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Behavior Threat Detection

          Many Federal agencies have had some type of behavioral analysis programs for years; Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security: Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration, etc.; however, it has varied within the law enforcement community where the traditional response has been reactionary. It was not a skill set used widely by police and security officials prior to September 11. The most standard level of response by police and security officials prior to the attacks of September 11 was a reactive one. When there was a call regarding suspicious activity or a possible crime, the officers would be dispatched and respond. Actively looking for anomalous behavior or behavior out of the norm was not a standard operating procedure.

Private sector companies such as TACT Consulting that originated from the federal government are now teaching Behavior Threat Detection (BTD) and recognition to the law enforcement community and private security industries. The training involves the basic principles: Environmental baseline, suspicious activities, counter surveillance activities surrounding pre-attack planning and behavioral threat detection.

          Law enforcement agents are taught what activity and behaviors caused them to give more scrutiny, determine if the actions and behaviors are suspicious, anomalous or potentially dangerous.  Engage appropriately based on your training, experience and knowledge. Other questions considered when observing; what is the individual doing in an environment? Where are they and how are they acting with others? Times they are there? What got your attention? Actions? Demeanor? or Appearance?

          The goal of the BTD training program is to get away from reactionary mindset and to be proactive in preventing attacks on large/public events by identifying suspects who might be planning attacks as well as identifying individuals with hostile intentions at the event itself. BTD involves training on reading body language as well as training in reading micro facial expressions and active engagements through conversation/questioning techniques. Topics of this course include Counter surveillance techniques, indicators of terrorist activity, recognizing unspoken emotions, understanding the hidden messages of body language, detecting hostile intent, and the operational mindset. The course is designed to improve a student’s observational skills and ability to detect behavior in an individual that may indicate that he or she is about to engage in hostile or criminal activity including acts of terrorism.

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