Western Regional Joint Threat Assessment Training

April 25-April 27, 2022

Tentative Agenda

Conference Day 1

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. 

Registration, Coffee, and Networking

8:30 to 9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks

9:00 to 10:30 a.m.

Keynote Speaker

Fear and Loathing: Threat Assessment at the Crossroads

Andre Simons, Principal, Control Risks' Crisis and Security Consulting, North America

Between a prolonged pandemic and a supercharged, hyper-polarized political climate, is it any wonder that our collective anxiety and anger seem to be through the roof?  Recognizing that profound societal stressors can correlate to increases in individual violent behaviors, we now must face a new and broad spectrum of challenges from both internal and external threats. How must we adjust our established approaches and protocols to bring a fresh agility to this new threatscape? How does remote learning and WFH impact bystanders and the detection of concerning behaviors?  How are active shooters evolving and adapting their attacks? And how do we assess communicated threats when aggressive incivility is the new norm?

Drawing upon experience in both the government and private sectors, Andre will address these issues and highlight the critically important and changing role of threat assessment professionals during this pivotal and tumultuous time.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Detective Marc Madero and Detective Peter Doomanis, Threat Management Unit, Los Angeles Police Department

In July 1990, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) established the Threat Management Unit (TMU) in response to a disturbing increase in obsessive, fixated, and at times violent behavior directed at celebrities. A significant catalyst for the inception of TMU was due to the tragic murder of a 21-year old actress named Rebecca Schaeffer. Robert Bardo, a mentally ill 19-year-old man from Arizona, developed an abnormal fixation with the young actress and subsequently traveled to Los Angeles where he found her at home and fatally shot her in the chest with a .357 magnum. This unfortunate death would have a profound but significant impact on stalking laws in the U.S.  

The primary mission of the Threat Management Unit is to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the City’s diverse communities by investigating and managing cases, both criminal and non-criminal, wherein individuals have demonstrated an abnormal fixation and/or obsession toward a specific person and have generated a general and identifiable long-term pattern of unsolicited acts of visitation, and/or written, telephonic or electronic correspondence in a harassing or threatening manner.

It is generally unusual for TMU to present high profile stalking cases due to the “celebrity status” of many of our victims and the need for long term management of these individuals. However, we also felt compelled to provide some insight into cases involving “celebrity fanatics.”

This challenging case involved the pursuit of an actress, Natalie Portman by a fixated and mentally ill young man named Gregory Pearce. Mr. Pearce believed he was the movie character “John Wick” Mr. Pearce believed he was telepathically communicating with Ms. Portman when he engaged in directed travel from Colorado to Los Angeles, CA.     

11:30 to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Provided

1:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Those Who Kill: Exploring the Non-Fatal Strangulation Correlation with Subjects Who Murder Police Officers and Commit Mass Homicide

Rachel Frost, Master Investigator(ret.), Frost ICED / Investigation, Consultation, Education & Development

The Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre, the Fort Lauderdale Airport murders, the mass shooting at Excel Industries in Kansas, the murders of Riverside Police Officer Ryan Bonaminio and of Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Kent Hintergardt, and more. Each violent incident committed by a different perpetrator with their own ideology or purpose, in a variety of locations, with a myriad of victim backgrounds, but every suspect had one thing in common - a history of non-fatal strangulation of a former or current intimate partner.  This potential predictive indicator was documented in 2008, when a study showed females who were victims of non-fatal strangulation by a current or former intimate partner were 750 percent more likely to become a homicide victim by the same perpetrator (Glass, et al, 2008).  The criminal justice system began to recognize the true severity of strangulation assaults and the importance in investigating and prosecuting them effectively, but soon the need for law enforcement to take notice of this potential threat indicator became even more personal. Riverside County Chief Deputy District Attorney Gerald Fineman reviewed public records regarding officers killed in the line of duty in his county between 1999 – 2013. Fifty percent of the subjects who murdered those police officers had a history of non-fatal strangulation, which to Fineman, an instructor for the Strangulation Training Institute, meant potentially missed opportunities to save lives by recognizing a subject’s propensity for violence.  Currently, further study and research is being spearheaded by the Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention with Casey Gwinn, Rachael Frost, Napa Valley Detective Bill Hernandez, Forensic Physician Dr. Bill Smock, and more. Importantly, this information will be directly applicable to evolving threat assessments, providing practices for handling strangulation cases in a multi-disciplinary concept. Attendees will learn how to best manage these subjects when they first project they are capable of homicide – rather than when it has already become a certainty.

2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

A Comprehensive System for Threat Assessment and Management in the Schools

John Van Dreal, Principal, John Van Dreal Consulting, LLC

This presentation will review the importance of providing an education environment where students and education staff feel safe. Specifically, the presenter will review the fundamentals of reducing school violence, explain the behavioral threat assessment process, and highlight the Salem-Keizer Cascade Model—a collaborative, multi-agency system used to address and manage threats of violence in Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Oklahoma school districts as well as a number of other school districts throughout the country. Finally, the presentation will feature a case study as an example of a successful assessment and management process.

3:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Break

 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Cultural Demystification

Nawar Shora, Senior Advisor, Department of Homeland Security

Nationally recognized author and speaker, Nawar Shora, discusses his two-decade effort to bridge Countering Violent Extremism and Cultural Demystification.  His formula of Understanding + Communication = Trust has been used with a range of law enforcement, intelligence professionals, academic institutions, and private sector.  He has taught his course at the FBI Academy, CIA, as well as local and state law enforcement, fusion centers and many more.  He is a highly sought-after public speaker who disarms the often intimidating topics with candor, wit, and humor.

