Security Expert Witness, Roger W. Chappell, ConsulTex and Associates Corporation
Security Expert Witness
With over 25 years of experience in the law enforcement and security industry, I bring some unique perspectives. My expertise encompasses, but is not limited to, premise security/inadequate security issues, apartments, high-rise buildings, bars or nightclubs, sports venues, and major events. My expertise has been built up over the years as a manager or security staff member, and law enforcement officer at numerous venues. As a manager, I have developed security plans for events such as “Super Bash” for Super Bowl XXXVI in Houston, Texas, bars and night clubs in downtown Houston, and developed security procedures for apartments. As a law enforcement officer, I have supervised officers and investigators as well as investigated hundreds of felony criminal offenses. During this time, I developed a stellar reputation for obtaining details from witnesses, victims and suspects.
I spent almost nine years in the United States Marine Corps. The last 3 ½ years was spent working as a Marine Security Guard in U. S. Embassies in Central America. The training and experience gained during that time prepared me for a future in the security industry. Charged primarily with protecting the classified material within the embassy, I also performed a variety of security related functions. These functions included, but were not limited to, controlling access to secure areas, searching offices for improperly stored classified material, escorting cleaning crews around secure areas, conducting perimeter checks for security breaches or potential breaches, and a variety of other functions.
As a law enforcement officer and investigator, security often became part of the criminal cases. I have investigated hundreds of shootings, robberies, kidnappings, and murders over my 22-year career. Most of those investigations required knowledge of security procedures. Everything from video surveillance, patrol activities, lighting, and access gates became part of the investigation.
I am not a technical expert. However, I can review any security plans for their completeness and thoroughness, offer training, advise for implementing a solid security plan, or assist attorneys with preparing their cases for either plaintiffs or defendants.
Law Enforcement Procedures
What is often lost on the public when there is scrutiny about police procedures is that police officers are not perfect. Police officers have families, have financial decisions to make, dental and medical appointments to keep, training and schools to attend, laundry to clean, and grass to cut. When a law enforcement officer is involved in an incident that brings public scrutiny, this is often lost on the public. Today’s social media has a way of spreading the word, most of the time inaccurately, thus beginning the public trial of the officer’s actions, prior to knowing all the facts. The rush to judgment often leads to public strife, riots, and other public outcries. With the most recent officer involved shootings getting so much public attention, law enforcement procedures face continuous scrutiny.
As a homicide and internal affairs investigator, I have investigated dozens of officer-involved shootings. One common denominator in all of these shootings revolved around the officer’s sense of fear at the time of the shooting. Most investigators are really good at documenting the incident itself, but they tend to miss the important things that occurred prior to the incident. I am an expert in obtaining the whole story. My belief is that the people that review these incidents need to understand what the officer was doing prior to the incident. For example, was the officer patrolling, sitting in a restaurant eating, having a conversation with a citizen, investigating a burglary, or any number of other activities. This helps to explain the officer’s mindset prior to the incident. Once a person understands the complete story, they can then make a decision about whether the officer acted appropriately in the incident.
An internal investigation usually begins when a complaint is filed with the agency. Sometimes, the incident is reported via social media, such as “YouTube” and brings some kind of discredit upon a law enforcement agency or business entity, or both. As a result, incidents need to be investigated thoroughly. Typically, the officer’s actions will be justified in the actual incident. However, there may be another department violation that the officer committed that should also be dealt with. These kinds of investigations, although not popular with the rank and file, are certainly necessary in an effort to maintain transparency and integrity of the department with the public in which it serves.
Use of Force
I have over 30 years of experience regarding the use of force. Most people only think about the use of force when an incident brings media attention. However, I have investigated hundreds of shootings. Every one of them involved the use of force. Some were justified others were not. But, security guards, bouncers, law enforcement officers, and regular citizens protecting their homes, all have different rules regarding their use of force and training requirements. It is important that when a person uses force, the rationale causing the use of force, the amount of force used, and its justification be clearly explained. Appropriate training and practice are two methods that help prevent huge payouts in lawsuits against security entities.
With a military back ground, private security guard experience in patrol and corporate security of a high rise building, mall security, and law enforcement, I provide a very knowledgeable background and understanding of when force is justified. Although social media has allowed thousands of videos to come to public scrutiny, the video is only one piece of evidence. Most videos only show the actual use of force. What about what led to the confrontation? Has any of that also been recorded? The complete picture must be formed prior to decisions being made by those scrutinizing cases. Sometimes, the use of force is justified. Sometimes, it is not. I can help get the answers.