The New Orleans Interviews
Online Threat Assessment Training
The New Orleans Interviews consist of two video trainings to help student affairs professionals and those interested in threat assessment better understand the practical, hands-on techniques used in an assessment. This online training was created by Brian Van Brunt, Ed.D. to demonstrate the principles of threat assessment evaluations for counselors, conduct administrators, law enforcement, and campus administrators who are members of a Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT). The New Orleans Interviews are an excellent source for tabletop training exercises and training materials for the BIT and campus counseling services.
As the author of Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention and the creator of the Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35), Dr. Van Brunt is frequently asked to provide a more hands-on, visual depiction of the threat assessment process.
Two actors portray college students in two threat assessment interviews and a series of short vignettes. These students came under the scrutiny of the BIT and are now required by the Dean’s office to complete a threat assessment interview with Dr. Van Brunt. The first video features a student named Stacie who threatened her professor in class. The second video features Dustin, an aggressive and defensive veteran student whose abusive relationship becomes public and requires a police response. The vignettes are a series of brief clips outlining common missteps when conducting a threat assessment.
The New Orleans Interviews includes the following:
- A link to a thirty-minute interview with Stacie and Dr. Van Brunt following her threatening remarks to her professor in the classroom. This includes a review of Stacie’s past suicidal behavior, current access to weapons and an assessment of the lethality of her threat, a review of her social supports and discussion of the next steps following the interview.
- A link to a sixty-minute interview with Dustin and Dr. Van Brunt following Dustin’s in-class outburst towards a female student he had been dating. Dustin’s defensiveness, anger and general non-compliance are central themes of the interview. Dr. Van Brunt demonstrates how to build rapport while assessing weapons access, past threats, Dustin’s military service, misogynistic and objectifying language, along with the likelihood of additional threats and escalating violence. The interview includes a discussion of next steps for Dustin following the threat assessment.
- PDF downloadable copies of the full interview transcripts with both Dustin and Stacie. These transcripts include Dr. Van Brunt’s comments along with a sample threat assessment letter to the BIT and suggestions for future treatment in both Stacie and Dustin’s cases. These are useful materials to have at hand while watching the videos during training.
- A brief and humorous video montage of some “don’ts” when it comes to conducting a threat assessment. Dr. Van Brunt demonstrates how to increase defensiveness, convey disinterest, project an overly casual attitude, ask leading questions and guarantees the result of the interviews before they starts.
The video series is useful for teams that have already completed the SIVRA-35 training or those who understand the relevant risk factors pertinent to a threat assessment. However, The New Orleans Interviews are not limited to those who have trained in the SIVRA-35 and are instead designed to demonstrate practical skills in establishing rapport, assessing risk factors, and developing a risk profile for potentially dangerous college students.
While the video series doesn’t certify individuals to do threat assessments, it does provide a practical and useful first hand exploration of what threat assessment interviews look like. The process of learning how to administer threat assessments is one that involves training, supervision, and experience with the population being assessed. The New Orleans Interviews is designed to be one piece of an overall training package including the NaBITA BIT Best Practices Certification Courses, SIVRA-35 training, Harm to Others Workshops on assessment and treatment, and additional trainings through the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP).
Dustin’s video, in particular, demonstrates the challenge of assessing a very disagreeable, guarded and difficult client. As such, there is some objectionable language used throughout his video. We choose to leave the language in the video series uncensored as it demonstrates a particularly concerning tendency towards misogyny, objectification and depersonalization.
The New Orleans Interviews is available for purchase through The NCHERM Group for $499. This allows the user unlimited access to the streaming video content, transcripts and to use within his or her college or university when the need for training arises. Once purchased, the video series is available for viewing 24/7 for a period of one year.
Note: Dangerousness and violence, from a student, faculty or staff member is difficult, if not impossible to accurately predict. This training topic offers research based techniques and theories to provide a foundational understanding and improved awareness of the potential risk. The training should not be seen as a guarantee or offer any assurance that violence will be prevented.