Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Importance of Training in Today's Changing World

This afternoon our 911 dispatchers received a call that no chief ever wants to receive…an active shooter situation in one of our schools.  In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, you can imagine the sense of dread and fear that spread through our Department.

At approximately 2:00 PM we received a call for a shooting at the Stevens Institute of Business and Arts, which is an adult learning institution at 1521 Washington Avenue in Downtown St. Louis.  The first responding officers did an excellent job and were at the school within one minute of the call being dispatched. They secured the premises and located a 45-year old male victim in an office area with a gunshot wound to his torso.  The victim, who is an employee at the school, was transported to a local hospital in serious but stable condition.  

Officers also located a 34-year old male, believed to be the suspect, in a stairwell.  The suspect, who is a student at Stevens Institute, had what is believed to be a self inflicted gunshot wound to the torso.  He was also transported to a local hospital in critical condition.  One 9 mm handgun was recovered at the scene. 

The Institute has an enrollment of approximately 180 students.  All persons in the building were evacuated and there were no other injuries to students or faculty. There has not been an established motive for the shooting at this time.  It is important to remember the investigation is still ongoing and we are limited about how much information we can release. 

There have been many changes in the way law enforcement responds to active shooter calls since the tragedy at Columbine High School.  I want to give credit to the brave men and women of our department who arrived on this scene today and took quick and immediate action.  The department has focused on providing active shooter training courses for all of our police officers since 2010.  We have trained over 1,300 officers in an interactive active shooter course that puts our officers in real life scenarios.  By not teaching this training in a static classroom environment, we hope we are better preparing them for situations such as today’s shooting at the Stevens Institute.

However, simply preparing the officers to respond is not enough.  We must work together to stop this type of violence and remove guns from the street so they do not end up inside our schools. 

1 comment:

  1. Chief Dotson, as a friend of Law Enforcement and a child of a deceased LEO here in Missouri, I believe we must change priorities if we are to have a more peaceful society. We must address social changes in society in order to keep safe our society. I want you to know that I do support your Officers as well as You in your efforts to keep the streets of OUR City safe. God Bless you & your Department!