The FBI’s Portland Field Office and Oregon State Police – working with the FBI’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Center (BTAC) – are joining with law enforcement agencies, educators, mental health practitioners, and community organizations to form threat assessment teams designed to bolster Oregonians’ ability to identify and stop violent threats.
This initiative has two parts: 1) a series of regional workshops throughout the state; and 2) one-on-one consultations with communities interested in FBI threat assessment research as they consider forming threat assessment teams. The workshops – held in July – brought together more than 350 people from a variety of disciplines to learn how to identify those who are on a “pathway of violence” and to consider what options are available as they work disrupt a threat. (See list of workshop co-sponsors below.)
“It is very important that the FBI, working with OSP, give our partners the tools they need to identify and stop threatening behavior. While law enforcement has a role to play, these teams are really a community-led effort that draws on the strengths of educators, counselors, social service providers, and many others to be effective. When we have all of those partners at the table, research has shown that threat assessment teams are the most effective way to stop acts of mass violence,” said Kieran L. Ramsey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Oregon.
Years of experience and research by the FBI’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Center show that, while the motivators and drivers for violence are highly individualized, those who commit violence travel an observable and discernible pathway from thought to action. In almost all situations, a “bystander” (such as family, friends, classmates, or co-workers) will have noticed changes in behavior. In many cases, a bystander reports that concerning behavior to non-law enforcement authority figures, such as a school counselor, a coach, or a local religious leader. As such, community members need clear and sometimes multiple avenues for potential reporting.
How to Assist
Community members interested in learning more about how to help identify and stop violent threats can find more information in the FBI’s Making Prevention a Reality: Identifying, Assessing, and Managing the Threat of Targeted Attacks. Anyone with information about a potential threat or act of violence should call 911 (in an emergency) or the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI. Information may also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov. Any Oregon agency, educator, mental health organization, or service-provider group interested in learning more about threat assessment teams should contact the FBI in Oregon at (503) 224-4181.
The threat assessment workshops took place in Lincoln City (July 12-13, 2021); Canyonville (July 14-15, 2021); and La Grande (July 19-20, 2021). Co-sponsors of these events included: Cow Creek Tribal Gaming Commission, Seven Feathers Casino Resort, Eastern Oregon University, Northwest Chapter of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Department of Justice, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Siletz Tribal Gaming Commission, Chinook Winds Casino Resort, and Oregon Peace Officers Association.