The Honolulu Police Department acts expeditiously
to resolve active threat incidents in accordance
with this directive to reduce the risk of death or
serious bodily injury.
CONCEPTS OF OPERATION
A. Active threat incidents are unique because an
effective response cannot be entirely addressed by
B. Concepts in this directive are not meant to limit
conventional police tactics that are appropriate for
crisis situations. Instead, the guidelines afford
officers an option to intervene under higher risks, to
increase the potential for saving lives, or to prevent
further loss of lives. This policy also allows
officers arriving at the scene of an active threat
incident to intervene prior to the arrival or
approval of supervisory personnel or specialized units.
A. Active threat: Any incident where an assailant(s)
is engaged in killing or attempting to kill people with
firearms (i.e., active shooter), vehicles, explosives,
knives, or other deadly weapons in a confined and/or
populated area and it appears that such violent actions
will not stop without immediate and direct police intervention.
B. Barricade incident: The unlawful denial of access
to an area by an individual who threatens harm to his
or her person or those seeking entry.
C. Casualty Collection Point (CCP): A forward location
where victims can be assembled for movement.
D. Contact team: A team of two to five officers with
the primary objective of initiating a search for the
active threat and stopping the threat.
E. Hostage incident: The unlawful restraint of a person
under threat of death or serious injury.
F. Incident Commander (IC): The law enforcement
officer or supervisor responsible for all incident
activities, including the development of strategies
and tactics and the ordering and release of resources.
The IC has overall authority for conducting and managing
all operations at the incident site.
G. Inner perimeter: The outer limits of the area
around the incident site in which officers and
others are vulnerable to direct fire or other direct attack.
H. Outer perimeter: The outer limits of the area
around the inner perimeter that is to be cleared of
all nonessential personnel during the incident.
I. Rescue Task Force (RTF): A team consisting of
fire/emergency medical services (EMS) personnel paired
with and protected by officers.
J. Rescue team: A team of officers responsible for
entering an active threat incident area to evacuate
persons in jeopardy, including those who may be injured,
and to provide safety and medical assistance.
K. Staging area: A location of minimal threat to
personal health and safety where resources can be held.
L. Sniper incident: The unlawful use of a firearm from a
concealed position to threaten or endanger others.
M. Unified Command (UC): Lead by the IC, this group
consists of law enforcement, fire, EMS supervisors,
and other agencies working together at a central
location to mitigate the threat, coordinate resources,
and manage the incident.
When addressing an active threat incident, first
responders shall prioritize their actions in this order:
1. Neutralize the threat;
2. Provide trauma care to the injured; and
3. Evacuate the casualties from the scene to a hospital
or trauma care center.
A. Initial Report of an Active Threat Incident
When an active threat-type incident is reported,
the Communications Division shall:
1. Obtain all necessary information about the
incident as outlined in their divisional manual
of operations; and
2. Dispatch the field lieutenant and sergeant and
all available beat officers to the scene. Personnel
at the scene may request additional units.
B. First Officer(s) Responding to the Scene
The first officer(s) at the scene shall:
1. Quickly determine if the situation is an active
2. Inform the Communications Division of the active
threat incident and update the division with pertinent
information as practicable. Such information may include
(but not be limited to) the specific location of the
incident, the description and actions of the suspect(s),
weapons involved, victim injuries, etc.; and
3. Consider actionable intelligence, the likelihood
of success, and the safety of innocent bystanders and
officers to decide if an immediate response is likely
to be successful or a contact team is required to stop
the threat. See Section E below, Intervention Efforts.
C. Upon Confirmation of an Active Threat Incident
The Communications Division shall:
1. Immediately notify and request that the Honolulu
Emergency Services Department (HESD) and the Honolulu
Fire Department (HFD) respond to the staging area;
2. Immediately notify the commanders of the
Specialized Services Division (SSD),
Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and
Telecommunications Systems Section (TSS);
3. Notify the bureau chief and district
commander responsible for the area where the
4. Notify the department’s media liaison and
coordinate with her in notifying the public
via the City and County of Honolulu online
notification system; and
5. Initiate a running log.
1. Supervisors and other command personnel enroute
to the incident shall monitor their radios but
should refrain from intervening with on-scene efforts
to resolve the active threat incident. In the absence
of a supervisor and only after contact teams have been
deployed, the senior officer may designate an officer
to be the IC until relieved by a supervisor.
