Longer-Term Recognition and Learning

Recognition, Memorials, and Anniversary Events or VIP Visits

Providing recognition of heroes during and after the incident, and planning memorials are important parts of providing for resilience and healing in affected communities. These types of events will often involve VIP presence, which will lead to additional logistical and security concerns. Dignitary visits are common following a mass attack, as shown in such incidents as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and elsewhere (Connecticut State Police, undated). The after-action report for the Aurora Century 16 Theater shooting notes that the typical five-day advance notice for a presidential visit was shortened to 24 hours, which required an immediate security posture change (TriData Division, System Planning Corporation, 2014).

After-Action Reporting

The longer-term after-action report is the key document for learning from the incident. After-action reports provide lessons learned from incidents. They do not only discuss criticisms—in fact, they also often highlight key successes that can be adopted and adapted for the next incident. After-action reports may include or necessitate interviews with personnel involved in the Prevent, Mitigate, and Post-Attack phases of the Mass Attacks Defense Toolkit.

Tools and Resources for After-Action Reporting

The National Police Foundation, with support from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, wrote a guide on after-action reporting: How to Conduct an After Action Review (National Police Foundation, 2020).

PERF's Post-Critical Incident page provides guidance on after-action reporting, focusing on first-line supervisors (PERF, undated d).

The National Police Foundation maintains a library of after-action reports (National Police Foundation, undated).

Additional References

Below, we provide an additional list of references on follow-up actions after mass attacks:

  • HHS ASPR TRACIE, 2019b
  • Braziel et al., 2016
  • Burchill, 2019
  • PERF, undated b
  • Office for Victims of Crime, undated
  • Leonard et al., 2014
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network, undated a
  • Nicoletti, Garrido, and Kirschner, 2016
  • SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center, 2017
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, undated a
  • Straub, Zeunik, and Gorban, 2017.

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