LAUGHLIN — The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has met 84 of the 93 suggested changes that came out of the After-Action Report on the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in 2017.
The post-action report outlined 93 changes suggested for responding to such an event by LVPMD, and the department has implemented 84 of those suggestions to date. The analysis and changes to dealing with a mass casualty event such as the tragic shooting that took 58 lives and saw more than 800 people injured is also to be a guideline for agencies around the world for dealing with such a large-scale event.
The After Action Report was issued six months ago and since then LVMPD has been busy implementing the array of suggested changes to protocol, equipment and organization that came from the conclusions. From assigning a single dispatcher to handle the radio traffic for special circumstance events such as the October 2017 shooting, to placing emergency medical equipment at open-air venues that are within sight of taller structures nearby, LVMPD has in essence structured a sort of manual on how to deal with events such as the Harvest Festival shooting, bought with hard-learned lessons from that day and a literal trial by fire.
The “Conclusions” section of that After Action Report stated, “First responders in our country have a difficult and heavily scrutinized profession. Nothing magnified this more than the act of evil that took place in one of America’s most iconic tourist destinations. The horrific event that unfolded on Oct. 1, 2017, should serve as a reminder that all in the law enforcement profession must work diligently to stay at the forefront of any and all potential threats that can bring harm to those we are sworn to protect.
“LVMPD was effective in many areas of the response to that fateful night due to established policies and training. What must be highlighted are the relationships that were established long before this mass shooting. LVMPD is grateful to all its first-responder partners who make it a priority to train together, conduct tabletop exercises, and consistently communicate at all levels of every organization to ensure the safety of our citizens and visitors. We were also successful in many aspects of our overall response because we relied on the talented and dedicated professionals who were motivated to stop the killing and save lives. It is apparent to us as an agency that there are many areas where we must improve to better serve our community in the future. This self-assessment will allow us to verify moving forward that we have policies, procedures, training, technology, leadership development, and partnerships in place to achieve our vision of being the safest community in America.
“It is our sincere hope that by authoring an AAR detailing the lessons learned by LVMPD before, during, and after 1 October we can provide insight and drive positive change for first-responder agencies across the world. This AAR is our way to further our profession and honor the 58 lives lost and countless others who are forever changed.”
LVMPD Office of Public Information issued the compliance report Dec. 30, which outlined in broad strokes the fulfillment of 84 of the 93 suggested changes to their operating protocols in such a circumstance, all of which came from that After Action Report. The news release from LVMPD PIO Office stated, “The 1 October After-Action Review was released in July 2019 to assess and document the LVMPD’s response to the 1 October shooting in 2017. The 158-page internal report found areas that needed improvement, such as emergency equipment, communications and training. Each of the 21 bureaus named in the report were given six months to shore up any weaknesses outlined in the findings. With a 90% completion rate, the remaining bureaus still have recommendations to complete and are actively working on securing funding for items that require large investments in software. Other bureaus are working on ironing out agreements with partnering agencies, which takes considerable time.
“This self-critique of LVMPD’s response has shaped changes in our preparation and training for future incidents at all levels of the agency,” said Sheriff Joe Lombardo.
LVMPD already has addressed lifesaving measures to secure open-air venues that face high-rise structures. It now keeps trauma kits on-hand at large venues. LVMPD also created a Major Case Investigative group made up of experts from every part of the agency to handle mass casualty incidents and high-profile incidents. The LVMPD has also filled gaps in training that were found as part of the 18-month internal review and addressed issues with radio communication, among other changes.
“The 1 October After-Action Review is intended to provide a road map for other law enforcement agencies to utilize in the event of similar active shooter incidents with the hope that agencies and cities can benefit from the lessons the LVMPD learned,” Lombardo said.