Sample Capstone Project paper on Training for Police Officer and Its Evolution throughout the Last Few Decades


Over the last two decades, structured crimes have grown to become more complex and challenging, thus posing a lot of evolving challenges for the United States’ law enforcement. These groups of criminals in the country have transformed their operations in ways that have broadened their reach as well as made it harder for the police to combat them. Many of the criminal groups have adopted more structure as well as networked models, developed more technologically savvy methods, as well as internalized their operations. These groups present a significant challenge to the United States police officers. The issues of globalization as well as technological advancement have not only affected the areas of commerce and trading, but have simultaneously transformed the nature of crimes in the United States.

Many of the criminals have become extremely elusive and consider international borders as opportunities. The police also perceive the international borders as obstacles to completely combat the activities that are perpetrated by these criminals. The criminal groups throughout the United States have transformed as well as expanded their range of tools as well as targets. Moreover, motivated by money, these criminal groups feel that their needs are not sufficiently met by the legal market structures, which makes them to capitalize in exploiting businesses, nations, as well as consumers for monetary gain. In addition, many of the organized criminals have also capitalized on the technological as well as commercial innovations, which have strengthened communication and businesses. These criminals use the available innovative methods for moving illegal proceeds throughout the country and even across the world. The creation of ties between powerful politicians as well as other figures with the criminals has helped in diversifying criminal activities across the United States (Bawden & Skidmore, 1989).

Moreover, defining the criminal behaviors as well as terrorism is an effort that has been fought with a lot of controversy. Due to the complexities that are involved with criminal acts including the political dimensions, ideological differences, alternative perceptions of the events, agreements and consensus, and conflicting interests over the scope of terrorism and other criminal activities, a singular understanding of the motives behind criminal acts have posed a great challenge to comprehend. The meaning of the term terrorism or criminal activities has changed frequently over the last two centuries. For the purpose of this paper Bawden & Skidmore (1989) offers the best definition of the term terrorism and related criminal activities. Bawden & Skidmore (1989) defines criminal activities and terrorism as politically motivated violence, which is often committed by groups, individuals, as well as state-sponsored agents and which is intended at causing terror as well as helplessness within the population in order to influence decision making process. This paper, therefore, focuses on police evolution and how incidents have changed police training throughout the last few decades.

History of police in America

It is very critical to look as well as examine the history of policing in America in order to understand as well as obtain a clear picture of how police in America has progressed as well as changed over time. The transformations to the duties, structures, as well as purposes of the American police have allowed this agency evolve from ineffective police to one that is able to incorporate advanced levels of technology as well as problem solving strategies into the police operations. The American policing system has been greatly influenced by the English system throughout the course of history. In the initial stages in its development, both during the colonial as well as the England times, the American citizens were fundamentally responsible for law enforcement in their communities. The English people called this kin police where the people were highly responsible for monitoring as well as watching out for their relatives and kin. In the colonial America, a watch system, which consisted of the community volunteers, was often in place throughout until the late 19th century. Citizens who were part of this watch system offered social services which included recovering lost chickens, lighting the streets, and many other services. The groups’ evolvement in crime control activities at the time was very minimal. Policing in England as well as in the colonial America was largely ineffective since it was mostly based on the idea of volunteer system from the community and their approaches of patrol were much disorganized and sporadic (Andrews & Yale University, 1934).

Years later, the responsibility and duty of enforcing laws changed from the individual citizens to groups of men who lived within the community, which was referred to as frankpledge system in England. This system was highly restructured in which groups of men were given the duty and responsibility to provided security through enforcing the law. Many of the men within these communities formed groups of ten people and was referred to as trything, and then ten trythings were then grouped into hundreds and the system continued and even formed up to thousands of trythings. The trythings that were grouped into hundreds were also referred to as shire or sheriff, which was then responsible for providing security in the counties.  The individual members of these trythings were given the responsibility of apprehending the criminals within the communities and bringing them to the courts. The sheriffs were responsible for providing a number of services among then, oversight of all the activities that were conducted by the trythings in the counties (Andrews & Yale University, 1934).

A parallel system also was practiced in the American society during this time whereby the sheriffs, constables, as well as citizen based systems were given the duty of policing in the colonies. The sheriffs were charged with the duty of capturing criminals, working with the courts, and collecting taxes within the colonies. The sheriffs did not prioritize law enforcement as they made more money through collecting taxes within the communities. Many night watch groups as well as day watch groups were added later, which were also highly ineffective during the colonial America. Moreover, instead of combating and controlling criminal activities in their communities, some members of these watch groups could sleep as well as socialize while they were on duty. Many of the citizen-based groups were not properly equipped with proper tools in order to effectively deal with the increasing social unrest and crimes as increased rates of riots began in the colonial America. It was during this particular time that publicly supported and funded police departments started to emerge across the colonial America (Andrews & Yale University, 1934).

