Orlando Mass Shooting Highlights the Need for Screening of New and Long-term Employees

Do you conduct periodic background checks of long-term employees, as well as screen new hires? It’s something you should consider.

In light of reports that a security officer was responsible for Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando, Fla., campus security and public safety executives might want to re-consider how (or if) they screen new-hires, as well as consider conducting periodic screenings of staff members who have been with their organization for several years.

Many news sources are reporting that Sunday’s shooter, who Campus Safety is not mentioning by name, was on the federal government’s radar as being a suspected sympathizer of ISIL and had been interviewed by agents on several occasions. Despite this, he was able to get a job as a security guard at the St. Lucie county courthouse where he screened people entering the facility for weapons. Right now, it is unclear when the gunman became radicalized and if that radicalization and the federal investigation of him occurred before or after he was hired by the courthouse. It’s also not clear how much of the results of the investigation were shared with the gunman’s employer. ABC News is reporting, however, that the gunman had made inflammatory remarks to co-workers that prompted government officials to investigate him. That said, federal investigators did not consider him to be a threat.

It is known that about a week or so go – after he had been on the federal government’s radar for quite some time—that the gunman was able to legally purchase the handgun, assault rifle and ammunition that were used during the attack.

There is also the possibility that the attack was a hate crime. The gunman’s father told NBC News that his son was angry after seeing two men in Miami kissing. It’s possible that the gunman’s primary motivation was hate of the LGBTQ community, and that only at the last minute (during his attack)  did he decide to claim allegiance to ISIL. We’ll never know.

That being said, the following materials might help CS readers screen new recruits, as well as monitor officers and other staff members who have been employed by the organization for several years to determine if anything in an employee’s life may have developed since they were hired that would cause concern.

Background Checks: Another Important Layer of K-12 Campus Security
4 Things Background Checks Often Uncover
10 Tips for Conducting Better Background Checks
Smarter Hiring: Reducing the Insider Threat
How to Recruit Campus Police and Security Personnel
You’ve Suspended a Potential Aggressor … Now What?

Dept. of Ed: Don’t Ask Questions about Past Arrests, Convictions During College Application Process
Enhancing Campus Safety with a Threat Assessment Program
3 Mistakes That Can Derail Your Threat Assessment Process

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About the Author

robin hattersley headshot

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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