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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Active shooter training to be held October 25

Sara Escobar

Evening Star

Since the time of the infamous Columbine shooting, an unprecedented mass shooting that killed 13 people and wounded more in 1999, it seems gun violence has only increased. One thing the public may not know is that during the time of the Columbine shooting, the national average of time it took for law enforcement to respond and be on scene was 10 to 13 minutes. In 2017, that national average is now roughly three minutes. Though this is significant, even three minutes can prove fatal in an active shooter situation; the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce and Police Department are partnering together to bring the CRASE class to the public. CRASE stands for Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, and it is a two and a half hour long class that provide citizens with the tools they need to prepare themselves for the unthinkable: surviving an active shooter attack.

CRASE is an adaption of ALERRT, or Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, which was created in 2002 as a partnership between Texas State University, the San Marcos, Texas Police Department and the Hays County, Texas Sheriff’s Office. In 2013, ALERRT at Texas State was named the National Standard in Active Shooter Response Training by the FBI.

Lieutenant Houston Johnson will be instructing both the morning and evening class, and has been with the HHPD for the last 20 years. He has experience in multiple drug task forces, and began his work in Harker Heights as a organized crime sergeant in 1997. “The chamber approached our chief at the station, and we immediately got to work on a program for the public,” said Lt. Johnson, who went on to praise the ALERRT program. “They have done some impeccable work. Those minutes between when the call is made and when we’re on scene are critical, and ALERRT has provided training to help civilians improve their survivability in those few minutes. That’s where a lot of our information is drawn from.”

Lt. Johnson says during the workshop, civilians will be presented with information in a way that is natural and easy to understand. “There are three main points to any active shooter attack. Those being disaster response psychology, active shooter events and civilian response.” The class will go over the anatomical and physiological effects that a disaster, natural or otherwise, can take on a human body. Statistics of past shootings will help give civilians insight on what to expect and prepare for, and lastly, how to increase survivability through civilian response.

Lt. Johnson says there is one key strategy to surviving an active shooter attack: Avoid, Deny, Defend. “You avoid the threat if possible. If you hear or see something, go in the opposite direction. If you can’t avoid the threat, deny the assailant access–hiding or barricading yourself in a room is a good example. Finally, if you are confronted head on, learn how to defend yourself.”

While it is uncomfortable and downright disarming to believe that these sort of events can happen to us, it is absolutely vital to prepare and have a plan.

“What we’ll go over at this class will help civilians react promptly and effectively in a traumatic situation.” said Lt. Johnson. “Defending yourself and learning the proper precautions takes time and planning. We’re happy to be doing this for the city, there’s no sector of our audience that won’t benefit for this class. Whether you’re at home, work, the grocery store–anywhere. These principles can be utilized for any situation.”

This unique and free training opportunity will be held on Wednesday, October 25. The morning class will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the evening class. Space is limited and registration is required to attend. For more information, contact the V.P. of Business Development, Mary Shabunia at 254 699 4999 or email her at mary@hhchamber.com.

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