What is a challenge you face doing BIT work?
As a Captain of our police department, I currently oversee four sections- including our BIT/ Threat Assessment Team. One of my current challenges is time management. Many of our incoming BIT cases are complex. Finding the time to mitigate these cases with our team and ensure the success of my other sections is always an issue. I find that scheduling my time and establishing boundaries has helped immensely.
What is a successful achievement you have had doing BIT work?
For the past several years, other BIT leaders at local San Antonio universities have called and asked my advice on a case or talked about relevant training. In an effort to keep us all up-to-speed on the latest information, I formed the San Antonio BIT Coalition. This team is represented by many other university BITs. We meet quarterly to talk about complex cases and have guest speakers come in to talk about various topics. This program has been a huge success.
Why did you become a member of NABITA?
I became a member of NABITA because I recognized that, although I am knowledgeable on police matters, I needed more information regarding mental health and threat assessments. NABITA had what I needed, and I joined as soon as I could.
How does having a BIT/CARE team increase your school safety/ability to provide student support?
Identifying and assessing the risk of violence and developing an intervention plan have been shown to be effective in preventing critical incidents. Having an avenue to report these concerns is essential. The BIT fulfills this role and is key to ensuring school safety.
How has NABITA helped you to be a better professional?
Being a member of NABITA has helped me increase my skills in assessing for risk of violence. I have also enhanced my communication skills, and have been able to offer my advice to colleagues.
What is one way you practice self-care doing such intense work?
It is important to set boundaries in this field. By doing this, you will have more time for personal activities. Personally, I like to travel with my wife, even if it’s a day trip to another town to grab lunch or dinner.
What is one piece of advice you would offer your fellow practitioners?
I think the most important piece of advice I would give to a colleague is that despite your best efforts, you will not be able to help everyone. Throughout my career, I have had several instances where I have given my all to a person and it didn’t work. I found that I blamed myself. After talking with my colleagues, I learned that it happens to all of us. Always stay confident in yourself and your abilities. You are in this position for a reason.
How has having a BIT/CARE team improved the experience of students, staff, and faculty at your institution?
Providing support for students, faculty, and staff is essential. We have received many positive responses for the work we are doing.