we can have a full picture of the assessment of violence risk with that individual, which then leads to our designing of threat management strategies to mitigate that risk. And there's a whole host of threat management strategies that we use, depending on the nature of the case.

Philip Grindell:

And so what sort of signs of escalating? Are you looking for them? When you're presented with a case? Are there some key signs that you think these are the ones that have a greater weight than others,

Russell Palarea:

it's going to entirely depend on the individual, the subject and their case, their situation, each case has its own nuances. But in general, if someone starts complaining to accompany the analogy of the computer crash, so they start writing angry letters to the company about their computer crashing and losing their dissertation data, and the amount of communications they send picks up in frequency, it was one a week, now it's one a day, then the tone of those communications are starting to become more hostile, more sinister, they're not just angry about the computer crashing, they're starting to make references to you better watch your back. You don't know what I'm capable of if you don't solve this problem, and then they may start making references to attackers have past mass casualty attacks. So when you start to see that mindset shift toward adversarial, they're no longer an angry customer. Now, there's someone who's actually trying to intimidate, even terrorise the company make them fearful for their safety. If they make an approach, as I mentioned, that shows investment of time, energy and resources, so that becomes extremely concerning. And if they end up just increasing their frequency from once a day to 100 phone calls in a day, that becomes extremely concerning. So we're just looking for that behavioural escalation or the shift in mindset that indicates they're digging their heels in and an adversarial stance and becoming more toxic, more volatile, more poisonous in their communications, you can hear condescension, you can hear entitlement, you can hear corrosiveness those are the things that make us more concerned that this subject is becoming so dug into their adversarial stance that they may lash out violently. And so

Philip Grindell:

the more energy they're putting into this, the more reticent they are to back down if you like,

Russell Palarea:

correct, and, and that demonstrates the the level of fixation that they have, in some of these cases, the grievance that an individual has against an organisation becomes their identity, if you have someone who was terminated from a job, and they felt shamed by that, and they felt that they were wrongly fired from that job, they will take on the identity of being the angry ex employee, who will do everything in their power to take down that company, they start creating websites that target the company, they're writing harassing letters, or threatening letters to the company. They're protesting in front of the company's headquarters. And it just is their identity now that their sole purpose in life is to damage the brand and reputation of the company and terrorise its personnel.

Philip Grindell:

And then you mentioned four different types of workplace violence. Can you talk about those then for us?

Russell Palarea:

The typology of workplace violence that is commonly used in the US was proposed by created by the University of Iowa back in the early 90s. And then has become the the US Department of Labor's OSHA standards. And the other organisation within labour is NIOSH. So these are US government agencies that have developed and promoted this four category typology of workplace violence. Now, the type one, you're dealing with people who are, have no relationship with the workplace. And so this is going to be your common criminal, they just show up at a petrol station, pull the gun, demand money, and that's all they're looking for. When you move to type two, you're going to have some kind of relationship, generally, customers will fall into this rank. So that's our guy who's angry about the computer crashing and losing his data. But type three is employees. So those are individuals within the company already, or they might be former employees. But they have familiarity with the company with the personnel, they have friendships in there, they have adversarial relationships with folks in there. And that is what we call our insider threat, keeping in mind that once the person is fired from the job, your insider threat is now an outsider threat. And then four is a very unique category. And that's familial relationships. So domestic violence entering the workplace, when we have a couple where the spouse is being aggressive to the victim, abusing them at home physically, psychologically, and assaulting them. And when that victim comes to their workplace, the in the workplace, they are now being targeted by that spouse as well. So now you have risk not only to the spouse in the workplace, but also all of the employees that are there. There have been a number of mass shootings in the US that went right along this line. What happened in the neighbourhood where I grew up Seal Beach, California, in the Maritimes, JD salon. This is a very sleepy beach town in Southern California, where a gentleman who had a history of domestic violence against his wife, The couple separated, they were in a child custody battle, and he had a number of firearms, and he knew to find his wife as his estranged wife at work. He went to her workplace and he opened fire and they're murdering her, the owner of the salon and a number of other people. And then he went outside and shot and killed a gentleman who's just sitting in his car talking on his phone, and then took off and the police ended up identifying his truck gave chase. He pulled over, got out of the truck, put his semi automatic rifle down, had a bulletproof vest on and it looked like he was intending on getting into a shootout with the police. Thankfully, he gave himself up but unfortunately a number of people died that day, all because of this domestic incident. And that's why type four while it doesn't happen often it's really important that we appreciate that category of risk exists. We are concerned about domestic violence entering the workplaces.

