Photo: POLICE file
If it is true that fortune favors the prepared, then it makes sense for law enforcement to have as much prior contingency planning in place as possible. To that end, there are several things patrol personnel can do in the absence of otherwise readily available protocol.
1. Have a "go-to" checklist of sources to contact. Include legal contacts—the circumstances confronting you may actually dictate if that involvement is neither warranted, nor wanted.
2. Establish flexibility in your own ability to plan and adapt to new situations.
3. Develop contingencies for contingencies. Realize that the complicated may become more so. Do all that you can to avoid creating "domino-type" scenarios wherein additional people fall prey to circumstances.
4. In the absence of a policy and procedures manual to address the problem, consider exploiting the Internet. A multi-casualty plan is available online as are procedures to follow in the aftermath of a nuclear or radiological incident. There are a variety of such federal resources available online.
5. Be sure not just to make notifications of agencies that you want to, but those that you may be required to such as the National Transportation Safety Board, Centers for Disease Control, FBI, etc.
6. Look for the silver lining in such events. Share the lessons learned through in-house critical incident debriefings (where appropriate) or via e-mail. Recognize the chance to develop mutual protocol and alliances with other agencies and resources.
7. Have a psychological safety net in place. Whether it is your faith, your family, friends, or professional counseling, don't hesitate to exploit assistance where and when you can find it.
With sufficient desire and foresight, it may even become normal for you to be regarded as the go-to guy in handling the unusual.
Unusual Calls: Beyond the Norm