That’s one of the values that Loomis, a security company whose employees include guards who transfer cash between banks, boasts on its Web site. What a shame that those values aren’t being upheld.
On Oct. 4, 2007, two Loomis employees were murdered while on the job in Northeast Philadelphia. William Widmaier and Joseph Alullo were gunned down as their partner, Joseph Walczak, was forced to look on from inside the armored vehicle he was driving.
Immediately after, Loomis came under scrutiny. People wanted answers. Do the employees carry weapons? Do they wear bulletproof vests? Are employees trained to handle such an attack?
Ed Lindsey, an operations manager who works out of Loomis’s Northeast Regional Office, said that employees have the option of carrying either a personal or a company firearm. As for bulletproof vests, employees are pretty much on their own.
Evidently, Loomis has put a price on its employees’ lives. You know, the ones to whom they owe a safe work environment. Loomis does not supply its valued employees with vests, which can run up to $800 a piece, depending on size.
“I’m a pretty small guy, and mine was about $550,” Lindsey said.
The best Loomis can do is offer its workers an optional loan. The company will take $100 off the initial price, and subsequently take $25 from the employees’ biweekly paychecks until the vests are paid off.
“Vests are pretty costly,” Lindsey said.
That is exactly why the burden to pay for them shouldn’t fall on the workers. Loomis just doesn’t get it.
As far as training goes, all employees are trained in various areas, including weaponry and driving. Workers are required to watch videos and take tests on the subjects.
However, Loomis has overlooked its standardization of company regulations and conditions. The international company standardizes its training throughout each country. Therefore, every Loomis employee in the United States is trained in exactly the same way, as Lindsey, who works for the Taunton, Mass. branch, explained. Workers handling such large amounts of money in small towns are not nearly as susceptible to crime as those who work in large cities.
Lindsey had no explanation for this. He works in a small town, population 56,781.
“Maybe the other guy should have been looking around more,” Lindsey said, as he wondered out loud how Widmaier and Alullo could have possibly been killed.
Which guy? The one too hurt and scared to leave the safety of the truck? Or the ones who were being fired at, sans expensive bulletproof vests?
Since the murders, Loomis appears to have taken no steps to further ensure the safety of its employees.
When I asked Lindsey why two-person teams have been spotted instead of the usual three-person ones, he told me that it was “privileged information.”
Or, more likely, he didn’t want to make the company look bad by saying that in those cases, only one employee gets out of the truck and handles the money alone. Sounds like a safe work environment to me.
That ought to discourage the murderers.