It is the day after the mass shooting occurred in a high school in Parkland, Florida. I pray that God be with those effected by this tragedy and that those who died, be at peace with him in his kingdom of Heaven.
Let me start our by addressing the title of this article "How to Reduce Active Shooter Incidents". I considered several titles before starting this blog post such as How to Stop Mass Shootings and How to Stop Active Shooter Incidents. I decided on using the word "Reduce" in my title instead of Stop because the ugly truth is, it may not be possible to stop all mass shootings. What we can definitely do is reduce these terrible incidents.
How do we do it?
To put it simply, we force three groups to do their job. I will layout my plan in three sections. Police, Legislation, and most importantly, Parents.
Group One: Police
I feel especially strong about this particular group, as I am a full time Patrol Officer of fourteen years. Every local Law Enforcement agency needs to work with their respective Independent School District and or college campuses to acquire a minimum of two full-time Peace Officers positions, to be used solely for the protection of each school. Law Enforcement Agencies should use care in selection of these officers utilized in this particular position. Not just any officer will do for the protection of our precious children. We must have officers with the correct mindset for defense against active shooters. Although all Peace Officers are adequately trained in defensive scenarios, an officer assigned for school defense must be mentally capable to take action in an offensive capacity. This type of officer must be able to quickly seek and destroy an active shooter without hesitation. There is no testing to select such an officer. This must be done using intuition at the supervisory level, by those who are personally familiar with the officer's traits, abilities, and experience.
From what I know of the Parkland High School shooting, there was only one School Resource Officer assigned to the school. As of now, I don't know where this officer was at the time the shooting was taking place. I don't know if he or she was helping others to escape or maybe didn't know exactly where the shooter was. Regardless of why the officer didn't destroy the shooter, there needs to be an additional officer assigned in each school. Sure, it's fine to have Officer Friendly as a School Resource Officer but, we really need someone who's sole purpose is to destroy any threat that stands before our children, teachers, and school staff. In short, we need more warriors to protect our schools. And by more, I mean a minimum of two. I'm sure the tax payers won't mind spending a few extra bucks a year to pay for two extra Police Officers assigned to their schools.
Group Two: Legislators
I can't speak in depth or at length about this group because I am not a politician. Of course, I do have an idea on how laws are passed and eventually trickle down to the point where they actually make a difference on the street.
Legislation can't do anything directly to stop a mass shooter. Direct involvement is made by police. Legislation's involvement in this matter is more indirect, giving Police the ability to their job. We need legislation to make it mandatory for schools to have a minimum of two Peace Officers assigned solely for the protection of the students and staff, against an active shooter. I can't say who's budget should be used to pay for these positions but, that can surely be worked out at the city or county level. Money should be the least of our concerns and shortest in debate.
Group Three: Parents
It doesn't take an expert to tell anyone that this is where the root of the problem comes from. A parent knows if there is something wrong with their child. Infinite discussions can be held on proper parenting techniques. If certain parents don't care enough to prevent a problem before it arrises, it will be left to the above two groups to stop the problem for them. Folks, we can't fix parents and we can't fix all mental problems at the government level. However, we can put more officers in schools.
I feel I must address those that complain about our Second Amendment or blame our current laws, rules, regulations, or lack thereof. The reality is, bad guys don't care about the rules. If you want to reduce mass shootings, pressure your city, county, or school district to put more cops in schools. The right kind of cops.
Give Us the Tools
We as Law Enforcement Officers do care about the rule of law. We support and defend the Constitution. Most importantly, we care about protecting and defending the children of this great nation. Sometimes it takes fire to fight fire. We're ready and willing to do it. Untie our hands and give us the permanent assignments we need in schools.