Active Shooter Response
Fig 6. alternatively the first person performs the same technique as above and the second person follows close behind.
No.1 decides on the higher threat direction and enters with No.2 entering very close behind and moving in the OPPOSITE direction to No. 1 to cover their rear.
During this training however, and demonstrated on a number of occasions (around 50%), a blue on blue situation would arise due to many first responders being in plain clothes and NOT identified. Sure they had their ID badges displayed but more than not they were positioned on the front of the officer. It became apparent that further support is likely to approach from behind you and will NOT see your ID. At this time if you appear to be a threat to others your colleagues may shoot.
After discussion several suggestions were made to address this ID issue . . . . . perhaps individuals could wear their ID towards their rear allowing others to see the ID on your back! A more likely suggestion was the wearing of a ‘marker’, which, even when off duty, was recognized by other officers as belonging to a law enforcement officer responding to a life-threatening situation.
In the UK we have a chequered band (black and white like the racing flag), which denotes an armed officer whether they are in uniform or plain clothes. The chequered band appears around a black / navy blue baseball cap worn by the officer. We also have access to an armband with the chequered pattern, which can be worn in an emergency.
This mark of identification is recognized across the United Kingdom as a law enforcement officer who is carrying a firearm. Perhaps an easily recognized symbol or marker should be considered either locally (your County or State) or nationally so that off duty, plain clothes and uniformed responders, to an active shooter, can be identified easier.
In summary – there are too many courses out there supposedly teaching first responders how to manage an active shooter situation, (and boy do they charge you for the privilege) but they teach the same old SWAT tactics which are not relevant in the first responder situation. After all, every active shooter scenario which has been played out over recent years has been over within 20 minutes . . . long before SWAT would get anywhere near the scene.
Identification is a huge issue when attending an active shooter . . . . . do something about it before the incident occurs and develop an understanding with local and state departments to identify a‘marker’ that you all recognize as ‘friendly’.
Do your research and make sure that the course/class is exactly what you need as a first responder. Better still, if you have attended a course recently and have good or bad things to say about it . . . voice your thoughts and let everyone know where the best classes are and which ones to avoid!
Written and submitted by Keith Suddes
CertEd, MBA – Tactical Officer, UK : 1992 – 2007. Director of Training, Institute of Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Education – iLEESE http://www.ileese.org