Just like in England, the colonial America encountered increased rates in population in its major cities and towns during the 1700s. Many of these cities as well as towns started to encounter an influx of immigrant groups who moved in from different countries including Germany, Italy, Ireland, and many other nations, which directly led to increased levels of population into the American cities and towns. The rapid growth as well as increase in the level of population also contributed to the rise of social disorder and crimes. The source of social disorder and crimes at the time largely varied across the diverse cities and towns of the colonial America. However, the introduction and coming of new ethnic and racial groups at the time was identified as being the major source of social disorder and criminal activities. The issue of ethnic and racial conflict among the America people was a serious problem across the colonial America, which were mostly common in the northern as well as the southern regions of the nation. Since the watch groups could no longer manage to effectively deal with these changes in the social climate, more formalized forms of policing started to take shape. A wide range of the historical literature pointing to the earlier development of policing in the colonial America emphasizes mostly on the northern region of the nation, while avoiding the events and incidents that took place in the southern region, and especially, the development of slave patrols in the southern region (Bawden & Skidmore, 1989).

The issue of slave patrols was first introduced in the southern, Carolina part of America in the earlier 1700s, though many of the historical documents point out to the existence of slave patrols in many other parts of the southern region. Slave patrols were the first publicly funded and supported policing agencies in the southern part of America. They were formed in order to manage the racial-based clashes that occurred in the southern region of colonial America. These patrols were also created with specific intentions of maintaining control over the slave populations in the region. These patrols would later extend their coverage in order to include the responsibility of watching over the white and indentured servants. Other responsibilities that were also played by the slave patrols included searching of slave lodges, keeping and maintain the slaves off the roadways, as well as disassembling meetings that were organized by slaves. These slave patrols were also known for their high levels of brutality as well as ruthlessness as they worked day and night in order to maintain control over the slave population. Many of the members of the slave patrols comprised mostly of white men from every rank in the social structure, who ranged from the poor to plantation owners, who wanted to ensure control over their slaves (Andrews & Yale University, 1934).

Slave patrols fundamentally remained to operate even during the Civil War and were not completely disbanded even after slavery came to the end. During the earlier reconstruction of the American society, many groups merged with what was previously referred to as slave patrols in order to maintain as well as ensure control over the African American citizens. Many of the groups, including the federal military, state militia, as well as Ku Klux Klan resumed the responsibilities as well as duties of the earlier slave patrols and become even more violent and brutal as compared to their predecessors. Over the time, these groups started to resemble as well as operate similarly with the newly formed police departments in the United States.

Whereas other people regard the issue of slave patrols in America as the first and formal attempt to policing in America, others recognize the unification of the police departments in many cities as well as towns in the mid-1800s as the period in the growth of the contemporary policing in America. For example, the New York department of police, which was formed in 1854 and St. Louis police department were among this unification. These newly established police departments or agencies were charged with three distinct characteristics, which were adopted from their English counterparts, including limited police authority, local control, as well as fragmented law enforcement powers. It is surprising that these characteristics are still present in the modern American policing agencies.

Many other issues arose regarding whether the newly formed policing departments had the power to be armed and wear uniforms, and to what extent should they apply force during their interactions with the citizens. The answer to this debate was later found to be very clear, the newly formed police needed to wear distinguishable uniforms in order for the citizens to easily identify them. The officers did not need to be armed; rather, they were trained and hired in a manner that could allow these officers apply appropriate type of response as well as force when dealing with the citizens. Many of the American police officers felt that the issue of wearing uniforms would render them the target of ridicule as well as point of violence that was occurring in the United States at the time and called for the right to carry firearms as well as using force when necessary. However, in spite of their objections, these police officers were supposed to wear uniforms and later, they were also allowed to carry clubs as well as revolvers during the mid and late 1800s. in the modern American policies agencies, the issue concerning uniforms as well as firearms has long been solved, but the issue of force by the police still remains a major unresolved issue which elicits a lot of debate in the policing agencies nowadays.

