(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Utilizing social media to monitor and track a potential threat was one of Governor Mike DeWine’s series of legislative reforms addressing gun violence and mental health.
The Ohio operating budget effective July 18, added an additional $300,000 per year so the Threat Assesment Prevention can add promotional material for the tip line and resources for proactive threat analysis.
“When you go back, you see on social media, the signs were there,” DeWine said.
The Ohio Homeland Security is utilizing technology that actively searches for keywords like gun or bomb.
“We have accounts with different software programs that allow us to proactively look for threats on social media platforms,” Program Manager of School Safety, Emily Mayfield said.
She said FBI studies reveal that after a tragic event it is revealed there were signs that should have been reported ahead of time.
“Doing a full threat assessment on those kind of things is really important,” Mayfield said.
Any post that contains keywords is flagged. Mayfield said they are then able to analyze the post and decide if action needs to be taken.
DeWine also encourages Ohioans to report anything that seems suspicious. The state’s school safety tip line is available. Anyone can call 844-723-3764 and anonymously report a tip.
“So anyone from Students to staff, faculty, parents can call in or text anonymously to the tip line to report any sort of suspicious activity,” Mayfield said, “bullying events, threats they’ve observed, information about weapons on school premises, gang-related activity, anything like that.”
“When you see something, when you hear something, do something,” DeWine said.