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Active Shooter Training Program Proves Popular in Texas

The CRASE program is conducted by the Odessa Police Department for groups and businesses seeking more knowledge about how to prepare for an active shooter situation or a safety assessment of their establishment.

Active shooters.
Mass shootings are rare, but horrific when they do happen. A spate of terrifying attacks in recent years has made popular a program in Odessa, Texas, to educate the public about what to do in the event of an active shooter.

The program, Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE), is conducted by the Odessa Police Department to groups and businesses seeking more knowledge about how to prepare for an active shooter situation or an assessment of where they stand in terms of preparation and what steps they could take to improve their safety.

A group of officers has been trained and certified by the American Crime Prevention Institute to conduct the training and assessments.

“We do it as a free service to make the community feel safer,” said Corporal Steve LeSueur, who runs the program. “We pretty much target businesses and churches with crowds anywhere from 15 to 25, but we’ve seen larger and smaller than that.”

The program instructs the groups on how to develop a plan for safety, recommends a response team be in place and goes over certain response techniques, such as Run, Hide, Fight, a training that instructs people to first run if they can, next hide if they can and fight as a last resort.

LeSueur said the team takes into consideration the makeup of the audience when instructing on Run, Hide, Fight.

“Every situation is different and we remind them if you choose this response, this is what might happen, you may or may not be successful,” LeSueur said. “Is it a business, a church? Who’s in the audience? Are they older, younger?

The team gets annual refresher courses in the training and assessment, as mass shootings are always different and there are case studies for different types of events.

“We set up different scenarios and go through a lot of involvement with the audience,” LeSueur said. “We try not to do all the talking.”

The case studies include the shooting in Odessa and nearby cities in 2019, when a gunman drove around in a vehicle and took eight lives. Another is the 2017 Las Vegas shooting where the stationary gunman blasted away and killed 60. The shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, where the shooter killed 32, is another scenario.

LeSueur said it’s most important to have a plan. “Most people don’t even think about something like this happening. They think it won’t happen to them.”

He said plans are different depending on the nature of the entity or business. “Do you have police officers who attend your church? Do they come to your business? It starts with having a plan, something as simple as having a security team if you can’t hire an off-duty police officer.”

He said many businesses and churches are unaware of the laws regarding carrying a weapon. “What are the laws at your church? You might need to post a sign about it.”

LeSueur said the program has been ongoing for several years but has gained popularity after some of the recent shootings. “I don’t think it was any one incident, but we’ve had tremendous response.”

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