Police Command Hurricane Katrina
• GPM428 – Operational Command
• Session 1 2016
• Faculty of Arts
• Australian Graduate School of Policing and Security
• Manly Campus
• Distance Mode
• Welcome to a new session of study at Charles Sturt University. This subject outline is accessible through mobile devices from http://m.csu.edu.au.
• The operational command of major incidents introduces a range of additional considerations for leaders; such as acute political pressures, severe time constraints and risks to life. This environment arguably requires leaders from all relevant organisations to develop decision-making skills that incorporate risk assessments on limited information and the ability to communicate and later justify their rationale. This subject will predominantly use a case study approach to illustrate the experience of senior leaders in a multi-agency environment in crises and the themes arising from research in this area in a practical way
As the subject coordinator, I welcome you to this subject. I’m sure you will enjoy it, although I’m certain you may find some aspects quite challenging. As a former Police Commander, I am extremely interested in the personality and character traits that different individuals have and how this can impact on staff, communities and the events concerned. Whilst I appreciate that this is one small journey within your academic aspirations, I do want you to succeed and enjoy studying Operational Command as much as I enjoyed writing it. Clearly it is important that you are allowed the freedom to tell me what you believe and think, hopefully supported by your literature reviews, and with this in mind please feel free to contact me by email or on my mobile whenever you want to discuss any concerns about the subject matter that you may have. Please don’t be phased by the suggested readings as there are quite a lot. The review documents are crucial but the others are for you to select as you wish. Indeed, your research may find others that are equally as useful. I will say from the outset that the subject of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman is one that you will be able to refer to in all 4 topics, so is quite important!
The subject is divided into 4 separate topics under the following titles;
• The Commander
• Command Structures and Preparedness
• The Operating Environment
• The Events
The first 3 topics are to be examined in the context of certain incidents that have occurred in various parts of the world. The 4th and final topic looks at 4 separate and very different major incidents which will not only check your understanding of the first 3 topics but will call for your own opinion on how they were commanded and what lessons should be addressed for the benefit of future commanders.
In preparation for the first topic you will read and reflect upon a range of published material focused upon the nature of command. In the topic itself you will examine the personal and professional principles underpinning effective command. In the context of 2 disasters that took place in Australia and New Zealand you will be asked to explain and compare the command decisions in each case.
In preparation for the second topic you will read and reflect upon a range of published material covering the floods in New Orleans, commonly known as Operation Katrina. You will be asked to analyse and comment on the command structures that were in place before and during the tragic events that ensued. You will have the opportunity to examine and express an opinion on how prepared the police and partner organisations were to deal with an event of this magnitude.
In preparation for the third topic you will identify and examine a range of factors, both internal and external, that may influence the nature of an event and/or particularly the command of it. Looking at the range of opportunities open to a commander before, during and after the event you will read and reflect upon a range of published material examining the Christchurch New Zealand Earthquakes in 2011. You will have the opportunity to listen to the Assistant Commissioner who was the Commander at the time and what the key issues were that impacted on his decision making.
The 4th topic will allow you to call upon your learning and research from the previous 3 topics and use that to analyse 4 relatively recent major events from around the world. By comparing and contrasting you should be able to argue from a sound and rational basis on how you consider each event was commanded and what were the main drivers behind command decisions. Your views should cover all aspects of this subject form each topic and include what lessons can be learned for the benefit of future commanders.
• Your subject coordinator
• Academic biography
Graham M Sunderland QPM, M.A., Grad Dipl (Cambs), Grad Cert (Dundee), BA(Hons).
Graham specialises in the study of disaster victim identification (DVI) and other forms of major investigations from a Command perspective. His academic interest in these topics stems from his experience as an operational police officer in the United Kingdom where he held positions including Assistant Chief Constable/ Asst Commissioner (Crime & Ops) with Cumbria Police, and Divisional Commander (Chief Supt.) and a Senior Investigating Officer (Det. Chief Supt.) in West Yorkshire Police.
