MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Active shooting scenes like this week’s in California could have an impact on training techniques for law enforcement in Minnesota.
According to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, when a mass shooting happens like the ones in Paris, San Bernardino or Colorado Springs, local law enforcement will later work with federal law enforcement to dissect the situation. They evaluate motive and training of the shooter or shooters and use that information to evaluate their own response techniques.
Stanek said the goal is to stay one step ahead of anyone trying to cause harm.
“As law enforcement, we prepare, train and exercise incessantly … hoping bad things don’t happen but knowing — across state, across region — bad things happen. It’s our job to be prepared,” Stanek said.
One of the most obvious changes to law enforcement response over the last few years is the equipment.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office uses a ballistics-engineered, armored response vehicle called BEAR. The heavily armored vehicle is used to respond and rescue in an emergency.
The firearms law enforcement use have also changed. Authorities no longer use shotguns, but patrol rifles.
The body armor is more protective and authorities rely more heavily on technology like cameras and robots when moving through a building.
As for training, first responders like patrol officers and sheriff’s deputies all have SWAT training rather than just limiting to tactical teams.
“Their job is to respond and take care of problem or situation as quick as they can,” Stanek said. “In some cases it may be to neutralize whatever bad thing is happening or neutralize the threat, and to do that, they have to be protected. They’ve got to have equipment and armor and weaponry to do so.”
One major change in training is also the message to the public.
It may take minutes before first responders can reach you so law enforcement advises anyone who finds themselves in an active shooter situation to run, hide or fight.
Escape if you can. Hiding is the next best option. As a last resort, fight to save your life.