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A Meeting With Police Executives

by: DemFromCT

Thu Dec 13, 2007 at 18:31:01 PM EST

( - promoted by DemFromCT)

Yesterday, I was in Washington, DC at a very unique meeting. I had the opportunity to meet and work with a small group of police executives from up and down North America (from Florida to Canada) who had extensive experience with disasters ranging from hurricanes to SARS to serial shootings.

I was there to help contribute to a draft document to assist police executives in pandemic preparedness. While the work products of working groups and drafts are, by nature, off the record, I can say that there were talented and dedicated individuals from literally all over North America who take this topic seriously and who are engaged and committed to disseminating appropriate information to police forces so as to better prepare themselves.

There were no discussions of property confiscation or some of the topics that get people's hackles up. Rather, there was recognition of a need for a resource to help law enforcement prepare, and to make certain that law enforcement wasn't simply handed a plan devised by [public health, politicians and] others, and told to 'implement it'. That sort of planning without involvement of the stakeholders would be a plan without a prayer.

We discussed, in general principles, some of the concepts that were so well written into the Citizen's guide, such as :

DemFromCT :: A Meeting With Police Executives
• Communities will be affected simultaneously
• At least 30% of the overall population will become infected
• Absenteeism is expected to be upward of 50%
• A pandemic is likely to last for 12 to 18 months
• Communities could be affected by several waves lasting 6 to 8 weeks each
• Vaccines and antiviral drugs for pandemic influenza will be in short supply, may be of limited effectiveness, and will likely not be available to most communities
• Most of the ill may wish to seek medical care
• All healthcare systems will be overwhelmed
• Health facilities are unlikely to be available to most, and may be inadvisable to enter owing to
increased chances of exposure to the virus
• People and communities will likely be on their own without the help of mutual aid from other communities, hospitals, or other public services
While my contributions were modest (at best), I was also made aware of other resources which I have added to the wiki legal page such as Preparing the Justice System for a Pandemic Influenza and Other Public Health Emergencies from the Bureau of Justice Assistance. I was pleased to see something from Corrections! The link isn't working to day, but there's apparently a National Institute of Corrections Pandemic Preparedness Web Page, which didn't exist some months ago.

All in all, I take this as a signal that planning continues beyond just 'talk', and though the planning process seems as slow as molasses in January (I was caught in a molasses spill in Cambridge, MA in the 70's, and fully understand the phrase), as Galileo said, "and yet it moves".

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see also

October 22nd, 2007 - Police Planning for an Influenza Pandemic

Today law enforcement officials are challenged with balancing the daily responsibilities of maintaining public order and safety with the need for emergency preparedness-often with fewer resources than they have had in the past. As law enforcement executives spend more time thinking about increases in violent crime, the threat of terrorism, and other issues, the threat of an influenza pandemic may not be high on the list of planning priorities. However, a pandemic flu has the potential to cause more death, illness, and social and economic disruption than most other threats faced by law enforcement.

working Corrections link

This web site provides information from the World Health Organization about preparing for an influenza pandemic. Topics covered include: what is a pandemic; how a new influenza virus can cause a pandemic; consequences of an influenza pandemic; detecting a new pandemic virus; and preparing for pandemic influenza. Links are provided for more information.

thank you
Great work.  

You are right about the commitment etc, and I'm also pleased to say that I have recently and for the first time met 2 different people from the corrections profession in a meeting. That and mass casualty (which I've also recently met with) are very difficult areas as we all know.  Unfortunately, due to too many conflicting commitments, I haven't been able to write about them.  Suffice it to say, at least for mass casualty, that the awareness as well as the willingness to speak of a difficult subject is growing.  i hope to learn more about the corrections side as well!

All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...

we're not there yet
but the process is starting.

[ Parent ]
Thank you Dem-
I'll be passing this info on to my brother, a law enforcement officer. Hoping he has some positive feedback from his area! -k

www.EmergencyHomePreparation.org -- A 'card-catalog' style of prepping information.   -

we have quite an "edge" and we're using it

I mean we are diverse and so are our networks (family, work, etc) so we're touching on quite a bit of expertise which is sort of waiting to be connected with from flublogia ... at the edge of flublogia.

Maybe we could make a more concious effort in this direction, but I don't think any of us can make more concious efforts!

So natural efforts will have to suffice, I guess! ;-)

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
I'm glad
this is being addressed and some movement occurring.  Thanks Dem.

A Heartfelt Thank You!
Thank you Dem, and thanks for the heads-up!

As with every aspect of PanFlu there are no easy answers and although my frustration (and fear)runs high with this sub-set of issues I was nothing short of thrilled to read that it is being approached in a more "systematic" way.

