Secret Service coming to Rayland

RAYLAND – This Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m., the auditorium at Buckeye Local High School in Rayland host a very unique program. The program brings several national security threat assessment experts from Virginia to the Southern Jefferson County school campus to present “Managing Threatening Situations – Creating Safe School Climates: Creating a Culture and Mechanisms to Facilitate Effective Responses to Threatening Situations.”

Discussion points during the two-hour long event will include foundations of threat assessment, prevention of targeted violence (K-12 and higher education), and information sharing and privacy issues.

An invitation to attend the free program is extended to associates from all levels of schools (K-12 and institutions of higher education as well) and select other groups from throughout the region, confirmed organizers with the National Threat Assessment Center and the media office of the United States Secret Service, the federal resource providing the presentation at this local venue.

The presenters will be Lina Alathari, Ph.D, a research psychologist with the National Threat Assessment Center and the United States Secret Service, and Catherine Camilletti, Ph.D, a social science research specialist with the National Threat Assessment Center and the United States Secret Service.

Among those the program is designed to benefit include school principals, superintendents, administrators, campus police, school resource officers, legal advisors, guidance counselors, mental health specialists, prevention and interventions staffers, law enforcement personnel including investigators, prosecuting attorney office associates and all first responders, paid or volunteer.

Buckeye Local Superintendent of Schools Mark Miller confirmed late Friday reservations have been made by local school administrators, campus security managers and personnel, fire department, police departments, sheriff’s department representatives and more from as far away as the Columbus and Westerville areas, Ironton (near Huntington), the Cleveland area, and from across the local region.

There is no geographic limitation to the distribution of groups being welcomed, as the invitation to attend the program Tuesday has also been extended to these same categories of professionals serving in West Virginia and in western Pennsylvania, confirmed Miller.

This presentation has been shared in several other communities nationwide, but it has been brought to the local area thanks to a a long-standing professional and personal relationship with Frank Hoagland, a service retired US Navy SEAL Senior Chief who returned to the area on his retirement.

In particular, since the horrific situation at Sandy Hook, Hoagland has focused a great deal of his personal and professional time and resources toward developing school safety policies, practices and programs at all levels that are designed to be completely and quickly customizable to address the specific needs of a single building or an entire district.

His unique access to national experts in security and threat assessment and mitigation has made it possible for the presentation slated for Tuesday at Buckeye Local to be held here, and to be open to local educators, law enforcement and emergency responders. Miller noted the credit for the connection goes to Hoagland and the resources of his business START LLC (Special Tactics and Rescue Tactics headquartered in Mingo Junction).

Miller could hardly believe the good fortune the district had in being selected as a presentation site for this nationally relevant program.

Superintendent of the Barnesville Exempted Village School District Randy Lucas was delighted to accept the invitation from Buckeye Local’s Miller to attend the program Tuesday.

Lucas’ school district is now joining the growing number of school districts across Ohio looking toward taking the first real steps toward a full assessment and mitigation structure.

Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson, a retired military veteran who held leadership positions while in service, said as recently as late Friday he became acquainted with Hoagland while in the military and considers his skills of assessment, and of finding quality solutions to all challenges, as exceptional, making it no surprise he was able to network his resources and bring this program to Buckeye Local.

“Frank Hoagland brings a set of skills to the table very few communities in America have access to,” said Johnson. “There is no one I know who I would rather have look at risks and develop the best ways of mitigating those risks than Frank Hoagland. What higher value can you have on an effort that’s taking care of our schools and our children?”

Those wanting to attend this free program are asked to either register via email to Angela Hicks at or Scott Celestin at, or call 740-769-7395 and leave your specific basic registration information.

Loccisano can be reached at