Critical Response Preparation


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Critical Response Preparation

  1. 1. ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS Win t er 2 009 IN THIS ISSUE PREPARING FOR THE NEEDS OF SECONDARY VICTIMS IN SCHOOL Preparing for the Needs of Secondary Victims in School VIOLENCE INCIDENTS Violence Incidents . p.1 By Kelly R. Buck, Ph.D. Letter from the Editor ..................p.2 Programs, Initiatives, INTRODUCTION Publications, And At any school violence incident, the number of victims extends beyond those who are injured and killed. The Trainings ....................p.7 trauma of these events affects everyone on campus: adults and children, teachers, administrators, school staff, Partnerships For Safe and emergency responders. At the scene, emergency responders, in addition to being scene commanders, are the Schools.......................p.7 focal point for distraught parents and family members who expect them to have all the answers. Their trauma March 2009 National can equal or surpass that of the children and school personnel who are directly targeted. Further, if they are not Victim Assistance equipped in advance to respond to and help those who converge on school episodes, emergency responders Academy................... p.8 may experience heightened levels of distress from the incident and have to deal with feelings of regret later. These personnel and the parents and loved ones they serve become the secondary victims in school violence incidents. This article discusses strategies for mitigating and alleviating their trauma. Having strategies in place to recognize and effectively manage all victims is crucial to successfully handling a school violence incident, preserving the trust of the community, and sustaining the morale of emergency responders. Following dramatic school violence episodes in places such as Jonesboro, Arkansas; West Paducah, Kentucky; and Littleton, Colorado, the IACP conducted a nation-wide effort to harvest lessons learned by school administrators, emergency responders, teachers, civic leaders, students, and parents for preventing and respond- ing to school violence, to include response to victims. Those lessons hold true today. This article draws on that effort to identify steps law enforcement agencies can take to best serve the second- ary victims of school violence incidents through planning and preparation, sound crisis management as events take place, effective communication and management of the media to mitigate secondary trauma, and proper response for the ongoing trauma that inevitably follows. NOTHING BEATS PREPARATION A critical step that must be taken by emergency responders to minimize trauma in potential victims is to work with them to develop a plan ahead of time. Involve teachers, other school personnel, and as appropriate, stu- dents in taking into consideration all possible school violence scenarios and the possible experiences of victims, including the emergency responders themselves. Teachers and other school personnel play critical roles in implementing planned responses both before and after emergency response personnel arrive. Therefore, their participation in and understanding of the planning is essential. The chaos and panic created by school violence incidents cannot be effectively handled without pre-established specific plans of action. Working with school personnel, Crisis Planning Teams should be established at both the local and district levels. The mission of these teams is to develop critical incident response plans and then periodically refine them. Work closely with these teams to help them develop a working knowledge and plans for use of all available resources across the community and school district in the event of a school violence incident. 1 IACP Private Sector Liaison Committee. (1999). Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Violence. Alexandria, VA: IACP. For more information visit continued on page 3 ci ol A N e ws l e tte r from Th e In ter n a ti o n a l A s s o ci a ti o n o f C h i efs o f P ol i c e
  2. 2. Letter from the Editor Dear Reader, The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) held its 115th Annual Conference in San Diego on November 8-12, 2008. A highlight of the Conference was the first annual Excellence in Victim Services Award luncheon hosted by the IACP and corporate sponsor LogIn, Inc. The luncheon was held at the Hard “As law Rock Hotel to recognize several law enforcement agencies from across the country. enforcement The award recognizes law enforcement agencies in three categories—small, medium, and large—that agencies begin have developed and implemented innovative strategies for providing comprehensive services to victims to enhance of crime. The winners of the first annual Excellence in Victim Services Award were Mundelein, Illinois their response Police Department, Beaverton, Oregon Police Department, and Lafourche Parrish, Louisiana Sheriff’s to victims, we Department. must not forget Mundelein Police Department, the small category winner, believes that changing the focus from an offend- secondary er-driven investigation to a victim-based investigation is an opportunity to vigorously prosecute criminals victims.” while helping meet the seven critical needs of victims. Beaverton Police Department, the medium category winner, has made significant accomplishments since its 2006 adoption of the IACP’s Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims: A 21st Century Strategy by organizing and hosting victim service provider symposia and developing agency-wide training programs. Lafourche Parish, Louisiana Sheriff’s Department, the large category winner, has adopted an agency-wide philosophy where victims are the top priority. “Whatever it Takes” is their motto, and the men and