Workplace Violence – Mitigating the Threat

By: Hadley Kombrink

In light of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, understanding security within one’s workplace has been on the minds of millions across the country. Every year, more than 572,000 Americans fall victim to Workplace Violence. Defined by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) as any physical assault, threatening behavior, or verbal abuse occurring in the work setting, Workplace Violence is one of the leading causes of job-related deaths. For the past few years, SPS’s Criminal Justice and Security Management Program has hosted an annual event to bring together a panel of experts in their field to discuss prevalent topics faced by those in the security field and other related industries. This year’s panel of workplace violence and threat management experts will discuss the key elements of Boeing’s innovative Threat Management Program, the true impact of Workplace Violence, and how to prepare yourself and your company to handle it. This year’s panel members include two members of Boeing’s Enterprise Threat Management Team, Christina Holbrook and Dave Bixler, Bill Naughton, Boeing’s Senior Manager of Security and Fire Protection for the Midwest/East Region, and Major Donovan Kenton, Deputy Chief of Operations for the St. Charles Police Department.

The Criminal Justice and Security Management Program (CJSM) at SPS provides a unique Bachelor’s degree in that it devotes time to both the public and private sides of these two areas. No other degree offers this type of combination to its students. Within the program, students can choose one of three areas to specialize in: Criminal Justice, Security Management, or Security Management Technology. The latter combines both investigative security courses and computer science topics. By providing a variety of topics, students within the program are able to cater their course choices to benefiting their career goals. For example, I see a lot of students with retail backgrounds, but they are tired of being assistant managers or salespeople, and want a change. I like to see these people take courses such as CJST 335, which focuses on Risk Management and an instructor who worked with retail stores. Making a change from your current career to one within the Criminal Justice or Security field can be done if you are dedicated to the coursework and are open to making connections with the course instructors. Another excellent asset within the program is the instructors who are currently in the field. By reaching out to an instructor who has made a career in a specific area of the Criminal Justice or Security field, you may be able to begin making the connections you need to further your knowledge about your area of interest. One of the best places to network with many of these industry leaders is at our annual panel discussion event.

Each year the program chooses a topic that is not only relevant to the industry, but also can appeal to those in other fields. Workplace Violence was the most common topic mentioned by last year’s attendees as the topic they would like to see featured at the event. This event will take place on March 7th, 2013 in the Wool Ballrooms of Busch Student Center. A small reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., and the event begins at 6:00, and will feature a presentation from our panelists, a directed Q & A session, and then attendees will have a chance to ask their own questions. If you have ever wondered how a hypothetical situation could be handled in your workplace, or you would like to learn how another company creates a threat management system, than this is a great event to attend. In addition, it is a great opportunity to learn more about how the two areas of Criminal Justice and Security Management can intertwine and work together to achieve goals.

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To learn more about the online Criminal Justice Bachelor’s program at SLU, visit

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