The Shawnee Police Department recently sent three police officers for training on how persons at schools or businesses should respond to an active shooter incident. The three officers are now preparing to teach those life-saving techniques to the community.
Training Sgt. Steve Leader, Sgt. Heath Streater and Sgt. Dan Shumaker attended the training in Texas. The Shawnee Police Foundation sponsored cost of the training for two officers, while Superior Security funded the third, Chief Russell Frantz said.
Training for the ALICE program takes a look into active shooter situations and teaches people what tactical advantages they have that can help keep them alive.
ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.
Because the majority of casualties from active shooter events happen within the first four to 10 minutes, there’s a critical gap in time when the shooter first pulls the trigger to when police arrive, and that I the area of focus for this training.
Leader said history has shown that an active shooter situation goes on for about 6 to 8 minutes, with the sound of the first gunshot being the only alert for many to call for police.
Police response can take a few minutes, so in those waiting minutes, officers want to teach people what to do, such as techniques to lock down and barricade in a room if needed.
Leader and Streater said they hope this kind of training can become just as normal as fire drills in schools.
While the training will be passed along to schools, Streater said they’ll also offer it to businesses, hospitals, churches, or any type of public place where there could ever be an active shooter situation. Police also will hold training for city employees who work in various city buildings.
“You can have an active shooter anywhere,” Streater said.
With ALICE training, the officers have learned something they can pass along to teachers, students, employees and others how to respond to such a scenario and what to do when police arrive on a scene.
While there are steps to the training, they do teach fighting back in a worse case scenario.
“We’re teaching survival techniques,” Streater said.
Leader, who said many people have never been told or would have no idea what to do in an active shooter situation, said this training might give them some options to remember.
“We teach the police side and now we can teach the civilian side of it,” Streater said. “We want them to know how to react.”
Streater said it’s all about interfering with the shooter’s ability to acquire targets.
Page 2 of 3 - “Most school shootings are calm, slow and methodical,” Streater said. Rather than having sitting targets, “We want to disrupt the methodology.”
Leader said that’s why preparation is the key.
There are phases to the ALICE program. Streater, as an example, said there could be a situation where a shooter comes into a classroom on a third floor where persons are locked down. After the door is breached and there’s no way to jump out a window, then those inside could use any weapons they can grab, such as chairs, books, or even a stapler, and throw it at the suspect’s head, Streater said.
“It’s about displacing their methodology,” Streater said. “We’re trying to teach options.”
Leader said police response to an active shooter call might take a few minutes. In that time, they’re hoping to teach others what to do to help themselves and others stay alive.
Leader said that 98 percent of the time, there’s one shooter involved.
For ALICE, the “A” is for Alert, such as sounding an alarm of the situation and calling the police, while passing all information by any and all means, including public address systems.
Lockdown, or sheltering in place, means that doors should be locked to provide a time barrier and give students and teachers time to recognize the threat. If they aren’t in a danger area, they should evacuate.
The “I” is for Inform, which means keeping everyone up to date on the shooter’s location.
The “C” — Counter — is for countering the attacker as a last resort by interrupting the physical act of the shooting if necessary. If a shooter walks into a classroom or hall and there is no escape route, persons should begin throwing anything and everything at them to interrupt the shooting and accuracy, according to ALICE information. This is a last resort as survival process.
Evacuate is all about getting out if possible.
Streater, who sought out this training for local police, said the Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy in Connecticut drove home that we don’t want to see an incident like that happen in Shawnee.
While the goal is to get this training as quickly as possible to area teachers and even students, it’s also training they want to get out into the community.
For all three officers, this training program is something they will work into their regular work routines and patrols.
Frantz is ensuring the knowledge of these three officers can help all facets of the community, from schools to businesses in the private sector.
Page 3 of 3 - “We now have three officers that are certified to go speak and train groups, schools and businesses on how their personnel and staff should respond to an active shooter incident,” Frantz said, adding police will offer the training free of charge.
Anyone wanting more information or to request future training should contact Sgt. Shumaker by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.