The Responder
The Responder
August 2022
The Blue Tsunami - Part 1

Police overconvergence during active shooter events is a known and serious problem. For example, 376 law enforcement officers responded to the recent attack at Robb Elementary School in the remote and rural town of Uvalde, TX. While not having enough officers to deal with the situation is a problem but having too many officers can hamper response.
The overconvergence problem is an unintended consequence of the changes in police response following the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Following that attack, we began training the first arriving officers to go directly to the threat and stop the killing. It has now become part of police culture that when an active shooter event is announced, every officer within radio range rushes to the scene.
This is desirable. Because the attacks happen in random locations at random times and officers will be in random locations throughout their jurisdictions when the attack starts, we want all nearby officers to rush to the scene to stop the killing.  We want the first wave of officers on the scene as quickly as possible.
This also creates the blue tsunami. After the first wave of officers are on scene attempting to stop the killing, dozens or hundreds of additional officers are still rushing to the scene. If something is not done to control this deluge, the additional officers can swamp the scene and impair our ability to save lives.
Additionally, beyond the initial response, incidents where officers are standing around while the attack is still ongoing can damage public perceptions of the police. News media around the country widely reported on Uvalde parents who were outraged at watching police officers standing around while their children were still stuck inside.
So how do we take control of the blue tsunami? The answer is incident command.
In the next two newsletters, we will discuss a simple process for beginning the incident command system during an active attack.




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How long have you been with ALERRT? This October will be 6 years.
What does your day-to-day look like at ALERRT? It's a mix of responding to Help Desk questions, posting to social media, processing classes, and whatever else pops up.

What’s your favorite thing about working at ALERRT? Seeing our work make a difference in the real world.

What was an interesting job you’ve had outside of ALERRT? I was a bartender for a convention center where I had the opportunity to attend a lot of fun concerts/events and even meet a couple celebrities.
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How long have you been with ALERRT? I have been with ALERRT for just about a year now.

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What’s your favorite thing about working at ALERRT? My favorite thing about working at ALERRT is the meaningful impact of the work we do here. 
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