Fourteen years later, law enforcement is dealing with an alarming increase of types of shootings at schools, malls, factories and other locations. These shootings have led law enforcement to take part in what is termed “rapid deployment training.” The idea is to find the shooter as soon as possible.
“The faster the offender is approached by law enforcement, the faster they can be stopped,” said Sgt. Mike Fisher, patrol division sergeant and the public information officer for the Plainfield, Ill., Police Department.
Plainfield conducts annual mock trainings for police officers and first responders on how react to these types of situations in schools and other mass shooting situations.
“This added a sense of realism to the training that proved invaluable,” said Fisher. “The benefit of this training is that it allows the officers to train in an environment that is as close as possible to an actual event.”
Previous exercises were limited to law enforcement and focused only on the response of the initial patrol officers, according to Fisher. But the longer the active shooter is there, the worse the scenario can get.
“We can’t wait,” he stressed. “We did a full size exercise.” The full exercise involved the entire aspect of an actual rapid deployment situation and had several levels. First, first-responding officers seek out the offender or offenders. Secondary officers were in charge of securing areas of the school and evacuating wounded people.
Additional officers also responded from surrounding jurisdictions, as would be typical if a real shooting were to occur. Local fire and emergency medical services departments came too, and treated the “wounded,” played by volunteer actors.
Training also included a command officer and investigator response; and establishing a command post. Finally, Fisher said, establishing and manning a secondary safe area for reuniting students and parents is important.
Cary, Ill.,’s Police Department carried out a similar training exercise, as did the Collinsville and Shorewood, Ill., departments.
Funding for these efforts came from the Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Terrorism Task Force through the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.
Funding for other Illinois departments that would like to carry out such a course is still available:
For training opportunities, visit www.ptb.state.il.us.