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Protect your staff! The streets aren’t safe.

“Under pressure, you don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.”  This legendary quote from a navy seal highlights that the success of an operation is determined by how well you are prepared for the moment.  

In recent years millions of dollars have been invested in disrupting the cycles of violence, incarceration and death that occur in our nation’s communities.  Culturally competent men and women with shared life experiences have been employed to engage the hardest to reach members of our community.  We call those “community change agents,” Credible Messengers or Violence Interrupters.  But are the staff professionally equipped to address the threats/challenges that they will encounter?  

At the Academy for Transformational Change (ATC), we believe that the health and safety of your staff is non-negotiable.  We’ve been on the frontlines where you and your team live and understand what you’re up against.  We understand the threat of violence (assaults, shootings), theft (robbery, carjacking), liability (lawsuits) and damage to reputation that your agency and team members are exposed to. We believe that our support and expertise can be directly responsible for your staff arriving home safely and the longevity of your initiative. 


Research shows that investing in community-based services are one of the most effective and cost-conscious ways of protecting public safety and helping people succeed. There is a general understanding that staff should make every reasonable effort to avoid situations that seriously threaten their safety.  Administrators commonly state that staff should always withdraw from a threatening environment/confrontation if circumstances permit.  However, most initiatives fail to establish safeguards to protect staff or institute protocols ahead of time to cover threats to safety or security. A few of the top protocol shortcomings we regularly encounter are: 

  • ZERO tools or training to respond to safety or security incidents 
  • ZERO policies for a weapon encounters (i.e., a credible messenger engages someone with a knife or gun in their vehicle or in the workplace)
  • ZERO prior consultation with a legal counsel 
  • ZERO insurance coverage 
  • ZERO safety and security training for community contacts (i.e., home visits) 

We see the above shortfalls over and over during training sessions and site visits. Each time we do, we present the organization with information about our comprehensive protocol development model that deals with the harsh realities of violence prevention and credible messenger initiatives at a strategic and tactical level – Building a Safe and Effective System (BASES). 


BASES is a research-backed system to comprehensively address safety and security shortfalls before an unfortunate incident occurs. 

It’s broken down into four phases: 

  1. Initial Assessment— a detailed discussion to assess a group’s readiness and build a custom curriculum based on the specific goals and best practices.
  2. Strategy and Tactics Foundation—a tailored, scenario-based plan of action delivered over three seminars/workshops.
  3. Coaching and Program Development—fine-tuning the organization’s new safety and security protocols over six 1-hour virtual coaching sessions.
  4. Capstone Tabletop Exercise—a customized “mock crisis” tabletop exercise where the group can practice and test out their new safety protocols.

ATC is dedicated to disrupting the cycles of poverty, violence, incarceration, and death in our nation’s communities.  We are steadfast in our efforts to support organizations in investing in the development of safety protocols to fully protect the initiative, organizations, staff, and all participants. If your initiative is built to support the community, we encourage you to contact ATC!  

Remember—your safety is ALWAYS non-negotiable!