Police suggest civilians fight back during mass shootings

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (December 3, 2015) - According to the FBI, there is an active shooter scenario once every three weeks in the U.S. The latest claimed 14 lives in California.

“If you see the assailant and you have an opportunity to do something about it, we understand why you would,” said IMPD Police Chief, Rick Hite when asked about a civilian response during an active shooter scenario.

Police are now taking a new approach, one they say may make the difference between being a survivor and a victim.

“You have a decision to make; whether you’ll sit there and let yourself be a victim or whether or not you have to step forward and actually do something to protect yourself or the lives of others,” said John Conley, the Director of Law Enforcement for Butler University.

Police say what once was a last resort is now a suggested first line of defense.

“A lot of times people find themselves in a position where they don’t have that first or second option so fight is the third,” said Conley.

At Butler University, police are trained to handle active shooter scenarios. When seconds count and police don’t arrive for minutes, police say civilians are encouraged to attack.

“People have to know what to do in an emergency in order to lessen the opportunity that someone would have in a violent situation,” said Conley.

Active shooter scenarios like the one in southern California Wednesday are according to law enforcement experts, becoming the new norm in the U.S.

According to the FBI, in the last seven years the U.S. has averaged 16.4 active shooter incidents per year, with 69 percent of them ending in five minutes or less. 36 percent were over in two minutes or less and 60 percent were finished before police could even arrive on scene.

“These incidents certainly seem to be happening more frequently,” said Homeland Security expert Peter Berring.

We have drills to prepare us for how to escape a fire, says Berring, so active shooter training he says needs to be just as common.

“This is just another of the many things that we need to be prepared for. It’s unpleasant...we hope it doesn’t happen here in central Indiana, but we know that it’s a possibility that it will,” he said.

The likelihood of being involved in an active shooter scenario is still very rare, but so is being involved in a fire or tornado-- both of which we prepare for.


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