POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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years past engaging your community with departmen- tal crime prevention initiatives was pretty simple. You hosted a community meeting and offered up your staple prod- ucts. Most of these were boiler plate speeches with everyday burglary prevention advice. Today, there's a "new normal," with community groups, the business community, and all of our cus- tomers demanding more intensive crime prevention programs. For me, as chief of police for Ephrata, PA, the new normal is to prepare for the possibility and train for the probability of ac- tive shooter incidents. And this new normal includes talking to community groups about these attacks. What most adults, business leaders, and the clergy at houses of worship have realized is that their children and grandchil- dren have more training in active shooter reaction than they do. And they believe it is time to learn. ey want to know how to respond to and hopefully survive such an event. Of course, when I am speaking to community groups, I am likely to have people in the audience who believe "it will never happen here" in Lancaster County, PA, and they can be quite vocal in expressing those beliefs. I say two things to these naysay- ers. One, we live and work in the county where the Nickel Mines Amish school shooting occurred in 2006. So it has already happened here, and not that long ago. Next, I ask them this question: "If you knew you were going to be in a fight for your life tomorrow, what would you do to pre- pare for it today?" Before they answer I tell them, "If the time to perform arrives, then the time to prepare has passed." Most of them then become believers. Many departments are now besieged by groups requesting active shooter response training. is is a dilemma for many chiefs and sheriffs who are faced with new demands: Now, how do we offer this and are we reaching all of our customer base? Before you can start educating the community about what to do in case of an active shooter attack, you have to build rela- tionships with community groups. The Business Community O ne of the best ways to connect with your business communi- ty is by becoming a member of or participating in your local chamber of commerce or similar business-focused organiza- tion in your community. In my case, it is a requirement for me to be a member of the COC. In the meetings, I can network and mingle with business leaders and owners. One successful way of engaging other members in this environment is to attend mixers and informal educational meetings such as the brown bag lunch and learn program or even formal presentations. When you have presented to your groups, prepare for the follow-up calls. Many businesses have required safety training to meet industry and insurance standards. ese presentations from you about active shooter response tie in with their com- pany training. Of course your goal in presenting the training is not to help local businesses with their insurance. But you want to create a team so to speak, with the business community and police working together. is is a strong bridge to the next logical steps of engaging the rest of the community base. Business leaders and employees have other memberships that will help you cre- ate links to other groups. It may take some effort to convince people that attacks can happen in your town, but educating them in how to respond can be ver y beneficial to them and you. TALKING TO THE COMMUNITY ABOUT ACTIVE SHOOTERS WILLIAM L. "BILL" HARVEY 12 SPECIAL REPORT H ACTIVE SHOOTER RESPONSE IN

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