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Ontario County seeks domestic terrorism advisor

Ontario County is seeking applications from qualified public safety professionals to oversee the Ontario Community Advisory Team (OCAT), a countywide threat assessment team. The OCAT’s mission will be to serve as the County’s lead agency in community-based intervention approaches to mitigate and manage threats of domestic terrorism and acts of targeted violence.

The county has released a Request for Proposals to identify a qualified individual or agency to serve in an advisory role to OCAT. The Ontario County Purchasing Department is accepting responses until April 14, 2023.

The OCAT will work as a collaborative team of representatives from area law enforcement, businesses, schools, and places of worship who will meet regularly to assess and manage potentially threatening cases. The OCAT advisor selected will be charged with establishing OCAT, facilitating the organization’s meetings, coordinating essential training for team members, and launching a public awareness campaign.

“The goal is to prevent acts of domestic terrorism and targeted violence in our community,” said Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors, Todd Campbell. “An integral component of the OCAT advisory role will be to inform and educate the public about OCAT, its important mission, and how and when to contact OCAT.”

The formation of OCAT was called for in the County’s Domestic Terrorism Prevention Plan, which the Ontario County Board of Supervisors adopted in December 2022. The plan is often referred to as Ontario County’s EO18 Plan for its connection to New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s Executive Order 18, which calls for all counties to develop Domestic Terrorism Prevention Plans.

As the lead agency for developing the County’s EO18, the Campbell Commission emphasized a desire for OCAT to work with local mental health and other highly skilled professionals when a threat is identified.

“Our vision is for OCAT to be in the position to first and foremost avert a tragedy,” said Chairman Campbell. “We also want OCAT to be connected to critical support resources so appropriate steps can be taken to guide individuals who may be struggling away from a path of violence toward a healthy and safe return to society.”

Chairman Campbell is anticipating the newly appointed OCAT advisor to be in place by June, and the first formal OCAT meeting will be held later in 2023.