Active shooters on the rise; police must change their response strategies

Interesting read from CNN; discusses how active shooter situations are on the rise and police must be prepared to deal with these type of situations.

Philadelphia (CNN) — Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that it has become clear new strategies are needed to deal with how police respond to “active shooter” situations — those in which someone with a gun is still on the scene and firing at victims.

 Shootings like last month’s at the Washington Navy Yard have tripled in recent years, Holder told the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, and there have been 12 already this year. And he said such shootings have become more deadly — a 150% increase in the number of people killed over the past four years.

 “Although research methods and results vary, it’s become clear that new strategies — and aggressive national response protocols — must be employed to stop shooters in their tracks,” Holder told the police chiefs.

 In the Navy Yard shooting, the police response time was considered extremely fast. D.C. Metro Police Chief Kathy Lanier said her officers were on the scene in seven minutes, which is about half the national average response time.

 But still, 12 people were killed.

 Experts say that despite a quick response time, the first officers on the scene often must wait until more highly trained special weapons and tactics teams arrive, and in the interim lives could be lost.

 Holder said that years of analysis reinforces the need for “an immediate, aggressive response to active shooters. In order to prevent additional casualties, it is often patrol officers — not necessarily SWAT teams — who serve as the tip of the spear in responding to these incidents.”

 Security consultant Chris Grollnek describes current tactics as, “Respond once your backup arrives, and use a contact-cover approach so you are not on a suicide mission.”

 Holder said that police don’t always have the luxury to take the time to get their best-trained, best-equipped officers to the scene.

 “To save lives, the first officers to arrive must sometimes be the ones to directly engage an active shooter,” Holder said. “That’s why all law enforcement officers must have the best equipment and most up-to-date training to confront these situations. We owe these officers nothing less.”

Grollnek focuses on training regular people how to protect themselves before police arrive at the scene. He says people who work in places where a shooting could happen could use some training, too.

 “Get up and move — do not become a victim, don’t be a stationary target,” he said. “React by escaping the target.”

 Holder said the Justice Department has partnered with groups like the IACP to train more than 50,000 front-line officers, more than 7,000 on-scene commanders and more than 3,000 local, state and federal agency heads on how to respond to active shooter situations. And it has joined with other federal agencies, local partners and outside experts to develop guidance for schools, churches, colleges, universities and private citizens on how to prepare for such incidents.

 Holder also said that the Justice Department has placed an increased emphasis on evaluating threats with the goal of disrupting potential shootings and other violent attacks. The FBI’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Center has successfully disrupted hundreds of potential shootings –including 150 this year –Holder said.

 While Holder pointed to partnerships with the IACG in active shooter response and prevention, there is disagreement on other issues: IACG President Craig Steckler, retired chief of police in Fremont, California, said in his introduction of Holder that the group’s membership “profoundly disagrees” with the Justice Department’s decision not to challenge laws legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington state and not taking a stand against legalizing marijuana in California, as that state’s Proposition 19 would do.

 “This decision by the U.S. Department of Justice, in our view, will open the floodgates for those who want to legalize marijuana throughout the country, those who have the resources to place initiatives and referendums on state ballots and those who’ve continued to profit from the sale of this unlawful drug,” Steckler said to applause.

Holder said the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies need “marriage counseling” in dealing with some issues.

According to the Attorney General, line-level officers must have “the best equipment and most up-to-date training” to deal with an active shooter. ASUPD’s officers do NOT have the best equipment (we’re lucky if we have boots or a ballistic vest that isn’t falling apart!!), and the active shooter training received OUTSIDE of the academy is nonexistent. Bearing this in mind, can ASUPD honestly claim their officers and the university are prepared to deal with an active shooter?

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8 thoughts on “Active shooters on the rise; police must change their response strategies

  1. DL500unit says:

    So what this says is we will have to do more than hope nothing happens because our organization is stuffed full of supervisors who won’t leave the building and has too few troops to do an effective, safe, response to an active shooter?

    That’s not going to happen, we will continue forward unprepared, losing officers as fast as we gain them. Water keeps going through the holes in the bucket and negative retention methods are showing their true value. This reminds me of the stranded motorist who keeps trying to start their car, over and over, and then burns up the starter if they don’t kill the battery first.

  2. Captain Obvious says:

    The ASUPD response strategy for an active shooter is exactly this and nothing more:

    1. Call Tempe, they will handle it, we can work perimeter and critique them on how they did it. (It happened. Wells Fargo Arena, barricaded subject reported to have a gun. Tempe came to save the day while one of our firearms guys stood perimeter with his AR15 talking shit.)

    2. Send in the one or two people we have, they will take care of it or die trying, they probably weren’t going to stay here long anyway. By then Tempe will stage and take care of it. We can read from the deceased employee’s workstation file like a robot at the funeral. (Last part happened before too.)

    3. Protect our own asses from all the upset and armed police employees, send them, we’ll wait it out in our offices. (A female commander actually said she would drag feet to one of these calls. Good job! Did they take a different oath or just feel a little entitled?)

    We have an obligation to get in there whether it’s one or a hundred bad guys, no hesitation, no questions, no doubts, no excuses. If an agency helps us out and goes where we weren’t willing to go, then we owe it to them to keep our mouths shut unless it’s to say thank you very much for coming out sir, as usual we have no staffing, thank you. Can I get you something to drink? You look thirsty. How about lunch? Here’s a picture of my sister, are you single?

