PERF Report Details Changes in Police Response to Active Shooter Incidents


PERF has released “The Police Response to Active Shooter Incidents,” which describes changes in police departments’ practices in responding to mass shootings, such as the ones that occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Washington, DC Navy Yard.

The report, which is part of the “Critical Issues in Policing” series supported by the Motorola Solutions Foundation, is based on PERF research and information provided by police chiefs and other experts at a 2013 conference held by PERF.    

Today’s policies and practices are focused on reducing the number of victims when an active shooter incident happens. There is an emphasis on engaging the shooter as quickly as possible and not necessarily waiting for SWAT or other special units to arrive.

In addition, police, fire, and emergency medical services are conducting joint training designed to get medical assistance to gunshot victims as quickly as possible.  Sometimes this involves allowing EMS workers to enter “warm zones” before it is certain that the shooter or shooters have been apprehended.  And police officers can be trained to give life-saving medical care.

The report also describes efforts by police to work with other governmental and private organizations to prevent active shooter incidents, by identifying persons who may pose a threat and helping them to get treatment for mental illness or other needs.             

Finally, the report discusses ways in which police can educate community members about what to do if they are confronted with an active shooting situation.

Click on the report title above to see this new PERF document.