Student Kills Three: Tragedy at UA Spurs Creation and Evolution of Threat Assessment and Management Teams

robert sommerfeld


Robert Sommerfeld
The University of Arizona Police Department
Assistant Chief of Police



Effective threat assessment is challenging and can involve elements from behavioral sciences, student affairs, legal counsel, law enforcement, risk management and human resources. The talk will discuss how members of the University of Arizona’s multi-disciplinary Threat Assessment and Management Team (TAMT) work together in evaluating and responding to threatening or potentially violent situations. The TAMT depends on the campus community for early reporting of any concerning behavior.

The University of Arizona’s Threat Assessment and Management Team (TAMT) utilizes a multi-disciplinary group of trained employees and contractors. The TAMT works to determine if an individual poses or could potentially pose a threat of violence to others. Keeping the campus safe and secure means that all individuals on our campus are free from threatening or violent behavior – staff, faulty, students, vendors, volunteers and visitors.

The use of a multi-disciplinary team means that we have the expertise to consider and address all aspects of a given situation – allowing the team to act quickly and effectively.
Any statement, communication, conduct or gesture directed toward any member of the campus community or others, which causes reasonable apprehension, or fear of physical harm. The threat can be towards people or property.

Examples of Threatening Behavior:

  • Direct or implied threats of violence
  • Challenges to fight
  • Shoving
  • Physical attacks
  • Stalking
  • Threatening phone calls, emails, or other correspondence

Traditional law enforcement techniques historically have focused on the apprehension and prosecution of violent offenders after violent crimes are committed. When police are given information that someone may potentially commit a crime or become violent in the future, their responsibilities, authorities, and available investigative tools are suddenly less clear.

The talk will discuss how the University of Arizona’s TAMT came into existence after an active shooter incident where a student shot and killed three faculty members during the school day. Discussion will incident how threats are received, how the team convenes and reviews a reported threat and actions taken by the team.



  • Importance of having a threat assessment team at your institution
  • Why a multi-discipline team is vital
  • Actions taken to assess and mitigate a potential threat


Full schedule