ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — The U.S. Secret Service hosted a threat assessment training at Augustana College on Friday, Sept. 8. The training focused on being proactive and hopefully stopping targeted acts of violence before they occur.
According to Education Week Analysis, there have been 28 school shootings so far in 2023 that resulted in injury or death, and 172 since 2018. It's a concerning trend that federal law enforcement is trying to reduce.
"Everybody in the community plays a role in preventing a targeted act of violence," says Stephen Webster, the Resident Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service in Springfield.
"The Secret Service really takes a behavioral threat analysis approach to identifying individuals who may be exhibiting certain behaviors that are concerning and then developing strategies to report those concerning behaviors," Webster added.
Organizers talked about looking at behaviors that may seem off such as being withdrawn, or threatening violence against themselves or others. They pushed the old adage that 'if you see something, say something,' and report it to whoever you think is best.
"Once the person is in the door, then law enforcement is rushing to try to intervene," Webster said. "There's so much more value in trying to proactively prevent and engage that person before they get to the point where they're actually going to carry out some sort of plan."
These trainings are offered free of charge all over the United States.