Bradley County Sheriff Announces School Threat Assessment Team

Thursday, November 8, 2018
Bradley County Sheriff Steve Lawson announced the formation of a new team to assess and manage potential threats to school safety.

The purpose of the School Threat Assessment Team is to establish behavioral threat assessment and management processes, including the assessment of risk factors and warning signs while identifying concerning behavior, assessing potential threats of violence involving weapons or threats of serious bodily injury, with follow up investigations and interventions designed to prevent or mitigate school violence before it occurs.  Additionally, the team will seek to identify potential student threats to commit violent acts, determine the seriousness of the threat, and develop a plan of intervention that will protect potential victims from harm. 

Sheriff Lawson said, "During the campaign, I made school safety a priority.  I maintain that we cannot sit back and be reactive when it comes to the safety of our children, teachers, and administrators.  We must be proactive.  This team is being put in place to do just that."

The team will present a multi-disciplinary approach with representatives from the school system, mental health professionals, school resource officers, other law enforcement investigative personnel, District Attorney General’s Office, juvenile court officials, and members of the community trained in threat assessment to ensure varying points of view are represented to fully assess every threat or potential threat to our schools, students, and faculty members. 

The goals of this team could not be accomplished without support from the Bradley County School system.  Dr.
Linda Cash offered her support by saying, "The development of a multi-disciplinary relationship allows for consistent coordinated communication. Working together I believe allows for thorough risk assessment and instills another level of safety for our schools and community. This model strengthens connections for future efforts and allows for planning and strategies to be in place for all safety situations.  I appreciate the cooperation of all agencies involved."

Information on potential threats will be collected via the STOPIT app recently announced by the school system, calls to the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, and reports from school administrators.

The team will have established protocols and procedures that will be followed for each assessment in order to allow for a thorough assessment of any potential threats.  The team will meet whenever a threat to the schools has been communicated or a situation arises that should merit immediate attention.  The team will also meet on a regular basis to engage in discussions with team members to ensure a thorough and comprehensive assessment has been made of any potential threats or assess concerning behavior involving students who may present a potential threat.

District Attorney Steve Crump said, "Our office will devote all necessary resources, including assigning a senior prosecutor to the team, to give all support necessary to assist law enforcement carry out the critical mission of school safety. I am grateful to Sheriff Steve Lawson for assembling this team and taking another step in securing our schools."

Members of the team Include:

Detective Sergeant Kevin White (Team Leader)
Bradley County Sheriffs Office
Criminal Investigations Division

Lieutenant Douglas Towne
Bradley County Sheriffs Office 
School Resource Officers Supervisor

Paul Moyle 
10th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office

Dr. Ben Biller
Health Management Services

Vickie Towne
Bradley County Juvenile Director

Tim Gobble
Tennessee Board of Parole
United States Secret Service (Retired)
Former Bradley County Sheriff
Trained in Threat Assessment

Scotty Hernandez
Bradley County Schools
Director of Safety

Barry Brakebill
Special Agent Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (Retired)
Trained in Threat Assessment

Ruth Ann White
Bradley County Schools 
Special Education Supervisor

Captain John Stone (Support Team Member)
Bradley County Sheriffs Office
Criminal Investigations Division

Captain Jon Collins (Support Team Member)
Bradley County Sheriffs Office 
Patrol Services Division


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