School Shooters: American Law Enforcement Is Ready

TORRANCE, Calif.

American law enforcement is taking the threat of school shooters seriously, according to a Police Magazine survey. Some 66 percent of respondents work for agencies that have conducted active shooter response exercises. Even more, 71 percent, work for agencies that have plans for countering school shooters.

The magazine sent the survey to gauge how much school shooter tactics have changed and to see how the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007 affected law enforcement training. The survey went to nearly 9,000 readers. More than 1,000 responses resulted in a 12-percent response rate.

More importantly, most of the officers whose agencies have conducted school shooter drills have realized that patrol officers will have to seize the initiative and eliminate the threat without waiting for SWAT. Almost 80 percent of respondents who have received active shooter training say their agencies have invested the time and money to train patrol officers to engage the threat, not just members of special units. If they do engage school shooters, the majority of these officers-74 percent-will have patrol rifles to help them end the attack.

The Virginia Tech Massacre revealed the importance of rapid response by multiple agencies to active shooters on college campuses. Almost 60 percent of respondents in the Police survey say they have mutual aid agreements with local campus police departments. About three percent of respondents said they, themselves, are campus police.

The survey also revealed the depth of the active shooter problem. Some 14 percent of respondents said they have responded to active shooter incidents.

This article originally ran in the June 2007 issue of Police Magazine, a Bobit Business Media publication. For more information, visit Police Magazine’s website.

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