Security Forces Spun Up on 'Direct Threat' Technique

  • Published
  • By TSgt Annet Kornasiewicz
  • 180th Public Affairs
The 180th Fighter Wing Security Forces Squadron members gathered at the Fire Science and Law Enforcement Center at Owens Community College April 13, 2008, to be trained by members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Special Response Team on the 'Active Shooter: Direct to Threat' technique. The concept of the Active Shooter technique was originally developed by the Los Angeles Police Department as they analyzed what happened during the Columbine shootings, and is now used by departments across the country as a way to enter and search a building that is being threatened with violence. 

In April, 1999, two students embarked on a shooting rampage in Columbine High School, killing 12 students and a teacher, as well as wounding 23 others before committing suicide. All of the violence at Columbine occurred in about 45 minutes. Up until that point, local law enforcement units were trained to surround the threatened location and wait for a SWAT team to arrive to enter the building, said Sgt. Michael D. Kemmer, OSHP Assistant SRT Team Leader. It has become clear to the law enforcement community that this approach needed to change, said Kemmer. 

"The Direct to Threat training, or 'Active Shooter' training developed from the Columbine situation," said OSHP Staff Leutenant Steve Rosta. "Since then, there have been hundreds of workplace violence situations, as well as school situations, in the United States. The responding units had to learn how to mitigate these situations themselves, and quickly," said Rosta. 

"At Virginia Tech last year, after only eight minutes from the first 911 call, 33 people were dead," said Kemmer. The more the local police are familiar with the technique, the faster they can respond, he said. "Last year alone we trained about 5000 officers from all over the country. This is the first military group we have had," said Rosta. "We are working hard to provide this training to as many law enforcement groups as possible." 

In the 'Active Shooter: Direct to Threat' approach, officers are taught building search tactics geared toward seeking out a perpetrator and securing the scene quickly. The SRT members set up different scenarios for the SFS members to respond to as they moved in four-person teams through the classrooms. 

The SFS group also received training on defensive hand-to-hand tactics and take-down techniques from SFS members Master Sgt. Dean Butler and Master Sgt. Robert York.
Both are traditional guardsmen and civilian law enforcement officers from Perrysburg and Maumee Police Departments, respectively. 

"It was definitely geared towards the first responder," said SFS member Senior Airman Nathan R. McKarns. "It taught you how to go into that situation without having to wait for backup."

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