In the midst of a recent Nevada middle school shooting, the LaGrange Police Department trained this week in their annual active shooter response training.
The department holds its mandated active shooter training ever year, allowing officers to train at Cannon Street Elementary in various scenarios involving an active shooter.
LPD’s Sgt. Robert Moore gave a presentation on active shooters to Tuesday’s Civilian Police Academy. As a member of law enforcement, he explained their number one goal is to “take out the threat” if a mass shooting were to occur.
“Our priority is to find the threat and stop it,” said Moore, explaining that the first officer on the scene immediately pursues the shooter. “That first hour is critical in someone surviving. The lives of these hostages comes well before us.”
An active shooter, he said, typically strives to kill as many people possible.
“It’s about notoriety with these people and getting their numbers up,” he said. “It’s like trying to get a ‘high score’ to get their name out there.”
Moore showed several videos of actors in hypothetical active shooter situations, and one of them included a video by the Department of Homeland Security, giving tips on how victims and hostages can handle an active shooter situation.
The video suggested that victims should try always seek to run first and grab others from walking into “the danger zone,” leaving personal belongings behind. Those who are not able to leave safely should find a place to hide, silence their phone and call 911 when safe. Hiding behind a locked and barricaded door could be the matter of life and death.
“They’re looking for quick and easy targets,” said Moore. “If they come to a locked door or a delay, they’re gonna move on.”
If the shooter is able to make entry into a locked and barricaded room, fight.
“Be prepared that if he comes in, don’t just lay down, use whatever you can for weapons to fight,” Moore said.
Moore said acting in aggression by throwing or hitting the shooter with objects often creates a “shock factor” to the shooter, which can deter him, especially if there is a large group of victims participating in the attack.
“Run, hide, fight,” he said.
When police arrive on the scene, officers prepare to become bombarded with hostages and victims, though they encourage victims to not make sudden movements towards officers, especially if the shooter is still active. Victims should approach holding their hands above their heads and “sound off” to officers.
“If you’re not sure it’s police, stay where you are at,” Moore encourages, as shooters may attempt to impersonate officers.
Moore encouraged all work places to have a plan on how to handle an active shooter incident and discuss it with all employees regularly.
This year the police department incorporated the fire department in their active shooter training, a critical factor in assisting victims.In training officers have now practiced creating what they call a “warm zone” at the scene of an active shooter incident, which is a cleared out room to bring fire personnel and a rescue team in to begin rendering aid to injured victims.
“Anything we can do to speed it up we’re gonna do it,” said Moore.