Sgt. 1st Class Craig Hannum, detachment sergeant, 18th Military Police Detachment, likes to give a disclaimer during Active Shooter Response and Mitigation training — he is not here to create world peace or to solve terrorism, stop the drug problem or rewrite well-established safety regulations.
It’s comments like these that have kept training participants engaged and the presentation going since September 2009.
The ongoing course has proved to be crucial on post. In the time period since Active Shooter Response and Mitigation began, 11 potential incidents have been prevented on Fort Huachuca. Hannum stated out of those 11 incidents, seven individuals were found armed.
An active shooter is defined as someone who is motivated to kill as many people, as quickly as possible, until he or she becomes killed or disarmed. Participants learn that an active shooting outcome doesn’t depend on law enforcement — it depends upon the individuals’ and first responders’ actions at the scene.
“It’s up to you to make a decision. Hide, lock it down, fight, or attack the shooter, because what’s powering the shooter [is] the gun,” Hannum said, highlighting the fact that it will take police and other law enforcement time to arrive on the scene.
Another aspect he stresses during the sessions is that law enforcement will not negotiate with an active shooter and do everything possible not to turn the active shooting into a hostage scenario.
“We will not allow that shooter to get a foot-hold to gain a greater tactical situation,” Hannum pointed out.
While Active Shooter Response and Mitigation training highlights proactive thinking during active shooting situations, it also focuses on prevention, teaching Soldiers and Civilians how to look for a propensity of violence within co-workers’ abnormal behavior.
Hannum explained that co-workers should be asking about what is going on in their lives, even if it seems like an invasion of privacy. He continued that the individual who senses danger but does nothing is just as dangerous as the shooter because he or she didn’t do anything to deter what became a future deadly situation. He advised that those with prior knowledge of an active shooting but who failed to report it could face criminal charges as well.
For Hannum, the training extends beyond the workplace and into the schools. On Feb. 6 Colonel Smith Middle School students gathered on the floor of the gym, listening to a similar session Hannum gave to adults the previous day.
“We actually do this training for fourth grade through eighth grade,” he said. “At that age, they’re not foreign to such violence.”
The program however, was tailored to what students should know in case of an active shooting in their school. He explained the importance of following instructions from a faculty, staff member or parent to get to safety in order to avoid chaos.
“Do not run towards my officers and put your arms around them, do not grab them,” Hannum advised the students. “We do not know who the shooter is, even if you say [the person] by name … I don’t know who they are until I see them doing such horrific acts.”
According to Christa Jones, Colonel Smith Middle School principal, students do more than participate in the Active Shooting program to prepare for an emergency.
“We’re scheduled to have fire drills monthly, the lockdown and evacuation drills are done twice a year,” she said.
The youth-oriented program transitioned from active shooting situations to bullying. Hannum noted that one out of every four children is bullied every seven minutes in the United States.
“Bullying is fear; it creates the worst kind of fear in your peer group,” he said to the sixth through eighth graders. “If you’re having problems with your peer group, tell somebody. If you’re being picked on, tell somebody. Don’t wait for it to escalate. Don’t wait to where you become a statistic.”
The message extended to cyber bullying and how it’s a growing trend. Hannum emphasized how anything posted to social media websites, in photo or text form, isn’t secure, meaning a bully has the ability to take what’s posted and alter the message to make that student a victim. A related topic, brought up the concern of pedophiles knowing students’ personal information, where they go to school and what they look like.
Colonel Smith Middle School parents were also invited to the program. Rachelle Brown, who has two sixth grade students at the school, said she appreciated the presentation. She explained it’s good for children this age to know that what they are doing can have serious consequences.
Hannum expressed to the students that his intention was not to scare or upset anyone, but make sure they were well-informed.
Active Shooter Response and Mitigation training for adults and children is sponsored by the Fort Huachuca Directorate of Emergency Services. Hannum is one of four personnel certified to teach the course.