If you believe there is a threat or a danger to the campus or an individual please immediately contact the Virginia Western Campus Police Department at 540-857-7979 or dial 911.

Our Core Mission

The mission of the Virginia Western Threat Assessment Team is to determine if an individual(s) pose, or may reasonably pose, a threat of violence to self, others, or the Virginia Western community and to intervene to avert the threat and maintain the safety of the situation. The team responds to behaviors exhibited by students, employees, visitors, and non-affiliated persons prior to a critical incident, in an attempt to prevent violence so that the Virginia Western owned and controlled campus’ remain a safe and secure working and learning environment.

What is the Threat Assessment Team (TAT)?

For over a decade Virginia Western Community College has had in place a dedicated team of individuals who seek out and act upon information that may indicate a risk of violence, disruption to the community, and/or identifying individuals in need of services.   It is of utmost importance that every situation revealed to the team be assessed in full context, with the known facts. 

We ask that anyone who hears of, or suspects, a potential danger or risk to the campus or a campus individual – please contact a member of the Threat Assessment Team.  You may also alert a Virginia Western staff or faculty member who will then notify the Threat Assessment Team.

Maintain Awareness and Help Us Out

There are many behaviors and circumstances that may indicate an increasing risk for violence, significant disruption to others, or suggest a person is in need of assistance. The significance of any one behavior or circumstance is often difficult to determine. Therefore, the threat assessment process is designed to review the situation in context of all of the facts that can be known. 

How we Operate

The Threat Team is ready at a moment’s notice to come together and evaluate often dynamic situations.  For imminent or evolving safety related incidents the Campus Police Department takes the lead in managing the process.  This team is not explicitly student focused, we are community facing with a broad commitment to safety.  We therefore look for evolving issues of concern that may develop from; visitors, employees, students and those with a potential campus linkage or nexus.  The team will reach out for resources as needed that will assist in mitigating the problem.  This team can expand and contract based upon the specific situational need.

What if the issue doesn’t quite rise to a “threat” in your mind?

The Threat Assessment Team has the capacity and skills to handle issues that fall short of an active threat or danger to the campus.  The team meets regularly as the Campus Assessment Response & Evaluation Team (CARE Team).  This team operates as a support and intervention team that handles a very broad range of campus issues from; general behavioral matters to students needing some type of assistance toward success.  If you have doubts about whether to call or not?  CALL, and let us decide how to proceed.

Who we are

Left to right: Sherilyn Meixner, Craig Harris and Lori Baker (Jennifer Pittman not pictured)

We are a multi-disciplinary team that operates in accordance with the Virginia Code 23.1-805

The core membership of the Threat Assessment/CARE Team:

Warning Signs to Look For

People who might progress into disruptive or violent behavior may display the following indicators.

  • Attempts to harm or kill self
  • Unexplained increases in absenteeism
  • Decreased performance in work or academics
  • Resistance to change or reasonable limits
  • Over-reaction to changes in policies/procedures
  • Extreme or sudden changes in behaviors
  • Numerous conflicts with others
  • Difficulty learning from past behaviors or experiences
  • Displays paranoia or distrust
  • Alienates others or isolates self from others
  • Makes statements indicating approval of use of violence to resolve a problem
  • Identifies with or idolizes persons who have engaged in violence toward others.

Characteristics of persons who may become vulnerable as targets of violence or victims of harassment

  • Unclear or inconsistent expectations
  • Consistency of travel/movement/patterns
  • Denial in the face of a clear threat posed
  • Passive orientation to safety
  • Ease of access

Look for precipitating events that may trigger reactions

All of the below items are mere examples of behaviors and circumstances that may present as indicators of developing concerns. These examples are meant to help you identify potential concerns during your daily interactions with others. These examples are NOT all-inclusive and this information is not intended to be used as a checklist.

  • Losses (such as):
    • Job
    • Income (including Financial Aid)
    • Status
    • Significant other/relationship
  • Perceived rejection or injustice
  • Ostracized by others
  • Bullying/Harassment
  • Health problems (e.g., head injuries)