Threat Assessment Protocol (TAP)

  • The FBI School Shooter report features a risk categorization which could be helpful in assessing a possible threat and considering appropriate responses. 
  • The Secret Service/Department of Education report provided a helpful set of questions to pose and criteria which inform administrative decisions. 
  • The NCHERM system provided helpful background information but was prohibitive in cost and did not clearly delineate or address the differentiation between preventive wand responsive strategies or the legal implications of data collection.
Elements of the FBI and USSS/DOE report were integrated and used for SSCC's Threat Assessment Protocol (TAP)

The development of the protocol was further refined by information gleaned from the experience of a peer institution (Orange Coast College), a table top exercise conducted with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and previous institutional experiences with threats. 

The criteria for selecting elements of the SSCC protocol were 1) basic principles were researched based, 2) the protocol is straightforward and clear and 3) the forms practical.

Cleary Act vs FERPA (PDF)

Shots Fired When Lightening Strikes (DVD)

Brief Overview of the SSCC Threat Assessment Protocol (TAP)

  1. Threats or concerns are reported to Security.
  2. Security and Vice President of Student Services determine whether or not to implement TAP.
  3. Implementation, follow up and debrief of each incident is completed and recorded.

The Process

  • TAP Implementation Time-line
  • Review by Safety Committee: Completed 11/25/09
  • Review by Faculty Senate: In process
  • Review requested of law enforcement (SPD): Sent 12/15/09
  • Review requested of King County Mental Health: _________
  • Review by CDAC: _________
  • Review by Attorney General: _________
  • Review by Chancellor's Cabinet: _________

Description of Threat Levels

Direct Threat, Implied Threat of Disturbing Behavior - Threat Assessment Protocol

This protocol addresses SSCC's Institutional responses to a threat of any kind or a disturbing or distressed behavior exhibited. Threats are processed through the Threat Assessment Protocol (TAP). Distressed or disturbed behavior is addressed through behavioral intervention.  Whenever both elements are involved, threat assessment takes precedence and behavioral intervention is implied.

Threat Assessment Protocol (TAP) conducted by Threat Assessment Team

  • Step 1: Assessment of the Threat
    • Step 1A: Classification of the Threat

  • Step 2: Institutional Response
    • Step 2A: Safety Plan Developed for the Intended Victim(s)
    • Step 2B: Possible Student Discipline
    • Step 2C: Possible Law Enforcement Involvement
    • Step 2D: Possible Referral and Intervention

Threat Assessment Categories and Criteria

Step 1: Classification of the Threat (Based on FBI School Shooter's Report)
  • 2A.1 Low Level of Threat: A threat which poses a minimal risk to the victim and public safety.
    • Threat is vague and indirect.
    • Information contained within the threat is inconsistent, implausible or lacks detail.
    • Threat lacks realism.
    • Content of the threat suggests person is unliekly to carry it out.
  • 2B.2 Medium Level of Threat: A threat which could be carried out, although it may not appear entirely realistic.
    • Threat is more direct and more concrete than a low level threat.
    • Wording in the threat suggests that the threaten-er has given some thought to how the act will be carried out.
    • There may be a general indication of a possible place and time (though the signs still fall well short of a detailed plan).
    • There is no strong indication that the threaten-er has taken preparatory steps, although that possibility -- and illusion to a book or movie that shows the planning of a violent act, or vague, general statement about the availability of weapons.
    • There may be a specific statement seeking to convey that the threat is not empty: "I'm serious!" or "I really mean this!"
  • High Level of Threat: A threat that appears to pose an imminent and serous danger to the safety of others.
    • Threat is direct, specific and plausible.
    • Threat suggest concreate steps have been takentoward carrying it out, for example:statements indicating that the threaten-er has acquried or practiced with a weapon or has had the victim under surveillance.

Safety/Security Form #1: Threat Assessment Information (secure online form)