Would you know a sex offender if you saw one?

As if you didn’t already have enough things to worry about, take a look at this chilling video from the state of Indiana. This is a sex offender training overview featuring interviews with investigators and a former teacher who was convicted of child sex abuse. Warning: This video is graphic in content and goes into detail about how this predator disguised himself so that he could abuse children. While there is no detailed sexual content the video can be disturbing for sensitive viewers.

Would you know a school sex offender? The Answer is “probably not”.

What should be the most alarming piece is the number of missed instances that the sexual predator describes. Each time someone would become suspicious, he would evade detection by being a diligent worker and respected colleague.  At one point he states – “It felt like a lot of stuff was ignored. A lot of stuff was ignored.”

Chuck Cohen of the Indiana State Police adds that in many cases, those who reported abuse were not sure if they should. He reported comments like “I almost didn’t call you – but I thought I should” in cases of real abuse that was prosecuted. And of course, we know that sex offenders come in all ages and can be male or female.

Here are some tips for educators from the video:

  • Educators who try to do their own investigation, determine victims or scope of abuse can quickly result in destroyed evidence.
  • Talking to the alleged victim or other students to determine “what actually happened” before reporting the incident can violate privacy and destroy evidence.
  • Confronting the alleged offender yourself can hinder the investigation later.
  • Talking to the alleged victim in front of the offender or interviewing the offender in front of the victim should NEVER be done.
  • Do not wait until you have absolute certainty – that will probably be too late.

Remember – if you are reading this, you are probably a Mandatory Reporter because of your job or state law. This means you are required to IMMEDIATELY report any suspicion to law enforcement or your states child protective agency. While this is often loosely defined, realize that even a short delay can allow further victimization to take place and evidence to be destroyed.

“Legally, if you do not report something you are required to report, you are committing a crime.”

The video also describes how most law enforcement investigations of suspected child abuse are low-key and designed to avoid disrupting the school environment. The best way to protect the victim’s privacy and to avoid violating the privacy of alleged offenders is to immediately notify law enforcement and let them handle the investigation.

Indiana Department of Education: Sexual Predator Awareness video

Warning: This video contains graphic information and detailed descriptions of sexual predator assaults:


Campus Safety East Conference 2016

CampusSafety EAST 2016

Campus Safety East Conference

My son Chris and I used to present together frequently. Now that Chris lives in Oregon and both of our schedules have gotten even busier, we rarely have the opportunity to co-present.   We are very excited that we will have the opportunity to present together for a full day at a special pre-conference school emergency preparedness workshop at the Campus Safety East conference being held in National Harbor Maryland on July 25th 2016.

Over the years, I have found the Campus Safety conference events to be great events with a diverse array of topics, presenters, vendors and networking opportunities. Chris and his video crew have been working on a series of new school weapons incident scenario videos and they will be developing a series of custom school crisis audio scenarios for this event.   Campus Safety plans to make these audio scenarios available for attendees and we will be providing each participant with a copy of our latest book Staying Alive – How to Act Fast and Survive Deadly Encounters.

This information-packed and dynamic session will cover a variety of hot school safety topics including:

  • Weapons Concealment and Detection
  • When Young Lives are at Stake – Practical and Proven Approaches to School Emergency Preparedness
  • Look Who’s Talking – Critical School Safety Communications Before, During and After a Crisis
  • Innocent Targets – When Terrorism Comes to School
  • Know the Drill – Improving Survivability for School Crisis Situations Using Enhanced School Emergency Drills

The workshop is a K12 education track while higher education has its own pre-conference session on the Clery Act. For those in higher education interested in emergency preparedness, you will still find our workshop engaging and most of the concepts we will be discussing apply to the college environment as well.

Chris and I hope to see you at the Campus Safety Conference East this July!

For more information and to register, please visit the Campus Safety East homepage:


For more information on the pre-conference workshop by Michael Dorn and Chris Dorn:



New resource: Hashtag Standards for Social Media in Emergency Response

I wanted to make a quick post to highlight a new document we just added to the document database titled “Hashtag Standards for Emergencies” created by a division of the United Nations. This document deals with the use of social media for emergency response and is not intended to dictate standards but to provide some guidelines and spark conversation on how you should use hashtags for your organization and in collaboration with other agencies during emergencies and crisis events. With the growing use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools during a crisis, it is critical to incorporate these methods of notification during your response to a crisis. We have seen these tools use for a variety of uses like information about shelter locations and other resources after major crisis events and interactive maps have been used during wildfires and other quickly evolving crises.  It is also important to remember that while we can attempt to direct the social media conversation, the nature of these media mean that it is impossible to control what direction the conversation will lead. This means that it is important to stay adaptable and be ready to use new hashtags as the situation evolves and the conversation takes on a life of its own.

For example, Hurricane Sandy generated hundreds of hashtags, some chosen by authorities and others chosen by social media users on the fly. Several hashtags were used by various agencies until the most effective and salient terms were narrowed down and used to spread various types of information. One example in the UN document is Tropical Storm Fay, in which response agencies directed Twitter users to use a variety of hashtags for specific purposes, including #Fay to tweet general information about the storm, #PublicRep to report damage to infrastructure, and #911US to report emergencies or evacuation needs. Providing guidance to the public on which hashtags to use, and asking them to enable GPS locations on their tweets to help locating victims and other response locations, can be very helpful. For more information, download the entire document here:

Enrollment key: shi-docs

About the Safe Havens Document Database:

As part of our ongoing effort to provide free resources and information, Safe Havens International has created a Document Database where you can log in and download documents from a variety of sources, including the United States Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Red Cross, the United Nations, and other entities. We also include documents and resources from vendors and other organizations from time to time. Of course you can download all of our Safe Havens International resources from this location as well.