Fort Cavazos officials take proactive approach to deter workplace violence

By Janecze Wright, Fort Cavazos Public AffairsNovember 30, 2023

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FORT CAVAZOS, Texas — Fort Cavazos is one of 17 installations set to implement a program that focuses more on a proactive than a reactive approach to avert acts of workplace violence.

Motivated by incidents of violence that have plagued the Department of Defense through the years, the DOD Insider Threat Management and Analysis Center deployed the Prevention, Assistance and Response program to address indicators and elements of workplace violence and violent behavior at its earliest instance to minimize risk, maintain unit readiness and reduce movement along the critical path.

The PAR program utilizes a multidiscipline approach through collaboration with trained professionals, integrated prevention experts and key stakeholders to develop tailored mitigation strategies intended to provide commanders and civilian leaders with an understanding of overall risk within their organizations and options to care for their personnel.

“I am excited about the opportunity to host such a positive initiative,” expressed Col. Lakicia Stokes, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Cavazos commander. “The command is deeply committed to ensuring a strong vibrant command climate where everyone is free to excel and a program focusing on reducing workplace violence at Fort Cavazos is perfectly in line with our philosophy.”

The program is being introduced in three phases. The first focused on deploying PAR cadre to installations, establishing business rules and processes and conducting coalition building. The second phase will educate and train community members and increase awareness. The final phase represents the full implementation.

Drew Hunnicutt, Fort Cavazos PAR program coordinator, explained that the program is currently in its second phase and that PAR program coordinators are here to assist the Army with its mission and provide guidance.

“The PAR mission is to coordinate with the commanders of units,” he shared, “as well as law enforcement, intelligence agencies and counterintelligence agencies to identify if something might be going wrong as soon as possible and to get the person help.”

Each aspect of the program utilizes environmental factors such as personal predispositions, stressors, concerning behavior and hostile actions to identify potentially aggressive behavior. The program incorporates a multi-tiered methodology to recognize early warning signs, escalation and further escalation.

Prevention focuses on the execution of policies, programs, training or practices that aim to prevent workplace violence and prohibited abusive or harmful acts through recognizing personal predispositions.

Assistance emphasizes actions taken at the earliest indication of stress to provide access to necessary services or treatment to mitigate further risk by categorizing a variety of everyday stressors.

Response refers to actions taken to stop the violent threat and mitigate any damages done by the aggressor through identifying concerning behaviors.

Hunnicutt explained that PAR will work similarly to organizations such as the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program, the Employee Assistance Program and the Family Advocacy Program.

He emphasized that PAR is not an independent program or process, but part of the larger integrated prevention effort that works within the same operating procedures as other prevention efforts.

“We’re not here to have a redundancy on top of what Fort Cavazos is already doing,” he said. “We’re here to make sure that there is the coordination and assist with how we can really get these things that we have in place to really work together to get people off the critical pathway to violence.”

Full operations of the PAR program are slated to begin in October 2025, and Fort Cavazos leadership is in full support of the initiative.

“A violence-free workplace is not only a fundamental requirement for our mission but also a reflection of our values and dedication to the men and women who serve under our command,” Stokes said. “This initiative demonstrates the commitment to maintaining a safe and secure environment for personnel, enhancing morale and ensuring mission readiness. My role is to fully support and actively participate in the implementation of the initiative, prioritizing the safety and well-being of our service members and our Department of the Army civilians.”