While an unpleasant thought, active shooter incidents are seemingly increasing in frequency and brutality, and that’s why Sylacauga Police Department is encouraging everyone to be prepared.
The department is hosting its first “Run, Hide, Fight” active shooter training course Sept. 26. The free class is open to the public and will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall, lasting no more than two hours. Lt. Rondell Muse and Sgt. Matt Emlich will instruct the class.
“It’s time we as a community become proactive about this and begin talking about it, training on it, and adopt a winning mindset,” Police Chief Chris Carden said. “I really hope we have a large turnout. I, along with the rest of the department, am passionate about protecting the community and each other. We do not have to sit idly by and hope this doesn’t happen here. Let’s get ready now in case it does.”
Eight Sylacauga police officers, along with officers from Talladega Police and Talladega County Sheriff’s Office, were certified to instruct the course this summer. An initiative of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security, the “Run, Hide, Fight” curriculum suggests best practices in the event of an active shooter.
“The concept is a common sense approach,” Carden said. “It all boils down to the basic concept of fight or flight. Generally, active shooter situations are very short in duration. Law enforcement typically arrives within a matter of minutes, so if you can mitigate your situation for just a few minutes, your chances of survival increase drastically.”
The public training is a natural progression from active shooter training that is now required for law enforcement officials, Carden said. While it is admittedly not a fix-all approach, the more people that are informed and prepared, the better.
“God forbid it ever happens here, but even if ‘Run, Hide, Fight’ just saves one life, or if one person in a shooter situation has had the training and can lead others out of harm’s way or call police and give us good, detailed information, then it has accomplished what it is intended for,” Carden said.
In addition to the public course, law enforcement in the area continues to offer the training to individual businesses upon request. Carden said they have been slow to receive inquiries from Sylacauga businesses, but he is hopeful the public course will increase interest.
“We’re giving this free of charge, a tool to business owners and managers,” he said. “We’re giving you a resource to protect your employees. Why would any organization not take advantage of it?”
Police are available to make an on-site visit to businesses or groups of any size or type to conduct the course. They are flexible to meet different schedules and “will completely meet the needs of the public on this issue,” Carden said.
For information about “Run, Hide, Fight,” contact the Sylacauga Police administration at 256-401-2439 or visit the department’s Facebook page.