women of the department strive to provide a seamless, comprehensive victim services program. In addition, six other agencies were formally recognized for their local efforts to support victims of crime through formal strategies and initiatives. Albuquerque (NM) Police Department Mesa (AZ) Police Department Baltimore County (MD) Police Department Montclair State University (NJ) Police Department Durham (NC) Police Department University of New Hampshire Police Department Mary Lou Leary, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, presented a moving key- note address which celebrated the work of each department as well as motivated them to continue their efforts as leaders. John Gillis, Director of the Office for Victims of Crime, and Chief Carl Wolf, VP-Treasurer of the IACP Executive Board, attended the luncheon and presented the awards. All of the departments honored during the ceremony demonstrated a commitment to providing assistance to victims through enlightened leadership, committing resources, developing partnerships with other agencies, training staff, and departmental restructuring. We would like to thank these departments for their continued victim-centered focus. As law enforcement agencies begin to enhance their response to victims, we must not forget secondary victims. The focus of this issue of Critical Response is school violence and preparing for the needs of secondary victims. We hope you will find the information useful and a necessary aspect of your planned response. Happy New Year, Jeff Harrington Project Manger (Acting) |2|
  3. 3. ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS PREPARING FOR THE NEEDS continued An important component in establishing crisis plan- emergency response agencies and rehearsed with ning teams is clear and complete definitions of roles teachers, principals, staff, volunteers, campus supervi- and responsibilities for school staff, community mem- sors, school resource officers, students, and parents. “It is also bers, and law enforcement personnel. These should Local businesses, churches, and other organizations important to be clearly articulated and assigned in order to enable that can provide staging areas or emergency supplies train parents everyone at the scene and in the days after to focus should be involved. Teachers and school staff should their own resources on where they serve best. The FBI be trained in their assigned, and if applicable, back-up and guardians recommends formalizing and regularly updating these roles during crisis situations. on their roles agreements about critical incident roles and responsi- during crisis It is also important to train parents and guardians on bilities in memoranda of understanding (MOUs). their roles during crisis situations. Inform them and situations.” For example, at this stage, incident crisis directors are physically demonstrate to them where they should identified and back-benched to handle the concerned go in the event of school violence incidents to meet parties at the scene. Counselors are contacted and with designated spokespersons, where to retrieve trained to immediately organize their critical incident their children and get information about the status response. A good resource for crisis counseling is the of the crisis, and what they can do to help during and National Organization for Victim Assistance Crisis after the crisis. This will not only empower them in an Response Team,2 which has been credited many times otherwise desperately helpless situation, but will also with helping emergency responders help secondary ease the burden on the emergency responders who victims at school violence incidents. work to ensure the safety of their children. Pre-designated locations are established, depending School environments are relatively fluid. They have on the nature of the crisis, for personnel to perform periodic large-scale influxes of new students and rely their roles. Specific individuals are then assigned to on the involvement of temporary, part-time, substi- take responsibility for communicating these locations tute, and intermittent personnel. To ensure that no to people who are involved in the incident, to the one is ill prepared because they missed any formal media, and to the loved ones who converge on the training, supplement training with written materials scene to check on their well-being. Places to consider and communications that instruct and remind every- include a designated media contact location and des- one of their specified roles. These materials should ignated place(s) for parents/guardians to congregate reiterate where to go to be safe and where to get and receive up to the minute information. information during a crisis. As soon and often as pos- sible, provide training to new students, volunteers, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE interns, substitutes, temporary, and part-time person- In a study of 228 school psychologists3, most reported nel on how to respond to different types of crisis that their schools had crisis plans (95.1%) and most scenarios. indicated they had crisis response teams (83.6%). Many of the psychologists, however, felt that more THE NOT KNOWING IS THE WORST PART training and experience with practice scenarios would Apart from the immediate needs of the wounded and strengthen their schools’ abilities to respond to school the situational awareness of emergency responders violence incidents. and school personnel, three other types of people are desperate for information as they arrive at school vio- Once crisis management teams and plans are in place, lence incidents or monitor them through news cover- rehearse them with all groups who could be involved age: friends, family, and the media. An effective law in a school violence incident. Then, continue to work enforcement approach for these constituencies can with crisis management teams, school personnel, help mitigate the stress and trauma for secondary vic- and as appropriate, parents and students, in periodic tims who converge on the incident scene and prevent reviews, updates, and on-going practice situations. misinformation from increasing stress and trauma for All school emergency and evacuation plans should those who must rely on the media for information. be provided to local law enforcement, fire, and other continued on page 4 2 For more information visit 3 Adamson, A.D. & Peacock, G.G. (2007). Crisis response in the public schools: A survey of school psychologists’ experiences and perceptions. Psychology in the Schools. 44:749-764. |3|
