POLICE Magazine

AUG 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1150736

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Page 34 of 68

32 P O L I C E AU G U S T 2 019 A ctive shooter situations often require every bit of training and experience law enforcement officers possess. An ineffective response can mean the difference between life and death for the victims and even the officers. Sadly, data shows active shooter incidents are on the rise. e FBI iden- tified 160 active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2013, and another 50 active shooter incidents between 2016 and 2017. In the 50 shooting incidents between 2016 and 2017, 13 officers were killed and 20 were wounded. e FBI says 14 of the incidents ended with an ex- change of gunfire between the shooters and police officers on the scene. While similarities exist between different active shooter incidents, none are exactly alike. ey are extremely unpredictable, and circumstances often change very quickly. One important distinction is that the response to these incidents requires more gear than the "routine" call. BETTER ARMOR In active shooter situations, officers experience a greater need for protection than they do in more common law enforcement operations. is is why more agencies are providing their officers with additional protection, including hard armor and helmets. Standard issue soft armor provides protection against handgun threats, but many active shooter situations may involve rifles and require the addi- tional protection provided by hard armor plates. is is why some agencies are supplying their officers with "active shooter kits," a carrier and hard ar- mor plates that can be quickly slipped on in case of an attack. Remember that an active shooter carrier with hard plates is heavier than your standard patrol armor. If you are issued this gear, train with it to become familiar with how it may affect your per- formance. Conducting simulated train- ing exercises can also reveal areas in which weight can or should be reduced by removing items or show where it's necessary to replace gear with lighter or more flexible alternatives. is can be especially important with key protec- tive equipment like body armor. Some hard armor is made of ceramic or a combination of ceramic and steel. It's heav y stuff. A better choice for active shooter gear is to buy plates composed of a lighter material called ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHM- WPE). Hard armor made of this mate- rial can provide NIJ Level III rifle pro- tection at substantially less weight than ceramics or steel. When paired with ce- ramics or steel UHMWPE can provide NIJ Level IV protection, meaning it will stop armor-piercing rifle rounds. ere are many resources available to help you find information on pick- ing the right protection, and some, like ArmorNOW.com (the company I am associated with), can even provide free continuing education units while doing so. Technolog y can also be a vital tool in active shooter response. But because some specialized tech doesn't get used regularly, it may require a concerted effort to gain familiarity with it. As with a new firearm, officers need to become experts at using the technolog y they will use in real-life active shooter situ- ations before it's deployed in the field. Officers training to respond to active shooters need to have experience performing first aid while wearing the gear they will use. PHOTO: DYNEEMA TRAINING IN ACTIVE SHOOTER RESPONSE GEAR ACTIVE SHOOTER RESPONSE GEAR IS HEAVY AND CAN CHANGE THE WAY YOU PERFORM. SO YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO COMPENSATE. H SCOTT M. HARDING THE WINNING EDGE

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