Washington state’s first-ever task force to develop strategies for identifying and intervening against potential perpetrators of mass shootings released its recommendations Thursday.
Sen. Steve O’Ban wrote the 2018 budget legislation that created the task force and its objectives. O’Ban’s legislation provided that the task force come up with recommendations on the best methods to promptly identify potential perpetrators and take prompt action to protect students and school personnel, how to better educate the public about the availability of extreme- risk protection orders and other ways to improve school safety. Extreme risk protection orders are a legal tool to permit family members and law enforcement to seek court intervention to remove firearms from violent individuals.
The task force paid special attention to mental health issues, which are the common link to nearly all recent mass shootings, school resource officer training, and changes to the extreme risk protection orders to clarify that they may be used in the case of juveniles who have access to firearms and are at risk of harming others.
“I appreciate the hard work of the members of the mass shooting prevention task force, and saw firsthand their dedication to making our schools and communities safer,” said O’Ban, R-University Place. “I am especially interested in carrying forward into legislation the recommendations that we standardize training and fund more resource officers, mandate a threat assessment process with essential components but that allows districts to use the method that is best suited for their safety needs, and clarify that extreme risk protection orders apply to juveniles who are at risk of harming others.”
Members of the task force included representatives from institutions of higher learning, a school safety center advisory committee, the Attorney General’s Office, local law enforcement, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Washington State Patrol and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.