About Safe Schools and Safe Places


The first seminar was hosted by the Buffalo Field Office of the US Secret Service and the University at Buffalo in 2004. The Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) was invited to present the Safe School Initiative, an extensive examination of 37 incidents of targeted school shootings and school attacks from 1974 through 2000, including the horrific Columbine High School shooting in 1999. NTAC’s goal was to assist school and law enforcement personnel in the prevention of acts of violence from students or other persons within a school.

The seminar then became an autonomous annual event by quickly evolving into a collaborative multi-agency effort where myriad topics focused on school safety have been presented. The seminar has benefitted tremendously from the regular participation of law enforcement agencies including the NTAC, the FBI, the NYS Police, and local police forces together with nationally recognized educators and those with first-hand experience in school shootings. Our primary audience is composed of personnel from all levels of the law enforcement and education communities.

The principal planning partners currently include the Presenting Sponsor, the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation (ECLEF), together with the Founding Sponsors: the U.S. Secret Service, Buffalo Field Office; the University at Buffalo’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention; the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of New York; and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), New York Office. 
This one-day event has always been presented for free and is now offered both in-person and virtually. The seminar attracts 700-1,200 participants from a large regional footprint that includes Western & Central NY, Northern PA and Southern Ontario, along with a growing national profile featuring 23 additional states and Washington DC. 

Presentations have focused on a wide array of topics over the years, including:
• Bullying & Cyber bullying                                                 
• Review of Actual School Shootings
• Truancy, Cliques & Gangs
• Interpreting Non-Verbal Communication Cues to Identify Troubled Youth
• The Role of Leadership in Making Schools Safe
• Making Integrated Safe School Plans
• Behavior Analysis of Students at (Extreme) Risk
• Best-Practice Procedures & Tabletop Exercises for School Threat Assessments
• Mental Health Issues
• De-Escalating Crises Response and Recovery from School Based Tragedies
• FBI Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the US
• Understanding Human Aggression
• Case Study of a Full-Scale High School Threat Incident Exercise

The seminars have all been led by nationally recognized leaders, and have benefitted from the regular participation of the USSS National Threat Assessment Center and the FBI, among other law enforcement agencies.

Offering this seminar for free would not be possible without the year-to-year financial support of multiple sponsors.  Together with the commitments from our Founding Sponsors, the program benefits tremendously from the long-term backing, since 2010, of Partner Sponsor Utica National Insurance Group, along with a host of other dedicated sponsors who recognize the value of providing essential & timely programming to our stakeholders in school safety.


The introduction of an annual Safe Places Seminar will provide more instruction and guidance for law enforcement, businesses/workplaces, houses of worship, military bases, schools, nonprofit service providers, residential complexes, public transportation and open space operations to prevent targeted violence and other threats to enhance safety for the public and those who are working for/serving the public.

ECLEF will leverage its partnerships with law enforcement agencies and numerous other businesses and organizations along with its experience programming the annual Safe Schools Initiative Seminar, which will program the 20th annual edition in 2024, to present the Safe Places Seminar.

On November 15, the USSS National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) will present their very recent study analyzing 173 targeted attacks that occurred from 2016 to 2020 in public or semi-public locations throughout the US.   The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will provide a 2nd session demonstrating how they can partner with organizations to help manage risk and increase security.  In addition, a vendor fair will be assembled featuring businesses and organizations who provide relevant safety products, applications, and services.

As with the Safe Schools Initiative Seminar, the Safe Places Seminar is open to all & regisration is free!

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