What it takes to get active shooter response right
When responding to an active shooter incident, you need the right stuff, you need to take out the right target and you need to address the threat right now
One of my favorite experiences at SHOT Show is attending the LEEP sessions, where officers learn the latest tactics from leading industry training organizations like the National Tactical Officer Association (NTOA).
NTOA’s Don Alwes and Chris Periatt did not disappoint in their active shooter update session. They addressed how police active shooter response and tactics have evolved in the 20 years since the Columbine high school shooting, when the accepted law enforcement response to an active shooter incident was for officers to wait for SWAT to enter and secure the scene in the traditional diamond formation.
Much has changed since then, with police tactics evolving to train officers to push to make contact and neutralize an active shooter with whatever manpower is available, whether that be 1, 2 or 3 officers. Because the average event stops when the shooter is confronted, immediate intervention is critical.
As Don and Chris point out, officers must stop the killing first before rescuing and treating victims. While most incidents involve only one shooter, it is possible to have multiple shooters so that must be considered in your response.