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Dealing with Problematic Behavior Presented By Tim Gray February 28, 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Dealing with Problematic Behavior Presented By Tim Gray February 28, 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dealing with Problematic Behavior Presented By Tim Gray February 28, 2008

2 There are no hard-written rules and recommendations that will cover all circumstances that may occur in the various reading rooms. However a few activities are actually illegal and would require immediate police response. Other behaviors that are not necessarily illegal, but violate library policy can be dealt with internally by library staff and security if necessary.

3 Actions that would warrant immediate police intervention Carrying a weapon Damaging property (either library or personal) Stealing materials Physically or verbally abusing staff or patrons Patrons under the influence of drugs or alcohol Medical emergencies Failure to show proper identification Failure to comply with material checking upon exiting reading room Demonstrations or pranks Inappropriate sexual behavior Smoking Emotionally disturbed patrons

4 Actions that could initially be handled internally by library staff and/or library security Eating or drinking in non-designated areas Creating loud noises –Talking loudly –Using audio equipment –Talking on cell phone Inappropriate attire/personal hygiene problems Interfering with another persons use of the library Viewing obscene or inappropriate materials on PC or laptop Wandering through unauthorized or secure areas

5 Handling specific behaviors Angry Verbal Abuse Destruction of Library Materials Theft of Library Materials Personal Hygiene Issues Refusal to follow library rules Disruptive behavior Peculiar behavior Sexual Offenses Verbal or Physical threats Possession of a weapon Demonstrations or pranks

6 Angry Verbal Abuse Listen supportively with empathy and understanding. Be aware that patrons venting inner frustrations and anger is probably not directed at you. Acknowledge existence of problem, explain procedures, describe steps that can be taken to resolve issue. If the problem persists, then enlist the assistance from a co- worker or supervisor. If the complaint is legitimate, refer problem to a supervisor. Personal abuse should not be tolerated. If a patrons tirade goes beyond criticism of library policies and focuses on you (particularly if racial, sexist or ageist in nature) retreat from the confrontation immediately and call another staff member for assistance. Patron should be asked to leave the library and if necessary contact HUPD for intervention.

7 Destruction of Library Materials Examples include writing in books, cutting or tearing out pages, damaging desktops, using library materials destructively. If action seems to be accidental, unintentional or fairly minor, tell the patron to stop. If action seems deliberate and seriously destructive, call HUPD and describe the situation. Secure damaged materials as evidence and collect as much information on the patron as possible. If the patron leaves the area, be prepared to provide the police with a detailed physical description. If material is damaged and nobody was caught in the act, contact HCL Security for assistance in obtaining a police report.

8 Active Theft of Library Materials Try to get another witness to the behavior Always assume the innocence of the person Write down a complete description of the suspected patron, to include any information used on their registration card Verify any borrowed items are actually missing when returned Contact either HCL Security or HUPD to initiate a police report

9 Personal Hygiene Issues Examples include a patrons physical condition such that others complain of foul odors. If patrons behavior is otherwise normal, do not take any action, unless you have received at least two complaints. After second complaint, explain to patron that others have complained and ask patron to leave. If patron does not exit, contact HUPD and explain that you have an unwanted guest and have received numerous complaints.

10 Refusal to Follow Library Rules Examples include eating, drinking, smoking, using improper materials such as cutting instruments, pens and other policies in place in the particular room –Enforcement is everyones responsibility –Patrons found breaking an existing policy should be reminded of the policy, asked to comply and offered alternatives –If patron does not respond appropriately, contact HCL Security for assistance

11 Sexual Offenses Examples include indecent exposure, inappropriate sexual advances or other inappropriate sexual actions Immediately contact HUPD and explain the situation, give as much detail about the offender as possible Be supportive of the victims feelings and if possible move the victim to a private area If appropriate, have the victim contact HUPD in order to provide additional specific details

12 Verbal or Physical Threats or Altercations Patrons who engage in fighting may be guilty of assault, battery and disturbing the peace If you see an altercation, immediately notify HUPD, do not try to defuse the situation yourself Direct other patrons away from the area while awaiting the police response

13 Possession of a Weapon Examples include firearms, knifes, switchblades and box cutters. If you suspect a patron is carrying a weapon: –Immediately contact HUPD with a complete description of offender –Alert the remainder of the staff in the area –Keep your distance, do not provoke patron –Do not make patron feel watched or cornered –Evacuate if immediate threat is felt

14 Demonstrations or Pranks Examples include sit-ins, yelling, chanting, clapping or other juvenile antics Quick disturbances might be tolerated, dependant on immediate threat or danger Longer and more organized actions should not be tolerated and HUPD should be contacted for assistance Do not try to defuse the behavior yourself, await the assistance of HUPD

15 Proper Interaction with Disruptive Patrons Ask for positive identification Ask patron to remain until a further investigation can be completed Call HUPD, explain the situation, provide the patrons name, description and the location Contact your supervisor for assistance Present patrons identification to responding officers NEVER attempt to physically restrain or detain a patron, leave that to HUPD

16 Use of Panic Buttons Using the panic button will simultaneously notify both HUPD and the Widener Library Mass Ave Security desk. HUPD will initiate a Hot response with at least two officers HCL Security will also dispatch both the security patroller and HCL Operations staff

17 Use of Panic Buttons Should only be used in cases when placing a telephone call might put someone at risk and the threat of immediate danger or harm is imminent. Hitting multiple buttons might confuse the responders and send them to multiple areas. If safe and if possible call HUPD to inform them of the situation that they are responding to. This will help them determine how to manage their response. Accidental activations – immediately contact HUPD for clarification - they will still respond.

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