Police reforms during the 1900s and 1970s

The political involvement in the process of policing in the American society was largely viewed as both the both the public as well as police reformers in the mid 19th as well as during the late 19th century. The earlier efforts that were made in the 19th century towards police reforms in America were severely unsuccessful, since the American citizens tirelessly tried to pressure police agencies to initiate changes. Later, in the 20th century reform efforts started to take place and contributed to a number of significant changes in the United States. A major goal of the police reforms included the removal of politics from the American policing. This effort comprised the creation as well as development of standards for hiring as well as recruiting police officers instead of allowing politicians to appoint these officers in order to help them to carry out their political agendas. These could only be achieved through setting forth standards for the quality of police officers that were hired, thereby implementing better police training as well as adopting different types of technologies to help the police officers in their day-to-day operations (Sullivan & Sage Publications, 2005).

The professionalism of the police movements in the American society resulted in the police agencies becoming more centralized and focused mainly on the control of crimes. The significance of role of the crime combat was highlighted in the police commission report of 1931, which assessed the increasing crime rates in America. The report also reported and proposed that the police officers could become more successful in dealing with the increasing crimes through focusing on the duties of police fundamentally on crime control instead of social services, which these officers had once provided.

The period 1950s marked the start of social movements that could render and bring race relations to the attention of all the American people. Many other events involving the African Americans ignited a series of civil rights demonstrations across the nation in the mid 1950s. The social disorder that resulted from these riots resulted into many and frequent physical conflicts among the police and the citizens. It was also during this period that individuals throughout the United States started seeing incidents of violence being featured in the newspapers and televisions. The level of violence as well as force used by the police was more shocking to the common people because they were never used to it. Many of the police reforms that followed through the 1960s were primarily based on the traditional model of policing. The traditional policing methods focus on responding to the calls for the service as well as managing crimes in a more reactive way. Moreover, this approach to policing emphasizes on the serious crimes as opposed to the issues associated with social disorder as well as the citizens’ quality of life. The application of the traditional policing approaches and practices that took place in the 1960s led to the gulf, which was widening among the police as well as citizens (Sullivan & Sage Publications, 2005).

Principal programs as well as technologies

                The major programs as well as tactics of the reform policing strat­egy included the preventive patrol through automobile as well as quick response to calls for service. Foot patrols, characterized as outdated as well as inefficient, were abandoned as swiftly as police administrators could acquire cars. The early strategic reasons for putting police officers in cars was to increase the size as well as the areas that police officers could patrol and to take advantage far away from criminals who embarked on using automobiles. Under the reforms of policing, a new theory concerning the ways on how to create the most effective and successful tactical use of automobiles started (Scaramella et al, (2011).

The theory of preventive patrol by automobile was thus, developed as an anticrime approach. It theo­rized that if police officers drove noticeably marked cars at random through city streets as well as gave particular attention to certain risks, including bars and schools, a feeling of police effectiveness and omnipresence would be created. In return, this sense of effectiveness as well as omnipresence would help in deterring criminal activities and reassure the prevalence of good citizenship. Moreover, it was thought that the creation and development of vigilant patrol officers, who could move rap­idly through city streets, could control many of the criminals in action as well as apprehend them for legal charges (Scaramella et al, (2011).

As the applications and the use of telephones as well as radios became everywhere and ever-present, the availability of police patrols came to be seen and perceived as being even more valuable, especially, if the people could be encouraged and motivated to frequently call the police through the use of telephone as soon as problems arose, and the police could respond as rapidly as possible to calls as well as to establish control over these situations, identify the criminals, and finally, make arrests for the perpetrators of criminal activities. To this end, the 911 systems as well as computer-aided dispatch were necessary and become a reality throughout the United States. The creation and support of detective units also continued, although with a number of modifi­cations. Also, the “person” method ended and was quickly replaced through the use case method. In addition, more forensic approaches as well as techniques were upgraded as well as started to substitute the dependence on informants for the detection as well as solution of crimes throughout the country. Moreover, just like other special police units, most of the investigative units were supported, funded, as well as controlled by central headquarters. These changes have transformed the nature of policing throughout the past few years and have seen the American policing system grow more effective and successful with more training that have focused on combating criminal activities. Furthermore, the rise of criminal activities in America has revolutionized police training in the United States over the last two decades (Sullivan & Sage Publications, 2005).

Active shooter in America

                The term “active shooter” can be defined as a criminal’s activity that causes death as well as serious injury to the general public. The activity is not controlled and there is eminent risk as well as danger of death or serious injury to the potential victims. The active shooter scenario is often very dynamic, evolving very fast, as well as requires an immediate use of law enforcement officers in order to cease the life threatening situation. The Homeland Security Department also offers a definition of the term “active shooter” and argues an “active shooter,” is an individual or person who is aggressively involved in killing or trying to kill people in a confined as well as populated area. In most situations, the active shooters use firearms and there does not exist any pattern or approach to their identification of victims (Massingham, et al, 2009).

