Dealing with Unethical Clients in Active Shooter Preparedness

Dealing with Unethical Clients in Active Shooter Preparedness


This paper addresses the ethical dilemmas and challenges security professionals face when clients insist on implementing potentially harmful active shooter preparedness strategies. Drawing from a case study of a consultation regarding the placement of rally points during active shooter incidents, this analysis highlights the conflicts between best practices and client preferences that compromise safety.


Active shooter preparedness involves critical decision-making that can save lives. Security professionals often encounter situations where client demands conflict with ethical security practices and established emergency response protocols. This case study explores a scenario where a client preferred a centralized rally location despite the security risks, showcasing the broader issue of ethical conflicts in safety consultations.

Ethical Dilemmas in Security Consultancy

1. Client Resistance to Best Practices

Clients may resist adopting best practices due to misconceptions about convenience and control. In the discussed case, the client insisted on a centralized rally point for internal accountability and information dissemination, ignoring the increased risks and complexity this added to emergency response efforts.

Supporting Discussion:

  • Risk Analysis: Centralized rally points in active shooter scenarios significantly increase danger, as they may fall within hot zones, complicating evacuations and emergency responses.

2. Balancing Client Autonomy with Public Safety

Security consultants must navigate the fine line between respecting client autonomy and insisting on standards that prioritize public safety. The consultant in the case study faced pressure to endorse a plan that he believed was unsafe and potentially legally problematic.

Supporting Discussion:

  • Legal and Ethical Responsibility: Consultants are bound by professional ethics and may face legal liabilities if they knowingly endorse unsafe practices.

3. Managing Misinformation and Education

A key challenge is correcting client misconceptions without causing offense or losing the contract. Educating clients about the statistical likelihood of risks and the tactical reasoning behind safety protocols is essential but can be difficult.

Supporting Discussion:

  • Educational Outreach: Effective communication strategies that include data and case studies can help align client expectations with safety realities.

4. Ethical Implications of Compromise

When clients insist on potentially harmful strategies, consultants must decide whether to compromise or stand firm on ethical practices. This decision can affect the consultant’s reputation and professional integrity.

Supporting Discussion:

  • Reputation Management: Upholding safety standards enhances long-term professional credibility and can avert disastrous outcomes.

Recommendations for Handling Unethical Client Demands

  1. Firm Advocacy for Best Practices: Security experts should clearly communicate the dangers of unethical demands and advocate for strategies aligned with industry standards.
  2. Use of Data and Case Studies: Providing empirical evidence and referencing established protocols can help persuade clients to adopt safer practices.
  3. Ethical Boundaries in Consultancy Contracts: Clearly outline ethical boundaries and safety standards in consultancy contracts to avoid ambiguous situations.
  4. Professional Development on Ethical Issues: Ongoing education on ethical issues in security consultancy can prepare professionals to handle difficult client interactions effectively.
  5. Building a Network of Support: Engaging with professional organizations and networks can provide support and guidance when facing ethical dilemmas.

The Author’s Conclusion

Dealing with unethical client demands in active shooter preparedness requires a careful balance of expertise, ethical integrity, and effective communication. Security professionals must prioritize public safety and legal responsibilities over client preferences to ensure that their practices do not inadvertently increase the risks during critical incidents.

Stay lethal My Friends,



  • Professional ethics guidelines and case studies from security industry associations.
  • Legal precedents and analyses related to security consultancy responsibilities.

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