The National Threat Assessment Center and Office of School Safety Present Targeted Violence Prevention Training for Kenosha, Wis. Community

Oct 31 2023

MADISON, Wis. – Ensuring the safety of our communities is a responsibility that belongs to everyone. To inform these efforts, a team of national and statewide leaders, including the Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of School Safety (OSS), will provide training on a behavioral approach to Preventing Targeted Violence in Kenosha, Wis. to a diverse group of law enforcement, public safety professionals, fire and EMS, school personnel, and other community members involved in threat identification, assessment and management in the Kenosha, Wis. area. 


“Acts of targeted violence can be prevented when people know what warning signs to look for,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “The Office of School Safety is committed to collaborating with local, state, and federal partners to keep communities around Wisconsin safe by stopping violence before it happens.”


“Preventing targeted violence is critical to ensuring that all of our communities are great places in which to live, work, and study,” said United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin is committed to working with all of our federal, state, local, and tribal partners -- including public safety personnel, school district officials and employees, and community members – to stop these types of offenses before they devastate entire communities, and we are proud to support the critical, multi-disciplinary training taking place this week in Kenosha.”


For the morning portion of the session, the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) will present on the findings and recommendations from its latest research on Mass Attacks in Public Spaces, which analyzed incidents of mass attacks in which three or more persons were harmed or killed. The findings of this research study indicate that targeted violence is preventable.


“The Secret Service is proud to support the violence prevention efforts of our community partners in Wisconsin,” said NTAC Chief Dr. Lina Alathari. “The research produced by NTAC continues to find that targeted violence is preventable when communities can identify warning signs, encourage bystander reporting, and establish public safety programs for assessment and intervention. The goal of behavioral threat assessment, an approach pioneered by the Secret Service, is to proactively identify and assess individuals displaying threatening or concerning behavior, and intervene before violence occurs.”


In the afternoon, OSS will present best practice recommendations for school multidisciplinary Behavioral and Threat Assessment Management (BTAM) teams.  OSS’ presentation will provide school specific applications and best practice recommendations for BTAM teams. School teams have an opportunity to provide proactive, effective alternatives to reactive and exclusionary disciplinary practices.  The focus of the session is to familiarize participants with the BTAM process, clarify team member roles and responsibilities, increase understanding of who poses a threat in a school, and how to respond effectively through development of an intervention plan of support and management. Additionally, assisting community bystanders with tools on what to report and where to report it. 


OSS will highlight the innovation and success of the School Threat Assessment Coalition of Kenosha (STACK). STACK promotes a communitywide use of the Behavioral Threat Assessment process, a research-based threat assessment tool. The coalition seeks to enhance good decision making by sharing vital information where legally allowable and promotes the utilization of consequences, where appropriate, to the fullest extent of the law. When legal consequences are not appropriate, it calls for school and community resources to be utilized to alleviate circumstances that could lead to future acts of violence.


“STACK represents the first multi-agency coalition of its kind in the state,” said Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley. “Now, in Kenosha County, no agency, no school, no individual is alone on an island when making decisions regarding school safety.”


“The Kenosha Police Department is proud to be part of STACK and contribute to the goal of bringing collaborative expertise, guidance, and consistency to school safety decision-making,” said Kenosha Police Chief Patrick Patton. “Collectively we become better equipped with the necessary authority, resources, and expertise to tackle the root causes of school violence and implement effective strategies to prevent and respond to its devastating impact. The Kenosha Police Department looks forward to working with STACK and the community to make sure we can provide the safest learning environment possible for the youth in our community.”


Acts of targeted violence continue to impact the safety and security of our communities. These acts of targeted violence are not impulsive or irrational; rather the perpetrators of these incidents decide to commit violence and often undertake clear processes of planning and preparing in which threats or potentially concerning behaviors can be identified. 


The event is put on by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the U.S Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC), the Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of School Safety, Kenosha Sheriff’s Office and the Kenosha Police Department.        


In addition to the presentation, OSS offers a free eLearning module titled, “Foundations of Targeted Violence Prevention,” open to all community members. The course was created in partnership by OSS, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis, National Threat Evaluation and Reporting office. The goal of the course is to educate the public on threatening or potentially concerning behaviors and where to report them, providing an opportunity for intervention to prevent targeted violence from occurring.