10319 Westlake Dr #244, Bethesda, MD 20817

Meet the Team

Dr. Russell Palarea
Founder and President

Dr. Russell Palarea is the Founder and President of Operational Psychology Services (OPS). He is an internationally recognized expert on threat assessment, insider threat, and counterterrorism, providing consultation in these areas to Fortune 500 corporations, global security firms, law enforcement, government agencies, and universities. Through his company, Dr. Palarea serves as the contract Consulting Operational Psychologist for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS). He was brought to DS in 2012 to spearhead the creation of the State Department’s Threat Management Program, and currently provides threat assessment consultation for State Department leadership, facilities, and personnel through the Office of Protective Intelligence Investigations and Insider Threat Program. Additionally, he serves as an instructor for the DS Training Academy and a presenter for the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC).

Prior to joining the private sector, Dr. Palarea served for 10 years as a Staff Operational Psychologist with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), providing his expertise to the NCIS Threat Management Unit, Counterterrorism Department, and Insider Threat Program. He specialized in a wide variety of investigations, including homicides, suicides, cold cases, stalking, workplace violence, domestic violence, school violence, sexual assaults, arsons, sabotage, insider threat, and counterterrorism. Dr. Palarea also consulted on investigations for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF), and served on the Department of Defense (DoD) Psychological Autopsy Working Group and Fort Hood Task Force, which focused on targeted violence prevention. Dr. Palarea trained personnel at numerous U.S. Federal Law Enforcement and Intelligence agencies, JTTFs, and state and local entities, and served as an instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), CIA University, and DoD Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA). His international experience includes training national law enforcement, security services, and military in Canada, South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

Dr. Palarea has conducted research on stalking, workplace violence, and assessment of communicated threats with the Los Angeles Police Department Threat Management Unit, U.S. Capitol Police Threat Assessment Section, Nebraska State Patrol, and Lincoln Police Department. His journal publications have appeared in Behavioral Sciences & the LawViolence & VictimsJournal of Forensic Sciences, and the Journal of Threat Assessment. Dr. Palarea has co-authored book chapters on psychiatric diagnoses and the offender-victim typology of stalking in Meloy’s The Psychology of Stalking, crisis negotiations in Kennedy & Zillmer’s Military Psychology, ethics in crisis negotiations in Kennedy & Williams’ The Ethics of Operational Psychology, and the role of sexual fantasies in sex offenses in Robertz’ Violent Fantasies. He is currently a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management.

Since 1996, Dr. Palarea has been an active participant with the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP).  He was elected as ATAP’s President in 2017, a role in which he currently serves.  In 2012, ATAP awarded him with its Meritorious Service Award for his proposal to establish the International Relations Committee, serving as the Committee’s Chair, and facilitating relationships with the Canadian, European, and Asia Pacific partner associations.

Dr. Palarea holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UCLA and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

 

Bram van der Meer
European Region Expert

Bram van der Meer is the Founder and President of Van der Meer Investigative Psychologists in The Hague, The Netherlands, the country’s first threat management company.  For 11 years, Mr. van der Meer served as an Investigative Psychologist with the Netherlands National Police Agency’s Offender Profiling and Threat Management Unit.  His work focused on violent and serial offenses, including developing offender profiles, providing interview recommendations, conducting threat assessments, and designing case management strategies.  Mr. van der Meer also provided consultations to the Dutch Royal Family, and his expertise was key to establishing the Netherland’s National Threat Management Center.  Mr. van der Meer also served as an appointed expert witness for Dutch courts from 2001 to 2013, advising judges on recidivism risk and criminal responsibility.  He began his career as a clinical psychologist in a forensic psychiatric hospital, providing clinical evaluations and risk management for severely dangerous offenders.

Mr. van der Meer is a founding member of the Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals (AETAP), served as its President from 2010-2014, and continues to serve on its Executive Board.  He is also an affiliate member of the International Criminal Investigative Analysis Fellowship (ICIAF).  Mr. van der Meer’s publications include articles in The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology and the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, and chapters in Meloy & Hoffman’s International Handbook of Threat Assessment and Hazelwood’s Wives of Child Molesters Within the Family.

Mr. van der Meer holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in investigative psychology from Leiden University in The Netherlands.  He currently teaches at Leiden University, the Netherlands Police Academy, and the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany.

 

Dr. Gérard Labuschagne
Africa Region Expert

Dr. Gérard Labuschagne is currently the Director of L&S Threat Management, South Africa’s first and only sole-purpose threat assessment and management company focused on workplace violence and threats.  His expertise includes cases of stalking, domestic violence, product tampering extortion, and threats against companies, CEOs, and political leadership.

For 14 years, Dr. Labuschagne served as the Section Head of the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) specialized Investigative Psychology Section (IPS).  In this role, he consulted on investigations of psychologically motivated crimes, conducted threat assessments, and developed offender profiles for unknown suspects.  Dr. Labuschagne is a Hostage and Suicide Negotiator, and served as the psychological consultant for the Pretoria Hostage Negotiation Team.

Dr. Labuschagne is a member of the Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals (AETAP), the British Psychological Society, and the International Homicide Investigators Association.  He is a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, a fellow of the International Academy of Investigative Psychology, and on the editorial board for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling and the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management.

Dr. Labuschagne holds Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminology from University of Pretoria, an Honors degree in Psychology from the University of Pretoria, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of South Africa, a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pretoria, a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of Pretoria, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pretoria.  He currently holds an Honorary Associate Professorship in the Division of Forensic Medicine and Pathology at WITS University in Johannesburg.

 

Bronwynn Stollarz
Africa Region Expert

Bronwynn Stollarz is an Investigative Psychologist and a Director of L&S Threat Management, South Africa’s first and only sole-purpose threat assessment and management company focused on workplace violence and threats.

She served for five years with the South African Police Service’s (SAPS), ascending to the rank of Colonel and Section Head, Forensic Psychology, at the Investigative Psychology Section (IPS).  Bronwynn’s expertise includes cases of family murder, intimate partner murder, serial rape, paraphilic behaviour, hostage and suicide negotiation, kidnapping, and product tampering extortion.

Bronwynn holds a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Psychology, an Honors degree in Psychology from the University of Johannesburg, and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand (Cum Laude).

 

Felicity Riddle
Asia Pacific Region Expert

Felicity Riddle is a psychologist currently on staff with an Australian law enforcement agency.  She provides psychological consultation on threat assessment in communicated threat, stalking, workplace violence, and family violence cases, as well as cases involving mental disordered offenders.  Ms. Riddle also provides training to law enforcement and mental health services on the identification, assessment, and management of stalking and fixated behavior.

Ms. Riddle’s previous roles have included senior clinical and leadership positions within acute mental health services, a liaison role between police and mental health, community mental health settings, youth detention and residential care, and private psychology practice.  She is an endorsed clinical psychologist in Australia, and is a member of the Asia Pacific Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (APATAP) and the Australian Psychology Society.

Ms. Riddle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Canberra, completing her honors thesis in the relationships between substance misuse, stress and coping.  She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the Australian National University, undertaking a thesis in grief and loss.  Ms. Riddle also holds a Graduate Certificate in Forensic Mental Health from Griffith University, and is currently earning a Master’s degree in Terrorism and Security Studies through Charles Sturt University.

 

 

 

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