Terrorist Target Shoppers: Police Officers Need to Continue Active Shooter Training

Active shooter training has become more mainstream in the past several years. Now most agencies have trained their police officers to team up and move to neutralize the threat when an active shooter is wrecking havoc.

Most active shooter training has focused on school shooting scenarios, but the truth is they can happen anywhere. In 1999, Mark Barton entered two office buildings in Atlanta, killed nine people, and injured 12 more. The courthouse in Tyler County, TX was the scene of an active shooter in 2005. In February 2007, a shooter’s rampage at Trolley Square mall in Salt Lake City was held to only five dead, due to the bravery of off-duty Ogden Police Officer Kenneth Hammond and the responding Salt Lake City police officers. These are just a few examples, but many more exist.

One motivated person armed with common hunting rifles, shotguns, or handguns can cause a great deal of damage in a target-rich envrionment like a shopping mall or office park. Imagine what two or more people could do in one mall. Or, how about this nightmare scenario: three teams of two hit multiple locations at one time. According to a recent FBI notice, that is what al-Qa’ida has been planning to do.

A November 8, 2007 report by ABC stated the FBI had received information that al-Qa’ida has planned to attack shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago this Christmas season. Lets be honest: there is nothing special about these locations. Attacks could happen in Houston, Orlando, Boston, Kansas City, or your town.

Talk to the other officers on your shift. The old saying still rings true: hope for the best, but train for the worst.

Stay safe!

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Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing on sites like Human Events, The Firearm Blog and Police & Security News.

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