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Violence Prevention

What types of behavior might be cause of concern?

While no list can be exhaustive, the following are signs of troubling behaviors you may notice in yourself or others.  Displaying one or more of these traits does not predict violent behavior, but intervention could help prevent progression of symptoms and provide needed support to the person.

  • Depression
  • Fixation on weapons
  • Anger or paranoia
  • Chemical dependency
  • Social isolation
  • Zealotry-racial, religious, political, etc.
  • Pushing the limits of acceptable behavior
  • Contempt for authority
  • Newly acquired bad traits
  • Newly acquired poor personal hygiene
  • Verbal threats, bullying
  • Discussion or act of stalking and harassing others

If you suspect an individual may become immediately violent:

  • Call UTHSC PD at 901-448-4444, or call 911.
  • Try to calm the person down, but don’t threaten.
  • Maintain an escape route and distance if a weapon is present.
  • If you encounter an already violent situation, evacuate and call 911. If you’re unable to leave, seek shelter inside the building preferably behind a locked door in a room without windows.

Best practices for handling employment actions:

  • Partner with UTPD, University Health, or Human Resources as you prepare to take actions, which are corrective or disciplinary in nature.
  • Have another supervisor in the room as a witness.
  • If there is a past history of volatile behavior, a UTHSC police officer or other security personnel can be nearby during difficult meetings such as terminations.
  • Consider the day of week/time of day for a difficult meeting to reduce the number of people who are potentially exposed.
  • Think about the location of a difficult meeting. If there is concern about volatile behavior, choose a private room with more than one exit.
  • For a difficult meeting, pre-screen the individual for behavior. Pre-screening involves the support staff greeting the individual and observing if there are any concerning behaviors upon arrival or departure.
  • Provide a cooling-off period for employees who get angry or very upset during a meeting. Stop the meeting and consider paid administrative leave for 24-48 hours and a follow-up meeting.

Last Published: Nov 27, 2017