HSTI Live - Active Shooter: Awareness, Prevention and De-escalation

Join us as we focus on a guide to preventing violence through strengthening awareness. Discuss the techniques used by experts to identify and mitigate unpredictable and rapidly evolving negative human behavior. Plan and prepare how to identify and respond to the next active shooter. Learn about tools to de-escalate a violent situation.


  • Learn about pre-incident indicators, behaviors of concern, and warning signs.
  • Recognize the Pathway to Intended Violence.
  • Discuss mitigation and risk prevention techniques used to reduce factors that lead to an active shooter incident.
  • Identify referral method and infrastructure available to Corporations, Business owners, and community members.
  • Learn about important communication “Intervention and De-escalation” approaches.
  • Explore dynamic communication techniques used to “Influence” behavior.
  • Discuss Law Enforcement’s “response strategies” during an active shooter and crisis situations.


  • Dr. Nancy Zarse - Zarse Psychological Services
  • Scott Tillema - Crisis and Hostage Negotiation Expert
  • Beth Widisch FEMA: Regional Prevention Coordinator, Chicago, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships

Beth Windisch

Beth Windisch is the Regional Prevention Coordinator for the Center for Prevention programs and Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to discuss community awareness of targeted violence and terrorism. 

  • Build awareness and understanding of violent extremism to catalyze community efforts on prevention.
  •  Understand the public health approach to violence prevention.
  •  Discover how community engagement can enhance community awareness and safety.
  • Discuss how local prevention frameworks can increase the ability of bystanders to identify and refer individuals to the appropriate community resources or authorities in a timely manner.
  • Explore grant opportunities and resources available to public and private sector.

Beth Windisch is a national security practitioner and researcher focused on preventing violence through strengthening human networks. Windisch began her career with the US Department of Homeland Security in 2008 and currently serves as the Regional Prevention Coordinator in Chicago for the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3). At CP3, Windisch supports local efforts as she works with all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and community members to develop and sustain frameworks to prevent terrorism and targeted violence.

Since 2017, Windisch has hosted a podcast interviewing authors about their latest national security research. Windisch also speaks about gender and national security as she explores how identity and power shape individual choices as well as collective institutions. Backing her belief that these institutions require a broader range of perspectives, she spends her spare time as a mentor with Girl Security, an organization that encourages girls to become actively engaged in national security.

Windisch earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and was a Boren Scholar at the American University in Cairo. She received a master's degree from National Defense University and a master's degree from the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, where her thesis research examined lone-actor terrorists, gender-based violence, and hegemonic masculinity. Bridging the gap between research and policy, Windisch uses evidence to demonstrate how diversity and inclusivity can foster a stronger, safer world for everyone.

Dr. Nancy Zarse

Forensic psychologist Dr. Nancy Zarse will present for HSTI Live Event on Active Shooter: Prevention and Intervention Strategies. Dr. Zarse provides an overview of critical information for the prevention and intervention of violence.

  • Recognize that there no profile of an active shooter.
  • Know the difference between affective and predatory violence.
  • Understand the Pathway to Intended Violence.
  • Learn about pre-incident indicators, behaviors of concern, and warning signs.
  • Discover the impact of triggers.
  • Unmask the critical role of the Threat Assessment Team.

Dr. Zarse has extensive experience in the field of violence prevention and intervention, including with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Federal Witness Security Program, the Federal Parole Board, the Pentagon, and the FBI. Her work spans several federal agencies, including the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Energy, as well as international, state, and regional organizations.

Dr. Zarse serves as an industry expert in the field of violence prevention, working with law enforcement, schools, law firms, and global clients to educate, identify, assess, and manage violence risk. The experience she brings to the table includes Chief Psychologist at two federal prisons, Director of Administration at the maximum-security military prison, contractor with the FBI’s Countering Violent Extremism section, full professor at a graduate school, and her Israel program. Dr Zarse created a course on Israel, focusing on terrorism, trauma, and resilience, which culminated in a 10-day study abroad trip to Israel; she led the program for 10 years.

Dr. Zarse is the CEO and founder of Zarse Psychological Services, as well as Professor Emeritus at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She provides training, conducts violence risk assessments, offers keynote addresses, serves as an expert witness, and develops and teaches graduate courses. She also provides expert commentary for the media on violence, terrorism, risk assessment, and forensic psychology in documentaries, television interviews, magazines, and newspapers.

Scott Tillema

Police Lieutenant Scott Tillema, a crisis negotiations expert, will present for HSTI Live to discuss how to take action to intervene in a moment of crisis, as well as steps anyone can take to save their life, should you find yourself in an active shooter situation. He will share tips and techniques on:

  • Consider important communication “Intervention and De-escalation” approaches.
  • Discover “Active listening” and how it’s an effective tool used to defuse during a crisis situation.
  •  Examine “negotiation skills” used to negotiate under pressure.
  • Explore dynamic communication techniques used to “Influence” behavior.
  • Discuss “bond and connection” techniques used when a person is exhibiting life threatening behavior.
  • Hear about Law Enforcement’s “response strategies” during an active shooter and crisis situations.

Lieutenant Scott Tillema is an active-duty law enforcement officer from the Chicago area with (19) years of experience, currently serving as his department’s training coordinator. He is an FBI trained hostage negotiator, spending over (7) years with a large regional SWAT team. He is a nationally recognized leader in the field of crisis and hostage negotiations, training thousands of law enforcement negotiators across the country.

Educationally, Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and a master’s degree in psychology. Additionally, Scott has received negotiation training through the Harvard University Program on Negotiation, and at IMD Business School.

Scott speaks both domestically and internationally and was invited to give a TEDx Talk, which has been viewed over a million times. He is known for giving dynamic keynotes, teaching attendees how they can negotiate under pressure and save lives, including their own. Scott has developed a model for hostage and crisis negotiation, which is now being adapted by those in the private sector for use in sales, communication, and leadership. In addition to his work in law enforcement, he is the founder of Negotiation Excellence, LLC, and a Senior Associate at The Negotiations Collective.

Help to support our programming all year long by making a donation today to the Homeland Security Program Support Fund through the College of DuPage Foundation. To make a gift, go to foundation.cod.edu/homeland or contact the Foundation at foundation@codfound.org or (630) 942-2462.