While matters like disaster recovery are likely at the top of a given municipality's continuity of operations plan, it is also incredibly important for municipality officials to factor in proactive measures to prepare their infrastructure with an action protocol should an unexpected act of violence occur in the community.
This issue became all too real for local authorities in Chardon, Ohio, who were faced with a tragic school shooting that occurred earlier this week at Chardon High School. According to reports, a 17-year-old named T.J. Lane – a student at a school for at-risk kids called Lake Academy – brought a semiautomatic weapon with him into Chardon High School, and opened fire at several students who were sitting in the cafeteria.
Reports state that three students – Russell King Jr., Demetrius Hewlin and Daniel Parmertor – were killed as a result of the shooting while two others were wounded. Furthermore, Lane reportedly had no history of criminal behavior, bullying or drug abuse and shot these individuals with no apparent motive. In fact, reports state he did not know the victims at all.
Emergency personnel were dispatched with what Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna called "tremendous arrival time" in a video produced by ABC News.
As superintendent Joseph Bargent aptly pointed out to The New York Times, "We’re not just any old place, Chardon. This is every place. As you’ve seen in the past, this can happen anywhere."
Considering how tragedies such as this can occur without warning in the unlikeliest of places, municipality officials would be well advised to hire the services of an experienced continuity of operations consultant. With the help of these professionals, municipalities can adequately prepare emergency security and relief services at a moment’s notice so that they can attempt to mitigate the scope of damage inflicted on the community.