Letter from the Director

Frank Straub, Ph.D.

Director, Center for Targeted Violence Prevention

Letter from the Director

During the last decade, persons motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and individual factors have engaged in acts of mass violence targeting innocent persons in communities across the United States. Mass violence attacks, incidents in which multiple persons are killed or injured, have increased in frequency as well as lethality.

Mass violence events in our schools represent a serious and continuing threat to our children, teachers and staff. Our religious institutions are not immune from attack, nor are entertainment venues, grocery stores, the media or political leaders. The reality is – that all Americans, regardless of the place they are in, are potential victims of mass violence.

 The effects of these attacks are devastating for the survivors, families of victims, for communities who have lost loved ones, and for first responders. For public safety officials, extremism and mass violence challenge emergency response protocols and demand actionable research, innovation and science to inform the response to extremism and mass violence.

The National Policing Institute’s Center for Targeted Violence Prevention believes there are steps that can be taken to build the capacity of our public safety agencies, schools, businesses, faith, and other organizations to better understand, identify and respond to threats, signs, and signals. Through actionable research, collaboration, technical assistance, and training we believe we can effectively counter extremism and prevent mass violence attacks. In those instances in which an attack could not be stopped, we can improve the public safety response and community recovery.

The Center for Targeted Violence Prevention draws on the National Policing Institute’s knowledge and experience to provide objective, rigorous and actionable research, training and technical assistance to public safety, policy, school, business, faith and community leaders to counter extremism and mass violence. The Center also seeks to use its unique position within a national independent organization to build bridges between stakeholders to identify opportunities for collaboration in response to the vexing challenges of extremism and mass violence.

The phenomena of extremism and mass violence are constantly changing – yesterday’s responses are inadequate for the challenges of tomorrow. The Center for Targeted Violence Prevention seeks to use our communal knowledge and ideas to inform policies and practices that are forward thinking, actionable, and resilient to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

The Center for Targeted Violence Prevention is an innovation incubator that builds on our expertise and provides a platform to bring persons and organizations together that are dedicated to preventing extremism and mass violence, improving the response, and recovery from these tragic events. 

About the Director

Frank G. Straub, Ph.D., is the Director of the National Policing Institute’s Center for Targeted Violence Prevention (CTVP). Dr. Straub leads teams of National Policing Institute staff and subject matter experts dedicated to the prevention, response and recovery from mass violence.

Dr. Straub has led in-depth studies of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the Kalamazoo mass shooting, and the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. He is currently leading a review of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Dr. Straub leads the Averted School Violence project, the National Applied Research and Data Platform, and a countering violence and extremism project in Boston.

Dr. Straub is a 30-year veteran of federal and local law enforcement, having served as the police chief in Spokane, Washington; the Public Safety Director in Indianapolis; the Public Safety Commissioner in White Plains, New York; and the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Training and Assistant Commissioner for Counterterrorism. He also served as a member of the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force during his tenure with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Dr. Straub is a non-resident fellow at West Point’s Center for Combatting Terrorism providing expert advice regarding the domestic law enforcement response to terrorism and acts of mass public violence.

Dr. Straub holds a B.A. in Psychology, a M.A. in Forensic Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice. He has co-authored a book on performance-based police management as well as articles and reports on school violence, critical incident response, community policing, police reform, youth violence and homeland security.