The strategy for law enforcement response to an active shooter has generally been to cordon off the affected area, form an attack team, wait until the entire team is assembled, then work methodically through the venue until the assailant is found. At that point, the team would wait for instructions on how to proceed, perhaps to negotiate a surrender.
We saw this strategy put to use at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, and other incidents. In each case, the police formed a SWAT team or other team, then went in en masse to find the shooters.
Meanwhile, the shooters, unopposed, killed innocent disarmed victims. And when the police finally arrived at the shooters’ location, they waited. And the killers continued killing.
Finally, when the police made their move, they found that the killers had committed suicide.
Now comes word of a change in strategy.
My niece is a Sheriff’s Deputy in Oklahoma, and has been for a number of years. She routinely shoots perfect scores in her qualifications.
We got word of her most recent training exercise, called “First Officer.” In this scenario she was simulated to be the first officer on the scene at an active shooter incident at a school.
So, she made her way quickly through the school, found the shooter, and put three shots center of chest, before he could react. Incident over.
She said this was how they were being taught to deal with active shooters. I think it will probably work out for the victims a lot better than the old one.
A really good treatment of the change in direction is discussed at Police Magazine’s website.