As we have seen with the Hive Mind (I still hate that term) the more minds that are put to the problem, working in unison, if not always in exact harmony, answers come "faster, better, cheaper".

I am equally grateful that this is posted on FW where it will receive the widest readership.  This in itself may stimulate dialogue that would otherwise not be engaged.  As is demonstrated with some regularity in Flublogia sometimes all you have to do is overcome the inertia, and that is what I am hopeful of.  They have a lot of ground to make up.

We Won't Know Until We Know.

"hive mind" - yes, i've come to "quote" that expression in my mind
as we're not a hive of similar individuals in different 3D locations, but something at least an order of magnitude more complex.

Maybe in the future people will talk about the "flubie mind" and take us as their reference and metaphore? ;-)

You arm yourself to the teeth just in case.  You don't leave the gun near the baby's hand.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps, but-
Only if we KEEP THE GRID UP!

No grid= no internet= no institutional memory.

Keep the GRID up!

(LMW, plugging that meme!)

Prudent People Prepare Properly

"better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!"

[ Parent ]
I did make the point at the meeting that the internets play a valuable role, and that "No grid, no internets".

This (where I was) wasn't the venue for it, that's a DHS thing not a DOJ or HHS thing.

But I brought it up.

[ Parent ]
DHS - Law Enforcement Best Practices and Model Protocols
Dem: Did they discuss the best practices and model protocol document issued by the Department of Homeland Security in April of 2007? Curious if the 90-day period was mentioned (to the extent you can say.)

We previously discussed them here: http://www.newfluwiki2.com/sho...

Pandemic Influenza
Best Practices and Model Protocols
Department of Homeland Security - April 2007

Specifically thess assumptions:

Planning Assumptions
- Identification and prioritization of essential services to be maintained will be required by each service sector.

- Prioritized distribution of prophylactics and personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees based on mission essential duties they perform and potential for exposure will be required by each service sector.

- Allocation and distribution of prophylactics and provision of healthcare services may be limited due to inadequate supply or shortage of capacity, thereby requiring the prioritization of existing goods and services.

- Telecommunications may likely be overwhelmed due to increased utilization caused by telework employees, homebound citizens, and public services search for resources.

- The population may be directed to remain in their homes under self-quarantine for up to 90 days per wave of the outbreak to support social distancing practices.

(Print page 6&7)

As well as the Planning Considerations that follow.

This is one of the first documents from the government that seriously considered a longer disruption period.


- Interruption in supply chain for food, fuel, and other essential items
  --Establish stockpiles to maintain operations for 90 days
- Prioritize dispatching assignments of law enforcement
   -- Implement triage process for calls
   -- Implement alternatives to normal response
- Isolate sections of community during outbreak
   -- Implement isolation perimeters in areas with high infection rate
   -- Encourage voluntary compliance from public for quarantine/isolation orders issued by public health officials
   -- Seek guidance from local, county, or district attorney on enforcement of quarantine orders as issued by public health officials
-  Anticipate social disruption/public disorder/black marketers
   -- Prepare strategies/tactics to meet crowd control measures ...

(Law Enforcement Protocol begins at print page 27)

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

SophieZoe's - Law Enforcement During a Pandemic
This was also an interesting discussion on the challenges that may face law enforcement and society during a pandemic:


While you may get a feeling of dark foreboding as you read through it, if you are tempted to dismiss it as 'fear-mongering' or over-reaction, go back to the DHS Best Practices and Model Protocol document and see whether the assumption or concern you are dismissing was also included in that document. They track pretty closely.  

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

Thanks ITW for linking it to this thread...
While you may get a feeling of dark foreboding as you read through it

Yes, it is rather grim, and it was precisely a sense of "dark foreboding" that drove me to not only sit down and puzzle out the likely issues, albeit, as I saw them, but to write them up and post them.

The essay was written a year ago, almost to the day.  I am happy to say that, over all, I believe genuine progress has been made.  Mostly that progress has been in the area of coming to understand that there is even a genuine issue and threat that needs to be addressed.  But it's progress.  After all, we can't prepare for a threat unless we first understand there is a threat.

We Won't Know Until We Know.

[ Parent ]
Police at disadvantage

 Some more bullets (no pun inteded)
 - People will be stressed for long periods of time from multiple directions 1) lack of food, 2) possible job loss, 3) no clear alternatives, 4) possiblity of things getting worse tomorrow, 5) collapsing mental health system.

 - Rescrouces will most like be scarce.
 - Lights and automated systems may fail in multiple areas keeping technitians too busy to come and fix them promptly.
 - (as always) Those who prepare suffer less than those who do not.
 - Downtime for offices will be limited
 - Neighborhood watch groups could help with some work loads.

