Oklahoma Sheriff's Office Providing 'Active-Attack Response' Training

Garfield County, Okla., Sheriff's Office is offering training in active-attack response to area schools and also will provide the course to employees at the county courthouse.

by Cass Rains, Enid News & Eagle, Okla. / February 14, 2019

(TNS) — Garfield County, Okla., Sheriff's Office is offering training in active-attack response to area schools and also will provide the course to employees at the county courthouse.

Acting Sheriff Jody Helm said this is the third year the sheriff's office has offered training to county schools. Previous training topics concerned weapons in schools and drugs in schools.

"They've been really receptive," Helm said.

Deputy Lloyd Cross presented the training, from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training at Texas State University, Wednesday to the staff of Kremlin-Hillsdale High School.

Cross said the goal was to present the information to administrators and teachers and not determine policy for the school system.

"Hopefully, we can make them go back and look at their school's plans, or make a plan if they don't have them," Cross said. "This will give them some ideas and some things to talk about."

During the two-hour class, Cross showed a slide from a presentation showing the number of active attacks from 2000 to 2017. He explained to those in the class the term "active shooter" is no longer used because of the number of attacks involving the use of knives or vehicles.

"It gives them a lot to think about," Helm said of the course. "We don't set policy. It's up to them to decide. It's just tools for the tool box."

Cross presented the course form ALERRT, which used the guidelines of avoid, deny and defend in response to an active attack.

Cross explained that avoid meant leaving the area where the attack was occurring, or getting away from the area.

"The less targets there are, the better," he said.

He said this often conflicted with schools having meeting places in emergencies and schools needing to be aware of where students are. However, he said he would rather have a missing child for a few hours than another victim in an attack.

He said the deny portion means keeping an attacker out of the area or room where you are when the attack occurs. This included locking doors and turning off lights, as well as barricading a door if need be.

"Deny access any way you can," Cross said. "As a last resort, if you have to, defend yourself."

In an active-attack situation, Cross said the attacker has chosen to initiate the attack and everyone has the right to defend themselves.

"Don't fight fair," he said. "If you have to fight, don't fight fair."

Cross said current training tells law enforcement and instructors in active- attack response that attacks are not a matter of "if" but a matter of "when."

"Each teacher is going to have to think about what they would do," he said. "They've got fire plans, tornado plans. So, why not this?"

Both Cross and Helm told those in attendance that the county's response time to an active attack would depend on where deputies were in the county when the attacks occurred.

The national average response time for law enforcement is three minutes. The two said response time to the school could be up to 20 minutes.

"It depends on where we're at," Helm said.

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