City managers who led their communities through horrific incidents of gun violence offered up the bitter, hard-won lessons of dealing with tragedy during an international conference this week in Boston.
“I don’t think you’re ever 100 percent prepared,” said Rudolph Smith of Norcross, Ga., where a man killed his two sisters and their husbands last year before taking his own life.
Smith was among five municipal leaders who spoke at the 99th annual International City/County Management Association conference at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center yesterday. The panelists said first-responder training, organization and keeping the media and community informed was crucial.
Citing recent incidents such as the Washington Navy Yard shooting and the Boston Marathon bombings, Smith said the takeaway is the same: Remain vigilant and stay proactive within your community.
“We felt like we were safe, but you never know,” Smith said.
Gerald Peterson, the city administrator for Oak Creek, Wis., where on Aug. 5, 2012, Wade Michael Page killed six people at a Sikh Temple, said, “Don’t let this event define your community.”
Dan Singer, city manager of Goleta, Calif., where a retired postal worker killed six other people and herself in 2006, said of the aftermath, “In government, there’s a lot of rules. ... but sometimes the most important response in incidents like this is to be a little more thoughtful.” # # #
Story written by Samantha Tatro, reporter for "Boston Herald," Monday, September 23, 2013