Tools and Resources to Help with Threat Assessments
In the following list, we provide guidance on models for threat assessment, assessment tools, and information collection and -sharing concepts and centers.
Model Team and Process
- The FBI BAU may have local assessment teams to help local communities. Contact your nearest FBI Field Office to learn more (FBI, undated b).
- Threat Assessment Teams: Workplace and School Violence Prevention (Albrecht, 2010).
- Work with threat assessment teams in local schools through SRO programs, such as the Loudoun County SRO program, or include them in your agency or community threat assessment team.
- Model Behavioral Threat Assessment Policies and Best Practices for K-12 Schools (Florida Department of Education, 2020).
- Ohio School Threat Assessment Training: Reference Guide (Office of Ohio Attorney General, undated).
- Enhancing School Safety Using a Threat Assessment Model: An Operational Guide for Preventing Targeted School Violence (NTAC, 2018).
- The WAVR-21 structured guide for the assessment of workplace and campus violence risk uses a detailed 21-item questionnaire to assess the risk of a potential workplace or campus shooting plot (WAVR21.com, undated).
- Eleven Questions to Guide Data Collection in a Threat Assessment Inquiry (Browning-Wright, 2003).
- Extremism Risk Assessment: A Directory provides reviews of six different frameworks for assessing propensity toward violent extremism (Lloyd, 2019).
- Assessing the risk of a potential school shooting plot: The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services maintains a Portal on Threat Assessment, which includes a manual and training material (Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, undated). The site also provides fillable PDF and Word forms that school assessment teams can use for assessing risk, determining next steps, and tracking to see that those next steps were performed and their results. Those forms can be adapted outside school settings with some modification: see Sample Threat Assessment and Management Forms (Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, 2020).
- Similarly, see the Threat Assessment and Response Protocol of the Florida Department of Education (Florida Department of Education, 2021).
- Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35) (Van Brunt, 2019) provides a set of 35 items to assess whether a student should be considered at low, medium, or high risk of pursuing a mass attack. It includes the SIVRA-35 Supplemental Question Sheet (National Association for Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment, undated b).
- Domestic Violence Lethality Risk Assessment for First Responders (Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, undated)
- Domestic Violence Training: Assessment of Lethality or Signs of Lethal Violence (Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, 2019)
- Domestic Violence Lethality Screen for First Responders (Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, 2005).
Information-Sharing: Protecting and Working With Privacy Requirements
- The Congressional Research Service's Data Protection Law: An Overview report provides a comprehensive national overview of data protection requirements (Mulligan and Linebaugh, 2019).
- The National Conference of State Legislatures provides State Laws Related to Digital Privacy, a guide to the individual state laws that are applicable to specific law enforcement and service provider agencies (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2021).
- FERPA: A Guide for First Responders and Law Enforcement (FBI and U.S. Department of Education, undated).
- HIPAA Privacy Rule: A Guide for Law Enforcement (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and FBI, undated).
Information Collection and Intelligence Officers
- The NYPD Field Intelligence Officer Program has an individual in every precinct to identify, collect, and disseminate accurate information and intelligence to address specific threats or crimes. This team receives advanced training on interview techniques to be able to identify critical points of information to inform violent crime and threat reduction (NYPD, undated).
- The Phoenix Police Department established the Patrol Intelligence Officer program as a way to integrate intelligence-gathering into patrol with a variety of reporting formats: a brief Daily Log Entry, an Incident Report, and an Information Request (Bottema, Telep, and Jackson, 2021).
- TLOs have connections throughout their departments and communities, combined with the training in threat awareness that make them great candidates for participating in the Threat Assessment team. These programs, with the proper maintenance and focus, are a tremendous asset. TLO programs are in many fusion centers and police departments and play a valuable role as a department's tripwire and force multiplier. TLOs are trained in awareness and can spread that information through the community to increase awareness and quality reporting and be the eyes and ears in the field for potentially suspicious behavior. Each agency could implement its TLO program with a slightly different role and focus (JRIC, undated).
Information Collection and Key Information Exchanges
- RISS centers (RISS, undated a) have RISSIntel, which is a criminal intelligence database for any law enforcement agency to use and share information according to its own agency policies (RISS, undated c). It allows for searching for related entries in the full database and points the user to a contact for more information. RISS centers can also support analysis and other information collection needs.
- Local Fusion Centers are a tremendous resource (National Fusion Center Association, undated). Local law enforcement can make requests to fusion centers for a workup on someone of concern, work with their social media investigations unit, help gain access to information systems, and help in a variety of other ways. Some fusion centers have critical infrastructure analysts who can be an asset.