Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. James A. Visser

Second Advisor

Dr. Chair Barry Goetz

Third Advisor

Dr. Daryl Delabbio


Active shooter, police preparedness, terrorism, crisis planning, normative model, police training


On September 22, 2013, at a memorial for people killed in a September 16, 2013 active shooter incident, President Barack Obama stated that the United States “can’t accept” the killing of 12 people at Washington’s Navy Yard as “inevitable” and that the shooting should “lead to some sort of transformation” (Merica, 2013). Active shooter incidents remain a constant societal concern that are deserving of continued academic research. The following grounded theory study examined the active shooter incident preparedness systems of police agencies in three Michigan counties. The principal investigator observed the strategic and tactical objectives of police agencies relative to active shooter preparedness systems, including police collaborations, tactics, training, technology, and written documentation.

The project analyzed the consistency of police agency strategic and tactical objectives in comparison with interviews, written documentation, and observations of scenario-based active shooter incident training. An exploratory model was chosen primarily because of the inadequate levels of empirical research and the need to produce a normative understanding of police active shooter incident preparedness. The study’s methodology used an analysis of interviews, police training, and written documentation relating to technology, equipment, mutual aid agreements, and memorandums of understanding, policies, and procedures. The study found that police active shooter incident preparedness is based on police-centric perspectives that engage limited levels of collaboration, strategic objectives, written documentation, threat assessment protocols, and related citizen training. The study created a prescriptive model for police active shooter preparedness termed the holistic model. This research project will assist public administrators with leading comprehensive guidelines to increase police active shooter incident preparedness and collaborations.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access