‘If you see something, say something’: Inside Nebraska efforts to prevent mass shootings

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – As headlines keep scrolling of mass shootings across the country, several Nebraska agencies are working to prevent them.

NCITE, the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology and Education Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha produced a short list of warning behaviors while providing several ways to report them.

Some indicators of activity include suspicious relationships, travel and discussion of harming themselves or others. The challenge is then getting people to turn that information over for law enforcement to vet.

“These things just don’t spring up out of the blue,” said UNL psychology professor Mario Scalora, director of the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center Director. “People just don’t snap, these acts are often well planned. They take some effort to come together, and people are often aware of the individual’s intentions, their escalating behavior, of other threatening activity in advance of the shooting.”

The Nebraska State Patrol’s Nebraska Information Analysis Center (NIAC) wants to do a better job of showing people there are tools and contacts in place for them to turn to.

“I think that early intervention is the key,” said Lt. Monty Lovelace, director of NIAC. “And if we can get these leads out to law enforcement and allow them to follow up with individuals that could pose a threat, I think we can stop a lot of problems before they occur.”

NIAC says the more information that we share, the timelier we share it, the quicker action can be taken on a possible threat.

“We want to make sure that people understand that it can’t be wrong,” Lovelace said. “If you turn something in, and it turns out to be nothing, no one is harmed. But if you turn something in, and then it turns out to be something that law enforcement follow up on, it can certainly save lives down in the future.”

Resources are available. The 9-8-8 hotline can be used for this purpose, and two websites including Nebraska’s Department of Education Safe2Help and NIAC’s Suspicious Activity Reporting tool. They allow witnesses to report anonymously, encouraging you to speak up if you see something.

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