Law enforcement officials across the region are responding to a new wave of requests from government offices for training in what to do when an active shooter is in their workplace.
The requests come in the aftermath of the deadly attack on Dec. 2 on a county government facility in San Bernardino, Calif.
San Bernardino County worker Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27, burst into a holiday party and training event at the Inland Regional Center and killed 14 people and wounded 21 others, mostly government employees, officials said.
The FBI has labeled the shooting a terrorist attack.
Since then, from Clark County to Warren County and Springboro to Huber Heights, many of the area’s police departments and sheriff’s offices have been scheduling and holding more training sessions emphasizing strategies for self defense from an active shooter.
“2014 is when we really blew up with requests. Obviously after last week we got hit again,” Chief Deputy Rob Streck of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office said last week.
A renewed emphasis on active shooter training was also part of the emphasis behind a proposed federal law introduced last week by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Brown, D-Ohio, introduced the Defeat ISIS and Protect and Secure the United States Act, which, among other things, would provide grants to help local law enforcement agencies provide more anti-terrorism and active shooter incident training.
“This bill would help state and local law enforcement agencies train for active shooter incidents, develop specialized anti-terrorism investigation programs, and root out homegrown extremism,” Brown said in a press release.
Renewed interest by local governments
At a Dec. 3 Springboro City Council meeting, City Manager Chris Thompson said staff was being provided a link to the FBI video on “Run, Hide, Fight,” the phrase summarizing the recommended series of responses to an active shooter incident.
In January, the local police department plans to follow up with a training exercise with city hall staff
Like police across the U.S., Springboro officers conducted training sessions and developed security plans at local schools after 20 students and six adult staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., were fatally shot by a 20-year-old man who also shot and killed his mother before driving to the school in December 2012.
Inside Springboro City Hall, bulletproof glass and security doors protect most staffers from armed intruders. And Springboro police have also worked out a security plan for the city council.
But the handful of staffers still exposed in such a crisis have not been trained, Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff said last week.
“We haven’t really ever talked through what to do with an active shooter,” Kruithoff said. “Because this is becoming so common, we just felt it was time to sit down with our own folks.”
In coming weeks, Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims said his office planned to train the health department. Staff in the county administration building is scheduled for a training session in March, according to Deputy Administrator Tiffany Zindel.
“This will be the last building on the campus that hasn’t had some training,” Sims said.
In Montgomery County, Streck said the sheriff’s office is expected to provide upcoming training sessions at various government office locations, including those for county boards and about 900 employees of the Job & Family Services division.
“Now we’ve gotten several requests,” he said.
In Dayton, police have received some recent requests, although the department has been providing training for about a decade, Major Brian Johns said.
“Three years ago, we trained the city staff” while adding refresher sessions helped keep staffers up to date, Johns said. “From each incident, we learn more.”
Bucking the trend, Beavercreek Police Capt. Eric Grile said his department had seen “no increase since the San Bernardino incident,” but had provided training at local schools, churches and discussed providing sessions for local corporations.
In Huber Heights, Capt. Charles Taylor indicated the police department would continue providing training to “all city employees” as part of a program planned before the attack on the San Bernardino County building.
On Thursday, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office was was conducting a session at its Eastern District office.
Beyond Active Shooter Training
Last year, San Bernardino County employees were trained in the same room where they were attacked on how to guard against active shooters.
While a step in the right direction, active shooter training is only part of what everyone should do to protect themselves and others, authorities said.
“There’s still that awareness piece,” Sims, also an advocate of concealed carry laws, said. “See something, say something.”
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