Police Rapport: Surviving an Active Shooter Situation

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Active shooters have killed hundreds of innocent people in our country. Police say a way to make change is to put up a good fight. 

In this Police Rapport segment, Sgt. Gene Page with the Bentonville Police Department walks our Jennifer Peñate through three steps to take back control from the killer, increase survivability, and save others. 

As we’ve seen time and time again, active shooter situations can happen anytime, anywhere. While many of us try to block the possibility of it happening to us, police say we need to be proactive to increase our chances of surviving a shooting.

“The first thing we need to do is change the way we think. Just a few seconds of preparation can make the difference between life and death,” said Sgt. Gene Page with the Bentonville Police Department: 

Law enforcement recommends you make it a habit to scan a room as soon as you walk in. 

“We want to look at your obvious exits. We have windows, we have doors, some of them are clearly marked with an exit, and there are some areas that aren’t as clearly marked that will work just as good,” said Sgt. Page.

Based on the ALERRT program developed at Texas State University, Sgt. Page teaches people in our communities three words that can make the difference between life and death. Those are: avoid, deny, defend. Sgt. Page brakes down each one, so we can better understand the approach.

“Avoid. We want to get out. We want to get away from the shooter. One of the nearest things we have here is a window. Most people would try to break the window at the center but our weak points are at the corners. That’s where we want to throw a chair, a fire extinguisher, anything to get outside. And then we have a not-so-obvious place. We have doors and windows, but also anywhere in Arkansas, most of your construction is made of sheetrock. That means we can actually push up next to this (an inside wall), push through that sheetrock and be in the next room. I don’t have to stay in this room there are more ways out than just the doors and windows,” said Sgt. Page. ” Anyone can do this. It’s just changing the way we’re thinking. We see this as a solid wall but now, after this, we’re going to see things totally different,” he added.

If avoid doesn’t work, we go on to the second word – deny. 

“What can we do? We want to deny him access from this room. If you notice this door opens outward. One thing we don’t want to do is be standing in front of him because if he does decide to shoot through there, I’m completely in front of the doors, so I want to be off to the side. How can I secure this? One thing we do have, we can use a belt,” said Sgt. Page.

Sgt. Page demonstrates tying a belt on a door handle and pulling it to one side to keep the door closed.

“We’re out of the line of fire, we’re off to the side, and we’ve got maximum control of the door,” said Sgt. Page.

If avoid, and deny do not work, Sgt. Page assures we still have another option.

“Now this is our time to defend, and we’re actually seeing this is working all across the U.S. We’re not out of options. There are a lot of tools that we can use to defend ourselves. These items are found in almost every single office, classroom, store, or mall and can serve as any kind of deadly weapon,” said Sgt. Page holding a fire extinguisher and a pair of scissors. “The average response time across the U.S. is only three minutes and in Northwest Arkansas, it’s much better. So you don’t have to engage with them for a long time, it doesn’t take a lot of training. We only have to fight for a little bit of time. And it doesn’t matter how much training you have, how big a person you are, how strong you are. Anyone can do this,” said Sgt. Page.

Avoid, deny, defend – three simple things you can remember and even practice to increase your chances of survival and the survival of those around you. 

If you would like Sgt. Page and Jennifer to look into a specific topic, email Jennifer at jpenate@knwa.com. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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