Local agencies train in new response tactics to active shooter threats
Law Enforcement agencies nationwide have created several techniques and curriculums for responding to active shooters.
In 2002, Texas created the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), which became the standard operating procedures for many different, law-enforcement agencies of all sizes nationwide.
As these threats continue, techniques and curriculum are becoming more refined.
Oklahoma now instruct law enforcement officers in many different courses, such as LASER (Law Enforcement Active Shooter Emergency Response) that will seek to eliminate threats as soon as possible.
Law enforcement will also be instructed in LEFR, SPOT, and many others that will help them, coordinate their response with first responders, and even civilians.
For more information about those programs, go online to oklahoma.gov/homeland-security.
Over the weekend, Oklahoma State Troopers led training scenarios for several local agencies at Bridge Creek High School.
Trooper Matt Krupczyk said Saturday, “We have a new division. It’s called the Threat Response Preparedness Division. It just started last week, so it is new.”
Krupczyk was an ALERRT instructor before he was a LASER instructor.
“The main difference between ALERRT and LASER is ALERRT taught four-man and five-man responses. We do a max of three. Furthermore, we use rifles in LASER whereas ALLERT was teaching with pistols, but most patrol officers, deputies, state troopers, and other state agencies have rifles in their units. It’s way more of an effective weapon system when responding to an active shooter event.
“On top of that, we teach breaching, where we actually have a breaching door here that we’re going to have them go through tomorrow, wedging in a breaching tool, and having them go through a steel door so they can breach and come in these buildings. Simultaneously, while we’re teaching this, we’re also teaching Run, Hide, Fight, teaching teachers to shut down and barricade the doors. So, on a very good day, we show up and all of the doors are shut and barricaded, and it’s going to limit the access of an active shooter to be able to get into classrooms and other areas that should be closed off. Hopefully, in my opinion, when we show up to an active shooter event, I’ve got to breach one door, we go in and find this guy, and he has limited access to personnel and resources in the building.”
One of the key differences between ALLERT and LASER is that ALLERT allowed for a negotiation process with any barricaded individuals.
“LASER teaches that the second we arrive on scene, it’s ending with us,” Krupsyck said. “We’re going in and ending the situation. There is no waiting. There is no sitting in the hallway. There is no Uvalde situation happening. That’s why we are teaching the way we are, to prevent scenarios where you’re sitting and waiting, and parents begin showing up. There should be no situation in the country, in my opinion, where there’s an active shooter in the building shooting up the place, and we’re standing around. That’s why the commissioner of DPS and OHP decided to go with the LASER program, because we don’t allow for that situation to exist in the first place, where we’re battling parents running in.”
Louisiana State University is one of five universities in the U.S. that received federal grant funding from FEMA to provide training to responders. One of the first places they brought their training was Oklahoma.
“Now, its transitioned,” Krupsyck said, “because here we are a year and some change later, where they are busy working with 13 other states to get them caught up to Oklahoma, so we’re kind of the tip of the spear.”
Now, the training is being administered through CLEET (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training), the governing body for law enforcement training statewide. This means that every law enforcement professional statewide will have had this training.
“It’s mandated in the curriculum now,” Krupsyck said. “If you wear a badge, and you’re going through an Academy, you’re going through LASER. Because of that, it makes sense to have your senior guys come in and learn the same stuff.”
Grady County Sheriff’s Office ran a training seminar over the same techniques back in March, also at Bridge Creek High School.
Captain Phillip McCarthey weighed in on the training Sunday, saying, “It’s the same thing we did back in March, only now it’s conducted by the Department of Public Safety. Our manpower didn’t allow us to get everybody through it in March. We had to break it up into two separate training groups, and we had to do it on the weekend to get the courthouse deputies involved. We put it out on the website and opened it up to other agencies that were interested. From my understanding, I think we had a total of 35 people there this weekend. Obviously, the majority of them were from our agency, but there were several from Lighthorse Police Department, Tulsa, Minco PD had somebody there. There were a couple of Union City officers there, so it was a good mixture of us and other agencies, all getting involved. And that’s the goal of that training is to ultimately get everybody in the state on the same page, to where if we ever do react to an active shooter situation, we’re all trained the same way and we all respond and react the same way, and there’s no second guessing going on while we’re in there trying to keep from coming unglued and tracking down the threat. I hate to say it, but for lack of a better word, we need a more aggressive response to go in there and eliminate that threat before it creates any more casualties. The ALERRT was a little bit more methodical and a slower response as far as getting in there and dealing with the threat, where the LASER is just the opposite, in my opinion.”
Schools statewide are receiving funding to sponsor school resource officers, or other safety measures for schools that already have SROs. Several schools throughout the county have looked to the Grady County Sheriff’s Office to hire their deputies as SROs.