Class learns procedures for worst-case scenario
By Julie Gerke
Editor’s note: Citizen’s Police Academy is a weekly series by Julie Gerke, who is participating in the local 12-week class that educates adult students on the work and procedures of local law enforcement.
Mass shootings produce a lot of headlines, political posturing and commentary, but 85% of shootings that meet the definition are actually domestic incidents or normal criminal behavior, a Jacksonville Police Department deputy chief said.
The term “mass shootings” is defined as four or more people shot in one incident, Jacksonville Police Deputy Chief Chad Moore told members of the JPD (Jacksonville Police Department) Citizen’s Police Academy during a class on active shooters. Fewer than 1% of mass shootings are those like recent incidents at a school in Nashville and bank in Louisville, he said.
Handguns are used in 56% of all shootings, he said. Rifles are used 13% of the time. A little more than half of the nation’s gun deaths each year are attributed to suicide.
Moore urged class members to make sure they get information from legitimate sources, regardless of their political leanings, and to do their own research.
“Most people are murdered by people they know and within their own race,” Moore said. The majority of shooters are male.
The hands-on active shooter class, led by Moore and JPD Lt. Matt Martin, and held at Jacksonville High School, involved half of the academy class. The other half, positioned at the police department, learned how to handle high-risk encounters.
Moore, who leads the department’s special response team, and Martin, an SRT member, explained how police proceed when they are called to a shooting, and the priorities they follow. The officers demonstrated how to enter and then clear a room, and then guided class members as they individually went through the same motions.
Taken into consideration with each approach was whether the doorway was centered or offset, whether a door opened inward or outward, if one was opening a door with a spring hinge, if one was working individually or as part of a pair, and whether one was looking into a room at an angle to keep a suspect from seeing an officer.
Later, the officers set up scenarios in two classrooms and a hallway, allowing individual class members to enter a room, look for suspects and then shoot at marked targets using a handgun specifically designed for training.
Moore and Martin also said the public needs to be prepared to help, whether in a shooting, an accident or other incident. They suggested not only having a basic first aid kit in your car, but also tourniquets and pressure bandages, and knowing how to perform CPR and basic first aid.
“If you don’t want to shoot, be the medical one [at a scene],” Moore said. “Take an active role in your own defense. Take an active role in your own safety.”
Next week: High-risk encounters