He is a co-editor of an anthology of works on global perspectives on disaster victim identification. He holds a Masters degree in Leadership & Management, a Bachelor of Arts degree (Hons) in Public Administration and Organisational Studies, a postgraduate Certificate in Human Identification, and a postgraduate Diploma in Applied Criminology. In 2009 he was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for his outstanding service to policing.
As a former Assistant Chief Constable, Strategic Commander and Deputy Chair (Policing), Interpol DVI Standing Committee, he has been a frequent lecturer at the UK National Policing Improvement Agency (Bramshill) on crime and emergency management related matters. Graham is an experienced Senior Investigating Officer (Homicide/Serious & Organised Crime), Disaster Victim Identification Commander and International Hostage Negotiator Co-ordinator, having been a Negotiator in Sierra Leone during the civil war working with the military and government. He has attended the Crisis Negotiation Course at the FBI Academy, Quantico, USA.
Graham has been involved in both policy development and training delivery in several strategic and technical areas of policing on an international basis. As a Senior Detective he was regularly involved in setting the strategy for interviews and has been the Operational Commander on numerous major events including widespread flooding. He has been the DVI Strategic Advisor on a large number of mass fatality events around the world during the last 10 years.
He is an experienced trainer and facilitator having started as an Instructor teaching practical aspects of policing and law to Detectives from around the world since 1988. Graham has qualifications in Adult Learning and still delivers training to a variety of professionals including police officers of all ranks on a national and international level. He delivered the multi-agency operational command training to senior personnel in the UK from the military, police, fire, ambulance and government departments for 3 years.
Graham is now the Professional Development Programs Co-ordinator at Charles Sturt University and has led the design and delivery of a number of national and international academic/training programs. He has recently trained investigators from a variety of government departments throughout Australia in Investigative Interviewing and is also the Program Director for training all Superintendents in the Indian Police Service at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad, as part of their career development.
• Subject author(s)
• Learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students will
• be able to review, analyse, consolidate and synthesise the history and context of decision making and operational command and the impact of this on the principles underpinning current practice
• be able to identify key challenges to leadership and operational command and suggest practical solutions to the competing risks and priorities in current administrative and operational environment
• be able to think critically about key professional issues in multi-agency operational command and leadership, with particular reference to the ethical, political, legal and community dimensions of operations
In this topic you will examine the importance of developing a multi-agency command structure and practices that are fit for purpose when dealing with major and/or critical incidents.
You will analyse Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 hurricane and deluge that impacted New Orleans, killing 1800 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. This event has been investigated and criticised in many respects. We will focus on how prepared the commander, their organisation and other relevant agencies were in that case. The example provided is one which would test any command role around the world, but it is not unique and you will need to consider whether the preparation and structures put in place to deal with the incident were sufficient.
Objectives for topic:
• Demonstrate an understanding of the challenges of commanding particular operations. i.e. natural disaster and more often than not those that result in mass fatalities.
• Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of options available to address operational opportunities/threats when commanding any disaster event.
• Demonstrate an understanding of how important a command structure is and the potential impact of delaying the establishment and clear communication of one.
• Articulate a vision of what is required to ensure that commanders of the future are as prepared as they possibly can be to deal with the next major disaster.
Readings for topic:
Reading 2.1: 9/11 Commission Report (2004).
Reading 2.2: McKinsey and Company. (2002). Improving NYPD Emergency preparedness and response (pp. 1-88). New York, N.Y.: Police Dept., City of New York.
Reading 2.3: Barnes, M. D. et al (2008). Analysis of Media Agenda Setting During and After Hurricane Katrina: Implications for Emergency Preparedness, Disaster Response, and Disaster Policy. [Article]. American Journal of Public Health, 98(4), 604-610.
Reading 2.4: A Failure of Initiative: Final report of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina. U.S House of Representatives. U.S Government Printing Office. Washington 2006.
Reading 2.5: Deflem, M., & Sutphin, S. (2009). Policing Katrina: Managing Law Enforcement in New Orleans. Policing, 3(1), 41-49.
