Joint Public Safety Response to the Active Shooter / Active Assailant™


The shootings at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech University, Aurora Theater, Sandy Hook Elementary School, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and many more have required public safety agencies large and small to analyze their abilities to provide care in hostile environments. These events have also required public safety agencies to modify their response procedures to active shooter events. Consistently, there have been 125 people killed each year in active shooter events in the United States and many more injured.


Former United States Attorney General Eric Holder stated that active shooter events have increased 600% since 2009 and the mortality of these events has increased 150%. Research has also found that the eight highest casualty active shooter events since 2000 happened despite law enforcement arriving on scene in three minutes or less. The two deadliest active shooter events in United States history occurred with law enforcement officers on site when the shooting occurred. Clearly, fast effective law enforcement response comprises only a small part of the solution to these events.


This powerful lecture will discuss many facets of active shooter response. The active shooter history will be discussed, including the constant modification of active shooter attacks based on research the shooter(s) conducted. Research of the active shooter “stopwatch of death” will be discussed, emphasizing the criticality of rapid response. The profile of the active shooter will also be explored, including predictors based on age, race, academic history, and social status. Adult active shooters will also be discussed, including revenge shooters, shooters making a statement with extreme violence, and radical ideology motivated shooters.


This presentation will also discuss law enforcement tactics and the implementation of fire and EMS personnel into the response plan. Many fire and EMS agencies are unaware that the Department of Homeland Security has stated that fire and EMS personnel will enter into the active shooter environment and will conduct rescues while the situation is ongoing. In addition to the Department of Homeland Security requirements, numerous other organizations state that integrated police/fire/EMS response is required at active shooter events. These organizations include the International Association of Police Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Hartford Consensus, and the National Fire Protection Association.


This presentation also includes a section for 9-1-1 communicators. Topics discussed included, overwhelming call volume, prioritizing calls, protocol deconfliction, “stale” calls, PSAP to PSAP interface, and much more. In addition, the presenter will discuss numerous 9-1-1 center lessons learned from events.


Numerous court cases have proven the legal liability on public safety agencies for failing to plan and respond appropriately at active shooter events. The Columbine shooting resulted in 25 lawsuits against police, fire and EMS personnel. The Virginia Tech shooting resulted in 1,200 lawsuits against police, fire and EMS personnel. The family of one survivor at the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting filed a $100 million lawsuit against the school district. The Los Angeles Airport shooting resulted in a $25 million lawsuit against police, fire, and EMS personnel. The families of three victims at the San Bernardino shooting filed a $204 million lawsuit against the county for failing to prevent and respond appropriately to the shootings. Government analysts anticipate that the legal expenses from the Route 91 shooting in Las Vegas will exceed $1 billion. In addition, the victim medical expenses from the Route 91 shooting are anticipated to exceed $400 million. The total cost of the Route 91 shooting is estimated to exceed more than $3 billion. Recent court rulings have shown that government agencies are not immune from liability, and that active shooter events are a foreseeable emergency that require planning and preparation. 


This presentation will discuss priorities for police, fire, and EMS personnel as well as the need for integrated response. Last, lessons learned from multiple active shooter events will be discussed including, the various “scenes” at an active shooter event, asymmetric perpetrator tactics, casualty collection points, marking the deceased, tactical breaching, command and control, medical care, and integration of the rescue task force.


Threat Suppression personnel led the development and implementation of one of the nation’s largest joint public safety active shooter response programs in Charlotte, North Carolina, training more than 4,000 responders starting in 2013. Threat Suppression personnel also created, managed, or led 75 large multi-agency active shooter large-scale exercises, and 50 tabletop exercises testing joint public safety response. Threat Suppression personnel also served as deputy incident commanders at a reported active shooter event at a mall with 18,000 shoppers on Christmas Eve, 2015. One person was killed in the event and 17 were injured. Threat Suppression personnel also served as deputy incident commanders at the April 30, 2019 active shooter event at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte were two people were killed and four others critically injured.


The presenter will discuss many of the lessons learned from the development, implementation, and testing of the protocol. This presentation cites more than 500 scholarly references as well as data obtained from numerous active shooter events. Threat Suppression has trained more than 100,000 public safety providers from local, state, federal, and international agencies on active shooter response. The presenter authored his doctoral dissertation on joint public safety response to active shooter events and was the first in the world to publish a doctoral dissertation on integrated active shooter response. Threat Suppression personnel have conducted walkthroughs and site visits with responders at Columbine High School, Aurora Theater, Emmanuel AME Church, Pinelakes Nursing and Rehab, Townville Elementary School, Renown Regional Medical Center, Pulse Nightclub, Las Vegas, Inland Regional Center, Sutherland Springs, Texas and several other major active shooter events.

For a course description, please click the PDF below. To see the topics addressed in this course, please click the second PDF below. To download a document of frequently asked questions regarding hosting this course, please click the third PDF below.


If you would like more information on booking this course, please email, or call 1-800-231-9106.