Mass Violence Advisory Initiative

Mass Violence Advisory Initiative

The Mass Violence Advisory Initiative (MVAI) provides peer-to-peer assistance to law enforcement leaders following a mass violence event to maximize the safety and wellness of officers, other first responders, and the community. Request Assistance Here

Recognizing that incidents of mass violence present a myriad of unique challenges to law enforcement leaders while under intense pressure, the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) have partnered to launch the Mass Violence Advisory Initiative (MVAI). This initiative will provide peer-to-peer assistance to law enforcement leaders following a mass violence tragedy to maximize the safety and wellness of officers, other first responders, and the community. The MVAI will advise these groups by sharing promising practices for communicating with community members and the media and connecting law enforcement leaders with local, state, and federal partners. The initiative will also address agency, victim, and survivor’s mental wellbeing.

Examples of acts of mass violence include:

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia, shooting in 2007
  • Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting in 2012
  • Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, shooting in 2012
  • Boston Marathon, Boston, Massachusetts, bombing in 2013
  • Pulse Night Club, Orlando, Florida, shooting in 2016
  • Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shooting in 2018

These tragedies can cause deep and long-lasting trauma to families, first responders, and community members. The IACP recognizes that due to the complex, unique, and urgent nature of these events, law enforcement leaders responding to mass violence incidents will benefit from the knowledge of other law enforcement personnel who have experienced a similar incident. Agencies requesting assistance from MVAI following a mass violence incident will be connected with a member of the Mass Violence Peer-to-Peer Advisory Team who will provide guidance and assistance based on their experience with these types of tragedies. The IACP will provide these services at no cost to the agency in need. 

Mass Violence Peer-to-Peer Advisory Team

Upon request, the IACP’s Mass Violence Peer-to-Peer Advisory Team will deploy subject matter experts (SMEs), virtually and in-person, to provide assistance to law enforcement leaders when a mass violence incident occurs. These SMEs include individuals from different vocations who have first-hand experience guiding law enforcement agencies and communities through similar tragedies. Mass Violence Peer-to-Peer Advisory Team personnel will remain in contact and provide guidance in the months following an incident, ensuring that law enforcement leaders have the tools and information they need to help first responders and communities heal.

Our SME team includes:

  • Sheriff John Mina, Orange County Sheriff's Office, 2016 Pulse Nightclub Shooting
  • Chief Kristen Ziman (Ret.), Aurora IL Police Department, 2019 Henry Pratt Company Shooting
  • Chief Daniel Oates (Ret.), Daniel J. Oates and Associates, LLC, 2012 Aurora CO Movie Theater Shooting
  • Chief Michael Kehoe (Ret.), Newtown, Connecticut Police, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting
  • Max Schachter, Father of 2018 Parkland School Shooting Victim, Safe Schools for Alex
  • Chief Carmen Best (Ret.), Seattle Police Department
  • PIO Cara Zinski-Neace, Dayton Police Department, 2019 Dayton Shooting
  • Commander Cassidee Carlson, Aurora CO Police Department, 2012 Aurora Movie Theater Shooting
  • Police Chaplain Charlie Scoma, Seattle Police Department
  • Chief Doug Fuchs (Ret.), Redding CT Police Department, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting
  • Director of Communications Dustin Sternbeck, Metropolitan Police Department (DC)
  • Director Frank G. Straub, Ph.D., National Police Foundation, Center for Mass Violence Response Studies
  • Dr. Gene Deisinger, Deisinger Consulting, LLC
  • Dr. John Nicoletti, 40 years of experience providing service to numerous local state and national law enforcement and other government agencies
  • Dr. Ronal Serpas, Loyola University New Orleans Criminology and Justice Department
  • Director of Strategic Communications Michelle Guido, Orange County Sheriff's Office, 2016 Pulse Nightclub Shooting

If you are interested in participating as an SME for this initiative, please fill out this form.

MVAI Connect

Connect with peers by joining MVAI Connect, the IACP Mass Violence Advisory Initiative Community of Practice. This online platform provides a forum to connect with other law enforcement leaders, mental health and victim service providers, educators, and faith and community leaders. You can pose questions and share resources, ideas, and best practices to help law enforcement leaders respond to and communities heal following a mass violence event. Through this community of practice, you will have a direct line to MVAI subject matter experts and leaders in the field to provide valuable insight and guidance on healing in the aftermath of a tragic critical incident.

Membership is open to all IACP members, and qualified non-members, who have an interest in learning or sharing resources about responding to and recovering from a mass violence incident. Click here to join now!

Contact Information

Contact us at or call 888-727-6824 for additional information or to request assistance.

This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2020-DP-BX-K012 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

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