Reading 2.6: Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General.(2006) A Performance Review of FEMA’s Disaster Management Activities in Response to Hurricane Katrina.
Reading 2.7: The Federal response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons learned. (2006).
Reading 2.8: Peter, R. J. T. (2004). An integrative approach to disaster management and planning. Disaster Prevention and Management, 13(3), 218-225.
Reading 2.9: Adelaide H. Villmoare (2007), Policing and the Politics of Public and Private in Post-Katrina New Orleans, in Austin Sarat (ed.) Special Issue Law and Society Reconsidered (Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Volume 41), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.169-185
Reading 2.10: Interview Eddie Compass. (2010, August 25).
Reading 2.11: Alison, L., & Crego, J. (2012). Policing Critical Incidents : Leadership and Critical Incident Management.
Structure and preparedness:
It is unlikely that any incident of the scale and nature of Hurricane Katrina can be dealt with purely at a local level. It is, therefore, essential that any local plans for disaster management are closely aligned with regional and national plans. Resources are usually scarce for a variety of reasons and commanders should know where they can swiftly obtain assistance from when required.
In this subject you will be expected to develop a view on the local, regional and national responses to this incident, before, during and in the recovery phase of the operation. You will be expected to identify the lessons to be learned for any future similar incident anywhere in the world?
This is the topic to examine the whole process of reviews, debriefs and inquiries and how, if indeed we do, learn from the previous mistakes of others. You will have the opportunity to analyse the extent to which commanders actually take cognisance of previous incidents around the world and how recommendations from reviews of those incidents are built into training and exercising future commanders. In addition you will be expected to look at the multi-agency approach to planning and preparation and how any collaborative style of dealing with a major event sits with the principle of overall command and asking the question, ‘Who’s in charge?’
Consider that 9/11 happened 4 years earlier and a thorough and detailed report on the response had been published a year earlier than Katrina. What are the lessons that could / should have been learned and applied to New Orleans, particularly in relation to a multi-agency response?
Review the following reports to identify the key lessons that might have been applied in the Katrina response.
Effective operational command – Natural/human disaster
Nature of natural/human disaster
Nature, in its widest sense, has provided sufficient evidence of its ability to throw a wide range of life-affecting situations and events at the public in general and those who are tasked with commanding a response to them. There are those events that may be anticipated and those that are completely unexpected. Events may be localised, regional, national or even international. Similarly the impact of events can range from minor to extreme.
The value of analysing the nature of any disaster and categorising it by virtue of both the breadth and depth of impact i.e. the geographical area affected and degree of disruption to normal life, is that it provides the commander, planner or preferably both, with a framework to determine exactly what it is they are facing. By recognising and understanding the external factors present or, better still anticipate them, then the commander can establish a menu of options and opportunities that may be open to them. The commander can then set the strategic objectives for the incident and communicate the parameters to those at the operational and tactical levels.
You should be aware of your own organisational disaster management plan and be aware of the various scales of escalation which are to
be adopted depending on the severity of the incident. If your organisation does not have one then identify one that has and familiarise yourself with it.
Carry out a review of the plan and critique its contents, addressing how the plan aligns with regional and national emergency plans.
Comment on the forum (in no more than 6 lines) the extent to which, if tested, the plan you have reviewed would be fit for purpose
should an incident of the scale of Hurricane Katrina happen in your area.
This topic is not meant to venture too far into the area of emergency management but one cannot talk of ‘command’ without referring to the subject. The contingency plans held by most organisations form the basis of the ‘instruction book’ on how to manage major incidents. As such, it would be difficult to command such an incident without at least being aware of the plans or, ideally, having been involved in their compilation.
Just a couple of thoughts about planning quoted by Sir John Harvey Jones, the former Chairman of ICI;
• It is much more fun to do something else.
• The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a completesurprise rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression.
(Hill, E., O’Sullivan, T., O’Sullivan, C.(2003) Creative Arts Marketing, 2nd Edition.)
