Mass casualty training takes on different forms

Steve Smith
ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 3/29/21

Preparing for incidents such as the mass-casualty one in Boulder March 22 is a part of the routine for law enforcement agencies.  Ten people died when a gunman walked into a King Soopers store near …

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Mass casualty training takes on different forms

Posted

Preparing for incidents such as the mass-casualty one in Boulder March 22 is a part of the routine for law enforcement agencies. 

Ten people died when a gunman walked into a King Soopers store near the University of Colorado campus and opened fire. One of the victims was a police officer who’d been on the Boulder force for 10 years. 

Weld County 

Weld County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Joe Moylan said deputies do several things for active shooter incidents and critical incidents with mass casualties. One is an annual exercise that involves other county law enforcement agencies as well as fire and ambulance crews. 

“Most of our instructors in the training division are certified in one or several disciplines offered through ALERRT, which stands for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training,” Moylan said. “ALERRT is a national organization that essentially provides trainings to instructors. They have active shooter trainings geared toward law enforcement, fire, EMS and for the public, to name a few.” 

Instructors have certification for the law enforcement course. Moylan said that means they can teach active shooter response principles to other peace officers. 

“We have another deputy who is certified in the civilian course,” Moylan said. “For the last five to six years, he’s been providing active shooter training to employees of all of our other county departments. He also has worked with some of the local schools and churches.” 

Moylan added that schools and churches ask for the training. The department sets up a one- or two-day seminar. 

“Everyone, before they hit the streets, is run through some type of active shooter or critical incident training at our in-house (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Academy. It’s a topic that also comes up regularly during our advanced officer trainings,” Moylan said.

“Deputies go through AOT every two weeks. We also have active shooter scenarios we can run deputies through on our simulator.” 

Adams County

Adams County sheriff’s deputies train for mass-casualty incidents “as best we can,” according to spokesman Sgt. Adam Sherman. 

“In the past and when various schedules allow, we have done multi-jurisdictional training to incorporate various law enforcement agencies, Fire, EMS (at times we have had Flight For Life join the training scenario), etc., to hopefully make communication and completion of tasks/needs more fluid,” he said. “Unfortunately, it takes a lot of work to schedule these types of training.”  

Sherman brought such training to a narrower level. 

“I know here at the sheriff’s office we train for active shooters in our training academy, in-service training with deputies and collaborate when we can with our local fire/EMS crews,” he said. “But there is no ‘textbook’ training for these mass incidents, unfortunately, because as a law enforcement community we are always learning, assessing, and applying lessons from previous incidents.” 

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