WPPD to offer CRASE training to the community

The West Point Police Department plans to offer CRASE (Citizens Response to Active Shooter Events) and ADD (Avoid, Deny and Defend) instruction free to the community.
Staff Writer

In light of the recent mass shootings that have taken place across the country, the West Point Police Department will be offering CRASE (Citizens Response to Active Shooter Events) and ADD (Avoid, Deny and Defend) training, free of charge to the community.

"We want to raise awareness about what to do during an active shooter situation," said Assistant Chief of Police Kennedy Meaders. "We want our citizens to be informed on how to stay as safe as possible until law enforcement can arrive."

Meaders said if a person enters a workplace to target one individual, that is not an active shooter situation. He said that can be part of a domestic dispute or workplace violence.

"An active shooter event is when someone enters a building with the idea of harming as many people as possible in a short amount of time," Meaders said.

WPPD Captain Virginia Rich said these types of shooters are looking for "soft targets."

She said they want to do as much damage in a place where there is the least likelihood of anyone being armed or able to stop them.

"It takes law enforcement 7 to 14 minutes to arrive on average," Meaders said. "So by the time police arrive on the scene, we are being reactive to the situation."

Rich said the WPPD does not want to scare anyone, they would like for the community to be educated on what to do during these types of events. She said that is why the WPPD is offering CRASE training to anyone who wants to learn how to prepare for an active shooter event.

"When we arrive, our training kicks in," Rich said. "If, for instance, there is an active shooter in a church, such as the one in Texas, and there are people in the congregation with enhanced concealed carry permits who have engaged the shooter, they should place their weapon on the ground and hold up their hands. All we see when we come into the situation is a gun. And we react accordingly."

Meaders said many churches are starting security teams within the congregation. He said those wishing to protect their church need to have a concealed carry permit and then undergo the enhanced concealed carry permit course.

"I am a certified instructor for the eight hour enhanced course," Meaders said. "If a church has a team in place, they need to include it in the church minutes to allow the congregation to know there are armed citizens trained for their protection in the church. I wouldn't name anyone, but the congregation needs to know they are there."

Meaders said a safety assessment of churches, businesses and buildings can be done by the WPPD.

"The key to being safe is planning," Meaders said. "We learned about fire and tornado drills in school. Everyone needs to learn what to do in case of a gunman. Schools should have intruder drills so everyone will know what to do. Everyone needs to formulate a plan. Even Walmart has a plan in place for this type of emergency. They go into lockdown. No one enters or leaves. Schools and universities do the some thing."

Meaders said with the CRASE instruction also goes ADD (Avoid, Deny and Defend.) He said to avoid being a target is where to start, deny entrance to a person who seems to want to do harm and defend yourself.

"All of this goes together," Rich said. "There needs to be a plan. Always be aware of where the exits are, be aware of your surroundings. We want you as a live witness."

Rich said those looking to do harm are always looking for soft targets, places that they think will be easy. They look for places where there people who carry guns don't frequent.

"We are awaiting response from the community to start offering CRASE and ADD," Meaders said. "We are woking hard to promote trust in the community. We hope there will be a lot of people who are interested in learning what to do if faced with an active shooter situation."

Rich said this is evidence based training. She said when people are prepared and trained to react in an emergency circumstance they have a better chance to escape injury.

"We don't want people to be frightened to go to church or other places in the community," Rich said. "But we do want the public to be aware that bad things do happen. As police officers we are trained to have a mindset not to die. We don't want our community to be victims, we want our community to be ready to defend itself.”

For more information about CRASE and ADD training call the WPPD 662-494-1244.