P-1 Editor's Note -- In light of the horrific shooting at Virginia Tech, agencies nationwide are asking themsevles, "How would we have handled an incident of this magnitude? This is the right question to ask, says Captain Gary MacNamara of the Fairfield (CT) PD and expert in the area of critical incident/crisis response.
Gary the managing content editor for school violence and the "Before-During-After" programs at ETGI. In February 2002, Gary was the lead negotiator in a school hostage crisis where 27 students were held in a classroom. All 27 made it out safely.
- First we need a good understanding of what happened before determining a course of action.
- Next, develop a process based on the information you have. This is called the Non-Particpant Debrief Strategy (NPDS). Take all new information from the recent incident and filter it through your plan.
- Ask yourself, if it happened here, would it have matched our strategy?
"We are trying to turn as many what if's? into if...then's -- a simple preparation tool based on actual incidents. The more if...then's, the more prepared you may be."