Law enforcement from across the area and state were in Odessa this week for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training through Texas State University.
The 40-hour training takes place partially in the classroom and in a reality-based situation, such as a school shooting.
On Thursday, officers got a chance to use what they had learned at Ector Middle School. The classroom training was held at the Ector County Independent School District Police Department.
The training included 28 police officers from nine different agencies. Nationwide, more than 130,000 law enforcement and fire officials have been trained in ALERRT operations and tactics. In March 2013, FBI announced that ALERRT is the national standard through which they are training their agents, a news release from Ector County Independent School District said.
The training allows all first responders — fire, EMS and police — to integrate their emergency plans, the release said.
Lt. Jeff Daniels with the ECISD police department said the majority of officers were local, but some came in from out of town.
“This is such an important training and it’s so hard to get they’ll come from all over just to be here,” Daniels said.
The training covers the basic response to an active shooter situation, “which means the officers that are first arriving on scene,” Daniels said.
“We teach them … how to safely move through the building to approach the threat, and once that threat has been neutralized, then we teach them the medical portion of going back to deal with the casualties that they’ve encountered,” Daniels said.
He added that the training is quite useful.
“Our No. 1 priority is to save lives and this is what this training is going to do. Heaven forbid we ever have an event like that. Usually the casualty numbers are pretty high and a lot of lives are lost due to treatment not being given on-scene. … This is training those officers to treat the injured victims that are there as they come across them, rather than wait for fire department or EMS to come in,” Daniels said.
Daniels said Ector Middle School was gracious enough to host the reality based part of the training.
“And they’ve done a fantastic job about giving us a great training area,” he said.
Officers who are certified through ALERRT will be able to train their colleagues. The officers are tested throughout the training, Daniels said.
“It’s a pass or fail,” Daniels said. “You’ve got to pass to be able to go back and teach this. They’re not just going to give you the certification because you showed up. You’ve got to earn it. They’ve got to know that you’re going to be able to come back and teach this material to other officers,” Daniels said.
Odessa Police Department Lt. Kevin Chance said the police department is offering Civilian Response to Shooter Events, or CRASE.
“It’s simple, basic training for your ordinary, everyday citizen if they find themselves in an active shooter event …,” Chance said.
It helps people escape and have some mental awareness in case they are in an active shooter event.
Chance said OPD has three instructors and they are available to businesses, groups and churches. Those interested may contact the Odessa Police Department at 333-3641.
Having the civilian training available is huge, Chance said.
“One of the things we talk about in the class is a lot of people will tend to follow someone if they don’t know what to do (and) they see someone taking action, they’ll follow that person. So even if we can’t touch every person in the city, if we touch enough folks one of the people that we do touch that are able to teach may be the one that takes action that everyone can follow and save some lives that way,” Chance said.