MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A threat in a community can be terrifying. People expect police to respond quickly and to stop it.
Minnesota company Archway Defense trains law enforcement across the country how to respond to an active shooter.
Founder Peter Johnson tweaked the training after the Las Vegas shooting in October, when the shooter took aim from above.
Johnson hosted the first training for officers in Minnesota since the massacre in November.
“What we have to do is put rounds on target as fast as possible,” Johnson said. “Everything we’re going to do today is about speed. The quicker we get rounds on target, ultimately, more people survive.”
The training is designed to save lives.
“We’ve seen the active shooter, active threat, act of terrorism,” Johnson said.
The Air Force veteran said it is about how you respond to a threat that counts. As a former International Air Marshal, he has conducted counter-terror missions around the world, and now trains the front lines here at home through Archway Defense.
“Patrol officers, SWAT cops, firearms instructors, being together, learning with the rifle, specifically,” Johnson said.
Brown County Sheriff’s Investigator Eric Schwarzrock gathered the group from different agencies.
“It’s important that we challenge ourselves and be accountable for making certain that if we carry the type of tools necessary to do our job, that we can perform with those tools at the best of our ability,” Schwarzrock said.
The officers worked with rifles, where much of their previous training has been with handguns.
Johnson says rifles are effective in dealing with a threat at a distance.
“It’s a more capable platform, right? It has further range, better ballistics, which simply means it’s easier to put accurate rounds on that active shooter, active threat, act of terrorism,” Johnson said.
The focus is on the physical and mental aspect of a scenario.
“That aggressor is looking to kill as many innocent people as they can,” Johnson said. “Law enforcement’s primary responsibility is saving the life of innocent people, and that means directing violence towards the attacker.”
That is where shaving time off a response can make all the difference.
“Tenths of a second, because tenths of a second add up,” Johnson said.
When dealing with a threat like the shooter in Las Vegas, Johnson said there is not always a clear shot, so training around barriers replicates what officers could encounter.
“It requires us just to be more dynamic about utilizing cover in the manner that works best, keeping us safe while we’re effectively returning fire,” Schwarzrock said.
Training with an elevated heartrate simulates real life.
“On that premise, dump and then exhale, sink into the shot and break it on the bottom of your natural respiratory pause,” Johnson said. “What that’s going to do is allow you to calm down right before you take the shot.”
“You’re trying to focus on controlling your breathing, you’re trying to get your shot placement and still be fast and accurate at the same time,” said Renville County Deputy Luke Jacques. “There’s a lot going on in your mind.”
They practice training, so when they are confronted with a real threat, they are ready.
“We’re doing the steps that we can to keep them safe,” Schwarzrock said. “Also making certain that at the end of the day that we get ourselves home safe as well.”
The officers did the training on their own time. Archway Defense sponsors the Law Enforcement Only Rifle Course for groups of ten.
Companies and churches also hire Archway Defense to train people how to respond to an active shooter. Click here for more information on Archway Defense.