Shared Voices for Community Safety

Summer break has drawn to a close in Wisconsin, and as students head back to the classroom, concerns about school safety may arise. Last month, Wausau, Wisconsin, Police Department (WPD) took steps to pre-emptively address these concerns. Through a request to the Collaborative Reform Initiative – Technical Assistance Center (CRI-TAC), WPD participated in a School and Workplace Violence Seminar. This course from the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) provided a forum for staff from local police departments, sheriff’s offices, school districts, social services, and health care organizations to come together to prepare their community to appropriately assess and manage threats and respond to violence as well as to build relationships among organizations and agencies.


Over the course of the two-day seminar, everyone had an opportunity to ask questions, pose solutions, and learn more about how to prevent and respond to school and workplace violence. Through discussions, table top exercises, and other activities, participants learned about warning signs, layers of response, resource allocation, and processes. As one of the local high school associate principals explained, “The material forced us to examine every phase of threat assessment…moving all the way to emergency planning.” They learned to apply lessons garnered from high-profile events from around the world, and gained unique insight by debriefing on past local incidents.

“Our group of stakeholders agreed on the need to address emergency planning and threat assessment procedures in a collaborative manner, for the benefit of the larger shared community we all serve together,” said Wausau Police Lieutenant Nathan Cihlar. “The training provided by CRI-TAC was an excellent means of bringing the necessary players together with a training experience that has provided the foundation for building our community Threat Assessment Team initiative.”


Is school safety a priority for your community? Do you believe your agency would benefit from this training, or a similar one? If you are interested in learning more about this or other services and resources available through the CRI-TAC visit the program webpage or email


This project was supported, in whole or in part, by cooperative agreement number 2017-CR-WX-K001 awarded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific individuals, agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.
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