  4. 4. PREPARING FOR THE NEEDS continued If crisis management plans are in place and carried - letting the public know how they can help “Commanders out effectively, family, friends, and community mem- (e.g., donate blood, money, services, etc.); bers at and around the scene should already know or and front line quickly be directed to pre-designated locations to - informing victims about the importance and supervisors locations of grief counseling and other post- receive information and instructions on what is hap- event services. should support pening and what they should do. They should receive frequent, honest, non-contradictory, and non-specu- • Avoiding distracting or impeding the emergency their personnel response, to include use of the air space above lative information as the incident transpires. in first seeing to the incident site. For those who cannot be on the scene – and even the well-being for some who are on the scene – the media is their • Respecting the privacy rights of and emotional of their loved lifeline to information about what took place or may strain on victims and the people connected to ones involved in be on-going. The media can be one of the most dif- them. ficult sources of information to manage and feed, and school violence • Offering to supply helicopters, communications yet one of the most valuable if handled correctly. equipment, and other resources or services that incidents before This entails establishing relationships and agreements might aid police or other emergency providers expecting them with the media before incidents take place and work- to mitigate trauma to victims. to assume ing with them during and after the incident to ensure only factual and helpful information is disseminated TAKING CARE OF YOUR OWN official duties to the public. In planning and preparing for school violence incidents, at the scene or The IACP has developed useful guidelines4 for work- law enforcement and other emergency responders afterwards.” ing with the media covering such areas as (1) plan- can take measures to mitigate trauma to their own ning for media coverage of school violence, and (2) personnel who may have children or other loved ones guidelines for and management of the media during caught up in the violence. Commanders and front-line and after school violence crises that are designed to supervisors should support their personnel in first help ensure the media provides support to all victims seeing to the well-being of their loved ones involved rather than adding to their trauma. Law enforcement in school violence incidents before expecting them can work with the media to ensure they offer assis- to assume official duties at the scene or afterwards. tance and coach and train them to help and do no Plans for these possible scenarios should be discussed harm by, for example: and trained among all personnel long before an actual incident takes place. • Establishing codes of conduct in newsrooms and holding sessions on the media’s ethical responsibilities in reporting on school violence RECOVERY The actions taken after severe acts of violence can incidents. have a major effect on the well being of students and • Presenting coverage of school violence that the community at large. Law enforcement response in is factual and balanced using only designated this phase can play a direct role in the healing process public information officers as the sole source of within the community – to include law enforcement official information, instead of seeking it from itself – and in building relationships and bonds of other, potentially less informed or misinformed, trust with its members. As with the critical incident, personnel. it is difficult to respond in a timely and appropriate • Informing the public what steps are being taken manner to the aftermath without having a pre-estab- to help people handle the crisis. lished, detailed plan for the days and months after school violence incidents. As such, law enforcement • Communicating helpful information to victims personnel should be prepared to: and concerned citizens by • Work with school administrators and their own - informing parents/guardians where victim law enforcement units to recognize the need for information can be obtained; counseling at the incident and afterwards in the short-term and long-term. 4 For more complete information visit continued on page 5 |4|
