(What’s it like on the front line supporting the firm’s clients? What are the challenges the firm’s experts help senior business executives, general counsel, board members and other decision-makers address? Read the Hillard Heintze Front Line Blog’s case study for this week.)
Anonymous Complaint Backfires on a Stalker
When an anonymous caller reported that one of the company’s receptionists was slandering its management team, the company prepared to take action. But it quickly learned that the caller was an individual known to their employee who had been stalking her for over a year. While calls to local law enforcement resulted in an initial flurry of incident reports and administrative filings, progress in the case quickly stalled.
Protective Intelligence Experts
In these circumstances, Hillard Heintze’s protective intelligence experts, behavioral threat assessment specialists and retired law enforcement executives collaborate very closely with the company, its security and legal departments, mental health professionals if necessary and the employee – as well as appropriate local, state and federal authorities – to undertake a relatively wide range of potential responses. Every case is different – and the most appropriate courses of action depend on factors such as the urgency of the threat-related circumstances, case history, information known and available about the alleged stalker, and to what extent the parties involved seek protection, intervention and prosecution, among many other tactics, strategies and outcomes.
In this particular case, Hillard Heintze’s first order of business was obtaining a photo of the subject for dissemination to employees and facility staff. Next, the firm conducted an investigation of the alleged stalker, analyzed his “dangerousness” and potential to inflict harm, and advised the company and employee on key findings, options, recommendations and next steps. Hillard Heintze’s experts also contacted former colleagues at a major federal agency, determined their primary points of contact with local law enforcement and mounted a multi-jurisdictional team of both internal and external experts that began responding quickly, professionally and effectively.
Strong Assurance and Confidence
This case is ongoing. But the actions already taken – and the steps currently underway – have brought the company, the victim, and her family a strong level of assurance and confidence that (1) the employee’s personal safety has markedly improved and (2) that the matter will be resolved shortly – to their satisfaction.
Unplugged: The Project Manager’s Perspective
“In any stalker-related incident, timing can be absolutely critical. Protection, of course, is always paramount. But move too quickly – and you can undermine your options to ensure the victim’s safety in the future. I feel very comfortable with how this particular case is unfolding. I believe the many diverse experts and professionals who are contributing to resolving this matter are doing an outstanding job.”
The ACTION WEDNESDAY Tool Box: Two Key Take-Aways
1. Understand that law enforcement authorities can only take action once a law has been broken. Preventing an act of violence requires engaging experts in protective intelligence as well as threat identification, assessment, and management.
2. When federal, state and local law enforcement entities investigate a potentially criminal matter, their priorities, approach and actions are driven by their commitment to protect and serve the public. While the intent and outcome of their efforts often correspond with the interests of a private business or corporation, that is not always the case. Under these circumstances, it can be advantageous to engage the counsel of an independent team of senior security experts and former law enforcement executives who can serve as your liaison and advisor.