An expert on threat assessment and targeted violence said listening is the key to preventing situations like the hostage-taking at the WCB building on Wednesday.
Dr. Marisa Randazzo used to be the chief research psychologist for the United States Secret Service and is now the president of Threat Assessment Resources International. She’s in town to help NAIT train its threat assessment team.
“Developing a threat assessment team is probably the best way we have right now for identifying potential at-risk behaviours and for preventing violence before it can occur,” Randazzo said.
The key to dealing with threats, according to Randazzo, is to identify them and prevent them from escalating into violence.
“Part of what a threat assessment team can do very well is sit down with the person who’s raised some concern and listen and figure out what’s going on,” she said.
“Listening can have a powerful, protective effect,” she added. “You may not be able to solve the problem for them, but just the fact that you showed up with some respect and listened can diffuse a lot of anger and a lot of animosity. (This) can really form the foundation for developing a good working relationship going forward to solve the problem together.”