There Are No School Solutions, Formulas or Recipes to School Shootings, so How Can We Develop Better Courses of Action?

When someone commits an act of violence, and especially when our most valuable assets “our kids” are killed senselessly, we look for answers. Answers to why it happened and how the threats, the signs and signals and opportunities to prevent the act were missed? When an act of violence is carried out and people, our loved ones die, we scrutinize the 3-7 minutes within which time most of these violent acts take place., Every piece is viewed with 20/20 hindsight in an attempt to find that one thing, that one way, that one course of action or that one school solution that would have stopped the violence. The critical question: is there one way or one singular best practice to solve this problem? Or is there more to stopping this type of violent act than school response plans and teaching police and other first responders one way to respond, or does it take something more?

School shootings have a profound effect on everyone involved, most particularly the families of the victims and those that were witness to the act. I don’t need to get into it for this post. It’s heart wrenching and life altering. Instead, my focus is to bring a better understanding to police tactics so police can be more effective and that the people we serve have something to consider other than talking heads, politicians and news media sensationalizing tragedy as if they were in the arena; as if they were experiencing the fear, confusion, disorder, uncertainty, fluidity and the human dimension, that are factors in every act of violence.

School shootings have a profound effect on everyone involved, most particularly the families of the victims and to those that had to witness the act. I don’t need to get into it hear for this post. It’s simply heart wrenching and life altering. What I want to focus my efforts on in this post is to bring a better understanding to police tactics so that we police can be more effective and that the people we serve have something to consider other than talking heads, politicians and news media sensationalizing tragedy as if they were in the arena, as if they were experiencing the fear, confusion, disorder, uncertainty, fluidity and the human dimension, that are factors in every act of violence. Hopefully those in policing will find some value in this as well.

Because conflict and violence are a clash between opposing human wills, an understanding of the human dimension is central in acts of violence. It is the human dimension which infuses conflict and violence with its intangible moral factors. Conflict and violence is shaped by human nature and is subject to the complexities, inconsistencies, and peculiarities which characterize human behavior. Since an act of violence is based on irreconcilable disagreement, it will invariably inflame and be shaped by human emotion. For officers responding to and tasked with stopping the threat and rendering aid to those in need it is very important to understand that developing and implementing courses of action is an extreme trial of moral and physical strength and stamina. Any view of the nature of conflict and violence would hardly be accurate or complete without consideration of the effects of danger, fear, exhaustion, and privation on the folks who must do the fighting and stop the threat. However, these effects vary greatly from case to case. Individuals and peoples react differently to the stress of violence and conflict.

No degree of technological development or scientific calculation will overcome the human dimension in conflict. Any policy, procedure, SOP, checklist or doctrine which attempts to reduce violent acts to ratios of force or weapons and equipment, neglects the impact of the human will on the conduct of acts of violence and is therefore inherently false- and why I am a critic of anyone in policing who says there is only one way to respond to a school shooting.

I am a critic of how we conduct police tactical training and have been my full 30- plus year career. No, I don’t know everything. I do study violence and crisis situations both by reading and reviewing incidents and from living and breathing them for now going on 38 years, counting my time in the Marine Corps and my 30 plus years in policing. I have delivered countless trainings to police on everything from procedural justice, firearms, patrol tactics, use of force, terrorism, violent extremism, homeland security, crisis intervention, incident command, and adaptive leadership, etc. I have designed my own programs of instruction which are designed to teach cops how to think versus telling them what to think. Adaptability- an effective change to an altered situation; sensemaking- one’s ability to size up situations; problem solving- one’s ability to evaluate the adequacy of generated options and or choices; meta-cognition- also called emotional intelligence or self-awareness that teaches how to use strategies to monitor and self-regulate learning and cognition and; attention control- one’s ability to deploy and focus efforts on a chosen course of action are the outcomes we seek in this program.

I am most proud of the adaptive leader program I designed for police, with my good friend Don Vandergriff, which is based off our book and Don’s extensive work on this topic with the military, the Adaptive Leadership Handbook: Innovative Ways to Teach and Develop Your People. I have also written a chapter in Mission Command: The Who, What, Where, When and Why An Anthology a book that describes the leadership climate necessary in the chaos and uncertainty of modern war, our troops must be empowered to make decisions, take the initiative, and lead boldly. This is Mission Command: a command culture, leadership style, and operating concept that has been embraced by armed forces the world over. My chapter is these ideas applied to policing.