2. Upon arrival at the scene, a supervisor shall be
the IC for the active threat incident.
E. Intervention Efforts
1. Officer(s) or contact team(s)
The following intervention efforts should be taken by
the first officer(s) or contact team(s):
a. Upon entering the location of the suspect(s),
officers shall act upon an opportunity to stop
the threat. Officers may adapt a tactical approach
(e.g., withdraw or reposition) when faced with
firepower, environment, or other factors
that present unreasonable risks and/or
greatly reduce the likelihood of success;
b. Based on actionable intelligence and
on-scene information, officers shall move
in an expeditious manner to locate the
c. Radio communications priority shall be given
to on-scene officers;
d. On-scene officers shall provide updates on:
(1) The estimated number of suspects, including
their descriptions and weapons being used;
(2) Officers’ progress and location; and
(3) The location and number of victims
and their medical needs;
e. After the initial threat is neutralized and
there is no actionable intelligence that
additional suspects are active, officers
should begin to treat victims who require
immediate trauma care prior to clearing the
f. Active threat situations are dynamic and can
evolve rapidly. An active threat situation
can change to a barricade, hostage, or
sniper incident and back to an active
threat. Officers should adjust their
tactics accordingly. Refer to Policy 4.48,
BARRICADE, HOSTAGE, AND SNIPER INCIDENTS; and
g. Any force option or tactic used in resolving
an active threat incident should comply with
departmental policies and procedures.
a. Based on an assessment of the situation, the
(1) Update the Communications Division;
(2) Establish a UC area;
(3) Set up an inner perimeter;
(4) Designate a staging area;
(5) When possible, assign an officer to
manage the staging area; and
(6) Start a running log.
b. The IC, HESD/EMS, and HFD commanders will
coordinate resources to quickly provide
medical care and expedite casualty evacuation.
c. The IC shall form and deploy additional
contact teams, rescue teams, and/or RTFs as
F. Rescue Efforts
1. Once contact teams are deployed, all other
responding officers shall report to the staging
area and refrain from self-deploying.
2. As officers and resources arrive at the staging
area, the IC should ensure that RTFs are formed
to provide trauma care and help evacuate victims.
3. If HFD and EMS personnel are not available to
form RTFs, rescue teams should be deployed instead.
4. The RTFs shall be deployed after the initial threat
has been neutralized and isolated.
5. Officers assigned to RTFs should remain with the
HFD and EMS personnel in their RTF.
6. Officers providing initial trauma care should
quickly search injured persons for weapons; treat
obvious, life-threatening injuries; and move them
to designated CCPs.
7. The RTFs or rescue teams are responsible for
providing cover and moving injured persons from
the CCPs to established ambulance exchange points.
G. After the Initial Threat is Neutralized
a. As resources become available, the IC shall
use additional officers to establish an
outer perimeter to include security and
b. To organize and consolidate the individuals
at or arriving at the scene, the IC shall
designate and staff the following areas:
(1) Evacuation and witness collection
area(s), where individuals can be
assessed, identified, and interviewed;
(2) The family unification area, where
friends and family members of victims
can gather to receive information from
a police liaison; and
(3) Media area, where the media can be
updated by a departmental public
c. If necessary, the IC should coordinate with
the TSS to establish interagency communication
with fire, EMS, or other agencies.
a. The SSD commander shall join and coordinate
efforts with the UC.
b. The SSD shall be responsible for ensuring
the scene is safe.
H. Crime Scene Investigation
a. After the SSD has determined that the scene
is safe, the commander of the CID or
designee shall become the IC.
b. The IC shall ensure the preservation of the
c. Refer to Policy 4.29, CRIME SCENE: INVESTIGATIVE
RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES, for further guidance.
REVIEW OF INCIDENT
Each time an active threat incident occurs, the
Chief of Police may appoint an ad hoc committee
to review this directive, all supplementary
procedures, and the overall handling of the incident.
A written report of the committee’s findings and
recommendations shall be submitted to the Chief of Police.
At the end of each calendar year, the MED commander or
designee shall conduct and document an annual review of
policies, procedures, and training related to active threat
incidents by involving element commanders who are most
responsible for developing these guidelines.