Lion’s Gate Security: Omaha’s Finest

*Story Written for the Daily Record –

What would you do if an armed gunman came into your school or place of business? At Lion’s Gate Security, owners Joseph Hodges Jr. and Calvin Jones are determined to help people prepare for the worst.
Serving 20 years together in the gang unit of the Omaha Police Department, Hodges and Jones were often partners. Eventually, Hodges joined the military as a nuclear missiles technician, completing two tours of duty in the Middle East. In 2007, towards the end of Hodges’ military career, both he and Jones retired on the same exact day and during a two-year hiatus, they decided to bring their longstanding idea of starting a security company to life. After attending several networking events through the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Lion’s Gate Security was up and running.
Now the Chamber has repaid the favor, and has chosen Lion’s Gate Security as their May Small Business of the Month.
Comprised of over 100 employees, Lion’s Gate Security primarily hires former law enforcement, firefighters, and EMTs to fill out their diverse force. However, Hodges and Jones pride themselves in also hiring those with little to no experience, because they tend to stay on and learn everything in security from A-Z.
Hodges stresses, “the problem with other security companies is that they do have a high turnover rate, so we get to really train our guys.”
With a group of trained EMTs headed by former fire captain Marvin Ervin, Lion’s Gate provides emergency services during Storm Chasers games as well as at performances at the Orpheum and the Holland Center. They are all equipped with CPR and AED training.
It is their shooter preparedness program, however, that is beginning to take notice in the community.
As Hodges puts it, “we just think security and safety should go together.” By marrying their two sets of experiences, Hodges and Jones have been able to implement cutting-edge techniques to keep companies, schools, and churches safe.
However, one of the biggest challenges to their job, according to Hodges, is that “everyone needs security, but most people think they don’t. People have a false sense of security.”
Unfortunately, we are what Hodges and Jones refer to as a “911 society.”
“We call 911 and we wait and hope for a miracle. In our training, we call that the ‘first fatal five.’ That’s when you use your training to fight, protect your daughter or girlfriend, or run from danger. We train them to protect themselves until the police get there.”
Since they themselves were 911, they know that officers hope to get to an active shooting in five minutes, but victims need a plan of action other than simply calling 911 to keep themselves safe.
Julie Sanford, an 11-year veteran of the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department, is now conducting seminars for the public on active shooter preparedness.
“You hear in the news about when an active shooter comes into a business, and you hear people saying, ‘we should have seen the signs.’ Well, the problem with that is … there are all these ‘dots.’ The key in active shooter prevention is what’s called the threat assessment team, who teach moms and dads what to look for and how to connect the dots,” she said.
Things like abnormal changes in behavior as well as violent or suicidal tendencies can be indicators, but one sign does not necessarily mean a person will act. As Sanford explained, “It’s finding out if somebody is a threat, not if somebody makes a threat.” She continued, “One of the biggest things that many people are in denial about is violent video games. Every single active shooter that they know of to date – almost every single one – has been addicted to violent video games, and there’s a lot of research out there about this.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that these “random” acts of violence are not typically as random as one might think, as research is beginning to show. Active shooters tend to be disgruntled employees, jilted lover or mentally ill individuals with some sort of “reason” behind their actions.
While Lion’s Gate Security works primarily for private institutions, Sanford insists that, “We would love to educate everyone.” Whether it is a business, church, school or any other public place, security and safety education is something that anyone can benefit from. The company can also provide physical uniformed security for events, access control, alarms, cameras, as well as CPR and AED training.
Soon, Sanford will begin a class called “Stop the Bleed,” aimed at slowing active bleeding and clearing airways during active shooter situations, as these are the two main causes of fatalities. “It might happen in a grocery store, or wherever you’re at. Why doesn’t everybody have a tourniquet in their purse these days? It’s the reality that we’re in right now,” Sanford stressed, recalling the tragic VonMaur shooting in 2007. With a passion for security and awareness, the three officers – Hodges, Jones, and Sanford – all called themselves “watch dogs.”
“Whenever somebody moves, always be aware and cognizant of who they are and what they are doing,” Hodges warned. Having this consistent awareness for their surroundings is what truly sets this security team apart from the pack.
Lion’s Gate Security is truly a “one stop shop for all of your security needs,” Sanford said. The company can do anything from providing and installing security cameras to doing all of an organization’s emergency preparedness training. Offering threat assessments and security surveys, the team at Lion’s Gate can give a corporation a clear picture of whether a business is prepared for the worst. They even have lipstick tasers and cellphone stun guns for sale, to help people feel reassured as they go about their everyday routine.
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