I have been humbled and honored to have taught The Adaptive Leader Program not only to cops but to the military as well. In 2017 I worked with Vern Tubbs of Yorktown Systems Group and Will Foley who is a dynamic, professional motivator with over twenty years’ experience as a Special Forces Supervisor, Instructor and Leader, teaching the Adaptive Leader Program to the United States Marine Corps Drill Instructors, Primary Marksmanship Instructors and Tactical Instructors responsible for Making Marines at Marine Corps Depot Parris Island. I have also spoken and participated in symposiums at United States Military Academy on Active Shootings and Adaptive Leadership. I have worked with Synergy Solutions delivering programs of instruction to schools and hospital staff to help handle emergency situations, including evacuations, active shooter incidents, natural disasters and other contingencies. I had the opportunity to speak at the renowned Boyd and Beyond Conferences at Marine Corps University, Quantico Virginia on Col. John Boyd’s ideas on decision making under pressure and winning in the moral, mental and physical dimensions of conflict, as they applied to policing. I was invited in 2015 to speak on Adaptive Leadership at the FBI National Academy where Don Vandergriff and I did a workshop on adaptability with police leaders attending the academy from around the world. I have also taught countless schools, colleges, universities and private workplaces how to develop workplace violence solutions specifically to their environments.

Despite this experience, I do not consider myself an expert. I am a student who continually strives to improve my knowledge and those I am privileged to share with, how to apply that knowledge to policing and other people and organizations looking to keep safe. I have been taught by others; street cops, police trainers, mentors and leaders, I have also been taught by criminals, people with mental illness, batterers and their victims, mental health professions and many others task with the tough job of preventing acts of violence from occurring and stopping the threat when the signs and signals are missed or get lost in the bureaucratic snafus so prevalent in life today. It is through their and my experiences dealing with conflict and violence as all police do, I learned there is no school solutions to crisis situations.

What is Crisis and Conflict and What Factors Drive Them?

A crisis is an emotionally stressful event or situation involving an impending, abrupt, and decisive change. Where there is a natural tendency to view a crisis as bad, crises are more precisely defined as situations that can turn out bad. Crises can best be understood as threats. The lessons I learned have taught me there are five distinct factors in crisis:

Risk can be personal, physical or take its toll on people in the form of emotional harm. Risk also comes in the form of career hardships. There is risk to others as in peril to victims, subordinates or bystanders. There is also organizational loss of equipment, assets or prestige. We must learn to accept risk as there are countless factors that impinge on tactical situations, thus every police leader is forced to accept some degree of risk. We attempts to reduce risk by seeking better, timelier, and more accurate information. Since the time that is necessary to approach certainty is never available in tactical operations, the organization which is attempting to intervene must react in one of two ways; Either increase its information gathering and processing capability or operate on the basis of less information.

In crisis situations such as a school shooting an Atmosphere of Uncertainty is always a factor; Information will be incomplete, confusing, ambiguous, unreliable and sometimes even conflicting. The element of chance makes unpredictability a certainty! In dealing with uncertainty and complex problems such as crisis there are two main approaches or thoughts on this. One is the Technical or Deterministic Approach. This is a centralized approach which advocates remedies such as adding more personnel, another headquarters, faster computers, and the like. Operational skills are viewed as a science where results are highly predictable. Often used in this approach are good and best practices, school solutions, checklists, cookbook recipes, standard operating procedures and policies.

Another approach is the Adaptive or Probabilistic Approach to crisis a decentralized approach which requires the acceptance of more uncertainty and ambiguity. Operational skills are viewed as more of an art and this relies on a police officer’s ability to think and probe, to use his training and experience, his wisdom to help him size up situations and then solve them.

Crisis is time sensitive, and conflict in adversarial situation is time competitive observation, orientation, and decision and action cycles.

There are Potential severe consequences that are dictated by the size, scope and intensity of the crisis. The essence of conflict or adversarial situation is a clash between two hostile independent and irreconcilable wills, each trying to impose itself on the other, heightening the potential for severe consequences.

The human factor is always present. Tactical responses are always human activities. Any attempt at removing or ignoring the human dimension is courting disaster. Many factors will influence the human dimension, such as: Training, education, experience, maturity, emotion, prejudice, discipline, fatigue, temperament, etc. These factors are always present, always interact with one another, and always affect the outcome.

