MICHIGAN CITY — The Indiana State Police provided an active shooter training session to a large group of local professionals in a presentation sponsored by the La Porte County Drug Free Partnership at the Northern Indiana Education Foudation building Wednesday.
The slide presentation, designed to help attendees have a reaction plan in the event they encounter shooters or terrorists in their respective workplaces, discussed a range of topics from prevention to response options.
Troopers Jacob Raupp and Nedal Nabhan defined an active shooter as one or more people who systematically attack a mass group of other people using weapons like guns, knives, explosives, vehicles and more.
Although school shootings are currently prominent in the news, Raupp explained that the majority of mass shootings are carried out in places of commerce.
In some instances, he said, the shooter arrives with a specific target in mind, but the attack rapidly evolves into a random event.
The average length of an active shooter situation is approximately five minutes; and the shooter’s goal apparently is to create as much carnage of “soft targets” as possible, Nabhan said.
He indicated those who find themselves faced with an active shooter have three options: To run, to hide or to fight.
The ideal circumstance would be to escape, the troopers said. However, when that option is unavailable, taking cover and going into lockdown is the next best idea. They advised that those hiding should stay on their feet in case of a sudden need to move away from an attacker.
In the event people come into direct contact with an active shooter, the troopers recommend engaging him or her in a fight. They suggested using objects like keys, staplers and other items as weapons, and taking steps to slow the attack and buy time for police to arrive.
Once police are at the scene, Raupp said, their objective is to eliminate the threat. They said they are not there to administer first aid, and do not have time for conversation. Raupp advised the audience to refrain from attempting to grab officers, and said to give them brief information about the shooter’s appearance and location while running to safety.
They also listed ways to identify people at risk of becoming workplace shooters and other prevention and safety tactics to be considered by workplace management and safety teams.
The Indiana State Police offer their active shooter presentation for free, and have a separate free program specific to school shooter situations.
“Our hope is to be able to educate people, because knowledge is power,” Nabhan said. “This is one of the best programs the Indiana State Police has to offer people right now. We’re getting a lot of requests for it.”
Raupp said, “The program’s important because it’s something not a lot of people have thought about. It seems simple, but having this information can save lives when it’s time to respond to this type of event.”