For immediate release: 11/28/2016 4:30 p.m.
Valdez, AK – The Valdez Police Department ALICE program received the Alaska Municipal League’s annual Public Safety Award of Excellence during a November 17th ceremony.
Selected from amongst many deserving public safety programs, VPD’s ALICE active shooter program received statewide recognition during the annual Alaska Municipal League conference in Anchorage, Alaska.
The AML citation reads (excerpts):
The Valdez Police Department, whose mission is to provide excellent service and protection through leadership and partnership with the community, has established itself as a leader throughout the State of Alaska in developing and implementing a community-wide initiative with local schools, businesses, corporations, city government and non-profit organizations to address a societal problem: active shooter/active killer events.
After extensive research, VPD decided to adopt an active shooter / active killer response strategy called ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate). This strategy was developed by Greg Krane, president and CEO of the ALICE Training Institute and is designed as a tool to increase citizen survivability during active killer incidents.
In 2014, VPD invited ALICE Training Institute personnel to Valdez and hosted a train-the-trainer course, something never before offered in Alaska. This course was attended by law enforcement and school district administrators from across the state. Following the course, several of the largest school districts in Alaska officially adopted ALICE as their response strategy.
“I have not seen so many schools statewide make the change from a passive, static response plan to a proactive, options based plan as quickly as in Alaska,” said ALICE CEO Greg Crane. “It is truly a testament to the impact and success of the training [VPD] conducted locally, that it caused other jurisdictions to want to mimic that police relationship with the community and showcase a commitment to safety.”
Utilizing ALICE techniques in conjunction with Hardwire’s ballistic whiteboards, VPD developed a series of trainings that empowers citizens by providing options designed to increase their survivability during an active shooter / active killer event. The Valdez City School District wholeheartedly endorsed ALICE training, which is now a requirement for all staff, teachers, and administrators.
VPD has not limited training to the Valdez School District alone; they have engaged in community-wide outreach, instructing a variety of businesses, organizations, and agencies in Valdez. As a multi-faceted program, VPD also implemented the NIXLE alert system, which automatically notifies the community via text messages and emails in the event of an imminent or active threat.
“For towns and cities across the country, gun violence from active shooters has been the cause of anxiety and concern for many public leaders and government officials. But unlike most community leaders in America, the Valdez Police Department did more than debate gun control and worry on the issue. They took action to solve the problem,” said Emily W. Tunis, COO & President of Hardwire LLC. “There is no question that the team in Valdez provided the most comprehensive, wide-ranging, and organized active shooter training we have ever seen. [They are] a pioneer in Alaska and the nation for this work.”
In October 2015, VPD presented an ALICE training during the Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police conference held in Anchorage, sharing resources and materials to promote citizen safety with stakeholders in attendees’ respective communities. In September 2016, VPD began discussions with University of Alaska to offer ALICE training courses as continuing education eligible for college credit. Steps are being taken to implement the program by spring semester 2017.
Mayor Ruth E. Knight and Police Chief Bart Hinkle accepted the award on behalf of the City. Former Valdez mayor and current AML board member Bert Cottle presented the award.
AML is a voluntary, non-profit, nonpartisan, statewide organization of 164 cities, boroughs, and unified municipalities representing over 97 percent of Alaska’s residents. AML’s mission is to represent the unified voice of Alaska’s local governments to successfully influence state and federal decision making, build consensus and partnerships to address Alaska’s challenges, and provide training and services to strengthen Alaska’s local governments. For more information on AML, visit http://www.akml.org.
Posted November 28, 2016
Allie Ferko, Public Information Officer
City of Valdez, Alaska