Police heads share how they handled major attacks

Home Team event's guests recount Las Vegas shooting, Nice attack, Sydney hostage crisis

Singapore's senior security officials this week had the chance to learn from three senior law enforcement officials who were involved in three mass-casualty attacks - last year's mass shooting in Las Vegas, the truck attack in Nice in 2016, and the hostage crisis in Sydney in 2014.

The three officials were among seven speakers at an inaugural programme co-organised by Singapore's Home Team Academy (HTA) and the United States' Federal Law Enforcement Training Centres (Fletc), the training academy for US law enforcement agencies.

The three-day event, which ended yesterday, focused on crisis management of attacks with mass casualties, said an HTA statement.

Called the International Programme on Crisis Leadership, the programme involved group discussions and lectures, during which participants discussed and learnt about best practices in crisis management of attacks with mass casualties. Fifteen senior level officials from 10 countries took part in the programme.

This comes amid an uncertain global security climate, where acts of violence resulting in mass casualties have occurred in several countries, said the statement.

"Having a diversity of officers is a good feature and key strength of this programme. The diversity provides opportunities for sharing of best practices, and building cross-boundary relationships that you can tap on in your future work," said Mr T. Raja Kumar, chief executive of HTA and deputy secretary (international and training) at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Highlights of the programme include sharing sessions by three senior officials who were involved in major terror attacks that made international headlines.

Participants got to hear from Deputy Chief Christopher Jones of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department about last October's shooting incident in Las Vegas.

In what is widely regarded as one of the deadliest mass shootings in the US, a gunman opened fire on concertgoers, killing at least 58 people and injuring more than 500.

Workshop participants also took part in panel discussions with the officials involved in the terror attack in Nice in July 2016, when a truck driver deliberately ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day; and the Sydney hostage crisis in December 2014, where a gunman held almost 20 people hostage in a Lindt chocolate cafe in Australia.

"I find it enriching to hear the accounts from the police commanders who were at the front line during the crises," said Assistant Commissioner of Police Lee Su Peng, who was one of the participants.

HTA hopes to continue running this programme in future.

One international programme to be organised by HTA is the Phoenix International Programme, which will focus on global security challenges and public safety and security threats. This will be held in March next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2018, with the headline 'Police heads share how they handled major attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe