Active Shooter Training: Behind the Badge Part Two
Now for part two of our series ‘Behind the Badge,’ active shooter training prepares for the dangerous realities police officers could face at any moment. News 25’s Laurene Callander reports.
2016 was a brutal year for law enforcement. A 56 percent spike in officers shot and killed. Sixty four officers gunned down in the line of duty. Twenty one in ambush style attacks, the highest total in more than two decades. Firearms instructor Sergeant Tony Alves said, “The things that are put out there in the media, we hear those things, we see those things, now is it necessarily happening here on the Gulf Coast? No, but things that are happening throughout the country are in the back of our heads. Can that happen here? Yeah, absolutely.”
So what is it like to walk in their shoes? To find out, I decided to strap on a vest, buckle a gun belt, and train with a glock simunition gun alongside Gulfport police, getting a firsthand look on how they prepare for these dangerous situations.
Sgt. Alves briefed us on the call and cautiously we went in. I panicked after hearing the shots, screaming and running trying to find cover which is not rare for officers in training.
Some officers experience a so-called TV or video game mindset and freeze after being shot, thinking ‘game over.’ “If I get shot, I’m dead. If I get shot, if I get a grazing wound on my arm then I’m dead, I’m done for and that’s not the case at all,” said Alves.
In fact, instructors say there are plenty of reasons for wounded officers to keep fighting. If the threat remains, their partner, along with any innocent bystanders, could still be in the line of fire. Tunnel vision, a blank mind, and panic: all happening to me in the seconds which felt like hours.
After the chaos, officers are expected to account for every bullet, forced to walk through every move they make and justify it. Those actions are often criticized by the public, a frustrating topic for the firearms instructor. “Not only does he have to react to what’s happening in front of them, a person just pulled out a gun, now this person is aiming that gun at me, now you want that person, it’s impossible, but you want the person to draw their weapon and go ‘well, this guy looks like an alright person, I’m going to go ahead and shoot him in the pinky toe.’ That’s not the way it works,” said Alves.
You can see in this series how much training police officers go through preparing for the worst. Hopefully you get a better sense of what happens behind the badge.