With the tragedy of frequent mass shootings in the United States, the role of mayors to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from these events has become evident. The Playbook and Protocol are important tools for mayors and municipal leaders to be as prepared as possible should their communities join the list of those affected by mass shooting.
It is very sad that municipal leaders need to think about – not if – but when a mass shooting occurs, how should my community prepare, respond, and recover? PHAI’s UnitedOnGuns Initiative has the resources to help mayors and city managers to be ready for these tragedies. These include a Mass Shooting Protocol and Mass Shooting Playbook.
The Protocol is a four-page overview of a mayor’s role during the first 24 hours after a mass shooting. The Playbook is a 200-page resource guide informed by the recommendations and experience of mayors who have responded to a mass shooting.
UnitedOnGuns’ Director, Sarah Peck, was interviewed about these resources on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered on May 21, 2022 regarding the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY and on May 26, 2022 in the wake of the mass murders in the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Admittedly, these resources produced by PHAI will not solve any of the structural problems that cause mass shootings, but they can help communities to be prepared and to mitigate some of the horror of these all too common events.
In an op-ed published today in the Orlando Sentinel, Sarah Peck, director of PHAI’s #UnitedOnGuns initiative along with Northeastern Professor James Alan Fox consider the impact of lingering trauma from the horrific Pulse Nightclub shooting, which occurred 5 years ago on June 12, 2016.
Peck and Fox note that the psychological toll on survivors, families, first responders, and others in the community is substantial and long-lasting. Recovery requires time and resources. Unfortunately, Florida Governor DeSantis has slashed funding for families and survivors of the attach who are in need of recovery services. These needs are not only relevant to the Pulse Shooting survivors and families, but to those of all mass shootings.
In many ways, the recovery response of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has been a model, but continued funding is needed to assist with recovery services that are still needed more than five years after such a traumatic and tragic event.
In an op-ed published today in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Sarah Peck, director of PHAI’s #UnitedOnGuns initiative along with Northeastern Professor James Alan Fox take a very practical approach to help mayors respond to mass shooting events, which have become all too common. While federal legislation mandating universal background checks and other measures remain trapped in political gridlock, local mayors continue to be called upon to respond to mass shootings in their communities. In addition to the physical and emotional tolls that such an event may cause, mayors soon learn that the financial costs of responding to such a tragedy can be immense.
Peck and Fox make specific recommendations:
We urge the president to support Mr. Weaver [Mayor of Boulder] and all the mayors who will follow him by: (1) establishing an emergency fund for cities to cover the full cost of responding to a mass public shooting with management and oversight from FEMA or another appropriate agency; (2) providing mental health services for police officers and other first responders; and (3) creating training for mayors and other city managers to prepare for, respond to, and assist their communities to recover from a mass shooting.