Friday, July 20, 2012

Training for Tragedy

This morning nearly every media outlet I turned on was covering the story about the overnight shooting in Colorado at a movie theater. With the case still under investigation and details still not confirmed, one question seemed to be repeated by each reporter. Why?

The motivating factor behind any crime is a necessary piece of information when we are working towards preventing any reoccurrences. While we may not be able to insure this will never happen again, one thing we, as police officers, can do is prepare for our response to such an event.

A few years ago an old movie theater here in Overland Park was due to be demolished. Prior to the demolition we took the opportunity to train for an active shooter type scenario. Foresight or just a good opportunity to train? It doesn’t really matter how you answer the question. What does matter is any one of the Overland Park Police Officers that attended that training was put into a situation, similar to the one that happened in Aurora, Colorado, where they had to think about their response and plan for the worst possible event.

This week officers are training on civil disturbances. Again, they are working on how to respond to situations that are loud, noisy, and sometimes violent and out of control. The goal is that we train for the worst and hope for the best.

In the grand scheme of things, the answer to “why” will probably never bring any type of closure to the families affected by this tragedy. My thoughts are with them as they deal with the losses of their loved ones.