BREWER, Maine — Local police and school departments are gearing up to host a two-day training program in August, which is designed to help prepare potential victims of school and workplace violence to be able to protect themselves until law enforcement officers arrive.
“This is really critical because it’s going to help businesses and schools together work on their internal processes for security,” Brewer police Lt. Chris Martin said this week.
June so far has been a deadly month for the nation’s schools and businesses, Martin noted.
On June 5, a man killed a Seattle Pacific University student and wounded two others in a shooting spree on the Washington State campus.
What has been described as an ambush shooting spree that began in a restaurant and ended in a Walmart on Sunday in Las Vegas left five people dead, including two police officers, the two shooters and a bystander.
“These things happen. They happen in all walks of business, a church, whether you’re a government entity, city hall, an elected official, a newspaper, a media outlet — they’re all subject to workplace violence,” Martin said.
That is why Martin is recommending the training not only to law enforcement officers but to school officials, business owners and managers, church and hospital officials, and members of fire departments and emergency dispatch services, among others.
With instruction provided by the National Tactical Officers Association, the course is set for Aug. 18-19 at Brewer Community School on Pendleton Street. The registration deadline is July 18, Martin said.
There is a fee for participating in the program. The rate for NTOA members and people who are not law enforcement officers is $168. For law enforcement officers who are not members, the cost is $223, which includes a one-year membership.
To register, go to http://ntoa.org/training_calender.php
or get a registration form by calling 1-800-279-9127, Ext.2.
According to a description provided by Martin, this is a special course for public safety, schools and business professionals dealing with select issues in preparing for and responding to incidents of mass violence.
“This is something that makes all of our targets harder and hard targets are not easy targets,” Martin said.
“These things are preventable. There hasn’t been a domestic mass shooting incident yet where there weren’t early warning signs,” he said.
“At some time after the event someone says, ‘I should’ve called the police’ or ‘I should have told somebody about this.’ And part of that is just educating the public, educating people on the signs to look for. Early intervention [can] prevent these things,” he said.
“If you look at the Seattle [school shooting], this is someone who was studying the Columbine events, who was making [social media] postings to people about killing intentions. And in hindsight, they’re looking back and saying, oh my goodness, we could have prevented this,” Martin said.
“So part of it is we raise awareness. We tell people what to look for in early intervention. Now, imagine if somebody had had the opportunity to intervene prior to this happening,” he said. “It might have changed the whole course.
“The bottom line is, we can decrease [workplace violence] through training. As officers, we are doing everything we can for preparedness on the police and the school side of this, but as far as the community goes we’re looking for partnerships,” he said.
The August training is one of three set for Brewer this summer.
In July, law enforcement officers will be involved in a five-day “train the trainer” course titled Multi-Assault, Counter Terrorism Action Capabilities, or MACTAC, focuses on firearms, interactive use of force and active shooter scenarios.
Instruction will be provided by the National Tactical Officers Association on July 21-25 at the Brewer Police Department.
Maine Emergency Management Agency has sponsored nine slots for that training to the tune of $9,000, Martin said. The condition is that those officers provide regional training sessions in their areas.
“With MEMA’s significant investment, that’s going to virtually guarantee opportunities for agencies to get their people trained for the next three years,” he said.
On Oct. 1-2, the Brewer Police Department is hosting the Critical Incident Command and Tactical Decision Making Course at its headquarters, Martin said. That program aims to enable patrol supervisors to make timely, lawful and tactically sound decisions in the face of critical incidents. Instruction for that program will be provided by Safariland Training Group.