There is a false benefit of depending solely on receiving Active Shooter Training from local law enforcement. This is not to say that there is no benefit however, some serious considerations need to be addressed.
I have personally sat in as an attendee during multiple Active Shooter training from DHS, FBI and local law enforcement. Most of these trainings are around an hour to two hours in length. From my professional perspective here are some pro’s and con’s as it pertains to their training.
- Generally free
- Great to have local law enforcement visit your organization
- Builds relationship between first responders and staff
- Gives their perspective on how they will respond
- If an exercise is done the first responder gains knowledge on how to maneuver and access your facility
- Generally good information as it pertains to “Run, Hide, Fight”
- Devotes too much time on statistic on past events (we know they happen and we know they are bad why spend precious training time discussing statistics)
- Does not focus on prevention, identifying red flag behavior, reporting, mindset etc.
- Relies on catch phrases without explaining what they actually mean such as “situational awareness” and “see something say something”
- Does not explain the “Pathway to Violence” or explain “De-Escalation” steps/options if someone is on that pathway
- Does not explain the categories of Workplace Violence thus helping organizations identify vulnerabilities for each
- Reactionary training only
- Does not explain any lifesaving medical treatment that could save lives, such as how to apply a tourniquet if an Active Shooter event was to occur
- Does not discuss organizational crisis management planning needs
- Does not review or discuss organizational policy and procedures (as it pertains to Active Shooter or Workplace Violence)
- Does not conduct a risk or vulnerability assessment to incorporate within their training
- If an exercise is conducted staff become “role players” and gain no real training other than how to lay on the ground and pretend to be wounded.
- Does not address immediate, short term and long-term organizational recovery considerations if an Active Shooter event was to occur
Because of potential liability issues local law enforcement training sticks to generalities. To be fair topics such as organizational planning is outside their area of expertise. Their role is to respond, secure the area, neutralize a threat and investigate why the event occurred.
The question now is how much attention has been paid to prevention, and what resources has your training provider put in place to help employees report issues like abrupt coworker mood shifts or suspicious activity?
To merely depend on local law enforcement training for your preparedness could be a mistake. Having local law enforcement conduct some training is better than nothing, however focus on prevention and preparedeness is just as, if not more important, then the reaction training. If proper prevention is taught then an Active Shooter event may be avoided all together.
Security Concepts Group’s (SCG) www.scg-pace.com provides one of the few workplace violence training and consulting solutions that targets the prevention of active assailant situations; while responding to and recovering from an incident is a crucial component of their programming, they also arm employees and managers with the reporting channels and knowledge required to proactively identify red flags and direct troubled individuals to employee assistance programs. This goes above and beyond the boilerplate trainings local law enforcement provide, and more thoroughly meets emerging OSHA “duty of care” guidelines. SCG leverages more than a decade of assailant response experience in some of the most dangerous combat zones around the globe, applying this specialized knowledge to develop and deploy upfront vulnerability assessments, all the relevant medical training and certifications, and highly-practical in-person and eLearning content.
More can also be read in my book P.A.C.E. Active Shooter, Workplace Violence Preparedness