Philip Grindell:

So that's because I mean domestic we know we know that domestic violence and intimate partner relationships is where the bulk of the violence is in terms of you know, stalking Where have you been intimate stalk is a more dangerous and other store because very often, but this is about proximity and about that this is the known location, this is where I know, I'm going to find that person and therefore that's why enters into the workspace.

Russell Palarea:

Yep. And that's why we become extremely concerned that when someone is in a very hostile or violent relationship, and they break off that relationship, and they go to a quote, unquote safe house location, where their abusive partner doesn't know where to find them, the abusive partner often knows, well, they have to go to work. So I'll just wait for them at work, they may show up at the place where the victim gets their coffee, right or goes for their their favourite pizza, just knowing Patterns of Life and anticipating a point to intercept that victim. Work is an obvious one. And so we do have situations where we have an employee who leaves a very hostile or violent relationship, and they take out a protection order. We encourage those employees to notify their employers a protection order was taken out and the workplace was named as a protected location. If the workplace doesn't know that they're listed on the protection order, they can't help enforce it. Because of the spouse shows up and they don't know about the history of islands and the breakup of the relationship. Then they say they call the victim and say, Oh, hey, your spouse is here. They said they had to drop your lunch off for you. Rather than saying, oh, there's a protection order in place that we need to call the police right now. So that's why the really important crux of threat assessment is communication. amongst people. We no longer operate in silos, we share information with each other. The victim notifies the police notifies the workplace notifies their family and their close friends, hey, I've got a protection order out. If this guy calls you talks with you tries to find out where I am, where I'm staying, what I'm up to, you got to let him know, and tells the workplace, if he shows up here immediately call the police. It's violation of protection order, and he can be arrested.

Philip Grindell:

And of course, the sideline to that, of course, is that the heat imposes a physical threat to security or the boss or whoever interacts with that person. Because in their view, they're just getting in the way of his angle. Yeah, Yep, absolutely. So another really interesting video was was was the relevance of key dates in people in the perpetrators life. Again, can you can you kind of expand on that for us briefly?

Russell Palarea:

Well, you know, when we talk about anniversary dates in general, that's a really big phenomenon that security and law enforcement in the US like to follow. There are anniversary dates like the attack at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999. That and the attack at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, that very large scale bombing. So those are watershed attacks that other people who have the idea of committing attack will research will follow, and they will centre their on attack dates around those anniversaries of other large scale attacks. And the challenge we have is the more large scale attacks that occur, the more anniversary dates there are and the more potential for people to act out on those anniversary dates. However, it's really important to understand that the perspective of the subject is the perspective we must take. In these cases, they may be researching the Columbine High School Attack, or the attack on the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. But ultimately, they're not going to attack on those anniversaries. They're going to attack on their birthday, or the date their mother died, or the date that their spouse filed for divorce, because it's a personal relevance to them. So we want to be mindful of both public attacks and personal events in the subjects life. And we're not going to focus on any one particular date as the day of attack, what we are going to do is look for potential triggering events. Remember that we're talking about people making decisions to commit violent acts, there are often triggering events in a subjects life, something that happens to them when they're already thinking about committing the attack. And then the incident happens and they say, that's it now I'm gonna go do it, I'm gonna go commit the attack. And we want to identify potential triggering events. And as best we can try to mitigate those events from happening, so that the subject doesn't make the decision to act out violently. And, and

Philip Grindell:

to some days have more relevance in terms of I know it's about the person and of course, their specific grievance but But clearly, in domestic scenarios, I'm guessing the kind of divorce or the or the child's birthday or something very, very personal would be would be the one you probably might focus on a little bit. If it's a hostile ex employee. It might But the day they got sacked or something irrelevant. So it's very much about the relevance of a specific date to that individual. And to the grievance.

