The Threat Management Unit (TMU) uses an innovative process that combines the tools of a police investigator and psychologists. The unit was formed in 1998, and was the first of its kind in Orange County. It was modeled after a similar team in the Los Angeles Police Department.
Obsessed individuals with abnormal fixations on media celebrities and political figures receive a good deal of media attention. However, becoming a victim of harassment, threats, or being stalked can happen to any member of society. Often these situations begin without any specific crime being committed. If such a case is allowed to escalate, it could end in a tragedy to which law enforcement can only react after the fact. In response to the increase of stalking, threats, harassment, and workplace violence the Police Department developed the TMU.
The unit assumes investigative responsibility for selected cases where an individual demonstrates an abnormal fixation or generates a long-term pattern of harassment, threats, stalking, unsolicited acts of visitation, or telephonic or written communication in an annoying or threatening manner.
Even though the incident may not involve a crime, team members will conduct ongoing investigations and follow-ups to help alleviate the problem before it becomes a violent crime. In a proactive manner, like preventive medicine, the unit attempts to look at problems and causes of danger before they occur.
TMU is staffed by a lieutenant, sergeant, and three officers. Threat management is an ancillary duty that the members handle in addition to their normal duties of patrol officer, traffic officer, and detective.