February 14, 2018

Averted School Violence

Averted Acts of School Violence: Your Help is Needed!
This month's issue of Community Policing Dispatch, an electronic publication from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), includes an article on " Learning Lessons from Averted Acts of Violence in Schools." Along with the data and information in the article there is a call to action: "The Police Foundation needs you to help expand the data collected, and thereby grow the lessons learned to benefit you, your department, or school. If you have been involved in an averted act of violence, you can complete an incident report form at www.asvnearmiss.org. The website is mobile-device friendly." Sharing your incident through the online reporting system is an anonymous, secure, non-punitive, and confidential process. The goal is for the collection of averted school violence incidents to allow for the identification of patterns that can be used to inform training, policies, and practices aimed at improving school safety and security. 
In 2012, with support from the COPS Office, the Police Foundation initiated the Averted School Violence Near Miss Reporting System for law enforcement officers, school officials, and mental health professionals to share their averted school violence incidents. An averted school violence incident is a shooting, bombing, stabbing, or other violent attack that was prevented, either before or after the potential perpetrator arrived on school grounds, before any injury or loss of life occurred at the educational institution. The averted school violence report form collects various details about the incident and the school, including elementary, middle, and high schools as well as colleges and universities. There are currently three incidents included in the report library for the college/university category:
Due to the sensitive nature of the content, full access to these reports is restricted to school personnel, law enforcement professionals, school-based law enforcement professionals and school resource officers, mental health professionals, and school security/risk management professionals. New users can apply to be vetted, verified, and granted access.
Preliminary information on averted reports submitted to date is available online. The Police Foundation has currently conducted preliminary analysis on 41 averted school violence incident reports and has identified several lessons learned. Some of these include:
  • Schools and law enforcement must have a strong, pre-established relationship and open lines of communication before an attack occurs.
  • Students should be trained not only to recognize threats of violence, but also recognize signs for suicide or depression.
  • Schools must continuously update and practice their emergency communication systems and response plans.
  • Potential perpetrators of violence frequently use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and even Snapchat to openly discuss their violent plans or thoughts, or to express disdain for a school/situation.
  • Schools, particularly universities and higher education, should be aware that financial distress can be a trigger for violence. 
For the complete list of lessons learned and additional information about the benefits of submitting and viewing averted school violence reports, read the full article in this month's issue of Community Policing Dispatch. Please consider sharing the Averted School Violence Near Miss Reporting System with faculty, staff, administrators, mental health professionals, local municipal partners, and others in your community.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Women in Law Enforcement Webinar
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is hosting a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Women in Law Enforcement webinar from 4:00-5:00PM ET on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 for college and university students and recent graduate women interested in pursuing a law enforcement career at ICE. This webinar will feature a panel of female special agents who will share their experiences in law enforcement and career paths at ICE. In addition, human resource officials will explain the federal application process and highlight ICE career pathways for students and recent graduates.
Space is limited and registration is required for this free event. You may email AcademicEngagement@hq.dhs.gov should you have any questions regarding participation in the event.

Valentine's Day Fire Safety Tips
The history of Valentine's Day is shrouded in mystery, with some believing it to be an ancient Roman tradition, while others contend that one of the three recognized Saint Valentines is responsible for starting the tradition. Regardless of its origins, it is now one of the most recognized holidays in North America. Efforts to show appreciation for one's true love come via cards, breakfast in bed, romantic candlelit dinners, lounging by the fireplace, and many a proposal. To keep the fires burning, safely, we have compiled a few Valentine's Day fire safety tips courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Cooking a delicious dinner at home? Here's what to do if you have a cooking fire:
  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
Planning to relax by the fire? Some things to remember about heating safety (PDF):
  • Keep anything that can burn (like greeting cards and fluffy rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
Using candles? Important candle safety information (PDF):
  • Consider using a flameless candle.
  • Use candleholders that are sturdy, and won't tip over easily.
  • Put candleholders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don't burn a candle all the way down - put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
The majority of college and university housing fires occur off campus. Most schools prohibit the use of some of the primary causes of fire, such as space heaters, candles, and heating elements capable of boiling oil, in residence halls. Well-developed and enforced institutional policies regarding fire safety, combined with smoke detection and alarm systems and years of education, have dramatically reduced the incidences of fire in residence halls. Additional fire prevention and safety resources, including social media toolkits for college and universities, can be found in the U.S. Fire Administration digital media library.

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Engaging Men in the Fight Against Sexual Assault on Campus
Organization: International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators
Date: February 15, 2018 at 1:00PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: 15th Annual Campus Fire Safety and Emergency Management Professional Development Conference and Expo
Organization: Campus Fire Safety
Dates: February 26-27, 2018 (Registration Deadline Feb. 15)
Location: Columbus, OH
Fee: Registration fee
Title: Hazardous Weather Preparedness for Campuses (AWR-332)
Organization: National Disaster Preparedness Training Center
Date: March 29, 2018
Location: Cambridge, MA
Fee: Free

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar.

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.