Preparation for mass shooting events responsibility of police and public, Oklahoma officials say
Oklahoma law enforcement experts say training for mass shooting events like that which occurred in Connecticut is a regular thing, but that the public has a responsibility to prepare and pay attention, too.
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One trooper is assigned to train both urban and rural agencies on the National Incident Management System, a national protocol developed by Homeland Security.
“Incident command is more than just about going to the scene of a massive shooting where there are multiple fatalities,” she said. “It's used so all the different players can use the same language, and so we all understand each other's roles.”
How to help
But there are things the general public can do to help as well.
For one, just pay attention to the people around you, said David Cid, director of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism in Oklahoma City.
The institute trains law enforcement agencies nationwide — from Oklahoma City police to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department — on how to identify warnings and indicators of potential terrorist or violent acts.
There should be a “bias toward action” in those who see hints of trouble before it erupts, from threats to simple behavioral changes, Cid said.
“Typically, they exhibit before acting out violent signs or behaviors that suggest they're about to do something irrational,” Cid said. “And mental health plays a big role, especially in the workplace. Society in general just needs to be aware of these signs and indicators so that we can become stewards of one another's well-being.”
Citty said it's an appropriate time to discuss not gun ownership, per se, but gun control.
Oklahoma's gun culture does not make the state's residents more or less vulnerable to these types of incidents, he said. But the state could lead the way in keeping guns out of the hands of those who intend to do harm.
“Let's put our heads together on both sides and try to decide, try to come to some compromise that's going to help protect the lives of others,” he said. “Eventually, someday, somebody's going to have to make some decisions on addressing how we can keep firearms from individuals that don't have them for the right reasons, but it's just hard to have that dialogue.”
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