Russell Palarea:

Yes. And that's why we need to conduct an investigation. We talked about once you're aware that there's a violence risk concern, we have to investigate it to get that background on the subject, what is their grievance? What are the violence risk factors that are present? What are the potential triggering events. So through that, we may find the potential dates that may present as triggering events for the attack. And as we're learning about the person, we're going to be able to assess the relativity of risk of those potential dates. So we know that the subject falls into a depression on the anniversary of his mother's death. Mother died five years ago, but every year, he goes into a depression, and it takes him a month to get out of it. Now, he's been angry with his former employer, and we're aware that he goes into the depression, but now that he has an adversary, that he's becoming hostile and aggressive toward when that depression is coming, and we know it's going to come. That's when we're more concerned about him acting out violently, because, as I mentioned, and of tether, he becomes desperate and sees no way out. So this is the year that that depression leads to suicidality, which leads to the decision to commit the attack against the adversary and then kill himself. So that's how we identify relevant dates,

Philip Grindell:

and then moving forward to potential opportunities to intervene in terms of to interview the individual and go and meet that person. What are we thinking about when we're planning whether we should do that and how we do that.

Russell Palarea:

So it is important to appreciate that some cases, one of the very first things we'll do is interview the subject, people who are desperate for help. And they feel like their communications and their pleas for help have gone unanswered. That's a situation where they are reaching out for help. So it's not a surprise that the organisation the security department, or if their former employee, HR, human, human resources, or the police will go in and interview the person immediately just to say, hey, we heard, we received your complaint, your concern, how is it that we can help just to try to stabilise the situation and get them calmed down. On the other hand, we may have an individual who we believe poses a credible threat of violence, and is slowly moving toward committing that attack, we may not want to tip off that person that they're now being investigated. So we're going to do our own investigation and talk with people learn about their background, and then gather enough information that we feel confident we can go into an interview with that subject, and understanding what their problem is, and how to establish rapport with them. So that we can negotiate with them to talk through the problem, problem, solve it, and get them to walk away from the idea of committing that violence, we don't want to see them die, we don't want to see anyone else die. We don't want their kids to be without a parent, we don't want their dog to be without a parent. We want everybody to be able to live in happiness and harmony. And if we can get through this grievance and resolve it, then the subject can return to a happy and productive life. And so that's how we take that problem solving approach. And when you're in gathering information in a subject interview, in threat assessment, interviews, it's not just information gathering, it's building rapport, building, liking, ultimately establishing trust with the subject when we can, so that when the subject says look, in the future, I'm going to call and I'm going to threaten the company again. And that representative from Global Security says don't do that, call me. You have anything you want from the company, any issue you want to threaten someone, you want to vent some anger, just call me talk with me, I'm here to help you through this situation. And that way, you've channelled all of the anger and grievance away from the CEO, away from the Human Resources folks and a person in global security who's trained to handle that level of stress and reduce the stress and the risk in the subject can now be the single point of contact. Is there a preferable place or location in terms of having those conversations? I mean, do you go to their home address or? Or does it really depend on the circumstances? It really depends on the circumstances. If we can go visit someone at home, that's great because they can feel comfortable in their environment. But of course, we're always concerned about officer safety issues. If the police were going to enter the home, or if the security department from a company was going to and employees on, we want to make sure that nobody's gonna get hurt. So more often in the corporate world, you'll see those interviews taking place either in the workplace, or just on a team's call or a zoom call, or you know, Google call just an online conversation so that you can still have a face to face conversation. But there's no risk of anyone getting hurt, because you have the distance of the computer between you. And lastly, can we talk about safety plans?

Philip Grindell:

What are they? And what are they? What are they? What are they? What do they look like? How do they work? How would you how'd you implement them?

Russell Palarea:

So we discussed earlier that there are two types of safety that need to be considered safety within the workplace, and then safety outside of the workplace for the scenario of corporate leadership, or corporate personnel being targeted, for example. And within the workplace, there are things that can be enhanced physical security enhancements at the workplace, improving the camera Security Camera System, installing more cameras, high definition cameras, improving access control at the company, and improving lighting in the parking lot and increasing the security perimeter, so that it's not just the building. Now, it's the building and the parking lot that are protected. So those are all sets at the workplace, The challenging thing that we discussed before is outside of the workplace, we have to give the potential targets of violence safety plans, so that they're thinking about safety at their home, they may not have a home security system, and it may be quite effective for them to instal one, they may not be thinking about varying their routes to and from work, or not going to the places that they often frequent for coffee, or pizza or whatever varying their routes, varying their locations visited, so that they are not time in place predictable, that's extremely important so that they're not being intercepted by someone, it's always going to be unique to the case, in terms of what recommendations that we give to a particular potential target of an attack. And we'll look at the nuances of the case, the distance between the target and the subject, the amount of resources that has to be put into making that approach, the violence history of that individual making the approach and assessing the level of risk to a particular target. And obviously, the higher the risk is, the more resources will be poured into ramping up the security measures to protect that individual.

