Transcription Below the Video

Mike Keenan

Hello, I’m Mike Keenan, your host for the TAL Global Perspective. Our topic today is threat assessments in a workplace violence situation. Our speaker is Oscar Villanueva, the Chief Operating Officer COO for TAL Global. Welcome, Oscar.

Oscar Villanueva

Hello, Mike. Thank you for inviting me.

Mike Keenan

It’s great to have you. So, you have a terrific background, and I will share it with everyone. Oscar is an international security expert with decades of investigative physical security, workplace violence, risk management, emergency preparedness, and critical infrastructure experience.

Before consulting and providing security advice to government and corporate clients, he had a distinguished career in the US. Postal Inspection Service. His career in federal law enforcement included conducting and leading large-scale investigative, security, and law enforcement operations worldwide.

Oscar is also a licensed private investigator in the state of California. He is a professionally certified investigator with a PCI certification from Asis. Oscar is also affiliated with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals. We are highly interested in your insights.

Oscar, my first question to you is, what is a threat assessment with respect to violence in the workplace?

Oscar Villanueva

Workplace violence, as you know, is a challenging problem for many organizations. Whenever an organization faces a threat of violence, whether it comes as a veiled threat or a direct threat, or there has been a confrontation between employees or an external individual and an employee, it becomes a challenging situation for that organization.

The way to address it is to have a systematically and professionally conducted threat assessment. This is an investigation into what happened, the circumstances behind it, how it can be better understood, how it can be prevented and mitigated if it is happening now.

Threat assessments have two perspectives: the security and risk perspective and the other uses behavioral health experts to provide even further and deeper insight into what is happening.

Mike Keenan

So, how do you conduct a threat assessment when workplace violence occurs?

Oscar Villanueva

There are different components to a threat assessment. You must identify who the person of interest is. That is easy to do. Usually, it’s an employee or an outsider. You want to gain as much information about that individual as possible. So, conducting a threat of violence background investigation is usually the first step, followed by a social media investigation.

Nowadays, everybody is using social media. It is essential to understand what kind of posts this individual has placed on the Internet and what they are talking about. That is done concurrently with conducting interviews of witnesses, the victim if appropriate, and sometimes an actual interview of the person of interest.

In this case, the work combines a security risk assessment and behavioral health approach. A behavioral health expert provides a deeper understanding of what is happening. Once that initial process is completed, the next thing is to determine the threat level, low, medium, or high, and whether it is credible.

What follows is one of the essential parts of a threat assessment: developing a strategy regarding what that organization needs to do to prevent the situation from occurring, mitigate it if it is starting, or manage it if it has already happened. Then, there is a need to figure out ways to go through it and manage it for the organization’s and its employees’ best interest.

Mike Keenan

My last question is, how long does a threat assessment take?

Oscar Villanueva

It can vary. It depends on the severity and the circumstances around it. Usually, you can have a threat of violence background and social media investigation done in about a week. Then the interviews and the rest of the work depend on obtaining all that information and the interviews.

Still, it can be difficult to pinpoint how long any one threat assessment will take.  On average, within a week or two, there should be some indication of what the next steps should be and whether there is any cause for concern or what to do next. The important thing is communicating throughout the process and sharing information relevant to protecting people and the organization. It is something that every organization ought to consider when it comes to confronting a workplace violence issue.

Mike Keenan

Yes, I 100% agree. Well, thank you for sharing your insights. They were unbelievably valuable.

If you want to learn more about the workplace violence threat assessment, please contact and ask for Oscar.

And remember, as always, stay alert and stay safe. Thank you.


threat assessments