Attendees to the 2019 MACo Summer Conference learned how to survive an active shooter situation during the “Active Shooter Response Training” panel on August 17.
Harford County Sheriff’s Office Sniper Section Coordinator and Deputy First Class Thomas Wehrle conducted the class and defined an “active shooter situation” as when an individual is actively engaged in killing and is not when the shooter is dead, not killing, or barricaded. Most active shooter incidents are over in 3-4 minutes, before police can arrive. Werhle noted that it is rare in the United States for an active shooter to take hostages.
Wehrle outlined three key options in an active shooter situation:
- Run: Running the option you should take in 99% of the situations as moving targets are harder to hit and you are less likely to take a lethal shot.
- Hide: You should only hide if you have a “rock solid” hiding place or have intelligence on the location of the shooter.
- Fight: Fighting is a last resort and should only be done when your life is in imminent danger.
Wehrle warned that you should always be doing one of the three options and should never get stuck in “neutral.”
Wehrle also discussed the importance of situational awareness, profiling for certain warning indicators, and understanding how police will respond to an active shooter situation.
Charles County Commissioner Amanda Stewart moderated the panel.