Douglas County Sheriff’s Office simulates active shooter scenario | RecordCourier.com

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office simulates active shooter scenario

by Taylor Pettaway
tpettaway@nevadaappeal.com

According to the FBI, between 2007 and 2013, the United States has seen an average of 16.4 active shooter situations annually. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office spent last week training deputies to be prepared in case an incident ever occurs.

The department had its 110 deputies train in a variety of scenarios at Douglas High School to mimic what could happen if a student started shooting at the school. Unlike a lot of departments, Douglas had both jail and patrol deputies go through the scenarios.

"We want all the department to get exposure and realize it happens," said Capt. Dan Britton.

According to the FBI, between 2000 and 2016, nationwide there were 200 reported incidents that met the criteria of an active shooter event. Six of those incidents were in Northern Nevada. Britton used the Carson City IHOP shooting in 2011 as an example of how one of these incidents can hit close to home.

Britton first went through a visual presentation to teach the deputies about how shooters operate, statistics, different kinds of shooters and deputy movement tactics in a situation.

"The level of violence these shooters use is incomprehensible," Britton told a group of officers Thursday.

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After, the Douglas County SWAT team set up different scenarios using hostages and victims to simulate the chaos that they would most likely see with a shooter in a high school. Deputies practiced clearing hallways, classrooms and stairways; if and when to render aid to victims and how to get the children out safely.

The instructors aimed to make the scenarios as real as possible, so deafening pops and flashes echoed across the school as an officer wearing a Tigers T-shirt roamed the halls firing blanks.

"It opens their eyes and helps the deputies get a hands on experience," Britton said. "They have certain scenarios that teach them how to clear, link up and what to do with hostages and victims."

One of the important parts of the training was how to handle panicked and hurt victims. The department had some of its Explorers play high school students who would run, scream and pull at officers so the deputies would be able to experience a level of the mass chaos.

While officers will never be 100 percent prepared to face a situation like this, training for it allows them to be more prepared and operate on the same tactics and movements, Britton said. He said because of an active shooter situation containing a number of factors, they can never predict exactly how it will go, but they can try and come close.

"I think it is has been successful," Britton said, it gives the deputies a chance to go through the stress-induced environment and have to discriminate between regular people and the suspect. It is good to run for them."

The department runs these scenarios every other year, practicing at the high school and different middle schools in their jurisdiction.

National Active Shooter Statistics

The FBI conducted a study in 2014 on 160 active shooter incidents titled “A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013.” Here are some of their major findings:

From 2000 to 2007 there were an average of 6.4 incidents annually. Between 2007 and 2013, the average jumped to 16.4 annually.

Total, 486 people have been killed in active shooter incidents and 557 have been wounded (excluding the shooter).

Out of 160 shootings, 154 were committed by men and only two shootings had more than one assailant.

Most shootings end by the shooter’s initiative such as suicide or fleeing.

In 45 incidents where police had to engage the shooter, nine officers were killed and 28 wounded.

Almost 46 percent of shootings took place in a commercial environment, 24.3 percent in an educational environment and the rest in places such as open spaces, military or government properties, residences, religious places and health care facilities. These include Sandy Hook, Fort Hood and Aurora, Colo., Cinemark theater.