 My personal experiance has been that they have not been told. Several people with Department of Justice do not want to think about nor be on an email list with pandemic information. It was just one person at DoJ that I knew.

 Hope this helps.

these are the types of things
that will need to be addressed. However, there's more subjects (continuity of operations, etc)  than just the risk communication piece, which is what I was involved in.

Kobie, you can send the BJA links to anyone involved with DOJ.

My main point is that these discussions and plans are happening at all, and that is a good thing.

[ Parent ]
Discussions are good.

 Thanks for the link. I will pass it along. Right now she does not want to hear the "P" word.

 I am glad the discussions are happening. The continuity of operations and such are good - but easy to see and agree on.

 What concerns me are the things people are not thinking about. The big cheifs are seeing their part.

 When people stress they act differently. The guys on the beat will feel the full brunt of that.


[ Parent ]
A letter of comment of draft vaccine allocations
To whom it may concern.

   A few things came up when discussing the document.

   Do people in tier 5 or so position get moved up to tier one if they are part of a cities Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

    IT department is listed but IT is a huge field. Some people maintain city's internet while others maintain the cities programs. Are those who maintain critical email, internet and mainframe systems part of the same group that maintain programs for parking tickets, building permits and library cards?

    I assume those who come into work will be vaccinated v.s. those who do not.

    These may be decisions left to localities to resolve or can some guidance on LAN administrators, Data Base Administrators (DBAs), Geographic information systems (GIS), web programmers, mainframe computer programmers,  computer operators, email systems and network server technicians be forthcoming?

    Second question - why should I take the vaccine when my kids are many more times at risk? Lest say I am over 35 and have a Tier 1 or 2 job. I have three kids ages 9 and 14 and 23 who are far more at risk from dying than I am. Yes they may be at home but I worry that by going to work I will bring H5N1 virus home. That not only am I responsible for infecting them, but I protected myself by taking the vaccine instead of them when I know from the 1918 and current WHO data that they are far more at risk!!

    Requiring people to acutely take the vaccine they qualified for was not covered.

"Be preapared" - Sir Baden Powell, founder of scouting.
"Those who prepare suffer far less than those who do not" -

What? Humans reacting like - like - Humans?
Second question - why should I take the vaccine when my kids are many more times at risk? Lest say I am over 35 and have a Tier 1 or 2 job. I have three kids ages 9 and 14 and 23 who are far more at risk from dying than I am. Yes they may be at home but I worry that by going to work I will bring H5N1 virus home. That not only am I responsible for infecting them, but I protected myself by taking the vaccine instead of them when I know from the 1918 and current WHO data that they are far more at risk!!

1.  By taking the vaccine, you will be doing much to protect your children against the possiblity of you getting sick and infecting them.

2. Whether you take the vaccine or not, if you are going out and coming back into the home, 'standard' infection control should be practiced to prevent bringing the virus back into the home.

3. You are getting first access to this very scarce and very valuable resource not because you have children, but because you perform a function that society deems a priority to help support the common good.  If you don't want the vaccine, you probably won't be allowed to continue at the job - which is a lose-lose situation.   In either case, your children won't get the vaccine.

But you raise points that will likely be raised frequently by people with priority and children.  

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]
ITW, good response.
Into the Woods,

   I agree with your response. By thinking of how a parent would react it suprised me bad I would feel if the kids got sick.
   I would feel bad either way and worse if I brough home the germ. You make a good point about my not getting sick in the first place. Still how many parents would rather suffer than their kids.

  Morally you make a good point - "people are getting this because they provide a service to many"

  I hope that message is repeated. I am not in the first or second tier group but work with those who are first tier. Yes there is some tension.

 I also have a concern that TPTB will protect their families. During the 50's and 60's arrangements where made to protect congress and their families. Why? So congress could function without being distracted by the unknown fate of the wife and kids.

  Would today be any different particually if both parents are law enforcement or Tier one employees?

 What about temp employees? Tier 2, 3 or 4 folks who can get called in for EOC work. If it was set up then I would certainly work in the EOC for an hour to get a dose of the vaccine!

Glad someone read the post.

[ Parent ]
History's lessons
Some interesting lessons about human behavior come out of history.  In fact, some of the history that has recently come out about the Cuban Missile Crisis indicates that in many cases families were not included in official plans for evacuation caused by an imminent nuclear attack - and as a result, many officials said that if it came to that, they would not leave.

There was also some initial implementation of the evacuation plans in the fall of 1962, during which certain select individuals were notified that they would be evacuated if the worst were to happen.  I believe that it created some awkward social moments when folks realized they were on or were not on that list.  

The more specific we get on vaccine prioritization, the more awkward it may be as well.  

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain

[ Parent ]

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