The active shooter scenarios are often unpredictable as well as evolve rapidly. Normally, involvement of law enforcement is required in order to end as well as to prevent the shooting and mitigate danger to victim involved. The New York police department (NYPD) defines also defines the term “active shooter” as an individual or a person, who is engaged in killing or sometimes attempting to kill citizens in a confined as well as populated area, in similar ways to the definition offered by the Homeland Security Department above. Nevertheless, the New York police department has limited their scope of definition as well as understanding in order to include only those cases, which usually spill beyond and past the intended victim to others. This also implies that when a grievant has an problem with an employer that leads to an assault targeting not only the direct supervisor but also extends over to others employees in the workplace. The Los Angeles police department offers another definition to the term as argues that an “active shooter” is an armed person or individuals, who has used or uses deadly force on other individuals as well as forcefully continues to do so whilst having unrestricted access to many other victims (Massingham, et al, 2009).

In the year 2009, the America department of Homeland security and office of Intelligence gave a report that warned the law enforcement agencies that the right-wing extremist activity was on the rise. The rise in criminal activities was largely attributed to the prevailing economic situation, the current political situations, as well as the return of discontented war veterans, which fueled as well as filled the ranks of the white supremacy militias. This report also indicated that the “lone wolves as well as small terrorist groups” represented the nation’s biggest terrorist and social threat since their low profile made it very hard to initiate any kind of intervention before these groups could retaliate. According to the American police, the issue of criminal activities as well as terrorism is a clear reality of the modern police operational situation, which would remain a major menace even to the foreseeable future. Terrorists and many other criminal often target vulnerable individuals, capabilities, as well as infrastructure in order to improve and develop terrorist objectives and reduce the resolve of an enemy. Many criminal attacks have happened while United States police forces are with the country, in transit to as well as from missions. Moreover, these attacks have also occurred during the operational deployments of police across the country (Massingham, et al, 2009).



Potentially each of the 9-1-1 calls could be putting many of the patrol officers as well as other first responders in a position in which they can find themselves encountering face in face with the active shooter. This may be a terrorist or a criminal armed with many and deadly weapons and who are often more than willing to die for his/her grounds. This is because the majority of the patrol officers and the first responders to the criminal attacks would not be able to set up the necessary perimeter and wait for the SWAT teams to come and end the situation. The first responders, who are many times, the police officers, have to aggressively approach the active shooter and neutralize the situation (Marsh, Barber, & L. O. D, 2000).

While Columbine High School scenarios brought as well as facilitated the need for active shooter training as well as policies to the front position of the nation’s consciousness, the policing agencies must and have to recognize that the active shooter situations may happen in any given public place. Public places and areas where there are large numbers of people gathering or congregating become major targets for active shooters. Once the active shooter begins, he or she is not likely to stop until he or she is forced to stop through the actions and intervention of the first responding police officers. For these eminent reasons, all of the patrol officers need and require to be obtaining active shooter resolution training, which should also be included even in the entry level police-training program (Marsico, 2011).

The training will be applicable as well as appropriate to shooting scenarios such as the one at Columbine as well as in the event of criminal attacks, which may take on this form of operation. The Homeland security presidential directive-5 has also demanded for the development of the national incident management systems (NIMS). The NIMS was initially developed and designed to establish an atmosphere and an environment in which the federal, state, as well as local governments can work more effectively and efficiently. This is in order to always be prepared for, respond to, as well as quickly recuperate from a number of the domestic incidents, regardless of their cause, size, and difficulty. In addition, the national incident management system was designed in order to provide for the interoperability as well as compatibility between the federal, state and the local governments ‘capabilities. This is to encompass a core set of ideas, terminologies, concepts, technologies, and principles covering the incident management system; including the multi-agency management systems, the unified command system, training technologies, identification as well as management of resources, qualifications as well as certification, and the gathering, trailing, and covering of  the incident information and resources.

The national response framework (NRF), which was also designed as well as developed in 2008, has mainly focused on the command systems as well as the control aspect of emergency management to situations that are perceived to be all-hazards. Moreover, it in the area of criminal attacks; the national response framework has focused its response to the weapons of mass destruction as well as preventive measures in order to reduce the impact of such criminal attacks (Marsh, Barber, & L. O. D, 2000).

