machine gun

School Shooting Changed Police Response Tactics

Almost an hour passed once Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold began their killing spree at Columbine High school before any law-enforcement personnel entered the building. During that time, the pair killed 15, including themselves, and critically injured 21.

Police were following the course of action they had always been taught to handle tough situations like this. First, secure the perimeter; then send in the SWAT team. At Columbine, police weren’t acting incompetently, but rather they needed new tools to deal with a new situation, said Terry Nichols, assistant director of the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Center at the Texas State University at San Marcos.

“Within our local police department, we recognized the lack of training and preparedness that our first responders had to respond to an active shooter like the ones at Columbine,” said Nichols, who is a retired police commander.

He said also noticed that there were no training programs to instruct officers on how to deal with an active shooter – that is, a person who, like Klebold and Harris, is intent on actively harming people, not taking hostages.

So Nichols and a few others founded the ALERRT Center, with some grant money from the Justice Department, the Texas governor’s office and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The center has been training law enforcement officers from around the country since 2001 to deal with active shooters more effectively.

That correct protocol, by the way, is to send two to three officers into the building right away with the sole mission of neutralizing the gunman, even at the expense of the injured.

ALERRT’s course covers the theory behind combating active shooters, as well as several terrorism and active-shooter case studies. Students, usually about 30 per class, then move on to tactical training, including how to move and shoot at the same time, how to avoid IEDs and booby traps – even how to ensure officers don’t end up shooting other officers.

“We sometimes get pigeon holed into active shooter training, where people think their officers will never use the things they learn here,” Nichols said. “But tactics the things we teach are skills that officers can use in their day-to-day jobs, not just tactics that are good for dealing with an active shooter.”

Training exercises are often conducted in school buildings, which are one of the few institutions that are reliably closed for a significant portion of the year, Nichols said. Schools also, unfortunately, also find themselves common targets for active shooters.

But they aren’t the only places active shooters target. The shootings at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 highlight the fact that active shooters don’t limit themselves to educational facilities. Indeed, active shooter events even happen at hospitals.

“We’ve still got to get it in the public’s mind that active shooters can happen anywhere. … You shouldn’t box it in that it only happens at school,” Nichols said.

As a result, Nichols has noticed that more private industry security companies are requesting the trainings from ALERRT, he said.

“Early on, we were very adverse to training private firms,” he said. “But then we realized: These folks are truly the first responders at these events, so why would we not want to train them? We’ve kind of done a 180 on training private security.”

About the Author

Laura Williams is content development editor for Security Products magazine.

Featured

  • Survey: Less Than Half of IT Leaders are Confident in their IoT Security Plans

    Viakoo recently released findings from its 2024 IoT Security Crisis: By the Numbers. The survey uncovers insights from IT and security executives, exposes a dramatic surge in enterprise IoT security risks, and highlights a critical missing piece in the IoT security technology stack. The clarion call is clear: IT leaders urgently need to secure their IoT infrastructure one application at a time in an automated and expeditious fashion. Read Now

  • ASIS International and SIA Release “Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”

    ASIS International and the Security Industry Association (SIA) – the leading security associations for the security industry – have released ”Complexities in the Global Security Market: 2024 Through 2026”, a new research report that provides insights into the equipment, technologies, and employment of the global security industry, including regional market breakouts. SIA and ASIS partnered with global analytics and advisory firm Omdia to complete the research. Read Now

  • President Biden Issues Executive Order to Bolster U.S Port Cybersecurity

    On Wednesday, President Biden issued an Executive Order to bolster the security of the nation’s ports, alongside a series of additional actions that will strengthen maritime cybersecurity and more Read Now

  • Report: 15 Percent of All Emails Sent in 2023 Were Malicious

    VIPRE Security Group recently released its report titled “Email Security in 2024: An Expert Look at Email-Based Threats”. The 2024 predictions for email security in this report are based on an analysis of over 7 billion emails processed by VIPRE worldwide during 2023. This equates to almost one email for everyone on the planet. Of those, roughly 1 billion (or 15%) were malicious. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

Whitepapers

New Products

  • EasyGate SPT and SPD

    EasyGate SPT SPD

    Security solutions do not have to be ordinary, let alone unattractive. Having renewed their best-selling speed gates, Cominfo has once again demonstrated their Art of Security philosophy in practice — and confirmed their position as an industry-leading manufacturers of premium speed gates and turnstiles. 3

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3

  • Hanwha QNO-7012R

    Hanwha QNO-7012R

    The Q Series cameras are equipped with an Open Platform chipset for easy and seamless integration with third-party systems and solutions, and analog video output (CVBS) support for easy camera positioning during installation. A suite of on-board intelligent video analytics covers tampering, directional/virtual line detection, defocus detection, enter/exit, and motion detection. 3