RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As the nation mourns lives lost in the California bar shooting, local security officers are reviewing their own protocols to keep you safe.
A Richmond security expert says the tragedy out West could happen anywhere.
It’s why he’s paying close attention to the mass shooting in the event he’s forced to spring into action here.
When there’s a mass shooting, seconds can save lives.
Many of the victims from Wednesday night’s mass shooting were like any bar-goer - getting away to let loose in a fun environment never suspecting tragedy would strike.
“It’s very devastating,” said Ellis White of White Security Services.
He provides security at local bars routinely, including at 63Thirty5 on the Southside.
“In the line of business I do, that could have been us,” he said.
The deaths in California find him reviewing his own protocols.
“You start looking forward - to say what can we do different, what can we do to make our people a little safer?” he asked.
There are a few tricks of the trade that help him control the crowds.
“If they don’t give you eye contact,” he suggested.
“You pretty much just strike up a conversation. ‘Hey how are you doing tonight? Are you having a good time? Where are you from?’ Things of that nature. Once you get them to start talking, then you get a feel about their demeanor, but if they don’t say anything, then you know, hey we may have to watch this person,” he said.
Especially since bar-goers can sometimes become frustrated.
“It could be as simple as telling someone ‘Hey, you can’t get in with how you’re dressed,’” he continued.
Ellis encourages security officers to develop relationships.
“You can just pretty much tell the regulars that come in, if something is going on with them or if they just seem different or you can tell if people came from out-of-town. It’s all about how you talk to the person. Normally you can deflate any situation but if you have someone dead set on causing problems, usually you can stop that at the front door,” he said.
Hopefully in enough time to prevent the very worst.
“We’re not here to deter people or keep people out. We want them to have a good time."
Local bars are also teaming up with area police - hiring them as security officers wearing police gear for enhanced safety.