  5. 5. ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS • As much as possible, keep in contact with injured CONCLUSION victims and/or surviving family members. Provide The majority of the good work dealing with the prob- support for and participate in memorial services lem of school violence tends to focus on the need to and events, to include a public ceremony to sym- prevent incidents through recognition of and response bolize closure of the mourning period and control to potential indicators of violent intent and the media access to it. Ensure someone patrols at the consequent tragedy for the wounded and deceased, home of the deceased victims and perpetrators should it transpire. School violence incidents are a during funerals and/or memorial services to pre- vortex and a multiplier of other types of victims, vent against theft, vandalism, etc. who may experience trauma trying to respond to the • Hold meetings to provide school personnel and complexities inherent to such scenes and experience affected community members with information stress, horror, and grief as they converge on them. related to the crisis, eliminate rumors, advise Continued attention to the full range of victims in them of next steps and on what they can accu- school violence incidents will both better prepare rately say. Develop written statements for teach- schools and communities for future events as well as ers to read in class and to send to parents. Provide ensure that responses are appropriately encompassing schools with a central point of contact in the law and empathetic for all involved. enforcement department who will answer ques- Dr. Kelly Buck is a sociologist with over 20 years tions and address concerns. Encourage students experience in applied analytics. She has a bachelor’s and school employees to participate in aftermath degree from Wichita State University and a master’s debriefings. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is currently a • Undertake and coordinate critique of the depart- civil servant with the Department of Defense, Defense ment’s response after a serious incident of school Personnel Security Research Center (PERSEREC), where violence. Facilitate meetings where teachers, she has conducted research since 1999. Prior to joining staff, students, and parents/guardians who were the civil service, Dr. Buck was an organizational behav- involved can express their thoughts on how law ior consultant in Silicon Valley, a senior analyst for enforcement handled the incident. Identify areas the Office of the Desegregation Compliance Monitor in need of improvement. for the 9 th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Jose, and a college instructor. • Evaluate whether open community forums should be initiated for people to air their concerns about the tragedy or other issues pertaining to school safety. Save The Date NATIONAL CRIME VICTIMS’ RIGHTS WEEK 25 YEARS OF REBUILDING LIVES: CELEBRATING THE VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT APRIL 26–MAY 2, 2009 For more info on events visit |5|
  6. 6. Fifth National Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) FIFTH NATIONAL SEXUAL ASSAULT RESPONSE TEAM (SART) TRAINING CONFERENCE The Fifth National SART Training Conference organized by the Sexual Assault Resource Service (SARS) with funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) at the Office of Justice Programs within the U.S. Department of Justice, will be held May 27-29, 2009 at The Westin Seattle in Seattle, Washington. It is anticipated that as many as 1000 SART professionals from across the nation will gather for this unique multidisciplinary training conducted by leading experts from each of the SART disciplines. The three day conference will feature 57 workshops, five keynote addresses and an exhibition hall of non-profit and corporate exhibitors. The conference will provide valuable learning experiences and networking opportunities for law enforce- ment, sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) and other medical examiners, advocates, prosecutors, and crime lab specialists. For information on the 2009 SART Team Scholarship Application visit Available in Print or USB Flash Drive! The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in collaboration with the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) at the Office tion of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, has developed a new industry standard - Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims. Referred to as the Strategy Package, this three volume resource will help your agency implement an all-encompass- ing, comprehensive response to victims of crime. The Strategy Package is FREE to law enforcement! Volume 1 – A 21st Century Strategy intro- Volume 2 – The Implementation Guide Volume 3 – The Resource Toolkit contains duces state, local, and tribal law enforcement consists of four sections, which outline the templates to aid in the implementation of the leaders to the benefits, challenges, meth- steps to take to implement the strategy. It steps in Volume 2. In the Toolkit you will find ods, and responsibilities for enhancing their instructs law enforcement agencies how to sample documents and materials developed response to victims of crime. It discusses the identify their goals and measurements of suc- by the pilot and validation sites that may be evolution of enhanced victim response, sum- cess, gather pertinent information, develop adapted for your own use. It includes such marizes its four core elements (leadership, part- action plans, and sustain the effort in the long resources as revised mission statements, sched- nering, training, and performance monitoring), term. The Guide operationally bridges the gap ules and process descriptions, key stakeholder identifies the seven critical needs of victims, between the concepts outlined in the Strategy interview questions, sample action plans, and illustrates the importance of community and the existing templates in the Resource Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) and partnerships. It contains an inspiring message Toolkit. It is the document to which you will partnership agreements, policies and proce- from the chiefs of the three agencies that pilot- refer most often during the implementation dures relating to victim response, steps toward ed the strategy and a summary of the project process. personnel buy-in and performance appraisals, history and cycle. informational brochures provided to crime vic- tims, press releases, Web site samples, and links to numerous victim-related resources. |6| For more information on the Strategy Package or to request your copy contact us at