The surrounding, which is set up with perimeters, in order to contain the suspects, bargain, as well as await the intervention of SWAT has been quickly replaced by what is referred to as “active shooter protocol.” Effectively, this calls for up a team of four- people to advance in a diamond-shaped wedge. The police officers are also trained in order to move toward the sound of firing in efforts or attempts to neutralize the shooters. The major goal and objective of this particular strategy is to end the active shooters’ motives as quickly as possible. The New York police department issued a report that it conducted of active shooters, which found that 98 percent of the shooter incidents were mainly undertaken out through a single attacker and 36 percent of the shooter incidents often involved a number of weapon. Furthermore, this report also established that almost 46 percent of active shooter incidents ended through applying force by law enforcement officers, private security, and other agencies and 40 percent of these incidents ended through the attackers committing suicide (Massingham, et al, 2009).

The uniqueness as well as the diversity surrounding the active shooter incidents has compelled law enforcement to design and create new approaches to dealing with such incidents. It has also forced police agencies to find new techniques and procedures in order to protect the lives of the public. It has also been established that the burden of protecting against the active shooter incidents has to be equally shared by all the members of the society as many of these incidents are typified through their unpredictability, the swiftness in which they take place, as well as the lethality of these actions. Preventing and ending these violent incidents requires the presence and availability of particularly trained as well as equipped police personnel in every school, college, workplace, and university. Moreover, active shooter incidents have been considered to be seldom and random attacks. Many of these incidents are highly premeditated in which the perpetrators identifies their victims and looks for them with the intention of killing them. The criminals would usually continue to engage their targets in the process and in later times. Optimally, loss of civilian lives may be prevented and mitigated through the way of training, preparation, as well as quick response against the active shooter perpetrators. Many times, chances hold that the perpetrators would not flee upon the arrival police officers. The active shooters see the arrival of police officers to the situation of the crisis as a new objective.

The United States department of homeland security holds that the active shooters incidents are most frequently random as well as entail operation that are very quick. Therefore, quick deployment of police officers becomes of critical importance in order to bring to an end such incidents and prevent harming of the victims (Police Executive Research Forum, 2014).

Since many of these incidents are often perpetrated within or over 10 to 15 minutes, before the arrival the police, members of the community have been urged to be always prepared both mentally as well as physically for such types of scenarios. All the members of the American community have been also urged to have good practices for recovering as well as coping with an active shooter incidents. In order to cope with active shooter scenarios, the Department Of America Homeland Security provides that the members of the society must be fully aware of their surrounding as well as any potential dangers. All the individuals need to be highly cognizant of their two nearest exits in the facilities as well as areas that they visit.

Moreover, if an individual is in an office, he or she needs to stay there as well as secure the door. If one is in a hallway, he or she needs to get into a room as well as secure the door. Also, this is the last resort that one should attempt during such situations and when the shooter is at close range and it is not possible to flee. Given the above scenario, the only chance for one’s survival is much guaranteed and greater, when one tries to incapacitate the shooter. Moreover, when it is safe and secure, individuals are urged to quickly call 9-1-1. The department has also created and designed a public service program, which teaches both the police as well as individuals that their survival depends on the choices that they make, and especially for the public, it depends with their plans to hide or run.

The more prepared as well as cognizant the law enforcement officers can be for the shooting’s aftermath, the less lives may be likely to be lost due to such a violent acts. In cases of mass shooting, there is a high probability that many victims would succumb to traumatic injuries. Moreover, there would be a high need to prioritize the victims and provide advanced first aid. In many of the active shooter incidents, formally trained medical personnel are not often on the scene immediately in order to provide casualty care, therefore, the responding officers have been educated and trained in immediate victim care approaches as well as techniques in order to help save many lives. In the advanced police rapid responses training and terrorism response tactics, active shooter level II training, which is primarily funded through grants from the Department of Justice as well as the State of Texas, police officers learn and are trained on many things, including self-aid, buddy-aid techniques, and other basic means of treating the injured.

Incidents and how they have changed police training over time

This particular section analyses the specific and high profiles incidents with particular importance to the American Homeland security as well as public security. The incidents were highly significant and involved active shooter scenarios, drew the attention of the nation, and forced the policing agencies to modify their tactics and approaches to these types of situations. The scenarios includes the Columbine school massacre in Colorado in 1991, the North Hollywood bank robbery and shootout in 1997, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting in 2012, and the Virginia polytechnic institute and state university massacre in 2007.

