Seeking to implement the means with which to prevent the occurrence of another Virginia Tech massacre, 23 Louisiana-based law enforcement agencies and the Louisiana State University Police Department (LSUPD) conducted a two-day law enforcement active shooter emergency response course.
Hosted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's office, the University's Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education spearheaded the course instruction. Instructors included former and current law enforcement and military personnel.
"The course was designed to equip first responder law enforcement, not SWAT," says Sheriff Greg Phares. "We are trying to teach what used to be SWAT tactics. When something like Virginia Tech happens, by the time SWAT gets there it's all over."
After completing classroom instruction and basic practical exercises, attendees were taught advanced room clearing and movement techniques. A key element of the training included how to breach barricaded doorways—a response to law enforcement's post-event observation that the Virginia Tech shooter had used chains and padlocks to hinder police response.
Stressing the imperative need for the creation of a standard protocol for first responders, training exercises positioned participants as victims at a local high school while multiple shooters threatened them. Two officers were then instructed to enter into the gym and clear the rooms and neutralize the shooters as quickly as possible.
"What the training does is it puts everyone on the same page," says Sgt. Dan Chasson of the University of Louisiana Monroe Police Department and the designated training officer for his department. "I know what you're going to do and you know what I'm going to do."
The University program travels across the nation providing training to law enforcement agencies. The program receives funding from the Department of Homeland Security.