Metro area cops are getting help dealing with the unthinkable. Now, however, under a new law enacted in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting last December, the FBI is training local law officers to cope with mass shootings.
It used to be patrol officers who responded to calls about an armed person could call for help and hunker down until the SWAT team arrived. But in a mass casualty shooting where the suspect is still on a rampage, that thinking has changed dramatically.
“Now, the first officers on the scene can, through their actions, save many, many lives,” said Mark Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI office in Atlanta.
So the Bureau is not only training police officers with shooting simulations, classes and desktop scenarios, it is also more actively helping when the situation becomes much more than a simulation.
“The key is to standardize that training so all our folks are on the same sheet of music,” said Giuliano.
The new training incorporates much of what has been learned from the Newtown school shooting, the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and other mass casualty tragedies going all the way back to the Columbine High School shooting 14 years ago.
“One of the most important lessons learned is that you as a local police chief or sheriff will be overwhelmed with resources after something like that – whether you want the resources or not,” Giuliano said. “There’s this huge influx of support, along with the media and the families of the victims. You have to create a response plan up front."