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Welcome Reception: Appetizers at Inspiration Hall

Conference Day 2

8:00 to 8:30 a.m.

Coffee and Networking

8:30 to 9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks

9:00 to 10:30 a.m.

Keynote Speaker

Emerging Issues in Threat Assessment: Meeting the Standard in the Evolving Threat Environment

Mario Scalora, Director, University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Threat assessment and security professionals are encountering a shifting landscape of expanding threatening activity within a context of increased incivility. This presentation will detail some recent trends related to increased threatening activity that is influenced by various factors including the growing influence of extremist doctrine. As threat assessment has become more utilized and an accepted approach, it is critical for professionals to adhere to a standard of practice that is evidence based while de-escalating conflict and promoting safety.  Dr. Scalora will speak to strategies to promote an appropriate standard of practice within the changing threat landscape.

10:30 to 10:45 a.m.

Break

10:45 to 12:00 p.m.

From Calgary to Isla Vista…. How a threat of school violence grew into to a violent attack… and did Elliot Rodgers play a role?

Darren Balsom and Detective Sara Wilson, Calgary Police Department

A complex case study from Calgary Police Department on A.A., who was convicted of a violent domestic assault. The subsequent investigation and assessment of AA led to us to the world of the INCELs, psychopathy, and required extensive case planning and preparation. This case management plan required the work of multiple government and non-government agencies. It outlines the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach, how threat assessment can support and structure a criminal investigation and case management and the benefits of using Structured Professional Judgement tools in threat assessment.

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

Lunch Provided

1:00 to 2:30 p.m.

An Evolving Threatscape: Unique Risks Faced by Local Media

Colin Braudrick, Wc Senior Manager, Security Operations at The Walt Disney Company and Morgan Gerhart, Director, Global Workplace Security Programs at The Walt Disney Company

The local media has seen an evolution in security-related incidents over recent years. From a rise in stalkers to assaults by people upset over news coverage, threats and attacks have greatly increased. In this presentation, there will be discussion of the importance of private and public sector partnerships as well as red-flag behaviors that require immediate intervention.

2:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Premortem Strategy: A Technique to Prevent Failure in Process, Planning, and Protocols 

Phillip Van Saun, Executive Director of Security, Risk, and Resilience for the University of California Office of the President

This will be an interactive session that demonstrates the strategic relevance of premortem planning and its utility in preventing failure. Attendees will learn, practice, and envision the application of the premortem scenarios process as a risk mitigation methodology and learn the structure of Threat Management Red Teams and evaluate and consider their application to current and future threat management operations. 

4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

The One Where No One Agreed: A Case Study

Matt Talbot, Owner and Principal Consultant, Triple Threat Assessment and Prevention Consulting, LLC

Threat assessment efficacy is highly contingent upon successful information sharing and the avoidance of silo development.  What happens when all agencies are aligned, information is being readily shared, silos are broken down...but no one agrees on the relative assessment of risk and approaches to threat management.  The presentation will address this dilemma through an on-going case study in the Veterans Health Care System when one man presented to the facility with an arsenal of weapons.  The presenter will discuss best approaches to assessment as it relates to informing management plans specific to what is a dynamic, layered case.  Emphasis will be placed on traversing differing perceptions, the importance of cultural competence and sensitivity, emerging ethical dilemmas, the intrusion of biases, documentation strategies to defend actions and protect against liability, and how to respond when those with greater influence, power, and authority challenge threat management interventions and jeopardize the safety of others through the exacerbation of risk.

Conference Day 3

7:30 to 8:00 a.m.

Coffee and Networking

8:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Fold in the Cheese: How to translate situational awareness skills to the everyday person to prevent traumatic events.

Kelly Sayre, Founder & President, The Diamond Arrow Group

Every human is born with intuition and natural survival instincts. But rarely, if ever, does anyone teach how every one of us can use those skills to consciously recognize and articulate threatening behaviors. The mission of The Diamond Arrow Group and this presentation aims to change that. Working together, threat assessment professionals and citizens can create safer communities for everyone.

9:00 to 10:30 p.m.

Jarrod Wants to Be Your Friend: The Capital Gazette Case Study

Jennifer Tillman, Crime Analysis, Behavoiral Threat Center, FBI

On June 28, 2018, a mass shooting occurred at the offices of The Capital, a newspaper serving Annapolis, Maryland. The gunman, Jarrod Ramos, killed five employees with a shotgun and injured two others who were trying to escape. Ramos was arrested shortly thereafter.  This case serves as a deep dive examination of a kinetic attack and provides a holistic picture that identifies gaps, warning behaviors, and indicators that can assist critical nodes of the threat assessment community in detecting and deterring an incident like this from occurring again.

10:30 to 12:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker

Everyday Superheroes: Threat Assessment Basics and the Race to Prevent Violence

Molly Amman, Owner Molly Amman Threat Assessment LLC

Threat assessment professionals, whether at the beginning of their careers or deeply experienced, face the daily challenge of outsmarting planned violence.  While every case is unique--and sometimes unprecedented--bringing the analysis back down to the fundamentals is a proven strategy to get out in front of a potentially violent individual.  This presentation will review several disparate cases and offer insight into how basic threat assessment and management fundamentals helped avert violence. The presenter has experienced being uncertain how to proceed many times before and found that returning to threat assessment basics were a key to safe resolution each and every time. This presentation is geared toward any threat assessment professional who may at some point harbor uncertainty about how they might approach a novel or complex scenario.  Advocating a return to basic concepts in any such instance, the presenter will make the case that each and every one of us has the power to alter the course of events for the better.