Aurora OKs outside review of theater shooting response http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_2322...
Vallejo's former police chief has been selected to join a panel of experts that will review public safety response to the July 20 Aurora, Colo. theater massacre.
Robert Nichelini, who retired last June after 17 years with the Vallejo Police Department, will work as a "key member" of consulting firm TriData's team, said company president Philip Schaenman in an email. TriData was hired on a up to $250,000 contract Tuesday night, with the unanimous approval of the Aurora City Council.
Nichelini said in an interview Friday that he will be flying to Aurora at the end of May to meet with the firm and discuss the review process after being invited to apply for the team's law enforcement expert slot.
"I think that I'm always interested in law enforcement matters, no matter where they are," Nichelini said of his reasons for joining in the review. "Major incidents, I think, are particularly interesting to review, because you have the multi-agency response ... Very much like we had to do in Vallejo whenever you had something that overwhelmed your particular capabilities."
TriData, a division of the Virginia-based System Planning Corporation, focuses on producing emergency plans and assessments for local, state, and federal communities, according to its website, www.sysplan.com
. The consultant will be tasked with performing the "after-action" analysis, which will document the shooting where 12 people were killed and 58 others injured.
Nichelini added that his experiences while working for the Oakland Police Department during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, when the double decker Cypress portion of the Nimitz Freeway collapsed, and the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm likely played a factor in his selection. Schaenman declined to comment on the specifics of Nichelini's choosing.
The final report on the Aurora shooting, Nichelini said, could provide something of a how-to manual for other police, paramedic and fire agencies, much as a report on the 1999 Columbine High School massacre shootings has been well-distributed as a training manual, he said.
"I think the most important thing is to make this information available to other agencies," Nichelini said of his interests. "My goal is to try and help police agencies be prepared for something like this to happen to them."
Aurora police Chief Dan Oats spoke in favor of the report this week.
"It's important to create a historical record of what occurred," Oats said.
In February, the council halted its decision to move forward on the review after Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler sent a letter claiming the independent probe could hinder the prosecution of James Holmes, the alleged shooter.
Oats said he had spoken to Brauchler following the letter and believed the "after-action" would not hinder prosecution.
Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said many would benefit from the completed report.
"First responders have not healed because their story hasn't been told yet," he said. "I am happy to see this is going forward."