Press Release back to list


Police Chief Says Plan Already Helped Avert Tragedy

The U.S. Secret Service?tells 60 MINUTES II of a new study it recommends to each school district in America to prevent school shootings -- guidelines a police chief says may have already helped him save lives -- in a report by correspondent Scott Pelley to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES II, Wednesday, May 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Secret Service psychologist Marisa Reddy tells Pelley there are telltale signs that a student may be planning a violent attack. "There are behaviors and there are communications that can be detected that would indicate that a child has an idea of mounting a school attack, has engaged in some planning behavior and is moving down a path from idea to action."

After looking at a draft of the study, chief of police Arthur Kelly of New Bedford, Mass., says he recognized those signs in five young men who were allegedly plotting a Columbine-like massacre of their classmates. "The study pointed out that you needed to do your homework for the police to be effective," says Kelly. "They had to work on the prevention side, the intervention side, before the violence occurred and that's what the report got us ready to do."

The psychological maps of potentially violent students like those in New Bedford will be incorporated into preventative seminars that will be presented this summer to police officers and teachers across the nation. Seminar participants will see Secret Service interviews with murderers like Luke Woodham, as he reveals why he murdered his mother and took a gun to school, killing two classmates and wounding several others.

The partnership between the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education, according to Secret Service director Brian Stafford, began after the Columbine massacre when it became apparent that the only way to protect students from assassins was to learn from the group which protects the President. Stafford says, "We looked at their motives, we looked at how they planned, their communications and we looked at their target selection....The thinking was that we could use some of our methods -- some of the same Secret Service methods that we use to protect the President -- that we may be able to use those to protect our children."

Jeff Fager is the executive producer of 60 MINUTES II and Bill Owens is the producer.