Mass killings are happening at shockingly high rates this year with an average of one mass killing per week in the United States. The two most common sites for these attacks are schools and workplaces, however, there are some emerging strategies that can help school and workplace leaders recognize suspicious or alarming behavior and intervene on it before a violent event comes to fruition. One of these strategies is called a threat assessment, and they have been proven to help stop both school and workplace violence through intervention and rehabilitation.
A threat assessment is the practice of determining the legitimacy of a threat or the seriousness of someone’s concerning behavior, and whether or not those threats will become a reality. Threat assessments aren’t meant to get people in trouble, but are designed to recognize concerning behavior and threats, intervene before it’s too late, and set the person in question back on track.
How Do Threat Assessments Work?
First, your workplace or school must designate a threat assessment team. For workplaces, this team usually consists of a representative from the top executives of the company, a representative or two from HR, and the manager of the person in question. For schools, the team usually consists of SRO’s (School Resource Officers), counselors and deans. These teams are not set in stone, however, and organizations are encouraged to appoint whoever they see fit to be on the threat assessment team.
So far, nine states have adopted laws requiring threat assessment teams in their schools. These laws ensure that teams are investigating and intervening on threats and reports in their schools. There is currently no federal law that require schools or workplaces to have threat assessment teams and the responsibility lies solely on each state, but the recent violence in Louisville and Nashville has brought the importance of threat assessments back to light.
Threat assessment teams then usually go through a five-step process to conduct a threat assessment. Those steps consist of:
- Gather information and discuss
- Interview person in question
- Post-interview evaluation
If the team decides that the threat is credible, they may intervene on the subject.
Commonly, the threat assessment team will ask questions regarding what is troubling the person, investigate their past, check their mental health history, and try and find motive for their behavior. Again, threat assessments are not meant to get someone in trouble, but to intervene on troubling behavior before it’s too late.
Threat Assessments In Action
A report from the U.S. Secret Service analyzed more than 60 cases of threat assessments and reports concerning behavior preventing school shootings, proving the effectiveness of threat assessments. According to the report, 56 percent of attackers leak their plans to someone online or in person, also illustrating the ability for some of these crimes to be prevented.
James Murray, Director of the Secret Service said, “Every day, the Secret Service employs threat assessment methodologies as part of our protective mission. Individuals contemplating violence often exhibit observable behaviors, and when community members report those behaviors, tragedy can be averted.”
How Kokomo24/7® Can Help
Kokomo24/7® understands that each school and workplace have its own set of unique needs. We also recognize the power and importance of having a robust, yet easy-to-use anonymous reporting system to act as a violence prevention tool. Our anonymous reporting system streamlines the complex task of both tracking and managing reported incidents, leading to a safer environment and better solutions.
Reports are then automatically integrated into our incident management system which features one centralized dashboard to help you collect and respond to both the predictable and unpredictable. Our software maintains a database of all incidents, allowing users to better connect data points to understand what is going on and decide when a threat assessment is necessary.
Once ingested into the incident management tool, users can send tasks or updates to the appropriate departments or people using our communication management system which can help improve workflow, save time and keep communication open to ensure better management of both predictable, and unpredictable health and safety challenges.
Ever since Kokomo24/7® was founded in 2018, we have been a leader in compliance and risk management solutions for all things health and safety. Kokomo proudly serves schools, communities, and workplaces by helping them implement their health, safety, and well-being initiatives. Our mission is to deliver highly effective, easy-to-use, and trusted compliance and risk management solutions that bridge the gap between public safety and technology.
Whether you work for a small or large organization, we want to hear from you! Contact us today to learn more!