Police Foundation Launches Center for Mass Violence Research Studies

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pulse nightclub

Memorials at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fl., where a lone gunman massacred 49 people on June 12, 2016 in what was then the largest incident of mass violence since 9/11. Photo by Walter via Flickr

One of the country’s leading police research organizations is launching a Center for Mass Violence Research Studies to explore how police and other first responders can improve their ability to handle mass violence incidents like terror attacks and school shootings.

The Police Foundation described the center’s mission as an effort to help public safety authorities and community leaders “think critically about mass violence events, so as to develop and implement comprehensive prevention, response and recovery strategies.”

“Public safety officials, policy and decision makers, and community leaders learn from research, data and comprehensive case studies to identify what’s working, and what areas can be improved to enhance public safety’s response to mass violence events,” said Foundation President Jim Bueermann, a former chief of police in Redlands, Ca., in a press statement.

“As threats constantly evolve, it is critical that we continuously evaluate protocols to ensure our communities remain as safe as possible.”

The Foundation said it was spurred to action by recent acts of violence across the U.S., ranging from the terror attack in San Bernadino, Ca. in 2015, at the 2016 massacre at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Fl., and the shootings earlier this year at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl.

Noting that such incidents remained “relatively infrequent,” the Foundation said the chaos and devastation suffered by communities and survivors in their wake, represented a new strategic challenge to emergency response protocols.

The Police Foundation, established in 1970 as a non-partisan think tank with a grant from the Ford Foundation, has sponsored research that has led to significant changes in policing in areas ranging from police ethics and use of force to immigration enforcement and gun policy.

Its senior staff and research fellows includes former police chiefs and senior police managers.

In 2015, with funding from the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Community Oriented Policing, it created the Averted School Violence database, and is currently expanding it to include a state by state review of school and building safety security standards.

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