The Union Recorder

October 31, 2013

VIDEO: State troopers train for active shooter response

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Central State Hospital provided Georgia State Patrol (GSP) troopers a venue for Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) this week.

The program uses dynamic, scenario-based courses to train state and local law enforcement on how to effectively and safely respond to active shooter events. Troopers worked active shooter scenarios based on theoretical reports of unconfirmed shots fired at a school.

Rearguard ambushes, mass exodus with the bad guy mixed in and a hostage situation were a few of the live action tests. 

In two days of ALERRT classroom and tactical activity, troopers hammered through shooting and moving, threshold evaluation, concepts and principles of team movement, room entry techniques, approach and breaching the crisis site, rescue team tactics, improvised explosive devices and post-engagement priorities. 

Sgt. MacKay Bloodworth of Milledgeville’s Post 33 outfit serves as the lead training officer.

Bloodworth visited Texas State University’s ALERRT Center to perfect techniques brought back to benefit area troopers’ readiness.

“It’s designed to get everyone across the country on the same page in response to an active shooter,” Bloodworth said. 

Troop E officers hailing from Baldwin, Columbia, Elbert, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Jones, Lincoln, Putnam, McDuffie, Morgan, Newton, Oglethorpe, Richmond, Rockdale, Taliaferro, Walton, Warren, Washington and Wilkes counties will all be active shooter ready.

“We’ll rotate everybody through this two-day class. By the end of the year, every trooper in this area and statewide will have the class,” Bloodworth said.

The ALERRT Center at Texas State University was created in 2002 as a partnership between the university, the San Marcos Police Department and the Hays County Sheriff’s Office to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders, according to the center’s website. Developed after the tragedy at Columbine High School, the curriculum became the national standard in active shooter response training.  

Using more than $27 million in state and federal grant funding in the last 11 years, the ALERRT Center has trained more than 40,000 police officers nationwide in dynamic, force-on-force scenario-based training, according to the website ALERRT.org.

Using the train-the-trainer model, the ALERRT Center at Texas State University’s curriculum has been adopted by numerous states and agencies as their standard active shooter training, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently announced ALERRT as its national training standard for active shooter response. 

Troop E Commander Capt. Allen Marlowe said Bloodworth deserves a pat on the back for organizing the ALERRT program.

“I’ve really got to give (Bloodworth) credit for setting this up,” Marlowe said. “We’ve got approximately 45 troopers and 30 motor carrier officers going through it.”

The Troop E Commander said the active scenarios add value to the trooper experience.

“This is about our third round of it. Every time we do it we get new tactics and ideas,” Marlowe said. “We want everybody to have a take away and go through the lessons learned. The instructors do it in a positive way, so that when it comes to a real life scenario, we’ll fall back on this training.”

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) agency funds Texas State University’s ALERRT Center’s active shooter program.

After recent school shooting tragedies, BJA and ALERRT received an increased demand for active shooter response training. To address the increased demand, BJA and the FBI partnered to expedite and increase the delivery of the Basic Active Shooter Level I training, through ALERRT, to state and local law enforcement throughout the nation, according to the website BJA.gov.

First responders like GSP will be the first on the scene of an active shooter event. 

No longer do first responders set up a perimeter and wait for their specialized units to respond. According to the ALERRT program, the first wave must immediately run to the danger to neutralize the threat thereby reducing the chance of innocent casualties.

“Heaven forbid we ever have one, but if we do, we want to be ready. The good thing about the Milledgeville Post is that it’s right next to the school complex, so we’d have a very good response time,” Marlowe said. “We are a support agency. We want to serve the community in better ways, not just writing a traffic ticket. We want to help in a crisis like this.”

VIDEO: GSP troopers work active shooter scenarios:

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