Operations

'Bandit Shield' Discourages Would-be Robbers

Program compiles robbery prevention best practices into a comprehensive training program.

April 12, 2012
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

While robberies may be accepted as a fact of life at some financial institutions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and San Antonio Police Department recently launched a program that shows it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Bandit Shield Program is only in its first few months of testing in the San Antonio area, but it’s already making waves. The program’s primary purpose is to prevent financial institution robberies and to assist all levels of law enforcement with robbery investigations.

Bandit Shield compiles financial institutions’ best practices into a comprehensive training program. Once a financial institution complies with most of the program’s requirements, it places a decal in the window indicating it’s a highly secure facility.

Local law enforcement and the FBI collaborated to develop the program with input from financial institutions about the most effective methods they use to deter robberies and aid in solving crimes.

San Antonio Credit Union (SACU) is one institution that contributed best practice suggestions to the program. The $2.9 billion credit union institution also received the first decal in the area, showing the credit union has complied with the program’s strict security and training requirements.

Jim Peters, SACU’s loss prevention officer (pictured at top of page, third from right), says the credit union is robbed about once a year despite its dedication to maintaining up-to-date security policies.

“You’d like to think that all financial institutions are giving 110% toward robbery policies, procedures, or processes,” says Peters. “But like so many companies in other industries, some have really good and well-established procedures and some have barely any at all. At SACU we try to stay on the cutting edge of that.”

Peters says Bandit Shield is one more way it can stay on top of the best security practices.

Erik Vasys, FBI special agent and media coordinator, San Antonio Division (pictured at top of page, second from left), explains why the program should make a dent in the number of robberies and escaped robbers.

“Bandit Shield provides a uniform base of training for financial institutions that we know works,” says Vasys. “All the things that we emphasize in this training are things that have been proven to work. The FBI hasn’t invented anything new; we’ve just gathered up best practices.”

Vasys says it’s common for the FBI to interview financial institution robbers once they’re in custody.

“When we arrest a bank robber we talk to them,” he says. “If they’re cooperative, we ask them what works and what doesn’t work, and why they picked a certain bank.”

This helps law enforcement address those financial institutions’ weaknesses.

Next: Training is crucial

Post a comment to this story

heroes

What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive