78ºF

Businesses reconsidering security plans after Illinois shooting

Local protection expert discusses how to keep everyone involved safe

ROANOKE, Va. – Businesses around the country are reconsidering their security plan when telling employees that they’re being fired. This comes after a longtime employee shot and killed five people Friday at a plant in an Illinois suburb when he was being fired.

Chris Ragone, who runs a protection firm in Botetourt County, said these incidents can happen anywhere. Companies hire him to be in the room when there’s a potential for violence.

“This one hits so close to home because I've sat in on terminations. I've been just outside of board rooms on terminations. I've come in after terminations where employees have made threats,” he said.

He believes it’s important to know if the employee has a criminal history, but even if they don’t, precautions may still be a good idea. He said managers are consulting with him, saying they’re scared after seeing the news in Illinois.

“Just this morning I met with an HR person and the reason they had called me was she was going to fire someone today and she told me since this happened in Aurora she hasn't slept much,” he said.

Over the years he’s had to step into situations like these, de-escalate them and escort people out of the building. Often, he wears plainclothes -- to not make his position obvious.

Ragone said extra personnel would have been beneficial for the plant in Illinois.

“I could have been in the boardroom, introduced as, ‘Hey, this is Chris from corporate,’” he said.

He also provides protection if an employee is making threats after they have been fired.

More than 2 million Americans each year report being victims of workplace violence, according to the federal government. Many more cases go unreported.