Bipartisan Bill Leverages Secret Service Threat Assessment Program to Improve School Safety
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of Senators led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today introduced legislation expanding The U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center to help communities proactively mitigate threats of violence at schools. The EAGLES Act is cosponsored by senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
“The U.S. Secret Service has unique and unparalleled experience in identifying threats to safety and preventing tragedies. This bill builds on the Secret Service’s case study research on targeted school violence and enables the National Threat Assessment Center to train more of our nation’s schools in how to conduct threat assessments and early interventions. Equipping our communities and schools with training and best practices to recognize and prevent school violence is an important step toward preventing future tragedies, and an important way to honor victims of school violence,” Grassley said.
“To prevent future tragedies like Parkland, a multi-pronged approach is needed to ensure that threats do not fall through the cracks. By providing funding to the National Threat Assessment Center, top-notch research to stop school violence will help prevent future tragedies. This bill will also expand threat assessment programs so that more school districts can be trained to identify threats and properly intervene. I thank Chairman Grassley for shepherding this bill and for his ongoing efforts to reduce school violence, and urge my colleagues to quickly pass this bill,” Rubio said.
"We need to do everything we can to better protect our kids while they're in school. This bill will help provide school officials with the resources and training they need to detect potential threats before they materialize,” Nelson said.
“Last month Congress passed the STOP School Violence Act to empower entire school ecosystems to play a stronger and more active role in violence prevention. This proposal will help U.S. Secret Service leverage their own unique expertise in that same effort, and will save lives,” Hatch said.
The U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) was created in 1998 to develop evidence-based indicators for various types of targeted violence, including school violence. NTAC’s findings can then be used to develop best practices and training to prevent future acts of violence. Since 2002, Secret Service has conducted 444 training operations to 93,000 school administrators, teachers, counselors, mental health professionals, school resource officers and other public safety partners. The EAGLES Act, reauthorizes and expands NTAC, allowing it to scale its threat assessment operations, with a particular focus on school safety.
The bill establishes a national program on targeted school violence prevention and provides additional resources to expand research and training on a national scale. The bill also requires Secret Service to develop an expansion plan and to provide periodic progress reports to Congress.
The bill is supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, Sandy Hook Promise and families of those who perished in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.