April 2, 2024

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Active Threat Response Training for Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for everyone working in law enforcement. I want to talk to you about training for an active threat response.

Train often. Your preparation now can save lives later when the unthinkable happens.

When was the last time your agency held active threat training with schools in your area? Even if you’ve done this recently, there’s always something else we can learn from recent tragedies. Here’s five things to consider as you develop your agency’s response to an active threat.

First, include fire, EMS, and other responding law enforcement agencies. They’re all going to respond in a real situation. Practice using the Incident Command System to communicate with and coordinate incoming resources.

Second, do what you can to make the training realistic. Add pressure and time constraints. Recruit role players who will act their parts, such as wounded or panicking people. You might consider adding a scenario on a school bus. Or how about evacuating students who have mobility impairments or other special needs?

Third, include school personnel. Teachers are usually the first line of safety for students. The sooner they can spot a would-be threat, the faster law enforcement is called.

Fourth, debrief after the exercise to reinforce what went well and to identify areas that need improvement. This after-action review allows everyone involved to offer insight that should enhance your agency’s response to these incidents.

Lastly – and this is critical, folks — repeat the training regularly, to the extent your resources will allow. Knowledge deteriorates over time. But with regular training, we form memory markers to act on when there’s little time to think. Remember that high stress may induce tunnel vision.

It’s essential to involve the right folks and to develop realistic training that includes a comprehensive after-action review. Our children are vulnerable. Schools are soft targets. Train often. Your preparation now can save lives later when the unthinkable happens. And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Until next time, Gordon Graham signing off.

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