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Bridgeport Police offers active shooter training

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, February 13, 2019
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Avoid deny defend

AVOID, DENY, DEFEND ­- Bridgeport Police Officer Nick Crane and Chief Steve Stanford teach an active attacker situation preparedness class to parishioners last week at the Bridgeport Police Department. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Wise County parishioners received a different kind of lesson Wednesday night – one that could potentially save their lives.

Around 50 people from churches spanning Decatur, Paradise and Bridgeport packed into the Bridgeport Police Department for an active shooter preparedness class.

Bridgeport Officer Nick Crane, who was recently certified in Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE), presented tips and strategies for how civilians should react in an active attacker situation.

“We knew it was something we could provide to the community, being able to teach what is available in this course, and show normal citizens in an active attacker situation how to better prepare themselves and survive,” Crane said. “It’s to help people to know what to do in a situation when their senses are overloaded, and how to calm themselves down and prepare themselves for any incident they may face.”

Preparation has become more crucial with the frequency of mass casualty events. Crane said there’s been 280 mass casualty events – either shootings, attacks with vehicles and attacks with knives – since 2000.

Crane took the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) course, which performed case studies on mass casualty events. The course compiled information on how to improve survivability, studying mass shootings at the Sutherland Springs church and Las Vegas.

“The goal is to increase the numbers and survivability in the future,” Crane said. “We want to bring those numbers of deaths down.”

Crane applied these tactics to the church setting. The three responses were for civilians to avoid, deny and defend.

The avoid response was to quickly identify an exit that was clear of the attacker and potential gunfire and to get out by any means. Crane said this is the best option in an active attacker situation, if it’s available.

The next option, deny, is to block access, lock doors and shut off the lights in the room you are occupying in the event that running isn’t an option. The last option is to defend and fight the attacker by any means and not to fight fair.

The success of the class Wednesday night has already led to other churches reaching out to the department.

Crane taught the course at a church in Bridgeport Friday where he could give specific response instructions based on the church’s layout. He said that he is open to teaching the class at other churches and businesses across the county.

“We’ll do the course and then we discuss the different things they have available, their exit plans and what they have set up for emergency preparedness for their specific location,” Crane said. “It’s something we’re providing to our citizens in Bridgeport, but I’m willing to provide it to the entire county.”

Crane said if businesses or churches are interested to contact the Bridgeport Police Department.

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