  7. 7. ASSISTING LAW ENFORCEMENT TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CRIME VICTIMS PROGRAMS, INITIATIVES, Leadership Tools for PUBLICATIONS, and TRAININGS Law Enforcement: International Association of Chiefs of Police Research Center The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) offers The Guide for Preventing and Responding to School Products, 5th Edition Violence. The report offers a community centered approach to crisis planning and prevention, roles during and after a A compilation CD that presents all of the key research and major crisis, legal considerations, and media recommenda- policy products of the IACP’s Research Center over the past tions. fifteen years. Products are divided into categories (leadership, Visit for a free copy. summits, research, etc.) that help the user find products of interest quickly. Issues Raised by the Virginia Tech Tragedy As a result of the incident that occurred at Virginia Tech in Table of Contents April 2007 the Department of Health and Human Services, • Gun Violence Reduction Department of Education and Department of Justice pub- • Information/Intelligence Sharing lished a Report to the President on the Issues Raised by • New Chief Mentoring the Virginia Tech Tragedy. The 26 page report covers key • National Policy Summits findings, common themes and observations, and recom- • Police Administration & Leadership mendations based upon the outcomes of the incident. • Smaller departments To review this report, visit • Technology COPS Initiatives • Victim Services The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), • Violence Against Women U.S. Department of Justice, offers various resources on the • Training Opportunities topic of campus and school safety. Contact (703) 836-6767 ext.392 to obtain your free copy. Just click on “Resource Information Center (RIC)” at the COPS web site located at PARTNERSHIPS FOR SAFE SCHOOLS The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), in cooperation with the Office on Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), offers this two-day course to prepare diverse teams of stakeholders to implement or strengthen existing safe school plans that enhance the protection and well being of students, school personnel, and the community surrounding schools. Through interactive discussions, case study exercises, and individualized action planning, participants obtain practical skills they can apply immediately on the job. Workshop topics include: • Forming a School Safety Team • Assessing the Safety of your School • Developing Prevention and Intervention Strategies • Lessening the Possibility of, Preparing for, Responding to, and Recovering from a Crisis • Analyzing your Safe School Plan This course is designed for law enforcement officers, school officials, and juvenile justice stakeholders assigned to school safety information sharing teams. While all participants may find value in this training, it is best suited for officials who can act as change agents (i.e., who can recommend or implement the school safety plan) upon returning to their jurisdictions. Contact the IACP Juvenile Justice Training and Technical Assistance project at for more information. |7|
  8. 8. International Association of Chiefs of Police 515 N. Washington St. Alexandria VA, 22314 1-800-THE-IACP March 2009 National Victim Assistance Academy The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) in the U.S. training lays the groundwork for building a career in the Department of Justice sponsors the National Victim victim services field. Assistance Academy (NVAA). The NVAA is comprised of education and skill-based classroom trainings for those Track 2, Professional Skill-Building Institute, focuses on time- who assist victims and survivors of crime. ly, specific topics that have a direct impact on provider’s Following a formal evaluation in 2003, the NVAA was work. The specialized training courses, such as compas- redesigned to better address the skills and abilities that sion fatigue/vicarious trauma, ethics in victim services, are required of victim service professionals. The revised and providing culturally competent services to victims of NVAA was launched in 2007 and includes three distinct crime, are for those who have been in the victim services tracks tailored to the needs of each participant. All field for at least 2 years. Track 2 is 5 days. three tracks will be offered during the week-long 2009 Track 3, Leadership Institute, helps administrators and lead- Academy. ers build and refine the necessary skills to effectively Participants are now eligible to receive CEUs for their manage their programs. The courses are specifically MARCH 2009 NATIONAL VICTIM New designed to help victim service administrators and leaders attendance and completion of Tracks 1, 2, or 3. ASSISTANCE ACADEMY develop and refine their skills and abilities to manage and Track 1, Foundation-Level Training, is an intensive 5-day sustain their victim service programs. Track 3 is 5 days. MARCH 1-6, 2009 training for those who have less than 3 years of experi- For more information about the NVAA visit ence in the victim services field and who work directly with victims. This training provides entry-level profession- AMERICAN AIRLINES TRAINING & CONFERENCE pdf and als and volunteers with knowledge, skills, and resources to CENTER DALLAS/FT. WORTH, TEXAS AREA serve victims and survivors of crime more effectively. The This document, Critical Response Winter 2009, was produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police under grant number 2003-VF-GX-K004, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. |8|