ACTIVE SHOOTER RESPONSE: CAN A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH ADDRESS THE EXISTING GAPS?

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Authors
Mejia, Carlos A.
Subjects
active shooter
active shooter event
ASE
military-style assaults and weapons
Incident Command System
ICS
National Incident Management System
first responders
response policies
response models
undertrained and underequipped first responders
civilian preparation
Advisors
Brannan, David W.
Dahl, Erik J.
Date of Issue
2023-12
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
The Incident Command System (ICS), initially designed for handling wildfires in the 1970s, presents shortcomings when applied to active shooter events (ASEs). While effective for large-scale disasters like hurricanes or wildfires, the ICS model often leaves first responders unguided during the crucial first minutes of an ASE. This thesis examines the effectiveness of the ICS in ASEs by analyzing its use by law enforcement and fire/emergency medical services, revealing its inadequacies. Research indicates that most deaths in these situations occur in the initial minutes, yet ICS is often established much later. This thesis features a comparative study of peer-reviewed academic research, government agency data, and the policies shaping U.S. response models to assess what practices exist and how they have been implemented by first responders and civilians during ASEs. Despite the urgency required for such events, there is no national standard for first responders to address ASEs, leading to varied and sometimes ineffective responses. The increasing prevalence of ASEs, characterized by military-style tactics and weapons, underscores a pressing need for an integrated response model for both first responders and civilians. This model would not only expedite the response but could also provide effective guidelines for communities.
Type
Thesis
Description
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Department
National Security Affairs (CHDS)
Organization
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NPS Report Number
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Approved for public release. Distribution is unlimited.
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