BROKEN BOW—An average of 20 active killer events per year was reported between 2014 and 2016. Two hundred twenty active shooter incidents were recorded in the United States between 2000 and 2016. (According to the FBI–click here for graphics.)
A Civilian Response to Active Killer Events (CRAKE) training program was held in Broken Bow last week by the Nebraska State Patrol (NSP). NSP Superintendent John Bolduc said in a press release, “This training is designed specifically for civilians to know how to react in the worst situations.” The goal of the training was to help Nebraskans be prepared and have a plan to increase their likelihood of survival.
About 50 people from throughout Custer County attended last week’s training at the Cobblestone and heard from NSP Trooper Jeff Rogers.
“Hopefully it just gets them to thinking about what they would do if something would happen so they can at least maybe formulate some type of a plan in their mind so they aren’t totally unprepared if a situation were to arise. So it’s more about awareness and trying to get people to at least be thinking about it. Simply because we live in central Nebraska doesn’t mean we’re exempt or isolated from anything; it can happen here just as easy as anywhere else,” Trooper Rogers said.
The nearly two-hour training began with attendees listening to a chilling 9-1-1 call recorded during the Columbine High School shooting of 1999.
Trooper Rogers also began with a disclaimer advising attendees that there is no way to go through every single possible scenario but that the training may help participants react to an active killer event. The national yearly average of those events is increasing. From 2000 to 2013, the national average was 11.4 events per year. From 2014-2016 it had risen to 20 events per year.
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Trooper Rogers described active killers as often focused and detached from reality. He said weapons may include firearms, knives, vehicles, fires, explosives, among others and that the number of deaths depends on target availability and how quickly police arrive.
Most events last between 10 and 15 minutes and three minutes is the national average law enforcement response time. Trooper Rogers said this response time may be longer in rural areas.
Broken Bow man Gary Russell said he hopes to be as prepared as possible in the event of an active killer situation.
“I came tonight because the more you know about this sort of situation, the better prepared you are. You hope you’re never in that situation but if you leave the house at all you’re putting yourself out there for something to go wrong. And I just felt like it would be, like I said the more you know, the better off you are in this world,” Russell said.
The NSP described the three stage of Disaster Response as Denial, Deliberation, and Decisive Moment in which a person decides between fight, flight, or freeze.
As a person’s heartbeat reaches 175 beats per minute, the system tends to overload and a person “freezes,” according to Trooper Rogers. He said the heartbeat increases in stressful situations–fine motor skills deteriorate, gross motor skills increase, and cognitive processing deteriorates at 150 beats per minute.
Trooper Rogers encouraged training participants to remember that an active killer event can take place in any location such as the workplace, schools, churches, malls, and a number of other possibilities. He said that if you think you hear gunshots, do not deny the possibility. After all, when was the last time you heard fireworks at the mall? he asked.
He said move to deliberation next in which you contemplate your options and decided to avoid/run, deny/hide, or defend/fight. If something just does not look right, leave as soon as possible. Know your exits and secondary exits in any given situation. If you must deny/hide, he recommended locking the door, turning out the lights, getting out of sight, and barricading the door.
If it comes to defending/fighting, Trooper Rogers recommended remembering your positioning, throwing objects at the suspect, and acknowledging that what you do matters. He did not take a stance when asked about arming teachers.
Concealed carry permit holder Mack Deveraux of Callaway said he attended last week’s event to get a better education of these types of situations.
“I hope I never have to use that concealed carry. And I told that to him [Trooper Rogers] and he said well, he’s carrying gun all the time and he hopes he never has to use it too. You don’t want to, but that would be one means of defense I guess,” Deveraux said.
For anyone with a concealed carry permit, Trooper Rogers reminded attendees that law enforcement may perceive anyone with a weapon as a suspect. He said to follow commands, show your palms, and not to move as police try to determine who is who in very chaotic situations. He said law enforcement’s priorities are to stop the killing, stop the dying, and to evacuate the area.
Trooper Rogers encouraged attendees to practice combat breathing (inhale, hold, exhale for four seconds each) to remain calm in dangerous situations. In the workplace, seek basic medical training and have a disaster preparedness kit on hand. He also encouraged businesses to uphold a no tolerance policy for workplace violence and to always report anything that raises suspicion.
Sargent Paul Hagen put the CRAKE presentation together and he can be reached at 308-385-6030 ext. 318 for anyone who has questions for the NSP.