By Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police receive special training to respond to incidents like the theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado.
Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan with the Philadelphia Police Department explained, “Preparation for an ‘active shooter’ is something the department engages in everyday. The officers on patrol have received special training in how to respond to an active shooter. They must take immediate action to end the gunfire, they must go immediately to the sound of gunfire and they must negate the gunfire and neutralize it.”
Their goal is to be ready when emergency calls and part of that training is to educate the public.
Police say it only takes a few seconds for someone motivated and heavily armed to kill and injure a large number of people.
“You should always be very aware of your environment in case of any type of an emergency. You should always be thinking to yourself, ‘How would I get out of this environment? What’s the closest exit, what’s the safest way out?’” Sullivan said.
If running for safety is not possible, Sullivan recommends that you seek shelter and call 911.
“Let the police know where you are, what you hear, what you see so we know the immediate danger and we’ll give you the specific instructions,” Sullivan explained.
A local example that is similar to the theater massacre, according to Sullivan is the Kraft Foods Shooting. It happened in September, 2010. About 100 workers were inside the building, when police say a suspended worker stormed in and started shooting. Two people were killed and a third person was injured.
Sullivan said, “That is an example of an active shooter where employees responded perfectly. Everyone ran the best that they could.
They went into a side room, turned the lights out, locked the door, kept themselves perfectly quiet, notified the police that they were there, police were able to give them instructions and then at that point, we initiated a rescue. That’s an example of what we’re recommending people to do.”
We are told what happened in Aurora is an execution of a carefully thought-out plan. It remains to be seen if the tragedy could have been prevented, but Sullivan says, everyday we need to be watchful of those closest around us for things like sudden change in behavior.
Sullivan concluded, “If it causes you to take pause and say, ‘That’s unusual, that scares me,’ it merits a call to the police immediately.”