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Police adopt Active Shooter program after Columbine High School tragedy

Monday, November 8, 2004

The Brazil Police department has a new program named "Active Shooter".

"This is a more effective way of handling a person who is actively taking lives inside a school, business or factory," stated Police Chief Loudermilk.

The law enforcement community is adopting this policy in response to the Columbine school shooting and because smaller units are unable to establish special response units.

The shooting took place April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School, Littleton Colo. Two students, Eric Harris and Dylon Klebold, entered the school at approximately 11:19 a.m. They attacked the students and faculty with improvised explosive devises, shot guns and semi-automatic pistols. The first officer arrived on scene at 11:28 a.m. at which time the deputy exchanged gunfire with the pair. The last victim was shot at 11:31 a.m. but police did not enter the building until after noon. The Active Shooter program reduces the problem of officers having to wait for specialized response teams.

This program is becoming standardized throughout the county and is geared to smaller units like the Brazil Police Department with 12 officers.

"We train for what personal we have on duty at the time a situation occurs," said Loudermilk.

Officers arriving on the scene would be able to assess the situation and take action quickly due to training they have received.

To help accomplish the task of subduing an armed shooter, the department has been issued AR-15 assault rifles, "The Bushmaster". Bushmaster series rifles earned their knickname by U.S. force's during the Vietnam War due to the overwhelming firing superiority over the North Vietnamese military. The rifle is a high powered semi automatic weapon that is effective up to 600 meters.

Each officer in the department have been trained and is qualified on the new weapon. Officers spent 2-3 hours in a class environment to become acclimated with the firearm. Then officers had to become qualified on the new rifle. The officers had to achieve a 90 percent accuracy rating to qualify and if the target was missed completely it would have resulted in automatic failure. No officer needed a second chance to qualify. Each cruiser is equipped with a new rifle and a shot gun (that were previously installed). Loudermilk said, "In the future, we would like to be able to enter local schools and businesses to become acclimated with the surroundings and to train in different scenarios. This type of training save lives."

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