When it comes to evaluating risk and protecting what matters, collaboration is key. At Hillard Heintze, our behavioral threat assessors and investigators often work together to identify and connect seemingly disparate clues and signs to prevent workplace violence and mitigate risk.

Senior Vice President of Investigations Jennifer Mackovjak and I, with the full support of Hillard Heintze, are proud to have been chosen to speak on this topic at the ASIS International Global Security Exchange conference in Las Vegas on September 26, 2018. Our presentation, “How Behavioral Threat Assessors and Investigators Can Collaborate to Prevent Workplace Violence,” will emphasize the importance of coordination between experts of both disciplines who bring different methodologies, knowledge and skills to the table.

We will also discuss a few case studies in which our collaborative strategy and respective expertise proved invaluable in protecting our clients.

Nomination for the 2018 U.S. Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs)

And this presentation is only the beginning; we are proud to also announce that we have been selected as a finalist for the prestigious 2018 U.S. Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs) at the ASIS International conference. The U.S. OSPAs recognize and reward companies, teams and individuals who have performed at an exceptional level within the security sector.

“These awards are a fantastic way to showcase and recognize the truly exceptional contribution that is made by the security sector in safeguarding people, property and assets,” commented Professor Martin Gill, founder of the OSPAs. “Our robust judging process ensures that those selected are truly outstanding and should be rightly proud of their achievement.”

Below is an informal “sneak preview” of the topics we’ll be addressing in our presentation, as well as the efforts and collaboration that has earned our OSPA award nomination. If anything this experience has proven to me that two heads are better than one when it comes to preventing violence.

The behavioral threat assessment (BTA): An overview

At Hillard Heintze, our threat assessment team gathers and assesses information about individuals who may have an interest, motive, intention and/or capability of targeted violence toward our clients. The solution is not necessarily facilitating law enforcement involvement and criminal charges, but instead developing and implementing a plan to monitor the individual and to intervene—if necessary and appropriate.

When we develop this plan, we pay a great deal of attention to the individual’s social systems, including his or her family, work, social media contacts, community, ties to the criminal justice system, mental health and access to social services. Although arrests and criminal charges may occur during our BTA, the systematic approach to assessing and managing individuals who may pose a threat of targeted violence has proven to be the most successful intervention strategy, dating back to my time as the U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge of the National Threat Assessment Center.

That’s why we collaborate internally with our firm’s investigators, who can unearth critical information that helps in better understanding a threat situation.

Hidden insights: What the investigative team can uncover

Investigative resources are critical to our methodology-driven, pre-attack pathway analysis; they allow us to better identify behaviors and characteristics likely to foreshadow an act of targeted violence. Our investigative team members’ work can shed light on a subject’s current life situation; mental health history, if available; behavioral history; motivation; attack-related behavior; organizational interest and affiliation; specialized training; and his or her ownership of—or ability to acquire—weapons. They do this through the search, identification and analysis of an array of records and information, including criminal history; civil litigation including divorces and orders of protection; professional history; financial history; press and media reports; and social media activity. Additional resources from our investigative partners include surveillance capabilities, interviews with family members and friends, former and current co-workers and/or liaison with law enforcement and protective intelligence authorities, if necessary.

Whether it is a high-level analysis or a comprehensive background investigation, our BTAs are often a demonstration of collaboration between our threat and investigative experts.

A job well done: Protecting what matters

Our dedication to supporting our clients through BTA training, education and awareness earned us our client’s trust, this tremendous honor as an OSPA finalist and ASIS International presenter, and we are grateful for the opportunity to combine our knowledge and skills to better protect those who put their trust in us.