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Update on 2009 Task Force Initiatives

Behavioral Threat Assessment Conference
On Jan. 15-16, Oklahoma State University hosted the Behavioral Threat Assessment Conference designed for intact or developing threat assessment teams at Oklahoma’s postsecondary campuses. Eighty people participated in the conference, where they benefited from training from Margolis, Healy & Associates and Dr. Gene Deisinger, leaders in the field of threat assessment.

Training included case studies of school shootings, major facts about school shootings, implications for campus safety, principles of campus threat assessment and strategies for enhancing campus climate. Additionally, attendees learned key components of effective campus threat assessment; recommended team composition; policies and procedures to support threat assessment; how to investigate and evaluate threats and other concerning behavior; resources and strategies for managing individuals who may pose a threat of harm; how to establish key campus and community relationships; how to share information amid FERPA and HIPAA concerns; and considerations for public information officers. The conference also provided a review of common problems that threat assessment teams face and workable solutions; discussion of effective strategies for interviewing and red flags of deception; and a practical exercise of walking through an entire threat case from start to finish with campus teams.

Vendor Fair
In the area of notification and response, respondents to the 2009 survey listed requests for call boxes, radio communication and power generators.The Notification Subcommittee hosted a vendor fair on April 23 to provide a forum of multiple vendors that demonstrated the various capabilities of their respective technologies and notification solutions. With more than 20 vendors showcasing their products and services, the vendor fair afforded a unique opportunity for campuses to see the latest technology available and to network with industry professionals.

Mental Health First Aid Train-The-Trainer
In July, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services held the first mental health first aid train-the-trainer classes for higher education. Ten out of 25 slots were filled by representatives from higher education and career technology campuses. The classes are designed to teach a layperson how to recognize and assist someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. This class for trainers prepares mental health professionals, such as campus counselors, to teach the mental health first aid program to their campuses. The trainings are not intended as a solution to the lack of counselors on postsecondary campuses but just one way to address the problem.

Campus Safety: Goal 2010
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) has been developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education to provide a consistent, nationwide approach that enables federal, state, local and tribal governments to work together to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from domestic incidents.

Full NIMS compliance by Dec. 1, 2010, is a major goal of the CLASS Task Force and required for recipients of federal preparedness funds and several grants administered through the U.S. Department of Education. In September, the CLASS Task Force kicked off Campus Safety: Goal 2010 to ensure all postsecondary campuses are compliant by the deadline.

A workbook was created and distributed for campuses to use as a tool in becoming fully NIMS compliant.

In October and November, the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security’s training coordinator assisted, free of charge, postsecondary institutions with compliance training and exercise activities through a statewide NIMS “train-the-trainer” program and other means.

Mental Health Collaborative Week
The CLASS Task Force has been working with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to plan the first CLASS Mental Health Collaborative Week scheduled for the first week of March 2010 at approximately 14 community health centers across the state. This statewide effort will facilitate face-to-face and virtual meetings among higher education institutions, career technology centers and community mental health centers for the purpose of identifying opportunities to collaborate and combine resources to enhance mental health services available on postsecondary campuses.