The North Hollywood bank robbery and shootout in 1997

On February, 1997, Larry Phillips as well as Emil Matasareanu carried out a robbery on the North Hollywood Bank of America. Earlier before this robbery, Phillips and Matasareanu were involved in stealing almost $2 million in different heists, including three attacks on reinforced cars as well as two previous bank holdups. They sued different modes of operation included using full body armor, military firearms, as well as engaging in “takeover” style robberies. During the North Hollywood robbery, they were dressed in full body armor as well as armed with five rifles, one handgun and had about 3,300 rounds of ammunition (Simoneau, 2007).

Their robbery effort was observed through two LAPD officers who requested for help, therefore, resulting in a city wide police participation and response to the emerging incident. The officers first heard sounds of gunfire from the bank as Phillips as well as Matasareanu fired numerous rounds inside the bank in order to frighten the customers and employees and ensure that none resisted their robbery effort. The officers were forced to put “officer needs help” call, which placed the entire city on high alert (Simoneau, 2007).

Within a few minutes, more police officers arrived at the scene in response, partly because the North Hollywood police was only a few miles away from the targeted bank. The efforts by the police officers to lock down the bank as well as to contain the robbers were highly complicated through the sound of automatic gunfire. As they left the bank, perpetrators were confronted by LAPD officers, which led to a shootout scenario. These two perpetrators made efforts to flee the scene, one on foot and the other by vehicle, while continuing to engage the police officers.

It was very clear that Phillips and his friend, Matasareanu were trying to escape the scene; however, due to the the significant police presence, who were approximately 350 police officers finally responded to the shootout. The two perpetrators focused their attention on the police officers as well as continued to confront the officers with gunfire. The shootout between the police and the two suspects continued into a residential street, which was adjacent to the bank until one of the suspects was mortally wounded. Phillip sustained 11 bullets and Matasareanu was finally killed by SWAT officers three blocks away from the bank (Simoneau, 2007).

The Los Angeles officers experienced a number of both technical as well as logistical difficulties, while confronting and trying to subdue the bank robbery suspects. Finally, these challenges and deficiencies contributed to policy changes, particularly in relations to equipping officers with more powerful and efficient weaponry. These officers at the time of the incident were armed with only their personal 9mm and LAPD pistols, while some of the police officers carried twelve gauge shotguns. Phillips and his friend, Matasareanu, on the other hand carried criminally modified and fully automatic AKM rifles as well as an AR-15 rifles which had high capacity drum magazines as well as ammunition, and which had the capacity of penetrating through the police body armor. Both the suspects wore full-body armor that made many of the police handguns very ineffective as the handgun bullets did not have the capability to penetrate the body armor.

The responding police officers also encountered other additional challenge besides unsuccessful firepower, given that the two suspects carried automatic rifles with long-range accuracy as well as lethality. As the police officers’ bullets struck the suspects’ bodies, the suspects reacted with their automatic gunfire. In order to conquer firepower insufficiency as well as to refill their depleting ammunitions, the police officers were compelled to seek for assistance from a nearby gun store in order to obtain weaponry as well as ammunition, which could match that of the two suspects.

When the North Hollywood bank robbery incident happened, the patrol police officers were not trained in rapid response and intervention approaches. The LAPD special weapons as well as tactics (SWAT) in due course arrived with rifles that were powerful enough to kill and penetrate the body armor of the suspects. The SWAT intervention only took 19 minutes, which was considered to be a very rapid intervention as well as response for a specialized unit to a distant intervention location. The SWAT units that eventually interviewed in his scenario were armed with MP5, M26, and AR 15 rifles. With the assistance from the SWAT team; the police officers were finally able to match the strength as well as power of the two suspects. Eventually, the Los Angeles police department SWAT team trains as well as works together as a unified team. This allowed the team to work flawlessly together in order to stop the occurrence of such an assault.

The Columbine massacre incident

On the 20th of April, the year 1999, in the small of Colorado, two discontented, but academically above average students, namely Dylan and Harris, executed a determined attack on Columbine High School in the middle of the school day. Dylan and Harris were known to be bullies who had once been bullied. Before the their attack, Dylan as well as his friend, Harris were placed on diversion by the district attorney’s office for the mistake of breaking into a vehicle and vandalizing property from that vehicle (Marsico, 2011).

Dylan and Harris’ strategy was to kill as many of their peers and teachers as many as possible. They planned to kill the teachers as well as their fellow students through planting and exploding two 20-pound propane bombs in the school’s cafeteria. They also planned to shoot students and teachers as they fled the cafeteria site after the explosion. When their bomb failed to explode, Dylan and Harris entered the school cafeteria and shot two students who were taking lunch, and subsequently killing one of them. Finally, Dylan and Harris started firing at students who were fleeing the cafeteria, wounding five of them as killing one (Marsico, 2011).

