Vol. 2 April 2022: Security Threat Assessment

I’m never quite sure how the saying goes: Is it “The best defense is a good offense” or “The best offense is a good defense”? You may be thinking, it’s the same. Maybe it is, but either way, I think we can all agree, being proactive and prepared usually leads to the best outcome. 

FSS embraces the philosophy that proactivity, a strong offensive action, instead of a passive attitude, will better prepare us for obstacles, threats and other variants that may hinder our schools and workplaces. When working with our clients, we execute this proactive approach by training, preparing, and empowering them, to be fundamentally ready for the unimaginable.

Last month FSS visited the Warwick Central School District for this very reason, to evaluate their buildings, grounds, and district procedures to better prepare them for the unexpected.

How exactly can one prepare for the unexpected? That is a good question, and the answer is what FSS does best- conduct a threat assessment. 

A threat assessment is a violence prevention strategy that is widely used in schools and workplaces to both intervene before an act of violence occurs and to respond to threats once they have occurred.  Threat assessment is a process that involves identifying student/workers threats, determining the seriousness of threats, and developing intervention plans to protect potential victims and address the underlying conflict that led to the threat. The goals are to protect potential victims from harm and to intervene to address the cause and underlying issues affecting the person(s) who made the threat.

The key principles of threat assessment include the following:

  1. "Targeted violence is the result of an understandable process of thinking and behavior."
  2. "Targeted violence stems from an interaction between the individual, the situation, the setting, and the target."
  3. "An investigative, skeptical, inquisitive mindset is critical to successful threat assessment."
  4. "Effective threat assessment is based on facts, rather than characteristics or 'traits'."
  5. "An “integrated systems approach” should guide threat assessment investigations."
  6. "The central question of a threat assessment is whether a student poses a threat, not whether the student made the threat."

Unlike crisis response, which happens when an incident is imminent, a robust threat assessment process enables school officials and employers to evaluate and classify threats ahead of time to identify the best intervention strategies. This approach, is based on the motto that “prevention must start before there is a gunman at the door.” 

As a preventative measure, FSS is dedicated to helping school districts and workplaces identify and prevent a volitive situation BEFORE harm or casualties occur.

“How can you have a Threat Assessment mindset daily?”

  • Know the building and the people you work with 
  • Be consistent with your duties (putting in the effort daily) 
  • Trust your intuition. If someone or something doesn't seem right,  trust yourself and take action. 
  • Put in the effort needed every day.