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(Dispatchers) are the first to hear the cries of the victims, yet they are the very last that anyone thinks to thank and most often arent. They are first.

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Presentation on theme: "(Dispatchers) are the first to hear the cries of the victims, yet they are the very last that anyone thinks to thank and most often arent. They are first."— Presentation transcript:

1 (Dispatchers) are the first to hear the cries of the victims, yet they are the very last that anyone thinks to thank and most often arent. They are first to alert the appropriate emergency services, yet they seldom rate even a mention in the after-action reports. Dispatchers make critical judgments constantly upon which lives often hinge, yet their pay is at the bottom of the scale. They are the first responder at every emergency scene, yet when the dust settles, no one remembers the voice on the phone or radio…. Dispatchers dont need to send cards or letters, bake brownies or angel food cake, to convey their feelings. Their colleagues know what it means to be in The Chair when everything comes unglued…. - Paul D. Bagley, 9-1-1 magazine

2 Training for the First Responder Michaelanne Acree Police Communications Supervisor Glendale Police Department May 2014

3 Defining the active shooter Preparing for the worst: the 9-1-1 call Protecting the best: the radio dispatch A look at school shootings After the incident

4 An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined space or other populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and with notable exceptions there is often no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Active shooters usually will continue to move throughout the building or area until stopped by law enforcement, suicide, or other intervention. - U.S. Department of Homeland Security Bulletin "Active Shooters."

5 The Columbine Massacre that occurred on April 20, 1999 forever changed Law Enforcement response to school shootings and Active Shooter situations as a whole 12 students, were killed and 21 more were injured within 16 minutes of opening fire. The assault ended when Harris and Klebold shot themselves, bring the death toll to 14. Were it not for the long time police adage of "time, talk, and tactics, some lives may have been spared.

6 The Columbine Review Commission was appointed by Colorado Governor and headed by William Erickson, former chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court. The report was critical of how law enforcement officers handled the April 20, 1999, shooting while it was in progress. Instead of going into the school and searching for Harris and Dylan Klebold, they set up a perimeter and waited "for the assault to end. Library Surveillance Video and 911 call_Columbine

7 Anywhere Schools Malls Hotels Hospitals Businesses Crowded outdoor locations Corporate America is beginning to prepare employees with survival techniques and scenarios in the event of an active shooter. Law Enforcement is preparing its officers for rapid deployment.

8 profiling the shooter


10 U.S. ARMY MAJOR DR. NIDAL HASAN Army Psychiatrist; exhibited strange behavior, was described as paranoid and aloof during his service at Walter Reed Medical Center 2003 – 2009 Transferred to Ford Hood military base near Kileen, TX summer of 2009 On November 5, 2009 Hasan went on a shooting rampage killing 13 and wounding 29 at Fort Hood. He launched the attack inside the building where soldiers gathered for final medical clearance before deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. This was categorized as workplace violence, rather than terrorism

11 There is no cookie cutter definition or profile of a shooter, but there may be warning signs. bullied teenagers mentally ill disgruntled employees religious zealots PTSD sufferers that quiet neighbor…..

12 Any community, any time, any victim. It is crucial that the public safety community prepares NOW for immediate and effective response to neutralize the Active Shooter and to save lives. Dispatch is the first law enforcement response.

13 the 911 calls

14 Dispatchers must always be ready for the next call Basic call taking skills and techniques are a great starting point – thats why you learn them first! Special call-taking considerations for active shooter incidents Practice, Practice, Practice

15 As the caller, how confident are you in this call taker? Café Racer Shooting, Seattle, WA, May 2012

16 Tone of voice, overall attitude, word choices Strive to convey competence not complacency Active engagement from beginning of call Active listening Empathy Addressing Caller Safety Assurances

17 What is the most effective way to control a caller who is in a panic situation in order to get critical information for first responders? Front-load the questions to get most needed info first – in this case, Where is this happening; where did suspect go? Where are you? Are you safe? What happened? Who is doing the shooting; suspect description? When did this happen/is it continuing?

