14.010 - After-Action Reports

Effective Date: 09/01/2015


This policy applies to After-Action Reports. An After-Action Report provides the chain of command with a synopsis of a critical incident or major event.

1. An After-Action Report Will Be Completed Whenever a Significant Deployment or Other Unusual Circumstances are Involved

The Planning/Intelligence Chief is responsible for completing the After-Action Report. If a Planning/Intelligence Chief is not available to complete the report it is the responsibility of the Incident Commander (or designee) to complete the report.

The author of the After-Action Report shall use form 28.1 as the cover page.

The Incident Commander shall set the date that the After-Action Report is due to be completed.  Upon receiving the final document, the Incident Commander shall sign the cover page to indicate that it is ready to be filed. 

2. An After-Action Report Must Address Specific Items

- Situation

- Situation is a synopsis of information and drivers or the genus of the Incident Action Plan or response.  The situation includes environmental and inclement conditions, issues, hazards, other organizations (resources) already involved, and efforts underway.  This section should also include the length of event/incident (total number of hours, days, and/or operational periods).

- Assumptions

- Assumptions are based on historical data such as past events/incidents, topography, storm water runoff, or group dynamics (behaviors).  Assumptions include past practices and intelligence information impacting planning and response.

- Objectives

- The objectives carried forward to the After-Action Report are overall goals of the event/response.  The objectives address the sustained police presence or unified command response.

- Response

- The response is an accounting of the actions taken to address the situations and objectives.  It is the body of the report and responds to the objectives.

- De-Escalation

- If force was employed during or as part of the incident, the author shall discuss whether de-escalation strategies or tactics were considered and, if so, what those tactics were. 

- Best practices

- Best practices respond to the questions of effectiveness of information gathering, planning, and strategies/tactics.  This includes discussion of what worked well towards achieving objectives and resource (staffing and materials) utilization.  It also addresses tactics, techniques, and efforts likely to yield success for similar events/incidents.

- Gaps in response/capabilities

- Gaps address shortcomings in the available response.  Lacking technical assistance, resources, and information is addressed in this area.  Available skills and the need for training in particular issues/tools may also be addressed under this heading.

- Notes forward/recommendations

- Notes forward are recommendations for follow-up training, policy review (or modification), and considerations for similar events.  It is also where organization(s) point(s) of contact for future events, nuances and information to support future planning/response or to mitigate future issues/hazards are recorded.   For example, “the EPA should be consulted as a partner for similar incidents.”

- Contingencies

- Contingencies are the incidents within the event/incident.  Contingencies are issues which alter or detract for the incident response.  These are the issues that siphon resources or must be addressed in the context of the event (e.g. the onslaught of hazardous or adverse conditions, responder injuries, etc.)

- Mitigation

- Mitigation is the course of action necessary to suspend contingencies and return to incident response.  Mitigation may not fully resolve the issues, but allows the incident response to continue.

- Recovery

- Recovery is the course of action undertaken to return to normal condition or state.  Post event/incident actions may include engaging the media in order to alert the community that status quo has been established.

- Financial impact (materials/staffing)

- Events and incidents have inherent fiscal costs.  Containment and documentation of cost should not trump safety in planning.  However, fiscal responsibility is an operating contingency.  Indicate cost of expenditures and staffing.

3. The After-Action Report Will Be Distributed Per the Direction of the Incident Commander

The original, signed After-Action Report shall be maintained at SPOC.

A copy of the After-Action Report shall be filed with the precinct-of-occurrence.

4. When SPD and SFD Respond to an Incident and Function as a Unified Command or Under the Command of One Agency, a Post Incident Analysis/Debrief Will Occur

The Incident Commander will schedule a debriefing and notify all involved personnel.

Issues shall be addressed and documented during the immediate debrief and forwarded through the chain of command to the captain of each involved officer.

If SPD/SFD cannot resolve an issue, it will be directed to the designated Department liaison for further resolution.

The author the After-Action Report shall adhere to the format stated previously in this manual section, with the addition of the following items:

- Summary of how each agency received the call for service and the initial steps taken in response to the incident

- Notification, communication, tactical response and demobilization

After a debriefing, the Planning/Intelligence Chief shall complete an After-Action Report and forward it to each Department’s Incident Commander. The SPD Incident Commander will ensure a copy of the report is forwarded to the captain of each involved officer.

It will be the responsibility of the captains to coordinate any follow-up debrief or issues that need to be addressed.