We are now going to move from the examination of structures and planning to the role and responsibility of commanders to prepare. You should now consider the duty of commanders to consider the lessons from previous events and forecasts.
Deflem, M., & Sutphin, S. (2009). Policing Katrina: Managing Law Enforcement in New Orleans. Policing, 3(1), 41-49.
Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General.(2006)
A Performance Review of FEMA’s Disaster Management Activities in Response to Hurricane Katrina.
The Federal response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons learned. (2006).
Now analyse how prepared the agencies were to respond to the devastation following Hurricane Katrina. Also consider how, in your own hypothesis, they could have been better
prepared and what could have been the outcome.
Examine the impact of commanders not being involved in the planning process and also failing to establish the necessary controls to enable effective command.
Include on the Forum, in your own words, what you consider to be the 6 main themes from The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina.
It may be argued that Commanders need to be flexible and have the ability to think on their feet.
In the next reading by Peter it refers to strategic resilience being about ‘continuously anticipating and adjusting to deep, secular trends…’ It then refers to ‘having the capacity to change before the case for change becomes desperately obvious.’
Peter, R. J. T. (2004). An integrative approach to disaster management and planning. Disaster Prevention and Management, 13(3), 218-225
Adelaide H. Villmoare (2007), Policing and the Politics of Public and Private in Post-Katrina New Orleans, in Austin Sarat (ed.) Special Issue Law and Society Reconsidered
(Studies in Law, Politics, and Society, Volume 41), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.169-185
1. Using an example of your own, describe when you and/or the organisation made significant changes
2. following an event and explain why such changes were not anticipated and made beforehand.
3. Consider whether ‘Law enforcement’ was the priority in the response and recovery phase following
4. Hurricane Katrina and what other ‘public responsibilities’ were not catered for.
Please include your brief views on the forum
Now that you are developing your own views you can read the account provided by Chief Eddie Compass, the Commander of the police response to Hurricane Katrina. This interview and the text by Alison & Crego should be read in order provide you with information to which you can refer when forming your own opinions on how effectively commanders are prepared to deal with major events and to what extent reviews and debriefs are useful in that preparation.
Interview Eddie Compass. (2010, August 25).
Alison, L., & Crego, J. (2012). Policing Critical Incidents : Leadership and Critical Incident Management.
Assessment item 2
Assessment item 2
Due date: 08-Apr-2016
Return date: 02-May-2016
Length: 2800 words
Submission method options
In this paper, using an analysis of the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, USA (2005), you are required to present your own hypothesis on the most suitable structures to support the operational leadership when dealing with such an event. In addition you should examine the preparedness of, not only the police in New Orleans at the time of the hurricane, but also consider how organisations actually prepare for a disaster and whether agencies are suitably prepared in todays environment. You paper is to be arranged as follows:
1. Introduce your paper and provide a synopsis of the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina (maximum 300 words)
2. Identify and describe the command & control structures that were established (maximum 250 words)
3. Describe the overall response (local, national & international), during, before and after the hurricane struck. From your own research you should identify any good practice or any flaws with what took place. (maximum 750 words)
4. Describe and justify your own hypothesis on the prerequisite planning and preparation of all agencies involved before dealing with a disaster. While the hypothesis is your own, you will need to support and justify your position with reference to the broader literature, describing how any collaborative style of command sits with the principle of overall command (Who’s in Charge?) (maximum 1000 words)
5. Conclusion and recommendations. Given your hypothesis, provide 3 recommendations, with supporting rationale, which would maximise the effectiveness of operational planning and preparation in your (or a nominated) agency. Include how agencies and commanders should learn from previous incidents. (maximum 500 words). In this section discuss, 1.early intervention plans and evac prior to disaster, 2. Putting responsibility on to community to be prepared (stocking food, batteries, water) for impending disaster, 3. Maintain engagement with stakeholders, community groups, to ensure open lines of communications and effective coordination occurs when needed in disaster events.