18 Ask direct, short questions and do not stack them. Make sure to get the answer to important questions before moving to the next. Instead of saying youre not in the place, correct? The call taker could have asked, Where are you? In the bathroom. Are you safe? Yes. Did anyone see where the shooter went? I need a description for the officers. What does the man look like? Advise the caller exactly what kind of help is on the way, and do it before the caller has to ask. Ive got a lot of people coming is cold comfort to someone who is watching people bleed to death.

19 Suspect Ian Stawicki, entered Café Racer in northeast Seattle and shot several, four of the victims died from their injuries. Another woman was shot and killed in downtown Seattle about 30 minutes later by Stawicki as he carjacked her. He later shot himself in West Seattle and died in the hospital that evening.

20 Christianburg, Virginia April 2013 Community College campus inside the mall Call

21 Seriously? Basic questioning skills SUSPECT DESCRIPTION Landmarks, direction of travel, victim info Caller info – Name, phone number Utilize a good witness if you have one on the line!

22 What is the most effective way to control a caller who is in a panic situation in order to get critical information for first responders? Front-load the questions to get most needed info first – in this case, Where is this happening; where did suspect go? Where are you? Are you safe? What happened? Who is doing the shooting; suspect description? When did this happen/is it continuing?

23 When the caller has given the all of the information that he/she has, it is time to move on to the next call. Assure the caller that help is coming and advise them that you need to take the next call to help gather information for the officers. Note the callers location, name, and phone number. Counterintuitive to normal call processing, active shooter incidents evolve quickly and time is of the essence for gathering intelligence.

24 47% of active shooter incidents last 15 minutes or less and 27% last 5 minutes or less (that is, before a suspect leaves the scene, is detained, or is neutralized by police). What that means for call takers and dispatchers is that far more good can be done by focusing attention on gathering and giving out suspect information. The victims who have already been harmed are harmed – the objective is to quickly identify and locate the suspects in order to prevent additional bloodshed.

25 New River shooting suspect profile: 18 year old student Neil MacInnis Completed the 12 week Christiansburg Citizen Police Academy in 2012 Student at the New River Community College Posted online message board from campus just minutes before the shooting to provide all the details, because media never gets it right – included weapons he planned to use. At his arraignment, stated that he was having a bad week 2 female victims recovered from their injuries MacInnis was indicted in October 2013 by a grand jury on two malicious wounding counts and two firearms counts. His counsel then requested a psychological evaluation. Case is set for review in late February 2014.

26 The difference between a call that goes well and a call that goes awry begins with you! Prepare, practice, role play for what if situations. Work on your call taking skills, listen to any calls that you can get your hands on! ( has a great library) Always be ready for whatever may come when the phone rings Use your call taking skills and style to focus the caller in order to get the info that responding officers will need, take and use their name, develop a rapport with them

27 DISPATCH! After any critical incident, everyone will call. Family members will call, people just driving by will call, command staff will call, other officers and public safety personnel will call. And chances are, the incident might still be ongoing. Its okay to ask for help – be prepared for the onslaught, especially in cases where media interest will be additionally high due to high profile areas or victims.

28 radio dispatch and officer response

29 Aurora Radio Traffic A few years ago one of the responders who handled the Omaha, Neb., mall shooting in December 2007 told a reporter that an active shooting needs to be dispatched like a lawn mower theft that should have been called in two weeks ago: calm, collected and with as little emotion as possible.

30 There is an ethical requirement that the first responding officers take aggressive steps to intercede. The fact that victims are being killed in a circumstance where law enforcement officers are physically present requires that officers at the scene confront the suspect and use deadly force to stop the suspect, if necessary. Failure to perform an aggressive insertion of officers, as soon as possible, into the location would be a contradiction of the ethical position that law enforcement has historically professed to uphold – To protect and serve.

31 Rapid Deployment Active Shooter training is spreading around the country and your officers are being trained to respond differently to active shooter calls. The objective is to find and stop the shooter. They will not stage for more units, they wont standby while they wait for SWAT and a negotiations team. They will make a small team of two or three, even one if necessary, and seek out the shooter upon arrival at the scene.

