In the wake of the 2012 shooting at IHOP in Carson City, the Douglas County Sheriff‘s Office urges all businesses and schools to have a plan in an active shooter situation.
Sheriff Ron Pierini and East Fork Deputy Chief Dave Fogerson presented a video and discussion on what Douglas County is doing to prepare for such an incident.
“We shouldn’t be the only ones preparing. It should be anyone who owns a business,” Pierini said Wednesday at the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “It can happen anytime, any place, anywhere and without warning.”
Since the late 1990s, Pierini said the sheriff’s office has changed the way they respond to shootings. Before, the first officers on scene were required to wait for backup.
“When the first officer gets there, he can enter the establishment and stop the shooter. That is our mission,” he said. “There’s not enough time to wait.”
Pierini also encouraged the community to report any unusual behavior in students, neighbors or employees to the sheriff’s office.
“Our agency has stopped violence from happening. We need you to be a part of that partnership. You need to communicate,” he added. “If you have a problem employee you just fired and he says, ‘I’m going to get even,’ you need to call us. We need your help.”
He also added that the entire IHOP shooting was over within 80 seconds before the shooter killed himself.
“Ninety percent of shooters commit suicide,” Pierini said. “Their mission is ‘I’m going to kill people, my name is going to be in the paper and I don’t want to live anymore.’”
Fogerson said that the fire district also changed the way they responded to emergencies after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., in 2012.
In this situation, the firefighter, paramedics were outside the theater waiting for the police to clear the building and bring the victims out to them as was protocol at the time.
“The firefighters weren’t talking to the cops and the cops weren’t talking to the firefighters,” Fogerson said. “Most of the people inside, died from blood loss.”
East Fork partnered with the sheriff’s office to revamp their process. They now send in a four-person rescue team consisting of two deputies and two paramedics to clear the building and treat the wounded until they can be safely evacuated.
“We were obviously uncomfortable with it at first,” Fogerson said, “but it works very well.”
To help prepare for an active shooter situation, captains David Aymami and Dan Britton will conduct a free evaluation of any Douglas County business.
The evaluation takes about an hour and covers what employees should do, how the sheriff’s office and fire department will respond, security measures the business should implement and includes a 5-minute video called “Run, Hide, Fight.”
“People love it. It gives employees a chance to ask what do I do? What’s right? or what’s wrong?” Aymami said. “We’re brutally honest with people about what to expect. Anywhere there’s employees it’s a good idea to look at it. Anybody can be a target.”
To schedule an evaluation, call the sheriff’s office at 782-9900.
To watch the training video, search for “Run, Hide, Fight” online.