Like bank robberies in the 1920s and violent crimes fueled by the illegal drug trade in the 1980s and early 1990s, active shooter incidents have become one of the biggest challenges for 21st-century law enforcement. These incidents have become a point of emphasis for agencies over the past two decades, and new tactics, strategies and training have continued to be developed in order to best prepare officers and save lives.
In the next several weeks, OFFICER Magazine's Officer Roll Call podcast will air a six-part series—sponsored by FirstNet—that examines the topic. The "Active Shooter Events & Response Evolution" podcast series will look at not how active shooter incidents have changed over the years and how law enforcement has been using accumulated knowledge and new technology to adapt.
Episode 1: Columbine: The 'Pearl Harbor' of Active Shooter Events?
Release Date: Sept. 19, 2023
Retired Lt. Frank Borelli and Assistant Editor Joe Vince talk about the event that launched the contemporary active shooter response event: the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. This episode looks at why the attack—considered the Pearl Harbor of active shooter incidents—was perceived so differently than others before it and how the basic response by officers to such events has changed since then.
Episode 2: Response Evolution Began in Austin, Texas
Release Date: Oct. 3, 2023
This episode takes a look back at the 1966 University of Texas mass shooting when Marine veteran Charles Whitman killed 15 people and wounded 31 from the observation deck from a tower on the Austin campus. Before that incident, no U.S. police departments had SWAT units, and the Texas shooting was one of the events that prompted agencies to develop special tactical teams and develop a new set of practices.
Episode 3: The Importance & Impact of Communications
Release Date: Oct. 17, 2023
Stephen Devine, AT&T's director of public safety strategy and policy and communications subject matter expert, joins the podcast to discuss FirstNet's tools, and the communication challenges associated with active shooter responses.
Episode 4: Pre-Modern Events & Returning Concerns
Release Date: Nov. 1, 2023
Looking back at the “ancient history” of active attack/active killer events, such as the Bath, Michigan, explosive attack and the Chapel Hill, North Carolina, shooting attack that occurred at a college sports event and citizens in attendance neutralized the shooters. This is a reality we might have to deal with again soon, and we certainly need to be planning for the eventuality. The reality of active shooter events is that they didn't just start with the attack at Columbine, but the frequency was not as great, and the media's ability to put the average citizen at the scene via live broadcasts didn't exist. What lessons could be learned from those pre-Columbine active shooter attacks? And which ones did law enforcement miss?
Episode 5: Legally Armed Citizens In/Near Active Shooter Events
Release Date: Nov. 14, 2023
With the recent (summer 2022) U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, nearly every state has become a “shall issue” state, and the number of people getting carry and conceal permits is growing quickly. It is inevitable that law enforcement will interact with legally armed citizens in or near scenes of active attacker/active killer events. This episode discusses best practices and safety protocols for legally armed citizens and responding officers in active attacker/active killer events. All of the protocols for citizens will apply to off-duty or plainclothes officers as well. Body language is the biggest identifier, but law enforcement has to slow down enough to recognize it. The primary goal of legally armed citizens is to escape the area of threat and serve as a good witness, passing along any information or descriptions they might have picked up.
Episode 6: Needed Equipment from Minimum to Optimum
Release Date: Nov. 28, 2023
Body armor, helmets, weapons, trauma care. Agencies don't have an endless budget, and that means prioritizing equipment needs. What’s the bare minimum of gear needed for active shooter responses? What’s preferred? What is optimal?
How to Listen
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