Dr. S. David Bernstein and Charles Balken of Forensic Consultants, experts in threat assessment in schools and public facilities, addressed Wilton’s Security Task Force and more than two dozen town residents on April 3 at Comstock Community Center for the group’s fourth meeting.
“All of us need to be aware of possible threats because we are all responsible for security,” said Second Selectman Harold E. Clark, chairman of the task force, at the group’s fourth meeting.
Vice chairman of the task force, police Chief Michael Lombardo, introduced Dr. Bernstein, who spoke about external and internal threats.
He identified key characteristics of a shooter: a sense of alienation and feeling bullied, depression with suicidal thoughts and access to weapons.
“These are certain behaviors and patterns to recognize,” he said.
Dr. Bernstein also advocated creating a “See Something-Say Something” campaign with anonymous reporting systems for individuals who can recognize “red flag” patterns and pathways that are consistent among shooters.
He also emphasized the importance of having trained threat assessment teams with policies, procedures and clear behavior-based guidelines in place in the schools.
Specific school security measures included replacing hollow-core classroom doors with solid wooden ones, metal door frames, ballistic glass windows, and locks that lock on the inside of the door.
By putting these measures into place, “security barriers” would increase by “20-fold” and classrooms would be turned into “safe rooms,” at least long enough for first responders to arrive.
Dr. Bernstein also discussed the importance of the school resource officer’s presence in the schools.
The Security Task Force will continue to review and evaluate the security of Wilton’s schools and public facilities, analyze these and other security requirements and educate Wilton organizations and the community on security best practices.