Philip Grindell:

That's been a fascinating discussion. And it's flown past it's nearly an hour, we've been chatting about this, and it's clear, you know, your passion and your expertise. And it's such an important subject, because there's so many, there's so many nuances to it. And I you know, I I kind of feel that the climate we're in now both in the US in the UK, where we're increasingly kind of binary in our in our views on things and the sort of hostility seem to be bubbling everywhere in terms of, you know, the workplace that the home place, and all every kind of issue that goes on now that these issues are going to be more and more prevalent. And, you know, not just the school shootings, not just the kind of Insell movement, but, you know, disputes between individuals, disputes between employers as potentially the economy changes and people are laid off and what have you. So I think, you know, I'm hugely grateful Russell for your time and your expertise and your, your ability to really kind of communicate that to us, because it's been, it's been so helpful and so interesting. I'm absolutely delighted to have had you as a guest on on the podcast, and I'm sure that the listeners will get so much of that. Is there any kind of final sort of nugget of wisdom that you've held back that you want to share with us before you before you go?

Russell Palarea:

Absolutely. Thank you, for your listeners, and for everyone out there, the public, it's really important that people understand that this is not a law enforcement problem. It's not a mental health problem. It's not a family problem. It's everyone's problem. And we're all part of the solution. The police may not be seeing the concerning behaviour, but the family is seeing it and it's up to the family to notify the police or notify that former employer tell somebody that there's something concerning going on. If we start talking to each other. We put those pieces of the puzzle together to understand what we're dealing with with risk of this subject. We have to have people pay attention. maintain situational awareness. Recognise when you're seeing Doing something that makes you concerned that a person may be acting out violently, if the hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, then you have a concern for violence, you need to tell somebody. So that notification is step one. Now the entity that's notified needs to know how to investigate this, whether that's the local police, the Federal Police, the company, the school, but they need to understand this threat assessment model. There are a number of great publications out there that discuss how to conduct these investigations. But it's important for the public to understand these are not investigations into elements of a crime going for a prosecution. These are investigations into violence risk factors, that may lead to a person making a conscious decision to commit a violent attack. And once we've got the information gathered in the investigation, now we implement the management strategies. And that may include the police, and it may include the mental health clinicians, and it may include the family, what's important there is that they're all working together as a team. This is a team approach. It takes a team solution, the family, communicating with the police, communicating with the clinicians, who are treating the subject, all sharing that information, so that we're aware of the level of risk and how to get that person to ultimately change their mind and not act out violently.

Philip Grindell:

And the key element here is that protective intelligence is around prevention. It's not around prediction. It's about trying to prevent somebody doing something violent. Because

Russell Palarea:

we ultimately cannot predict human behaviour with 100% accuracy. So in the threat assessment and management world, we don't discuss prediction, we discuss assessment, we can assess the level of risk posed, we can assess probabilities, we can't predict. But once we've assessed if we have a violence risk concern with that subject, we have to implement that management strategy. Because we detect risk, we now need to mitigate risk.

Philip Grindell:

Brilliant, Russell, once again, thank you so much for your time. It's been an absolutely fantastic discussion. And from all here at the online bodyguard, thank you very, very much indeed. Yeah, fascinating discussion. There were Russell and just for any of the listeners out there, I mean, should any of these issues that we talked about today, any of the workplace violence issues or other issues that we discussed? If you are experiencing those if you are, you know, someone that does reach out to us here at diffuse, that's what we're here for. And we can help and we really would love to hear from you. So anybody that's got any concerns or has heard anything today that sparks something in them, give us a call at diffuse or email us and we'd look forward to hearing from you. Take care everyone