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Hillsboro Police Takes a Community-Based Approach to Threat Assessment
A once police-centric team focused on mitigating credible threats of violence expands to include community partners.
Sadly, there’s hardly a month that goes by that we don’t see shootings, crowds being run over or other violence perpetrated against innocent people around our world. It seems distant, and yet palpable. And while we live and work in a generally safe community, we are not immune to the devastation experienced by people we see on TV and our social media feeds. The Hillsboro Police Department recognizes that.
With the goal of mitigating and managing specific and credible threats of directed violence, Hillsboro Police formed a Threat Assessment Team (HTAT) in 2013. The types of threats the team is charged with mitigating include intervention of potential active-shooter and mass homicide incidents, one-on-one domestic violence and stalking scenarios, as well as workplace violence.
HTAT members receive specialized training and many are members of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP). Last month, five team members received community threat assessment training at Willamette University. Dr. Will Henson, a clinical psychologist trained in threat assessment, has volunteered his services to the team over the past five years.
Based on the number of catastrophic events occurring around the country, plans have been in place for over a year to expand our team from a police-centric team, to a true community, city-wide team. That plan recently came to fruition when we stood up the first ever Hillsboro community threat assessment team. This expansion includes the addition of community partners from Hillsboro Fire, the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA) 911 Dispatch, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, the Hillsboro City Attorney, as well as Human Resources and Risk.
The team meets regularly, once a month, but will assemble on short-notice for developing or emergent threats in our community.