Strengthening inter-agency coordination, removing first responders’ reflective vests and increasing the number of paramedics and trauma kits at huge events are all part of the new package of potential procedures unveiled this week by the Las Vegas Police Department.
The department issued a 158-page report sharing the sad lessons learned from the 2017 mass shooting in which gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, set himself up on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and let loose more than a thousand rounds into a 22,000-strong crowd at an open-air country music festival.
Fifty-eight people were killed and 869 injured in the Oct. 1, 2017 attack, in which the gunman also died.
The latest document built on two previous reports that found similar snags in communication and preparedness, but went a step further in suggesting fixes to those issues. In all, there were 93 recommendations, the Associated Press reported.
The Las Vegas Police Department conducted 650 interviews, the report said, to exhaustively analyze the events of that day, and the aftermath. Investigators also examined 500 officer reports, 4,900 dispatch calls and upward of 3,000 videos from body camera footage in the wake of the attack.
“This review details what happened that day, identifies ways in which LVMPD can improve, and creates a document from which other law enforcement agencies can learn,” the report said.
It aims to prepare not just Las Vegas authorities but other entities elsewhere as well.
“The undertaking of this review is to probe deeply into what went well and what could have been done differently but also to collect lessons learned for other organizations,” the report said. “As the number of active-shooter incidents grows annually around the world, the more we share within the field, the better positioned we all are to respond effectively to the scene and to victims, their families, and the community at large.”
At the scene that night, the major communications systems “worked as they were designed,” police said in a handout provided to reporters, according to the Reno Gazette Journal. A good 1,500 officers responded, providing “plenty of coverage,” police said. In addition, existing relationships between police, fire and medical personnel “resulted in a successful tactical response to this incident.”
On the downside, rifles and trauma kits “were either not immediately accessible or in short supply,” police noted, and radio communication between SWAT teams was limited within the hotels.
Moreover, the handout said, first responders were not trained in handling the aftermath of a mass casualty event, “leaving many first responder agencies unprepared for the many responsibilities.”
Since then Las Vegas police have provided active shooter training to 250 agencies in the U.S. as well as many outside the country, created an around-the-clock team that can spring into action during a large-scale incident, and expanded training for elevated threats, including rifle training.
With the Oakland Raiders set to move to Las Vegas and begin playing next year at a 65,000-seat stadium being built just off the Strip, having procedures in place for the inevitable that one hopes will never happen is essential, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo told AP.
“We hope we never have to use these procedures that we are putting in place,” he told AP.
Las Vegas alone has 17 upcoming events scheduled at which more than 15,000 attendees are expected.
The recommendations come a week after a veteran police officer who froze in the hallway outside the room the shooter was firing from lost his job.
His union is appealing.
The document marked the end of the official investigation, Lombardo said at a 40-minute press conference, according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
“This closes the book,” he said. “It will never close the book for our victims and the people who suffered.”
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