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Threat Assessment and Management: Mitigating Foreseeable Violence Risks

AZCSN has formed a Threat Assessment Team to assist houses of worship in our State that are facing concerns of targeted violence against the church, its staff, or its parishioners. The traditional criminal justice paradigm is to respond after a crime occurs to attempt to identify the perpetrator and bring him or her to justice. Threat Assessment is a relatively new concept, introduced about 30 years ago, wherein threat assessors attempt to identify a situation that may appear to pose a violence risk. By situation, we are referring to a person in a particular context that may become violent.

Threat assessors identify these individuals and the dynamics of their situations and attempt to implement changes to mitigate the violence risk. This program will explore the principles of threat assessment, including a deep dive into the dynamics of interpersonal violence, a primer on scientifically based detection strategies, and effective mitigation/management plans to interrupt an individual who may be on a pathway to violence. A final yet powerful benefit is that the process not only protects potential victims but endeavors to leave the potential actor in a better place than before the process was implemented.   

John leads the Security/Medical ministry at New Life Bible Fellowship in Marana. He is a retired detective sergeant with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and a retired security manager with Raytheon, where he developed and led the Behavioral Threat Assessment team. He holds masters degrees in forensic psychology and criminal justice and security administration and certifications with ASIS International (Certified Protection Professional) and the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (Certified Threat Manager). He has presented on the subjects of threat assessment and church security at several university and state sponsored conferences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Presented by John McGrath

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