By: Friedrich Seiltgen
Copyright © 2022
Active shooter – “an individual who is engaged in killing, or attempting to kill, people in a confined and populated area”
The list of school shootings is too long to list here, but the names Pearl, Columbine, Newtown, and Parkland stick in our minds. I have heard and read a lot about the latest shooting in Uvalde, Texas. There are still pieces of the puzzle missing, plus: false reporting, the door to the school being propped open, finger pointing, and the most disturbing part was Law Enforcement standing outside while children were being murdered!
I was extremely fortunate to have attended the Single Officer Response to Active Threat and Shooter Incidents (SORATSI) Instructor course. This course, taught by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), was taught in response to the Parkland shooting.
We received a refresher in Federal Statutes as well as Florida State Statute776.05,(3) regarding fleeing felons, which states, “A law enforcement officer, or any person whom the officer has summoned or directed to assist him or her, need not retreat or desist from efforts to make a lawful arrest because of resistance or threatened resistance to the arrest.” Throughout the years, many officers have forgotten this statute, as their department policies are opposite to the state law; departments either want police to stand down or they lack policies that address issues like an active shooter.
While there are differences in the characteristics of shooters themselves, there are some basics that apply to every active shooter situation. The basic response is this: Enter the building, locate the shooter, and eliminate the threat. After eliminating the threat, evacuate the injured.
As a rookie police officer, I was introduced to the active shooter phenomena in earnest after the Columbine shooting. Law Enforcement training sections all over the country were responding to the threat by creating response to active shooter classes. As a result of Columbine, we were trained to wait for the first four officers to arrive, form into an active shooter team, and enter the building in a diamond formation. That was later changed to two officers, and then changed again to the first officer on scene enters the building. While there is strength in numbers, LEOs don’t have that luxury!
An American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) study shows that in 64 incidents where the duration could be ascertained, 44 of the 64 incidents ended in 5 minutes or less, with 23 incidents ending in 2 minutes or less. Given these statistics, the first officer arriving must enter the building and go to work!
Law Enforcement Officers must get into the building immediately upon arrival. Anyone considering the job of Law Enforcement Officer must accept the possibility of an active shooter. If a psycho comes into your school intent on mayhem, you need to take it personally. That is your house, and you must defend it! If you are not ready to do that, find another job!
You need to get in there with what you have on you! This is the mindset LEOs must possess in order to deal with these situations!
In case I haven’t made myself clear! YOU MUST GET INTO THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY, LOCATE THE SHOOTER, AND TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS!
That’s all for now folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article ideas. And as always – “Let’s Be Careful Out There”
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Countering Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms and Active Shooter Response. His writing has appeared in RECOIL, The Counter Terrorist Magazine, American Thinker, Homeland Security Today, and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org