Sudbury organizations working together to stop the threat of violence
23 community partners have all signed on to the Community Threat Assessment Protocol — a collaborative partnership to help stop threats of violence in the city.
It's a protocol that began with preventing and responding to tragic events in schools, such as Columbine, Taber and Sandy Hook.
The city, the police, Sudbury school boards, Collège Boréal, Cambrian College and many other community organizations are all involved in the protocol and signed it on Wednesday afternoon.
"If somebody comes to our attention who is engaged in significant threat making or threat related behaviour so it is a process to both assess risk and then to plan interventions in a more collaborative way than we've done in the past," said Kevin Cameron, the executive director of the North American Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response (NACTATR).
Cameron has developed protocols and provides training on traumatic events before they escalate and after they occur. He works with police, school boards and other community agencies throughout North America, and played a key role in the aftermath of the Taber school shooting in 1999.
He says this protocol allows key organizations to work together to identify possible risks sooner rather than later.
"Where somebody for instance makes a clear direct and plausible threat to kill someone, whether it be posted online verbally or somebody who's already engaged in serious violence and we're concerned about them escalating, someone who might be in the possession of a weapon and other situations will draw our attention," he said.
"Because we learned years ago the majority of people engaged in serious acts of violence generally give pretty blatant signs and indicators."
The threat assessment protocol allows organizations to share the information and work together to identify these risks and intervene before something tragic happens.
"Early on we weren't connecting the dots, we weren't connecting all that information ... that said this person might be a risk," said Cameron, adding that now organizations with the protocol can connect the information and if they see any threat related behaviour they can work together to find out if there is a real risk or not.
Marc Gauthier is the director of education with Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l'Ontario.
He says he's been involved in the Community Threat Assessment Protocol since it first started in Sudbury in 2009, when there were only about 10 community partners involved in the protocol.
"We're going to be working together to help the more vulnerable students — and not just students — but also citizens of this city, of this region and help them when there's a threat or a risk of violence," said Gauthier.
Cameron says this protocol is meant for more than just schools and extreme violence, it can help assess domestic violence.
"As time grew we recognized that we can apply this to all forms of violence now," he said.