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Campus Safety: Assessing and Managing Threats

NCJ Number
229956
Journal
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 79 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2010 Pages: 1-10
Author(s)
Mario Scalora, Ph.D.; Andre Simons, M.A.; Shawn VanSlyke, J.D.
Date Published
February 2010
Annotation
This article discusses campus safety and the renewed attention to the prevention of violence at colleges and universities brought about by the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.
Abstract
The authors of this article, two special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and an assistant professor of psychology, offer threat assessment and management strategies to deal with the increased demands faced by campus law enforcement, mental health, and administration officials. The article states that a collaborative and standardized assessment protocol can be a valuable tool in addressing the various internal and external threats to campus. Threat assessment is a prevention-oriented strategy that attempts to accurately identify risks and implement appropriate measures that are intended to minimize the potential for violence. Based on their own experiences, law enforcement officials, as well as other campus officials, can provide valuable insight in establishing threat assessment protocols. The authors offer lessons learned from their own practice and from the threat assessment literature. These lessons include: avoid tunnel vision; recognize campus values; assess threatening communications; share responsibility; pinpoint dangerous individuals; do not rely on expulsion; and use a single point of contact. An example is provided of a school that has successfully implemented a threat assessment team (TAT), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 6 notes