32 While dispatch is holding traffic this kind of active search is going on. Once units are on scene and in a tactical situation, dispatchers should give updates as needed but practice the art of silence and listening. It can take a long time for officers to clear a space. X Portland PD Active Shooter Drill

33 Take a deep breath and go! Training scenarios and what if practice, visualizing the scene. Once the threat is neutralized, prepare to put on your best EMS dispatching hat to get the victims to Fires location Everything else under the sun – crime scene preservation, vehicles/witnesses/bystanders, mutual aid requests Controlled chaos


35 In July of 2004, the US Department of Education and the US Secret Service published a study entitled SAFE SCHOOL INITIATIVE: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PREVENTION OF SCHOOL ATTACKS IN THE UNITED STATES Researchers studied 37 different school shooting cases involving 41 attackers that occurred between 1974 to 2000. These incidents took place in 26 states, with more than one incident occurring in the states of Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee.

36 Where mass shootings by adults by and large seem to have randomly selected victims in very public locations, teenage and young adult suspects often have specific targets and reasons behind their rampage. The final Safe Schools Initiative report showed that Perpetrators of incidents of targeted school violence chose a range of targets for their attacks, including fellow students, faculty and staff, and the school itself. These incidents were usually planned in advance and for most part included intent to harm a specific, pre-selected target, whether or not the attackers execution of the incident, in fact, resulted in harm to the target.

37 Most incidents of targeted school violence were thought out and planned in advance. The attackers behavior suggested that they were planning or preparing for an attack. Most attackers were not "invisible," but already were of concern to people in their lives. The Secret Service now recommends and trains school officials in applying a threat assessment team approach in school settings

38 Arapahoe County, CO School located 8 miles from Columbine High School Huge campus – 70 classrooms and over 2,200 students Shooting occurred December 13, 2013 appx. 1230 pm Multi-agency dispatch arapahoe-high-school-shootings

39 lessons learned, debrief, & self-care

40 Business institutions and schools are doing a better job of training their staff to respond to attacks with trainings such as the Run/Hide/Fight video (AZACTIC website) Run/Hide/Fight Some brave individuals are often stepping up to stop the shooter until LE arrives, like in the case of the Tucson Shooting

41 Use your chain of command and ask for Communications to be included in your departments Active Shooter or Critical Incident Trainings! Use your spare time to keep current on dispatch training tapes and articles to sharpen the saw and prepare yourself to best handle the worst case scenario

42 Call takers and dispatchers should be involved in agency debriefs, both informational and peer support, with the officers and personnel who responded to the scene Dont be afraid to ask to be included in these if they forget to invite dispatch! Depending on the size and scale of the incident, there may be smaller or larger debriefing groups - Command staff and CISM/Peer Support will generally be arranging these. Informational debriefs and reviews are valuable opportunities for learning and improvement for future incidents

43 (in case you hadnt heard) Public safety communications operators and dispatchers are subject to a great deal of stress under daily circumstances – tragic events where officers become injured or innocent people are killed can cause the emotional bucket to overflow Please utilize the resources that your agency provides for stress management, EAP plans, etc to take care of yourself if you are struggling following any critical incident

44 Thank you! Michaelanne Acree Glendale Police Department Communications Supervisor

45 Active Shooter Rapid Deployment training for patrol officers training by Glendale PD SWAT Sgt. Wence Arevalo. Active Shooter Preparedness, Department of Homeland Security. Active Shooter | Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation 2012, NYPD. html Bagley, Paul. From the Chair: Preparing for the Unthinkable. 27 December 2012. Chair-Preparing-for-the-Unthinkable Chair-Preparing-for-the-Unthinkable Ertl, Tracey. Shots Fired: Police dispatch considerations in active shooter incidents. January 2012.

46 Prior Knowledge of Potential School-Based Violence: Information students learn may prevent a targeted attack. May 2008. Report of the States Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. Run. Hide. Fight. Video provided by the Arizona Fusion Center, AZACTIC, Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center (ACTIC). The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States. July 2004.

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