Threat Assessment: Every Minute Counts

Predicting an individual’s dangerousness is one thing. Doing so in time to prevent harm to others requires real-time – or near real-time – access to information and an informed ability to interpret this information, ideally in the context of an extensive understanding of the subject’s background, history and life circumstances.

For one company, the trigger that set off alarms in the company’s Security Department – common now among an increasing number of employers – occurred when an employee in an East Coast branch office posted threatening statements about company personnel on his Facebook wall along with several pictures of himself posing with weapons.

Immediate Response: Tapping a National Network

Within hours, Hillard Heintze threat assessment experts were on site, reviewing internal HR files and reports and conducting a battery of discreet interviews with the subject’s known associates and others with a direct perspective on the events occurring in his life. Hillard Heintze leveraged its nationwide network of contacts to facilitate a meeting with the chief of the local police department who assigned one of their top investigators as liaison to the team. Other analysts began an immediate background investigation of the subject and started assessing emerging information – in real-time – using a highly structured, multi-perspective threat assessment methodology based on the one used to protect the U.S. President and visiting foreign dignitaries.

Outcomes: Peace, Security and Assurance

In short, Hillard Heintze helped the company identify, understand and think through a range of countermeasures, select one with a high probability of success, and implement it – with care. One employee, who had been a target of the subject’s anger, was temporarily reassigned to offices in another state. No violence occurred. The individual no longer works for the company. And through a carefully orchestrated series of recommendations outlined by Hillard Heintze, the company is managing the threat on an ongoing basis – in part, by supporting the individual’s access to mental health treatment and the opportunity to move his life forward in a healthier and more positive way.

Unplugged: The Project Manager’s Post-Engagement Perspective

“There’s an enormous difference between making a threat and posing one. And most who actually pose a threat, don’t broadcast the fact. You have to understand that traditional law enforcement personnel aren’t trained to recognize this distinction. Nor are in-house corporate security professionals … even those with decades of experience.

If the analysis by the client’s legal advisors and HR executives is off – and, for example, they think the person who made a threat actually poses one – they risk running down false avenues of response and protection that may actually increase vulnerability rather than reduce it.”