These five factors described above should help us to understand that crisis situations have many things in common but the biggest standout from listing these factors is to also show there is no one way to approach crisis situations. They all have their own DNA that makes them unique and hence require a unique approach.

I don’t believe we have many experts in police tactics although I can think of a few folks I highly respect who have learned from the crises policing often face; Natural Disasters—fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, winter blizzards etc. Mechanical—railroad derailments, airplane crashes, major car crashes, hazmat spills, etc. and Adversarial—snipers, barricaded suspects, riots, hostage situations, school shootings, gang violence, etc.

Failure to Adapt

The single most important criticism that leaped out at me over the years is that in teaching tactics we often put police officers in BOXES that have police responding with predetermined courses of action in the form of checklists, SOPs, policy and procedures, recipes that work well when all goes according to plan, but has responders failing to adapt when something changes and requires a unique approach. For example; The car stop operators side approach, walk up, walk back boxes, the Felony car stop box, the domestic violence response box, the robbery response box, and yes the school shooter boxes (set up perimeter and wait for swat, 4 man diamond and run to the sounds of the gun box, the three man entry, two man and solo entry BOXES) and there are many more boxes that have stifled police initiative when responding to all forms of crises.

Because we believe there is a good or best practice for everything, one way to solve a problem, we give every type of incident a name and a best practice even though crisis situations and most especially adversarial conflict is made up of mostly unknowns, e.g. are those sounds fireworks or gunshots? Where are the sounds coming from? Is there one shooter or multiple shooters? What type of weapons? Is the shooter(s) trained or untrained and if trained do they understand the tactics we may use and hence have the capabilities to draw responders in to ambush? Are there booby traps and explosive devices in play? Where are they, inside or outside or both? These are just a few of the many unknowns dictated by the actual situation in which responders find themselves. We are not responding to yesterday’s active shooter or any other active shooter situation, but rather this incident happening right this moment.

It is time we get out of these boxes and start developing problem solvers, cops who learn to think and adapt to changing conditions. This means we must develop police officers in more than just tactical skill sets and instead develop their abilities to size up situations and use their wisdom, training and experience to put a course of action together, adapting that course of action as the situation dictates. We also need leadership that day to day instills confidence and trust in their people, so they are not afraid to do their jobs. Not afraid in the sense of danger and failure to respond out of being a coward, but fearful in the sense of risk aversions too prevalent in today’s policing culture that results in police officers doing what they are told to do and only what they are told to do. Instead we should train and develop officers to a high level of professionalism and trust them to do their jobs when crisis strikes within our communities.

Police Training Must Shift to Teaching Cops How To Think Instead of Telling Them What To Think

Most law enforcement agencies have settled for mere adequacy in individual and small-team skills—we can do better. Police officers often had little understanding of the reasons tasks were performed a particular way. Police officers are overly reliant on process, not focused enough on results (true in training, but also in planning and leading). Most institutional training had a mechanical, check-the-box feel and was focused on throughput. Most training was governed by inputs (hours, ammo, etc.) rather than outcomes or results. There is also a pronounced tendency at all levels of law enforcement to control by rules—each problem seems to result in more rules (policies, regulations, directives, etc.) Charles "Sid" Heal (is an expert) gets to the heart of this problem in his great book Field Command:

“In point of fact there is no perfect solution to these situations and therein lays the root of the problem. Because there is no one right answer some conclude that there is no wrong answer; there are just some better than others. This reveals a sad but true state of affairs in that many law enforcement tacticians lack even the rudimentary understanding of any supporting science for making sound tactical decisions and would be hard put to quote a single source, theory or doctrine to justify their decisions. Without an understanding of the factors and influences in play tactical decisions must be based on the factors and influences in play, tactical decisions must be based on impressions, suppositions and conjectures. In the medical field these tacticians would be the functional equivalent of witch doctors. Tactical terms, like tempo, fog or friction are no more unfamiliar to them than medical terms such as lavage, dermabrasion or hemodialysis. The simply apply what worked the last time without any idea why the preferred course of action in one situation can be a recipe for disaster in another.”

“In tactics, the most important thing is not whether you go left or right, but why you go left or right.” is how General Al Gray the 29th Commandant, of The United States Marine Corps puts it when he talks about tactics. Col. John Boyd said; “You gotta challenge all assumptions. If you don’t, what is doctrine on day one becomes dogma forever after.” Boyd also put it another way; “we can’t just look at our present experiences or use the same mental recipes over and over again; we’ve got to look at other disciplines and activities and relate or connect them to what we know from our experience and the strategic world we live in.” Point: If we don't know why we are doing something. , if we just do it because someone told us to do it, we just plainly are not good enough. This holds true in how we respond to crisis situations such as a school shooting and how we conduct our training. We must start teaching cops how to think instead of telling then what to think.

