Senior Program Manager, Center for Mass Violence Response Studies
Sammie Wicks is a ten-year law enforcement professional who previously worked in various Memphis Police Department roles. Currently, he is assigned to the Aurora Police Department’s Crisis Response Team. He spearheads the agency’s Targeted Violence Prevention Program. Officer Wicks has previously served as a member of the Colorado Human Trafficking Council Data and Research Task Force. He served as speaker and researcher at the University of Denver’s Human Trafficking Center and is currently a board member at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, leading its policy committee. He is also an independent researcher focused on transnational organized crime in diaspora communities, terrorist propaganda, and
violent social movements. His research has been published in Small Wars Journal, The Global Network on Extremism and Technology, The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (The Hague), and The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (Israel), the African Jihad, and the Institute for Security Studies (Africa). He holds an M.A. in International Security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver with a Middle Eastern and North African Religious and Political Thought specialization. He also holds a B.A. in History from Rhodes College.
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM Wed, Apr 20, 2022 Palm Ballroom 1
How to Avert Planned School Attacks and Other Forms of Targeted ViolenceIn 2018, a Michigan high school student, was arrested after his mother reported that he was plotting to attack his school using modified firearms and homemade explosives. Although the school shooting was averted, he conducted an act of mass violence after his release from a juvenile detention facility three years later. This incident highlights the need for early identification, ongoing engagement, and management of adolescents and other persons of concern to promote violence desistance and rehabilitation. This case study uses publicly accessible information and information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, publicly available documents and interviews.
The case study presents valuable lessons learned for education, public safety, juvenile justice, and behavioral health professionals regarding behavioral threat assessment and the need for community-based cross-system collaboration in the management of adolescents determined to be dangerous to promote violence desistance and rehabilitation.
- Recognize the warning signs of intended targeted school attacks
- Recognize the critical role of community-based cross-system threat assessment teams in targeted violence prevention
- Identify the importance of identifying community-based resources to engage at various intercept points to strengthen public safety as well as plotter desistance from violence and support rehabilitation.
- Participants will be better prepared to recognize the warning signs of intended targeted school attacks
- Participants will strengthen their understanding regarding the importance and creation of school-based threat assessment
- Participants will recognize the importance of following “plotters” beyond initial responses – school, law enforcement, juvenile/criminal justice to implement community-based management, intervention, treatment and support systems.