Columbine School Massacre Anniversary Marked As ChenTAC Offers Community Safety Training
Published: April 22nd, 2024

Columbine school massacre anniversary marked as ChenTAC offers community safety training On March 15, Commerce Chenango and the Norwich School District hosted an informational session with local educators on how to spot and prevent violence by former FBI agent Joseph R. Testani. (Submitted photo)

by Sophia Root,

Commerce Chenango

CHENANGO COUNTY - In April of last year, retired NY State Trooper Wes Mills, with the help of Commerce Chenango, Achieve, and retired FBI Agent Joe Testani, held an informative presentation on the reduction of community violence.

ChenTAC, the Chenango Threat Advisory Committee, was formed by Mills and the Chenango County Sherrif’s Office as a result, and to keep Chenango County schools, businesses, and places of worship safe.

Since its formation, 60 Chenango County businesses and organizations have joined the team, and 8 individuals received professional help.

Story Continues Below Adverts

So far, it has proven to be a successful cross functional group consisting of law enforcement, businesses, and social services.

“Wes Mills has done a tremendous job of leading the ChenTac team.  Their work helps make Chenango County a safer place for all of us” said Sal Testani, President and CEO of Commerce Chenango.  

ChenTAC was established due to the ever-changing risks of targeted violence and mass shootings that society faces today. ChenTAC takes effective, proactive, and protective measures that are designed to prevent, not predict, potential acts of targeted violence and terrorism.

Through identifying and managing potential threats, ChenTAC provides alternatives to investigation and/or prosecution for bystanders who are actively seeking intervention assistance with a known individual at risk of mobilizing to violence. It is important to acknowledge the difference between violence and targeted violence.

Targeted violence is premeditated violence and is usually directed at a specific individual, group, or location. A perpetrator of targeted violence is typically responding to a perceived grievance or acting on behalf of a particular ideology. Targeted Violence is different from impulsive, reactive, or emotional acts of violence. Some examples of targeted violence are school shootings, workplace violence, domestic violence, stalking, and terroristic attacks.

April 20 marked the 25th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, one of the darkest days in American educational history. While this day was an opportunity to commemorate the lives lost and honor the resilience of those affected, it also serves as a reminder for us to stay vigilant.

If you or your business are interested in joining the ChenTAC team in this effort, there is an informational event and training session planned for April of this year. Wes Mills and Joe Testani will be in attendance. “This will help recruit more businesses to join ChenTAC as well as raise awareness throughout Chenango County of what ChenTAC is and how we can serve our citizens,” Mills said.

You are invited to help make our community safer.

The event will take place on April 30 from 9 a.m. to noon, lunch provided by Nina’s Pizzeria. The training event will be held at Achieve’s new location, 27 Griffin Street in Norwich.

The admission fee for Commerce Chenango Members is $15 and the cost for nonmembers is $25. To register, email or call (607) 334-1400 by April 25th. This event is sponsored by Achieve, The Evening Sun and Unison, a GE Aerospace Company.

J. Testani stated, “I’m happy to come back to the county where I grew up and help them establish a restorative system, designed to prevent acts of targeted violence, like school shootings. I have assisted the Monroe County Sherrif’s Office, New York State, and several other counties implement this same system, and it has a proven track record. I know it will be a benefit to Chenango County too.”

Do you see something? Say something. If you believe you are witnessing concerning behavior, call the ChenTAC line at (607)334-2000 or go to and click “Crime Tip.”