The atrocities the country continues to witness in the form of Active Shooter Events (ASEs) create safety concerns for the public trying to live their lives. Enter Active Shooter Prevention Project P.R.O. Model. The daily reports of the ASE create fear, reduce confidence in facility security, and focus far too heavily on the police. The active-shooter event takes place in zero to eight minutes, and the police response is between eight minutes and 12 minutes. A quick assessment of this timeline demonstrates that the people in the public space under attack are the first responders.
Understanding this timeline and creating an open and safe place for people to gather and worship is tolling on even the best security managers. Factually speaking, far too often, these locations have volunteers and lean heavily on the congregation of armed citizens. The reality is that the more a place has deterrents and fewer fortress-like aesthetics, the better the deterrent.
The Active Shooter Prevention Project founder, Chris Grollnek, believes it is incumbent on us all to convey these incidents are not as likely as we would think. It is more appropriate to be prepared and not scared. The “trick” is to understand the vulnerabilities of a location, shore them up, share the changes with the congregants, and create plans. Once a plan is created, it needs to be practiced, and the facility’s posture will change exponentially.
A site physical security and prevention assessment is one way to manage the location’s deficiencies and strengthen the patrons’ confidence. Many people conduct assessments, but the ones who conduct assessments as if peeling back an onion from the inside are the ones with experience. A professional assessment analyzes the facility’s architectural and emergency action plans and observes the site as if it were at capacity. An assessment can begin at any point on a property. The goal is to understand what is in place, what could be added, what needs to be added, and features that are remedies for vulnerable areas.
Assessments can begin at the street view and access control points, fire plans, evacuation routes, and rally points. Moving inside the location, what technology is in place for notification and procedures? Most sites have plans; however, these plans are on someone’s computer and rarely shared and, worse, hardly ever practiced. All of these issues are challenges to security managers or the volunteers asked to help with security.
The suggestion of most professionals for assessments to prevent active shooter events or minor security events starts in a logical sequence. Therefore, recommendations should be in a logical order; the following is an example.
- A prevention assessment of how information is received and disseminated, we call this “connecting the dots.” Most events have people who; “knew” something was wrong before an event. It is known that nearly 50% of all evil-doers tell someone of their intentions before they strike. There are ways to bring this information to the surface before an event, and it should be a focus of building a security plan. Awareity is a fantastic product for this specific task. Chuck Savickis, formerly of the FBI’s elite HRT, has conducted site surveys and assessments at the White House and is creating an exceptional reputation for houses of worship.
- Lunch & Learn(s) 45-minute presentations (staff and public). Educate your staff and patrons that these events are possible but not probable. Understanding the events and how to respond is a great way to manage the fear factor of visitors. Access control procedures and new training for general and daily security and lockdown procedures. This is one of the most important offerings of location planning; share the information. Greg Shaffer of Shaffer Security Group, a former team member of the FBI’s HRT, is one of the country’s leaders in providing these seminars.
- Assessing the location deterrents, i.e., glass film, fire doors, access control, and cameras. The vendors for such technology exist across the spectrum.
- Physical Gun Presence Notification (A/I tech mentioned earlier) and a communications platform for notification. Omnilert is one of the best notification systems on the market.
- A/I gunshot detention platform(s) like an “AmberBox” notification system. These early warning gunshot detection systems notify law enforcement in .3 seconds, whereas a human average is 5 minutes. By reducing 5 minutes of average response time for police, weighing this number from the response time discussed above.
- Physical locking mechanisms and barriers. Most facilities have shortfalls, and Wingshield is a fantastic alternative to construction remodeling for ballistic shielding. It is also aesthetically pleasing.
There is a future issue of consideration; Drones. The next generation of security will need to address aerial threats via drones. This is nearly uncharted territory for the civilian markets, but the technology exists, and it will be interesting to watch its development.
These incidents are emotionally tolling on the public. Most people want to “go on about life” while managing their safety concerns. These assessments can be highly beneficial to facilitate that need and desire for the average visit. The only secret to a proper assessment is implementation being reasonable and necessary while sharing your information with visitors.
Chris Grollnek is considered a Legacy Expert and one of the first active shooter experts in the country. With experience advising the highest levels of government, its departments, and agencies, Chris has written domestic policy to address prevention and response to active shooter events. Active Shooter Prevention Project P.R.O. Model.
For more information, please visit ASPPPRO.com