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By Elizabeth Tanner/
The Post Dispatch—
On Thursday, March 5, the First United Methodist Church hosted Lubbock Police officers William Trotter and Steven Bergen who educated community members on what to do if an active shooting takes place.
Trotter, who has been an officer for 10 years, and Bergen, who has been an officer for 15 years, stressed the importance of knowing what to do in the 10 to 15-minute timespan that an active shooting takes place.
“Run, hide, fight is our stop, drop and roll,” Trotter said.
In an active shooting situation, individuals are first asked to consider escaping in the “run” stage.
“Take action, try to move,” Trotter said. “A moving target is a lot harder to hit than a still one.”
Trotter also suggests being aware of the environment and taking note of the two nearest exits.
“The most important thing is to have a plan,” Trotter said. “I’m a big fan of hanging up evacuation routes.”
If escape is not an option, individuals are then encouraged to hide. If you’re in a hallway, get in a room and secure the door. If you are already in a room, Bergen says to barricade the door and stay there remaining as quiet as possible.
“In the El Paso Walmart shooting, lots of people survived by hiding,” Bergen said. “They hid in changing rooms, in the back, wherever they could.”
This tactic was also used by students in the Virginia Tech shooting.
“Students hid in classrooms and barricaded the doors,” Bergen said.
As a last resort, fight. When within a close distance of the shooter, it is reported that an individual’s chance of survival is greater if they attempt to incapacitate the threat.
“Throw things,” Bergen said. “Be aggressive.”
Bergen reminds to only call 911 when it is safe to do so.
“This is very important,” he said.
When calling 911, Trotter urges individuals to stay calm and provide important details such as the location, the number of shooters, the physical description of the shooter, the number of weapons and the number of potential victims.
“Give the dispatcher as much information as you can,” Trotter said. “Be as descriptive as possible.”
When identifying the shooter, Trotter says to look for a sore thumb.
“You’re going to know if someone stands out,” he said. “Trust your instincts, trust your gut.”
When law enforcement does arrive, individuals are prompted to remain calm and follow the officers’ instructions, putting down any items and keeping their hands visible as to not be mistaken as a threat.
Additionally, Trotter reminds that when arriving on the scene, the officers’ first duty is to take down the threat.
“We are not there to treat injured,” he said. “We are there to stop the threat.”
Bergen and Trotter also shared ways to avoid an active shooting situation from escalating through preparedness and prevention.
“Foster a respectful workplace, church or environment,” Bergen said.
“If anything does happen, be sure to have flashlights and first aid kits,” Trotter included.
Overall, Bergen and Trotter stress the importance of being vigilant.
“If you know something, say something,” Bergan said.
“It’s a shame that we have to talk about this and prepare mentally for this,” Trotter added, “but, the truth is, this is not a matter of if but when.”