Dayton Police offers training to survive active shooter incidents

Dayton Police say the active shooter training they offer to churches, businesses and other organizations is in high demand following increased mass shootings throughout the country.  CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Dayton Police say the active shooter training they offer to churches, businesses and other organizations is in high demand following increased mass shootings throughout the country. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Training to survive active shooter has become in demand since recent mass shootings throughout country

Dayton Police says the active shooter training they offer to churches, businesses and other organizations is in high demand following increased mass shootings throughout the country.

The department has provided the training for several years but started offering it more often “because of the increased amount of active shooter incidents,” Dayton Police Community Engagement Officer Ron Strehle said.

The Dayton Police program offers the basics on how people should react during a active shooter situation.

“The highlights are situational awareness and paying attention to what’s going on around you and what to do in the case it happens, which is based on the FBI’s ‘Run. Hide. Fight.,’” Strehle said.

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There 61 incidents in 2021 designated as “active shooter incidents,” a recent FBI report says. An active shooter incident is defined as one or more individuals killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.

“For the period 2017-2021, active shooter incident data reveals an upward trend: the number of active shooter incidents identified in 2021 represents a 52.5% increase from 2020 and a 96.8% increase from 2017,” the report says.

Over the last two months, there have been two high-profile mass shootings. The first was in Buffalo, New York where 10 people were killed at a supermarket. The next was in Uvalde, Texas where 19 students and two teachers were killed.

Active shooter training and tactics have evolved over the years, Strehle said. During the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, Strehle said the shooters were in the school for more than 30 minutes -- which is now considered way too long for innocent people to be inside alone.

“Now we train that the first officer on the scene is the first one through the door and the average response time is down to about three to five minutes,” he said.

He said officers will try to make it to the scene as fast as possible to eliminate the threat, but there are minutes when a person’s safety is in their own hands. Instructors are training people to use every opportunity to get away from the shooter.

“The ‘Run. Hide. Fight.’ is run if you can, hide if you have to and fight is an absolute last resort,” Strehle said.

“It used to be that you did the lockdown drill and put the little red dot under the door to tell police that there are people in here, but not anymore,” he said. “You have to get away. You have to move as far away as you can. Hiding in a corner isn’t going to do much...”

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He said once someone is able to escape a location and make contact with police it is important that they show officers their hands.

“Don’t point, don’t have your cellphone in your hand,” Strehle said. “ (Keep) open hands and out in front of you.”

Businesses and people interested in the training can contact Dayton Police at DPD_DLEE@daytonohio.gov.

As part of the training for businesses, Strehle said he gives a short security assessment of the building. He says Dayton Police will accommodate companies who contact them requesting the training.


Number of active shooter incidents in America

2017 - 31

2018 - 30

2019 - 30

2020 - 40

2021 - 61

Source: FBI

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