    • Justanotherdispensible50 says:

      Which epic fail are you referring to?

      Are you talking about firearms hero, MJ, sitting perimeter with his AR15 slung like faux-swat while Tempe went into WF to handle his call without him? Then later he was telling everyone how unsafe Tempe was when they made entry and secured the subject.

      OR

      Are you talking about our 918 east campus guy that Mesa and Gilbert handled telling ASUPD to stay out?

      OR

      Are you talking about Sgt. Pamster telling ASU officers not to back up Tempe on a 906 over the radio even though we ask for their help all the time?

      I think it’s the first one. ASU officer MJ should be tying yellow ribbons around Tempe officer’s trees to say thank you for coming to his aid when they could easily have said…No, we’ll stage like the bogus sniper call that made us look like tools in the news running around with shiny clear face shields with shotguns instead of rifles. Tactical.

  3. NoGoFiveOhh says:

    If your department…then you might work for ASU PD!
    Add yours in the comments, they can be sad or funny, but must bare truth.

    If your department has the HIGHEST TURNOVER in the university despite having the LONGEST HIRING and TRAINING time…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department ANNUALLY has 4 TIMES MORE INTERNAL IA’s than EXTERNAL COMPLAINTS…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department PAYS OFFICERS LESS than THE OTHER TWO STATE UNIVERSITIES and is LARGER THAN THE OTHER TWO UNIVERSITIES COMBINED…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department has MORE COMMAND STAFF and SUPERVISORS than OFFICERS TO MANAGE AND SUPERVISE…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department PAYS LESS for MORE WORK than the COMMUNITY COLLEGE COPS DO…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department provides PATROL VEHICLES that are NOT CERTIFIED on the EMERGENCY VEHICLE OPERATIONS COURSE, but OK FOR OFFICERS TO RISK THEIR LIFE IN…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department has MORE CIVILIAN POLICE AIDES than OFFICERS to provide aide to…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department STAFFS SPECIAL EVENTS and PAYS OFFICERS FROM OTHER AGENCIES MORE TO WORK THEM than THEIR OWN OFFICERS…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your departments COMMAND STAFF and FIRE ARMS INSTRUCTORS ONLY QUALIFY IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department has CIVILIAN POLICE AIDES with MASTERS DEGREES and COMMAND STAFF with GED’S…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department provides PATROL VEHICLES with MANUFACTURER WARNINGS for HIGH ROLLOVER RISK and NO EVASIVE MANEUVERS stamped to the visors…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department CAN NOT COVER DISPATCH SHIFTS and PAYS DISPATCHERS FROM OTHER AGENCIES MORE TO WORK THEM than THEIR OWN DISPATCHERS…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department’s plan for EMERGENCY BACKUP FOR PATROL OFFICERS is calling ANOTHER DEPARTMENTS 911 and PRAYING they are NOT TOO BUSY…then you might work for ASU PD!

    If your department likes to kiss UNIVERSITY ASS with Ford Escape Hybrids (think green) INSTEAD OF SAFE PATROL VEHICLES…then you might work for ASU PD!

  4. Justanotherdispensible50 says:

    The fact is that there is a big difference between appearing prepared and being prepared. In the eyes of command staff at the Arizona State University Police In Name Only Department they are the same.

    If a bad guy shows up with a pistol we can take him, if they show up trained by the military with a rifle most of our people are screwed. Like a previous poster noted, only butt lickers in the firearms club have M4s available to them. The chief runs around with a M4, what the hell is he going to use it for, is he qualified with it? Is he afraid of pissed off employees? Why is this only one of many problems not addressed year after year?

    The chief surrounded himself with a bunch of know nothing Yes men and demands Yes, so what was the logical conclusion going to be? Everything is just great!

    Some of them appeared to have promise, but none that came up through the ranks here are fit for anything but boot licking by telling the chief what he wants to hear and shielding him from what he doesn’t. That’s why those horse assed clowns are freaking out about this site. The illusion is going away to reveal the giant pile we all knew was there.

    I want to defend people, put my life on the line for other who need my help, but how can I do that effectively when my department is broke in pieces, logistics and support teams don’t function because they don’t exist. More and more people are seeing this and deciding why even complain, just leave. The university should thank the people bringing up these issues, it will save them a lot of headaches in the future, guaranteed.

  5. popo39machine says:

    If there are haji terrorists running around with RPGs I’m not going to let them go unchallenged even though all I have is a pistol. It’s the principal, the community trusts I will be there for them, anyone who drags their feet shouldn’t be in this business.

    It would be nice if the chief took some of the money he put in command pockets and invested it in a rifle program at our police department. We have an armory full of surplus rifles that nobody will have access to if we need them. There is no active training, no ammo for us to practice with, nothing. I don’t want to bring a pistol or shotgun to a rifle fight, but most of us have no choice.

    I’m glad the chief has access to a fully tricked out AR15 in his office. Should responding units stage and wait for him to show up and engage a psycho better armed than his officers?

  6. FlamingPileMallcoppery says:

    Our lack of preparing is a disaster in the making. Plain and simple. If most of our people come up against a prepared gunman, military trained, armed with a rifle they will be so outclassed it’s not even funny.

    Our “FIREARMS CLUB” can’t train people to qualify, so we ship everyone to other department’s firearms programs. Almost nobody has the tools or training necessary to counter a serious threat and that’s sad. Oops we blew our PD budget on a bunch of golden pheasants that won’t leave the pd station. Oops, oops, oops. It’s time to start making sense.

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