An example of what not to do: Local active shooter trainers reflect on Uvalde report
Local law enforcement will be using what happened inside a Texas elementary school where 14 students and two teachers were killed as an example of what not to do in a school shooter situation.
“I can’t think of a more noble, more valiant thing to do than to be in that situation,” Senior Commander Brad Hazelett with the St. Paul Police Department said about responding to a school shooting situation.
“This isn’t just me speaking, because I think most police officers [would too], I would much rather be killed in that situation trying to defend and protect those children,” Hazelett added.
Hazelett oversees the department’s active shooter training — he says the department does it once every couple of years, but adds the many other trainings throughout the year help prepare for those situations.
With an active shooter situation, especially inside a school, Hazelett says they focus training on making sure officers understand the urgency to get to the attacker.
“What you have to recognize is the children in that room, they don’t have body armor, they don’t have a firearm, nor do they have the training to use either of those two things, [but] we have all three of those things,” Hazelett said.
Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland shared the scathing report surrounding law enforcement and emergency responder’s handling of the 2022 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“Every second counts,” Garland said. While many failures were touched on, the lack of urgency was a sticking point.
“As a consequence of failed leadership, training, and policies, injured and scared students and teachers remained trapped with a subject in the classrooms, waiting to be rescued,” Garland added.
Back at home, Hazlett said what happened in Uvalde will be used as an example of what not to do. Just this week, he said that St. Paul emergency officials will have their first meeting to plan an active shooter training for this year.
The capitol city is not alone, the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) is constantly communicating with agencies around the state about this kind of training. The MSA also makes sure agencies have the tools needed to respond and do the training.
“One key thing is that you need to respond,” James Stuart, executive director for the MSA, said about the importance of a quick response.
“They need to understand that there’s a time and a place to put on that hat, and to put yourself in harm’s way in order to help others,” Stuart added.