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

Check out the new MVAI Library of Resources! The library is a searchable database of resources related to preparation, response, and recovery efforts for mass violence and mass casualty events.

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 Nightclub, Orlando, Florida, shooting in 2016
  • Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shooting in 2018
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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:

  • Carmen Best, Chief of Police (Ret.), Seattle (WA) Police Department; Led SPD through several critical incidents and mass demonstrations
  • Cassidee Carlson, Commander, Aurora (CO) Police Department; Aurora Movie Theater Shooting (2012)
  • Dr. Gene Deisinger, Psychologist; Virginia Tech Shooting (2007) and other critical incidents
  • Doug Fuchs, Chief of Police (Ret.), Redding (CT) Police Department; Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting (2012)
  • Bob Gualtieri, Sheriff, Pinellas County (FL) Sheriff's Office, Chair of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission
  • Michelle Guido, Director of Strategic Communications, Orange County (FL) Sheriff's Office; Pulse Nightclub Shooting (2016)
  • Michael Kehoe, Chief of Police (Ret.), Newtown (CT) Police Department; Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting (2012)
  • Kenneth Mead, Detective, Las Vegas (NV) Metropolitan Police Department; Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting (2017)
  • John Mina, Sheriff, Orange County (FL) Sheriff's Office, Pulse Nightclub Shooting (2016)
  • Dr. John Nicoletti, Psychologist; Columbine High School Shooting (1999), Aurora Movie Theater Shooting (2012)
  • Daniel Oates, Chief of Police (Ret.), Aurora (CO) Police Department; Aurora Movie Theater Shooting (2012)
  • Max Schachter, Victim Advocate, Safe Schools For Alex; Father of Parkland School Shooting Victim, Alex Schachter (2018)
  • Connie Schonert, Supervising Probation Officer, Orange County (CA) Probation Department; Survivor/Peer Supporter, Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting (2017)
  • Charlie Scoma, Chaplain, Seattle (WA) Police Department; Supported SPD and surrounding agencies during several critical incidents
  • Dr. Ronal Serpas, Superintendent (Ret.), New Orleans (LA) Police Department; Bourbon Street Shooting (2014)
  • Dustin Sternbeck, Director of Communications, Metropolitan (DC) Police Department; January 6 Insurrection (2021) and other critical incidents
  • Frank Straub, Director of the Center for Mass Violence Response Studies, National Policing Institute; Multiple critical incidents
  • Kristen Ziman, Chief of Police (Ret.), Aurora (IL) Police Department; Henry Pratt Company Shooting (2019)
  • Cara Zinski-Neace, Executive Director of News and Communications, University of Dayton; Ned Peppers Bar Shooting (2019)

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

Library of Resources

The library is a searchable database of resources related to preparation, response, and recovery efforts for mass violence and mass casualty events. Included are a variety of publications, trainings, webinars, guidebooks, articles, after-action reports, and other resources to better inform law enforcement leaders and community partners. Resources are of no- to low-cost and new tools are continuously being added.

Click here to access the MVAI Library of Resources. You will need to log in with your IACP credentials or create a free account to access.

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 MVAI@theiacp.org 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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