MADISON — The recent terror-connected shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. was on the minds of many people as officers from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department (BCSD) and the Madison Police Department (MPD) provided staff members at Boone Memorial Hospital with updated training for active shooter situations Dec. 3.
Although the training had been scheduled before the San Barnardino shooting, the event shaded the training with a somber shade of realism.
Doctors, nurses, administrators and other staff filled a conference room for the two hour training session that focused on new ways to react to active shooter events.
Captain John Adams, with the MPD and Chief Deputy Chad Barker and Lieutenant E.E. Arthur, with of the BCSD, provided an informational training that drew on their collective training and experience.
Adams explained the shifting recommendations for responding to active shooters by saying, “If there’s a fire, what do we do? Go outside. Lock down is still part of this, but it’s not the only option you’ve got. There are other choices.”
Adams added every situation is different and highlighted the importance of making decisions based on the circumstances of the situation.
Barker noted the updated training focuses on shifting from a lock-down only mindset to, “…run, hide or fight.”
During the training, Barker, Adams and Arthur went over the details of several active shooter events and examined the different steps taken by people caught up in those unthinkable and terrifying circumstances.
To provide context for the reactions of people who are caught in active shooter situations, an audio recording of a 911 call placed during the massacre at Columbine High School was played.
The reactions of people during the Virginia Tech shooting were also examined. The information showed less people were killed in rooms where the doors were barricaded or people evacuated.
Adams explained that most active shooter events last an average of five to six minutes.
Barker noted, “The point we want to drive home is that you could be anywhere in five minutes. Could you be at the South Madison bridge in five minutes? I bet you could. If you went the other way, you could be halfway up the mountain in five minutes. There are other options. We are trying to break the mold to tell you that there is a time and place for a lock-down. Because no two situations are the same,…it may be okay to lock-down in this room, but not in another.”
Barker stressed there needs to be leeway built into the system for leaders and teachers to make those decisions during active shooter events.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.