Assignment two is designed to allow you to examine command & control structures and overall preparedness of the police and other relevant organisations when called upon to deal with a major disaster.
Grade Standards: Generic Descriptors of Quality
Morgan, Chris, et al. The Student Assessment Handbook: New Directions in Traditional and Online Assessment. London: Routledge Falmer, 2004, p.264 suggest grade descriptors applicable for extended tasks in the humanities. They adapt well for the disciplines of Policing, Security and Public Safety. These grade descriptors assess the level of:
Comprehension of theoretical underpinnings; understanding of concepts and principles; Critical understanding of the material; Range of resources; evidence and depth of reading and research; Quality of presentation; clarity of structure; expression and grammar; sustained evidence of correct citation and referencing and Development and quality of argument; relevance of content; evidence of analysis; critical evaluation; validity of deductions and conclusions;
Pass – PS – Adequate Work (50% – 64%) Shows awareness of concepts and theories without explicitly explaining or applying them; evidence of limited understanding of some part of the issues; evidence of willingness to state a position on an issue but limited use of supporting evidence; descriptive rather than theoretical and analytical; presence of some relevant factual knowledge and/or awareness of theoretical issues; some evidence of analysis, but the criteria used are not stated; signs of limited application of new knowledge to new situations. Dependent of a limited range of resources. Coherent style and composition; readable.
Credit – CR – Above Average Work (65% – 74%) Understanding of the major issues in the question demonstrated; recognizes and describes concepts, theories used to explain descriptive material; evidence of an ability – on the basis of evidence – to state a personal position on an issue; evidence of ability to collate information and construct generalisations from it, commenting on the weight of evidence or opinion; evidence of a satisfactory level of analysis and judgement, including a statement of the criteria used; evidence of the application of knowledge to new situations. Use of reasonable array of sources in light of the nature of the task and its demand hours; evidence of selection of appropriate material, logical structure, clear argument and a sound overall framework; coherent argument that is focused but could be improved. Some useful insights. Clearly written. Very little sign of imprecise statements.
Distinction – DI – Excellent Work (75% – 84%) Evidence of a sound knowledge of relevant theory; understands and compares theories, concepts, ideas accurately and systematically. Evidence of ability to state and defend a personal position on an issue, on the basis of evidence; evidence of ability to evaluate information and synthesise generalisations from it; sustained arguments, linking empirical detail with theoretical perspectives; makes incisive critical comment on the literature; evidence of a sound level of analysis and judgement, including a justification of the criteria used. Clear evidence of selection of appropriate material, logical structure and coherent argument; evidence of use of a wide range of resources; evidence of wide reading beyond core subject matter. Evidence of the application of knowledge to new situations. Stylish composition; writing provides evidence of knowledge, enthusiasm and control.
High Distinction – HD – Exceptional Work (85% – 100%) Originality in synthesis at a high level of consistency through argument. Mastery of material – material understood, represented accurately in all its complexity, critically appraised, used effectively in the argument. Extensive range of pertinent sources showing evidence of wide, systematic and creative information retrieval. Effective and interesting use of English prose. Thought provoking; the assessor is offered fresh insights into his/her own thinking and dependent on the question would consider the paper as worthy of publication. Evidence of ability to maintain a personal position in original terms and show a command of the accepted critical positions and of attempts at innovation. Higher grades will usually contain the essential elements of lower, but passing, grades. Those elements should be seen as prerequisites to high achievement.
Fail – FL – Unsatisfactory Performance (0% – 49%). Does not meet the minimum requirements for a pass. For example, one or more of the following:
At best, some restatement of the question and basic interpretation, but generally only part of the question; misunderstanding of the topic; little or no understanding of issues or concepts; at best, coherent notes appropriate to the question. At best, evidence of limited mechanical reproduction of material from readings with no interpretation; irrelevant material included; reliance on few resources ; evidence of willingness to state a position on an issue but no, or very limited, use of supporting evidence. Unreadable. Major error of focus. Incomplete
Referencing style: APA