Copperas Cove Police Department gives active shooter class
By DAVID J. HARDIN
The Copperas Cove Police Department presented a class on active shooter situations to approximately 20 employees of Cinergy Cinema on Monday morning.
The 90-minute presentation, ALERRT, which stands for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, was to help the staff understand how to increase their chances – and that of their guests – during an active shooter situation.
Deputy Chief Jeffery Stoddard made the presentation, which included scenarios surrounding past events such as the Columbine High School shooting in April 1999 and the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007.
Chief of Police Eddie Wilson explained the intent of the department giving the classes.
“We are starting to put these active shooter classes on for the community, and these classes are some good, direct straightforward training for a citizen’s response to an active shooter.
“These classes will help local businesses because when an event happens it creates mass confusion. There’s a lot going on and citizens do not necessarily know how to react when police show up, and a lot of it is self-preservation at the time to survive. At the same time, there are things that citizens should do when officers arrive on the scene. We need citizens to understand that they need to be vigilant during those types of situations and act accordingly.”
The training began last year with City of Copperas Cove employees, and then the department was approached to offer the classes to various organizations like churches and businesses.
The ALERRT program started at Texas State University in San Marcos, and CCPD learned this program to teach members of the community.
The presentation included hearing audio of a 9-1-1 call placed from Columbine High School, then a video clip of an active shooter situation was shown, similar to the footage of the Columbine perpetrators.
At that time, it took officers about 90 minutes to move into the building and neutralize suspects, Stoddard said. After that, he said departments change their approach to handling situations by now going toward the threat and neutralizing it without waiting for backup.
He also shared the three stages of disaster response, which are denial, deliberation, and the decisive moment. The quicker you get through these steps, the better chances of survival that you will have, he said.
He said it’s also important to be prepared.
“Be prepared, be aware of surroundings such as, if you are in a restaurant, know where the exits are. You do not have to be paranoid, just be aware... If you are prepared then you are probably going be proactive and do something and not be a sitting duck.”
The training also discussed what an active shooter event is, and the profile of an active shooter. One common aspect is that after an active shooter situation, friends, loved ones and co-workers will usually share that they noticed a change in the shooter’s behavior right before the event, such as posting on social media or giving away possessions.
Between 2000-2014, there were 2,000 active shooter events in the United States, and 179 shooter events occurred in 2014.
It was also shared that during two of the individuals responsible for taking down the Fort Hood shooter in November 2009 had been trained through the ALERRT program.
The police want you to be proactive and fight, do whatever is necessary to survive, and do not wait to be a victim by hiding, said Stoddard.
“You have a much better chance of survival if you fight and run, because it is hard for most shooters to hit a moving target, and your survival chances increase. Defend yourself,” he added.
However, he also informed them of what to do when the police secure the scene.
“We want complete control and compliance. If I was in that situation, I am going to get on the ground because I want to let the officers know that I am not a threat. It is much safer on the ground.”
Stoddard said in a school situation, they are trained to evacuate but do so classroom by classroom, to make sure that all threats have been eliminated.
Traci Hoey, Director of Marketing, Sales, & Special Events for Cinergy Cinemas LP, talked about what it means for the staff at Cinergy to have had the training.
“Cinergy is thankful for the opportunity to have the Copperas Cove Police Department out for active shooter training,” said Hoey. “This training provides education for our team members to assist in keeping Cinergy a safe environment for not only our guests but our team members as well.”
Businesses and organizations interested in scheduling ALERRT training for active shooter situations should contact Sgt. Kevin Miller at the CCPD, at 254-547-8222 ext. 6956 or firstname.lastname@example.org.