Threat assessment training stresses importance of preventing violence

Foundation of Targeted Violence Prevention
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 7:31 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Law enforcement, Fire, EMS and school officials packed a Northeast Wisconsin technical college lecture pit, all with the same goal:

“It’s designed to share best practices on threat assessment and mass attacks in public spaces,” explained Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D).

Presenters at the threat assessment training went over how to spot and respond to danger.

“If you go into that classroom and you see how many bright minds are in there, those are the people that are constantly thinking, creating that mental blueprint in their minds of that what-if scenario that you hope and you pray never occurs,” says Cmdr. Kevin Warych from the Green Bay Police Department.

The Office of School Safety (OSS) presented “best practice” recommendations for school Behavioral and Threat Assessment Management teams during the training. The state created the office after the Parkland school shooting in Florida left 17 people dead and 17 more injured.

81% of the time when a school-violence event happens, somebody knew the incident was going to happen, according to the OSS They are emphasizing just how important threat assessment training is.

“If they are posing a risk, what are we going to do about it? How are we going to intervene, effectively? How are we going to monitor that child’s success?” asked OSS Dir. Trish Kilpin.

The training uses a number of books and research from the National Threat Assessment Center to look back at previous attacks - and learn from them.

“People engage in preparation – and they go down a pathway to violence. That’s true whether it’s a smaller scale attack or a larger mass attack,” Kaul explained.

The Speak Up-Speak Out app and website make it easy for students and community members to report possibly unsafe situations in their schools. It has received more than 6,000 potentially life-saving tips since it started two years ago.

“Since its inception, we’ve had over 100 opportunities to intervene when someone was concerned a student planning an act of violence,” Kilpin said.

That intervention looks a lot different depending on the situation.

“Sometimes that’s something as simple as a welfare check, checking in on a student to make sure they’re doing okay. Other times it could be a law enforcement response. It depends on the nature of the information,” Kaul said.

The Office of School Safety has an online course: Foundations of Targeted Violence Prevention for anyone interested in learning more. Here’s the link: