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K-Ph.D. School and Campus Shootings Awareness

With over 27 years as a police officer, I have had the special opportunity to meet and work with many fine women and men in blue who serve their communities with distinction. But every now and then, I get to learn of some who truly go above and beyond in their service to others. 

Their tours of duty don’t stop after a shift or a career.  They search for innovative ways to help their fellow officers stay safer or find solutions to problems that plague a community. Often times when they take off their duty belts, they have only just begun to make a difference. 

James T. McBride and Gregory Truhan are two such men whose distinguished careers and ongoing service afterward have led them to what is likely a magnum opus on student safety in the book they co-wrote called

K-Ph.D. School and Campus Shootings Awareness

It is unfortunate that such a book even needs to be written, but sadly, we live in a world racked by violence with a reach that will not even spare young minds simply trying to learn. Something serious needs to be done because what often happens after these tragedies is lots of talk and very little action. 

After the shock wears off for most of the community, it is business as usual except for those who lost loved ones and must live a life of suffering. I suspect that more often than not, the locations of these major crimes are not much safer afterward and teachers and students are still at serious risk.

Authors McBride and Truhan recognize this and present a real strategy that can make a difference. Their book provides a comprehensive approach that addresses preventing the terrible crimes of targeting shooter attacks as well as combating other levels of serious crime such as sexual assaults against students.

K-Ph.D. School and Campus Shootings Awareness

gives an initial oversight and history of a national problem that has created fear throughout our country. They then break down the work of the United States Secret Service in relation to its behavioral intelligence efforts and its application in trying to spot individuals who could present potential risks to others. 

Intervention, threat assessment, and risk management are vital components that the authors evaluate in trying to help find strategies for preventing or mitigating the dangers that students and teachers face on a daily basis. Both authors demonstrate a compassion for the mentally ill and articulate how providing help for them can have a huge impact on preventing criminal acts of all sorts, particularly those of a violent nature. 

What this book makes clear is that there are lots of players in this fight and they outline the efforts of many of them. Special attention is paid to Connie and Howard Clery, who lost their daughter Jeanne to murder, but whose efforts have resulted in federal laws that have often times forced Institutes of Higher Education to do the right thing regarding transparency and honesty relative to crimes on campuses. 

When reading this work, it is readily apparent that there are young college students alive today because of Mr. and Mrs. Clery. Our nation owes them a debt of gratitude and these authors help the reader appreciate all they have done. 

What McBride and Truhan do that is so important, though, is explore a problem of national significance and then present a blueprint for success. In the last chapter, they provide a 10-point plan that can make a real difference but one that will involve much work and will take lots of partnerships on many different levels. 

It will not be cheap and easy, but with the right applications of effort, funding and adjustments in attitudes, positive change can take place. McBride and Truhan are change agents who recognize this and show a path toward safer schools that can benefit the future of our country. God bless them in their effort.   


Tom Wetzel is a Northeast Ohio Police Lieutenant, certified law enforcement executive, blackbelt in JuJitsu, ILEETA member.

Published in Law and Order, Jul 2015

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