Connecting the Dots to Prevent Targeted Violence

Whether it’s a shooting, stabbing, bombing or other means of predatory violence, mass casualty events are occurring far too often. The good news is there is something we can do to fix the crisis of targeted violence that is indiscriminately impacting our nation. I recently attended the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals’ (ATAP) annual Threat Management Conference in California, where US Congressman Brian Babin (TX) introduced the Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety Act (H.R. 6664). The TAPS Act goes beyond political rhetoric to provide a national strategy to keep communities safe from targeted violence. Threat assessment and management is the process of identifying, investigating, assessing and mitigating threats, and has been used successfully for decades to protect our president and other prominent figures.

Every time we hear of another incident, the typical reaction is to increase threat response training, but threat assessment is a PROACTIVE process focused on connecting the dots and intervening BEFORE an attack occurs, because once the first shot is fired, it’s too late – we have failed. Threat assessment and management is unfortunately not well understood or utilized on a state and local level. The TAPS Act aims to train local law enforcement and others to implement this process, and provide assistance and resources to establish and operate locally driven threat assessment and management units. To learn more, watch Rep. Babin’s TAPS Act Summary on YouTube. Then contact your elected representatives and urge them to support this vital legislation. Ask your educational institutions and workplaces if they have implemented violence prevention programs. If you don't already know the answer, they probably have not, as effective programs require training for all stakeholders.