The active shooter phenomenon is one that is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Active shooter incidents have become all too frequent in our society, especially in our schools. What was once unthinkable is now today’s reality. While the root causes of the uptick in these incidents are debatable, the fact that armed response must be rapid and overwhelming is not.
To ensure a rapid response aimed at quickly neutralizing the threat, first responders, both armed security and law enforcement personnel, must engage in dynamic training so that that they are prepared to respond appropriately and effectively. When preventive and predictive measures to deter a shooting have failed, armed responders must be prepared to act quickly and decisively.
Conducting dynamic active shooter scenario training for armed responders will ensure a rapid response that minimizes casualties. Training must be realistic to provide responders with the skill-set needed to quickly neutralize an active shooter threat. A good training program starts with a number of musts:
Armed response training is truly effective when it “feels real.” Trainers must find a way to simulate the extreme stress of an active shooter incident in training scenarios. This will help responders function at a higher level during an actual active shooter incident, because training has taught them to cope with stress. There are a number of ways that you can add realism to training scenarios, including:
Active shooter situations are stressful and chaotic. You must do your best to anticipate potential issues and problems and address them in training before an incident occurs. These issues include:
A quality training program for armed response to an active shooter must ensure that security and law enforcement officers are equipped to rapidly and effectively neutralize the threat. Training must be as realistic as possible to allow officers to learn to function through the overwhelming stress of an active shooter situation. Officers will respond as they are trained, so you must make that training count.
Kevin Davis is the assistant director of public safety at Harding University. He is the vice chairman of the ASIS International School Safety and Security Council, the past president of the Arkansas Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, and a log-time member of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA).