What do we do after a tragedy? Leadership Training after Uvalde

Uvalde decisions were tragic. Now what?


There is nearly unanimous agreement that the leadership decisions made during the Active Shooter Event in Uvalde were wrong and that led to increased tragedy. And just like after Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland … our society is now reflecting upon our tactics, procedures, and training. There is also significant focus on leadership and decision-making. Texas will be ground-zero in the next phase of establishing better standards for training, planning, compliance standards, and cooperation. Governor Abbot announced that over $100 million will be released to various state entities, including schools, departments, and institutions to focus on safety and security improvements, as well as increased training to protect children.


And now, there will be a mad rush to determine what to spend that money on. And every vendor with a solution will be trying to influence these organizations to convince them that their solution will ease concerns. My company, Crisis Response Leader Training, will be one of them. Afterall, I founded CRLT to address just the kind of challenges and resulting consequences that occurred during Uvalde and countless other Active Shooter Events. I am not alone amongst companies that want to help by providing innovative solutions to help save lives.


But I’ll offer caution, recommending deliberate planning, on how to spend money that will soon be coming from your state, or the federal government.


This should NOT be the time to significantly increase your inventory on new protective equipment or spend all your allotted money on a high-tech solution, bullet proof glass, new infrastructure, or even significantly increase your manning. 

First, no single course of action is going to solve your problems and make your community safer. Second, whatever you decide to do has to be sustainable over 5-10 years. And finally, your current personnel are significantly under-trained; adding new solutions without fully understanding how it will fit into the overall strategy will only compound current and future leader challenges.


I recommend that you first determine your scope: What is the problem? Consider these potential issues:


·        Poor awareness

·        Training on individual, team, or leader skills

·        Inadequate equipment

·        Lack of manpower

·        Reduced communication, less cooperation

·        Infrequent training with partners

·        Inclusion of school leadership, parents, and volunteers

·        Planning and development of Emergency Action Plans (and improving those plans)

·        Developing a cohesive training methodology 


You’re likely going to answer, “Yes! All of the above!” So, you will have to balance your decision to determine how the money you spend will take care of as many of those issues as possible, over a long period of time.


Then, you will need to gather additional information: 

·        What are available or future solutions? 

·        How much are the initial costs compared to continuing costs for sustainment? 

·        Are preferred solutions balanced in comparison to training, skill proficiency levels, and manning? 

·        How many people will the solution impact?

·        How will various solutions improve individual or organizational preparedness? 

·        What will be your turn-over rate in personnel? If you get a surge of money for one year and train 30% of the total community, what will you do the following year? What will you do in 2-3 years when 20% of the personnel you trained/educated the first year have been replaced?


I am pleased that states and the federal government are going to release additional funds. It is sorely needed! First Responders and schools have clamored for decades about the need for more funding to support crisis response. 


I caution that you consider how you will use those funds to best solve your current and future problems. Don’t waste this opportunity. They occur infrequently.

By Tod Langley
Jun 30, 2022


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