The Difference Between a Behavioral Intervention Team and a Threat Assessment Team
The main concern with having two separate assessment teams is that one typically does not know about the actions of the other.
In 8 Ways to Detect Terrorism on a College Campus, we discussed the signs of terrorism and how they might manifest at an institution of higher education. A behavioral assessment team (BAT) and a threat assessment team (TAT) can help to address the threat of terrorism, as well as other threats and behaviors not related to terrorism.
A lot has been written on the differences between the two teams. In general, while the makeup of each team may be similar, the general consensus is that a behavioral-based team is concerned with undesirable behaviors of an individual that likely do not rise to the level of threatening behavior that could result in disciplinary or law enforcement actions. The threat-based teams are similar but are usually not involved in pre-incident activity or actions. They are usually utilized after some bad act and are responsible for determining the course of action the college or university will take.
The problem with this process, particularly if the institution has both types of teams, is that one generally does not know about the actions of the other. The best scenario would be to have a single team that addresses both behavioral incidents as well as threat-based incidents.
In the context of including terrorism-related incidents into the actions of the campus’ assessment process, it becomes even more important to have a single process to address behaviors and actions. Most of the actions of a potential terrorist fall well below the threshold where most threat assessment teams become involved. By the time bad acts occur, it is too late; the bad acts are the terrorist event. For the campus assessment process to work, it must include both behavioral assessments as well as threat assessments in its approach.