DHS funding supports free active-shooter training

A nationally acclaimed training program on state-of-the-art active shooter response tactics is now available throughout the U.S. at no cost to officers or agencies, through funding from the federal Department of Homeland Security.

The unique two-day program is delivered in participants’ home regions and is conducted by ALERRT (Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training), based at Texas State University-San Marcos. The training features force-on-force, hands-on, fully dynamic exercises designed to prepare patrol officers and SWAT personnel to cope with violent assaults in schools, workplaces, commercial establishments and other locations where local law enforcement may be unexpectedly forced to deal with deadly rampages.

The ALERRT program, which has been successfully presented to hundreds of agencies in Texas in the last four years, is now available nationwide with the recent approval of its curriculum by DHS’s Office of Grants and Training. “This means that agencies of all sizes throughout the country can learn and utilize a consistent approach for dealing with the extremely challenging threat of active aggressors,” says Sgt. David Burns, ALERRT director of training.

Small and mid-size agencies are encouraged to combine forces to provide the 20 to 30 officers required for an ALERRT course in their area. Typically two 16-hour classes with four certified instructors, all experienced tactical officers, are presented back-to-back (Tues.-Wed. and Thurs.-Fri.) at the same location.

The host agency is required to furnish a facility appropriate for full-dress exercises, such as an out-of-session school or an unoccupied office complex or warehouse with hallways and multiple rooms. All other expenses associated with the instruction, including Simunition FX Marking Cartridges and Simunition weapons, are covered by federal grant money and distributed through each state.

Any department interested in details of how to access this funding or needing help with the process should contact Scheduling Coordinator Diana Hendricks at OGT@ALERRT.com or through the ALERRT Web site. Courses will be scheduled on a first-come/first-served basis.

According to Burns, Day 1 of the training begins with four hours of classroom instruction, covering the evolution of the active shooter phenomenon, approach ideologies, the differences between active shootings and traditional hostage-barricade situations, and the techniques and tactics of terrorist threats.

The afternoon includes hands-on firearms handling, shoot-and-move techniques, building-search tactics, and room entry and clearing.

The morning of Day 2 covers IED review, rescue team tactics, approaching and breaching buildings, and low-light, close-quarters conflict. The afternoon, focuses heavily on fast-action, force-on-force training, some exposure to the CP environment, and a thorough debrief of videos taped during the force-on-force exercises.

Participants leave the course with full knowledge of what weaknesses need to be worked on during follow-up in-service training and with a motivation to develop inter-agency training opportunities, Burns says.

“We have trained more than 7,200 LEOs in more than 600 agencies,” Burns says. “Course evaluations overwhelming indicate that officers feel safer, better prepared to handle extremely violent events, and better able to make their communities safer after this training.”

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