P&R’s Response to Active Shooter Incidents

10/28/2020 1:30 p.m. EDT

Session Type:  Education Session (1 hour)

Track: Leadership and Management


On the night of October 1, 2017, a shooter opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip, killing 58 people and wounding 413. The ensuing panic led to an 869 injury total. The incident is the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. On the afternoon of May 31, 2019, a disgruntled city employee entered his secure office building and fatally shot 12 people and wounded five others in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach. This is not an active shooter training. Rather, this presentation will explore how two park and recreation departments responded to (and are still responding to) active shooter incidents in their communities. Participants will learn and talk about the complex and multiyear leadership challenges that follow these incidents, how park and recreation staff and facilities were involved in crisis recovery efforts, and how these incidents can change and impact policies, security measures, training, employee support and public expectations.


Learning Outcomes:

Explore and discover how the parks and recreation departments of the City of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Virginia Beach, Virginia, were called upon and aided the community following active shooter incidents, from immediately following the tragedy to years later.

Learn leadership challenges facing directors following these incidents including mitigating and resuming services, hypersensitivity, security concerns, memorial requests and “compassion fatigue."

Learn how to develop future training to improve emergency response and provide more secure special events and facilities.



Greg Weitzel

Director, Las Vegas (Nevada) Parks and Recreation Department

Greg A. Weitzel is the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation for the City of Las Vegas, Nevada. Weitzel serves on the Board of Directors for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and helps chair the NRPA Public Policy Committee.

An invited member of the White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors, Weitzel has significant experience addressing urban issues and working closely with federal, state and local elected officials. He previously served as the director of Parks and Recreation for the cities of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, where his agencies received multiple awards for innovative programming, outstanding facilities, trails and park development.

Weitzel's work in Pennsylvania was highlighted by earning the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Intergovernmental Cooperation. He was also recognized with the Professional of the Year Awards from the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Association and the College of Health and Human Development at the Pennsylvania State University where he received his degree in Recreation and Park Management. He earned his master’s degree in health, physical education, recreation and park ddministration from Illinois State University.

Weitzel also has helped to secure more than $1 million dollars in international humanitarian aid and lead a team to build one of the first playgrounds in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. He has since assisted in building more than 40 other playgrounds in several countries as an ambassador for the nonprofit organization, Kids Around the World.

Weitzel has been married for more than twenty years to his wife Jennie and has two teenage daughters, Virginia and Ashley. 


Michael Kirschman

Director, Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation

For the past 25 years, Michael Kirschman has presented at countless state and national park and recreation conferences. He has provided instruction for seven years at Supervisors Management School, taught two years at Green School, and currently serves as an instructor for the NRPA Directors School.

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