From access control to video surveillance imaging to visitor verification and badging systems, the security industry has been ready to respond to the needs of school security. However, the "active shooter" situation that Virginia Tech found itself in last April presented the kind of scenario that required a human response, and had Cho Seung-Hui not turned the gun upon himself, it might not have stopped without a tactical response.
While cameras may give security and law enforcement the information they need about a shooter's location, and while a lockdown may be appropriate in some instances to "quarantine" a shooter, it's actual tactical response skills that may end up being required to take down such shooters. Additionally, according to Blackwater, a leading security/law enforcement training business based primarily in North Carolina, there are times when security is faced with an "active threat where traditional methods are outweighed by the potential for loss of life and action needs to be taken now."
Often the response for these situations -- in school settings, but certainly not limited to educational institutions -- has been to stage police/SWAT. However, if Blackwater is correct, then the best response is an early response by a trained, well-equipped officer. With that in mind, the company, which is perhaps most well-known for its security and tactical services in Iraq, announced today that it is creating a program to train responders in taking down active shooters, without having to wait for SWAT to arrive and stage a response. The course, which is slated for Nov. 5-9, 2007, at the company's training center in North Carolina, is designed for active law enforcement, private security professionals and active military. It focuses on live role playing and simulated attacks, and the $995 course is more "take down", less "lock down".
Blackwater Active Threat Response Training