Dylan and Harris then proceeded upstairs to the main entry and outside of the library and started firing at random. They wounded a teacher with a shotgun, and seriously injured him. That teacher later bled to death since the emergency medical personnel were not able to enter the location. Approximately 15 minutes into the attack, Dylan and Harris proceeded the library in which about 56 students, two teachers as well as two employees had sought refuge. Within seven and half minutes, Dylan and Harris had managed to kill about 10 students and seriously wounding many other students using rifle as well as shotgun fire. They detonated many pipe explosives, which never caused serious damage and injury. Scores of students were wounded and killed in an execution manner. Immediately the news were received that the school was under attack, the county Sheriff, Jackson requested asked for assistance from other policing agencies. Within a very short time, over 1,000 police officers as well as medical personnel were on the scene. However, the police officers firstly surrounded the school compound, as they were trained to do, rather than approaching the shooters (Marsico, 2011).

Dylan and Harris fired and confronted the police officers from the windows of the library as the police officers returned fire.  Having guns, knives, as well as a number of bombs, the two students moved to the entrance of the hall and vigorously fired upon everything that moved around. The two students later left the library and proceeded to the science building in which they opened fire to the fleeing students. They returned to the cafeteria and attempted to explode the propane bombs through firing their weapons at the device, however, they were unsuccessful. They were able to blow up smaller bombs. One of the bombs was attached to a container that was filled with flammable liquid, and which resulted in setting off the fire alarms as well as sprinkler systems all over the school. Dylan and Harris engaged gunfire with the officers from the windows of the library as the police also provided protection to the medical personnel attending to the injured students, who had fled the building. After about 47 minutes of attack, the two suspects turned the weapons to themselves, thus committing suicide. After the shooting was finally, over 12 students and one teacher were dead.

This incident finally, transformed the police tactics and approaches for law enforcement agencies across America. A significant change was brought about because of the shooting experience brought forth between the police, Dylan and Harris. The incident that followed after the school shootout demonstrated to both the police that previous tactics and techniques to deal with suspects posed imminent danger to the victims. The Columbine shootout and massacre made the police agencies to realize that they needed to prepare for active shooters as well as to provide efficient and better training in order to address such rampages. This massacre was not the lone school shooting America, but it marked the turning point and as the catalyst police agencies across the United States to modify their techniques and tactics that were required in engaging active threats.

This incident and shootout scenario depicted the dire need for rapid and appropriate intervention on the part of the responding police officers, rather than the containment process. Through establishing as well as  forming contact teams from the first responding units and proceeding as quickly as possible to the threat in order to engage and stop the suspects, can help in saving more victims, rather than waiting for specialized units to come to contain the situation. The need for quick intervention was found to be of paramount in many of the incidents, including the Columbine massacre since the major objectives of many of the active shooters is to kill as many people as possible and not to hold them hostages.

After the event at the Columbine school, police tactics and techniques for surrounding the location of the incident in which armed assault is taking place, establishing the perimeter in order to contain the situation and suspects, negotiating with the suspects, meanwhile awaiting for the intervention of specialized units, have been far replaced by the “active shooter protocols.” Principally, the protocol calls upon for a four officer team in order to proceed quickly and approach the shooters. The police training teaches the police officers to proceed to the sound of gunfire with the intent of stop the shooter and managing the situation in order to prevent the loss of lives. The main objective and target is to stop the active shooter as swiftly as possible.

The Colorado Theater shooting

On the 20th of July, the year 2012, a mass shooting happened inside the Century movie theater, which is located inside a mall, Colorado, during the night showing of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” The lone gunman, named James Holmes, purchased a ticket to the movie, and sat in the front row. Approximately 20 minutes into the movie, he walked out to one of the emergency exits, and propping it open (Mayes & Zane, 2012).. He then proceeded to his vehicle, which was parked near the emergency exit and wore black and tactical attire, which included a gas mask, helmet, ballistic vest, bullet proof leggings, a throat shield, groin shield, as well as tactical gloves. He then took his guns, which included a 12-gauge shotgun, a smith as well as Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle with a 100 round magazine, and entered back into the theatre. Holmes later set off tear gas grenades, while at the same time shooting into the audience. He killed 12 and injured 58. Holmes was later arrested outside the theater a couple of minutes after the shooting incident (Colorado, 2010).