All teaching must combine doing with explaining that garners student understanding. All training requires one to employ skills to solve problems, and we must begin to standardize by outcomes, not by inputs or processes—allow both teachers and students the opportunity to try new approaches—minimize controls. This is not easy, but I believe it is necessary if we are to solve the complex adaptive challenges policing faces today in the 21st century for example; school shootings and other acts of extreme violence. Yet there is still more to do that goes against the policing current culture of zero defects which has us looking for school solution to problems that require responders to probe, observe, orient, decide and act. We must create an environment in which it’s ok to make mistakes—penalize only failure to think or failure to try in training and on the street. Constant feedback is essential—and must be acted upon in real time and in the aftermath of crisis.

The use of after action reviews or decision-making critiques are essential. Assess what’s important rather than what’s easy to measure. Stop measuring only things we can put numbers on and instead use measures of effectiveness, in context with the actual crisis responded to, that takes subjective analysis by leaders and intangibles attributes such as; sensemaking, problem solving, adaptability, metacognition and attention control into account. To illustrate this let’s look at immediate entry versus delayed entry as described by the folks from Special Tactics who wrote a outstanding book Law Enforcement Close Quarter Battle: Urban Tactics for Individuals, Teams and Tactical Units:

When handling a school shooting police use what can be described as close quarter battle tactics (CQB). CQB entry techniques can be divided into immediate entry and delayed entry. Immediate entry methods call for offensive, aggressive movement and were developed by military special operations forces for hostage rescue situations. Law enforcement officers may use immediate entry techniques when innocent lives are at stake or when it is critical to quickly overwhelm and dominate the adversary. Immediate entry calls for using surprise and speed to enter and penetrate the building or room immediately without taking the time to first evaluate the room from the outside. While sometimes necessary, immediate entry is generally more dangerous than delayed entry.

Delayed entry techniques are designed to minimize an officer’s exposure and maximize the benefits of cover and concealment. For one person or two-person operations, delayed entry is generally a safer option than immediate entry. If officers are operating as part of a team, it is easier for them to aggressively rush through the door and dominate the room. However, if officers are operating alone or with only a single partner and have no additional support, it can be dangerous to rush into a fight when the odds might not be in the officer’s favor. Teams may also choose to employ delayed entry, especially in high risk situations.

Delayed entry tactics call for clearing as much of the room or hallway as possible from the outside, before actually making entry. Delayed entry tactics are also a good option for situations where time is on the officer’s side and there is no need to move quickly.

The type of decision making required on whether to use immediate or delayed tactics does not come from foreknowledge, As Sun Tzu said in The Art of War: ‘Foreknowledge cannot be grasped from ghosts and spirits, cannot be inferred from events, cannot be projected from calculation. It must be grasped from peoples’ knowledge.” Yes, knowledge is essential to victory; foreknowledge can lead to victory in a day. Foreknowledge is difficult to obtain, since it concerns things that no one can see such as an individuals or groups motives and intent. Plans based on yesterdays crisis presupposes a hidden reality with power over events. Inference assumes that precedent, best practices or school solutions will serve well in future crisis. Yesterday’s school shooting is distanced from the immediate situations of here and now. Each has its use, but one can be sure about the future only through knowledge that is immediate, concrete, in detailed and complex in human ways. Its best source is direct orientation through observations that lead to sound decisions and actions. These sound decisions and actions come from sizing up situations as they are unfolding in real time not from some single tactical skill set taught as if it’s the only solution.

As Sun Tzu said some 2,500 years ago: “Some may see how to win. However, they cannot position their forces where they must. This demonstrates limited ability.” In policing we all too often teach tactics as a skill set and neglect teaching the science of tactics. We teach one skill set to reduce options for responding police officers. The intention is to make it easy for those responding by teaching or telling them one way, so they do not have to think about another option. The intent is to speed up decision making., In reality they made no decision they just acted, they did what they were taught, and all too often it does not work in the current conditions in which they find themselves. Decisions without actions are pointless. Actions without decisions are reckless. Wise words from Col. John Boyd.

Tactics are defined as the art and science of winning engagements. Tactics refers to the concepts and methods we use to accomplish an objective in either armed violent conflict or operations other than armed conflict such as natural disasters or manmade critical incidents. Strategic analysis of Sun Tzu’s point in a given set of circumstances leads to developing an implicit understanding of what’s going on amidst the initial chaos and uncertainty. In conflict, judgment is made based on an intuitive understanding through analysis and synthesis, what the unfolding situation is telling us. We must utilize tactics to (1) help us gather more information (situational awareness) so we can gain a position of advantage and (2) gain control or reshape the situation when the adversary is at a disadvantage. The tactics you utilize help in achieving this advantage and timing. The tactics you use help in developing a sound course of action based on first responder observations and orientation versus some skill set developed for some other fight.

Police have always done this. For example, during the Columbine school shooting first responding police were taught to set up a perimeter and wait for SWAT to arrive. SWAT was considered far better trained tactically and more effective in stopping the threat. The problem, SWAT took time to get there and set up, and hence were ineffective. To curb this problem in the aftermath of Columbine, police trained in what is known in police circles as rapid deployment. Most agencies across the country developed the four-man diamond formation. The idea was to wait for four first responding officers to arrive and once there, they would all deploy to the sounds of the guns and stop the threat. This became time consuming as well, as most active shooting situations take 3-7 minutes and often by the time four officers arrived and began their efforts to stop the threat, the situation was over. We then began to talk 3-man entries, then 2-man entries and finally solo entries. Every time policing added a new tactical skill set, they abandoned the latter. And therein lays the mistake!

In a school shooting, law enforcement’s mission and intent is to “stop the threat and render aid.” This mission and intent does not change. The tactics we use may change and this adaptation is conditional on the type of active shooter we are facing. Is it a lone shooter or multiple shooters? Is it a trained or untrained adversary (this can be determined by the type of attack unfolding)? Is the person(s) armed with a handgun or a rifle? Are there any explosives involved? Do we believe this is an act of terror or just a person with some other grievance or motive? These are just a few of the questions for consideration that influences the type of tactical response police will utilize. The tactical response options I mentioned above may still all be options based on the answers to these questions and more that will arise in the rapidly unfolding and uncertain circumstances.

Lessons Learned and Active Shooter History Matter…But Situations Matters More!

In tactics “situations matter.” It’s the situation that drives the tactical choices one makes, not someone telling you what to do based on history of active shooters. Yes, history is important and can tell us how fast these acts of violence unfold and how important it is to get to the threat and stop it. Yes, that’s the mission! History can tell us what types of behaviors, signs and signals to look for to prevent these acts. But what history cannot tell you is what is different about this act of violence unfolding right now, that requires a unique tactical approach. To be effective tactically we must train our first responders, those patrol officers who arrive first, in tactics to a much, much higher level than SOPs, checklists, formulas and “school solutions.” We must train them to think and lead them and trust them, so they do their jobs.

Training and development must shift from training officers how to apply solutions and enforce standards to teaching officers how to frame problems and solve them. This is called “adaptive leadership” and the main difference is our acceptance that we cannot predict all the types of problems our officers will have to solve. So, we must train officers who can succeed in almost any situation. This type of shift is analogous to shifting from industrial-age mass production by narrow experts such as; Newtonian determinism, Fredrick Taylor and scientific management and Rene Descartes' engineering to more individually tailored crafting by all-around artisans.

Now the environment is changing rapidly. Threats are constantly evolving. Active shootings have become mass stabbings, and vehicle born attacks are now trending as a method of attack. This requires thinking leaders leading thinking officers. Officer training must now focus on identifying the problem and solving it using the tools available. We must accept less standardization, and more focus on achieving desired outcomes such as stopping the threat and rendering aid to those victims. Leader judgment must replace detailed rules because detailed rules and standardization forget one major factor…CONTEXT! Situations matter! How we train and develop, how we LEAD matters as well.

Innovative Ways to Train and Develop Your People

ALL TRAINING must be designed to include decision-making and develop judgment. How we do this will mandate a shift in policing mindsets and will include:

  • Use real problems as the basis for training;
  • Generally, start with the particular rather than, abstract theory;
  • Focus on the why, not just the what and how;
  • All teaching must combine doing with explaining and student understanding; all training requires employing skills to solve problems;
  • Standardize by outcomes, not by inputs or processes—allow both teachers and students the opportunity to try new approaches—minimize controls;
  • Create an environment in which it’s ok to make mistakes—penalize only failure to think or failure to try;
  • Constant feedback is essential—and must be acted upon;
  • Assess what’s important rather than what’s easy to measure;
  • Align incentives. What’s rewarded? What’s penalized?

We need to cross-share what’s worked and what hasn’t at all levels and do this not only in formal training settings but do it as well in our day to day operations in the form of shift debriefs and informal after action reviews so that the lessons learned are fresh and continuous, After all it is what we do day in and day out that forms habits that will ultimately take shape when an actual large scale crisis such as a school shooting has us responding to those in need.

Thinking Leaders Leading Thinking Officers

Finally, police leaders need to demonstrate effective leadership. In order to respond to adversarial situations effectively with maneuver and adaptability, we need a command climate based on leadership and monitoring. Leadership is something good police officers recognize and understand and is the antithesis of centralized control and micro-management. It requires risk savviness throughout all levels and for those leading a course of action to assume responsibility by giving subordinates adequate freedom. The difference between responsibility and accountability is very important. Responsibility grants wide latitude to subordinates and allows for mistakes. Accountability with its suggestion of punishment, demands absolute knowledge of all subordinate’s actions.

Monitoring supports leadership by providing discreet, by exception, control through observation and listening. Rather than requiring masses of periodic reports and too much radio communications, monitoring incorporates forward command principles and silence is consent radio monitoring to remain abreast of the tactical situation. Allowing first responders to develop the course of action they deem necessary to stop the threat and render aid as in the case of a school shooting. The leader only intervenes to exploit opportunities or shift the focus of effort. Closely related to leadership, monitoring allows for maximum information without interference with first responders. Both leadership and monitoring are valueless without trust. The mission and intent express that trust, trust by the leader that first responders will understand and carry out his desires and trust by those first responders that they will be supported when executing their initiative. Such trust is molded by a shared way of thinking. All involved in responding to a crisis like a school shooting have to share a comprehension of the intent, the mission, and the focus of effort as well as what each of these means. As such, each first responding officer can be trusted to act appropriately to stop the threat and render aid without having to waste critical time requesting permission to act or subsequently report extraneous details.

While sounding almost too simple to be effective, leadership and monitoring based on trust is an integral part of effectively and safely handling crisis situations. Leadership is a day to day thing not a crisis driven thing. Leaders must lead by example, care for, and be actively involved in the success of frontline officers. A leader, communicates effectively and in a way that allows subordinates latitude in how to accomplish a mission and holds them responsible while instilling attention to detail and discipline in subordinates without losing sight of the big picture or removing room for judgment. It is crucial that a leader accepts responsibility for his or her people while ensuring through training and development they are prepared for the mission. The leader explains what he or she is trying to accomplish (Mission and Intent) and how success will be judged. It’s also important that a leader can perform essential tasks, can explain why they are performed that way, and can teach them to subordinates. This builds subordinate confidence in a leader’s ability, and the leader will be judged by subordinates as competent, confident, and trustworthy. Trust covers the characteristics including improvisation, adaptability and bottom-up (those with eyes on the problem) orientation much better than any other definition. A leader must be able to facilitate effective after-action reviews that help subordinates improve their performance. They also do this by coaching and mentoring subordinates effectively and provides them with useful feedback.

The school shooting in Florida and the controversy over how police respond to an active shooting in progress is what influenced me to write this. There are obvious questions as well that need to be answered that focus around how police handle threats to prevent these acts of violence from occurring in the first place. What roll do the schools play in keeping schools safe? What about mental health providers and their role in assessing people who demonstrate a propensity towards violent acts? Do the courts need to play a more robust role in ensuring that threats in all their forms are viewed more seriously? Perhaps it’s time we focus more on crisis intervention teams and a collaborative approach involving all stakeholders in a specific case.

There is no one path to violence and hence there in no one school solution. We must get out of our proverbial linear boxes (SOPs, Formula’s, Plans, Policy and Procedure, Checklists, Cookbook Recipes) and challenge the prevailing mindset to understand that adaptive challenges like school shootings are different than technical problems and require first responders to probe, think, use their training and experience, their wisdom in solving these types of problems. To not do so will be way too costly.
My next post will focus crisis intervention teams and the threat assessment aspect of this problem as it’s time we in policing and our communities start to look at threats in a more robust manner.

Stay Oriented!