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Why Solo-Officer Active Shooter Response Should be Trained

The events that took place at Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999 changed the way law enforcement trained and responded to active shooter incidents. The pictures and accounts from this act of cowardice produced tears and intense anger. Officers, trainers, supervisors, and command staff recognized the need for a different approach.

Since then, we have had numerous examples of active shooter incidents. Although these acts of terrorism have differences, they all share one common element: the murderers who committed these acts have a clear desire to kill as many people as possible.

Active shooter training has evolved over the years in response to these threats and continues to evolve as new information and tactics are considered. The traditional response of forming perimeters and calling in specialized teams no longer applies to active shooter incidents. These murderers intend to terrorize and kill as many people as possible. Training evolved to emphasize a small group of officers meeting up, getting into some sort of formation — diamond, triangle, T, and whatnot — and “going to the sound of guns.”

During a recent active shooter training briefing, the instructor explained some of these team concepts before going out of his way to belittle a newer tactic that has been gaining traction over the past five or six years — the solo-officer response. I’ll give this instructor the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to ignorance and a lack of understanding regarding solo-officer response tactics.

Most instructors who haven’t been exposed to these tactics believe hunting cells are safer for officers and prevent blue-on-blue shootings, and they’re right. However, this completely misses the fundamental problem with the hunting cell concept. Active shooter incidents create a time problem for innocent victims and the emergency responders trying to save their lives.

If officers are trained to wait for additional personnel to arrive to form an active shooter hunting cell, then more innocent people will be hurt or killed. Ron Borsch was perhaps the first person to introduce me to the solo-officer response concept. He believes time is the number one enemy facing officers and innocent victims during active shooter incidents. His statistics show active shooters target most of their victims inside the first eight minutes. He says the average time for calls to be made to 911, the information dispatched to officers, and officers to arrive on scene is five to seven minutes.

Read full article here: http://www.policeone.com/active-shooter/articles/192578006-Why-solo-offi...