Now these things bother me, but to be honest, the issue that bothers me most both as a police officer and as a supervisor and manager, is the number and diversity of the active shooter programs out there. It is my opinion that most police officers will respond bravely and quickly to any situation where lives are at risk. I truly believe that they will do so at considerable risk to their own safety, and in some cases pay an awful price for it. This was never a question in my mind. It is, in fact, something we all accepted when we got into the field. The problem I have with this is that active shooter programs are being seen at some levels as a cure-all for these incidents. After seeing and hearing about some of the training and talking with people who have been through it, it feels like all it is going to do is add to the body count. I do not now or will I ever espouse that we do nothing, but the thought of a diamond formation of officers from any department moving into a scene after a heavily armed individual who has planned this event out better than we will ever train for it due to a number of reasons like time, budget, and other sundry issues, leaves me cold. I do not want to send my officers into a death trap. Back in the 20th century, one of the things that was drummed into me in the academy and other places like the local pub was that we all go home at the end of the shift. This solution leaves me cold for other reasons. If you have not set some perimeters and someone goes into the scene after it starts and gets killed, you will be damned. If, for the same reason, the subject escapes, you will be damned. I guess in some respects you will be damned one way or the other.
Last of all, can anyone point out to me where this has worked successfully? Every case study I have read still has all the victims dead really quickly, before teams could form up to enter the scene. I guess that is a leadership question for all of us. Are we doing this because it is the right thing, or because it is the right way to do it? Not an easy decision, especially in this day and age of relentless 20-20 hindsight. It makes me want to crank up the old eight-track and listen to the Stones sing Paint It Black while imbibing in some truth serum and looking for the answers.