The initial calls were for assistance was received by 9-1-1 operators at around 12:39 am and police officers arrived on the scene within 90 seconds. The perpetrator was then arrested and taken into custody, without any form of resistance. However, the Police officers encountered some difficult times obtaining enough ambulances that could assist in transporting the injured people to the hospital. Some of these police officers took the injured people to the hospital using their police vehicles. The Aurora police was commended for their fast intervention and for taking some of the victims to the nearest hospital, which helped in saving a number of lives (Mayes & Zane, 2012).

This particular shooting incident also demonstrates the need for the police officers and other law enforcement personnel to be adequately trained in the advanced life support as well as have basic medical tools and equipments in order to help victims once such violent attacks are over. Additionally, the incident depicted that irrespective of the punctual response and intervention of the police officers; a single armed shooter can quickly injure as well as kill many victims in a targeted and densely populated environment.

Virginia polytechnic institute and state university massacre

                In the year 2007, a 23-year-old student, randomly fired inside the Virginia Polytechnic dormitory and carried on his attack two hours later into the classroom. After the incident was finally, about 32 students had been killed. This was the most lethal and active shooting incident in the history of the United States (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2007). This killing incident brought to light the necessity and fast need for intervening police officers to include breaching capabilities to their equipments. Initial confusion as well as errors also allowed the Virginia incident to develop. The police officers had erred in taking that the first shooting in the dorm rooms was just domestic event. Due to this event, the focus of policing was not on the campus to look for the shooter. This helped in increasing police training in terms of preparedness (Worth, 2008).

The response of the police officers to this incident was very prompt and the police fell back on their training as well as moved swiftly towards the threat, despite their movements being restrained by chairs.  The training which was more often among the Virginia police officers and the local Blacksburg was considered to be very critical for the success as well as coordination of the response given by the police.


            The above analysis has depicted how the police training and operations have evolved over the time given the number of incidents that have taken place. It indicates that while the police officers have implemented active shooter training as well as concentrated on the emerging dangers, the magnitude and quantity of the level of training that is offered differ significantly and can be enhanced (Charles, 2000). Police in the United States have had to encounter a number of deadly scenarios, but the lessons learnt from these incidents raised a lot of concerns, especially with the manner in which to train the officers in order to combat the criminal activities. Moreover, it is also important that the policing agencies review as well as calibrate on their training based upon the lessons that have been learnt over the time (Stair & American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2013).








Andrews, C. M. L., & Yale University. (1934). The colonial period of American history. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Bawden, D. L., & Skidmore, F. (1989). Rethinking employment policy. Washington, D.C: Urban Institute Press.

Charles, M. T. (2000). Police training: Breaking all the rules : implementing the adult education model into police training. Springfield, Ill., U.S.A: C.C. Thomas Publisher.

Colorado. (2010). Century Theater shooting: Aurora Fire Department preliminary incident analysis. Aurora, Colo.: The City.

Tucker, J. A., Stoutenborough, J. W., & Beverlin, R. M. (2012). Geographic Proximity in the Diffusion of Concealed Weapons Permit Laws. Politics & Policy, 40, 6, 1081-1105.

Kerr, K. M. (2010). Workplace violence: Planning for prevention and response. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Police Executive Research Forum,. (2014). The police response to active shooter incidents.

Marsh, D., Barber, R., & L. O. D., Inc. (2000). Rapid response to the active shooter. St. Louis, Mo.: In the Line of Duty.

Massingham, G., Cataldo, M., Detrick Lawrence Corp. (Firm), & Emergency Film Group. (2009). Active shooter: Rapid-response. Edgartown, MA: Emergency Film Group.

Mayes, M., & Zane, R. D. (2012). Mass shooting in Colorado: Practice drills, disaster preparations key to successful emergency response. Emmitsburg, MD: National Emergency Training Center.

Marsico, K. (2011). The Columbine High School massacre: Murder in the classroom. Tarrytown, N.Y: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.

Reppetto, T. A. (2010). American police: A history. New York: Enigma.

Scaramella, G. L., Cox, S. M., McCamey, W., & McCamey, W. (2011). Introduction to policing. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications.

Simoneau, Y. (2007). 44 minutes: The North Hollywood shootout. S.l.: High Fliers.

Sullivan, L. E., & Sage Publications. (2005). Encyclopedia of law enforcement. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Stair, R., & American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2013). Law enforcement responder: Principles of emergency medicine, rescue, and force protection. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. (2007). Virginia Tech magazine: Memorial issue. Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

Worth, R. (2008). Massacre at Virginia Tech: Disaster & survival. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers.