Numerous simulations have been developed to represent a broad array of potential crisis events that may occur in our communities. For example, one simulation may be an active shooter scenario in a high school, movie theater, mall, or airport. Another may be a significant hazardous material spill or a catastrophic natural disaster. One may be an ISIS inspired individual act of terrorism. Or one may represent a complex coordinated attack with simultaneous acts of extreme violence at multiple locations often overwhelming the resources of the local law enforcement and emergency management agencies. Experienced crisis facilitators will guide the exercise and provide injects throughout the event to simulate the dynamic nature of a real-life crisis.
Many tabletop exercises are used to acquaint students with the policies and procedures articulated in their agency’s emergency response plan. The North Star exercise is not about specific protocols or policies within the students’ agencies. The exercise is macro and preparation centric. We want to expose students, both emotionally and mentally, to the broad leadership challenges they will encounter in a major crisis event. Thus, the purpose of the North Star TCS is four-fold:
Preparation – Simulations provide practice, which is a cornerstone of effective preparation. Simulations also can demonstrate gaps in the student’s individual preparation as well as that of the student’s organization.
Exposure – Provides a venue for leaders to experience a major crisis perhaps for the first time.
Problem solving and Decision-Making - Students will be thrust into dynamic situations requiring them to ask tough questions and make hard decisions.
Relationships – Students will gain an appreciation for the agendas, perceptions, and roles of other stakeholders in a crisis event. The need to establish solid relationships prior to a crisis is highlighted.
The TCS is no substitution for training within the student’s own agency or multi-jurisdictional training including surrounding agencies. As our students come from different states and even different countries, we cannot address specificities unique to the student’s agency, nor can we help develop those crucial interagency relationships among neighboring jurisdictions. However, the North Star TCS is an extremely unique and valuable offering in executive education programs. We hope the simulation and the discussions at the conclusion of the TCS will help students develop a framework for leading in a major crisis should tragedy strike their community.
Center for Police Leadership & Ethics International (CPLE)