, Port Arthur, Texas

Top Stories

June 14, 2013

Officers taught to ‘charge, charge, charge’ at Active Shooter Training

HAMSHIRE — The role of local law enforcement drastically changed after two teenage boys walked into Columbine High School in Littletown, Colo., and opened fire in 1999. Though local police arrived quickly, they waited nearly 45 minutes for the “elite” police team to assemble and go through the school.

In that time frame, 10 people were shot and killed, while one teacher bled to death. Thirteen victims died that day.

Whereas police officers had little, if any, training with hostages and active shooters in populated areas like schools before that instance, they are now provided access to classes that will teach them methods of handling and disabling an active shooter.

Many have called it a “shoot first” technique, but there’s much more planning, teamwork and communication that goes into it.

Several Southeast Texas law enforcement agencies, including Port Arthur and Groves police departments, participated in an Advance Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training class at Hamshire-Fannett Middle School Thursday.

“We learned after Columbine,” said Jefferson County sheriff’s Deputy Rod Carroll. “The police showed up and waited for SWAT, and now police officers are trained to challenge and taken down attackers.”

The class of more than 20 seasoned officers was broken down into groups to carry out several different scenarios in the school hallways.

The officers wore bulletproof vests, masks, helmets and throat protection, and were armed with guns that contained colored soap pellet rounds. Though the bullets are designed to not cause major damage, they can still break skin and travel fast.

“They’re going really fast and they could take an eye out,” said Dave Austin,  a retired Austin police officer and ALERRT instructor, who helped lead the groups Thursday.

“We’re safe and want no injuries,” Austin said, referring to why all roles are usually filled by officers, even nonshooter and nonpolice roles. “We want as much control over what’s going on while letting the officers go through the scenario.”

A grant from the federal government is put aside for law enforcement officials to get trained for an active shooter, Austin said. They usually set up in a school, which has long hallways and large doorways to give the officers a real sense of what could happen.

During one scenario, a group of five officers were given a prompt that an armed gunman was seen entering the school by parents in the carpool lane and front-desk workers. No shots had been fired yet, according to the prompt.

The men donned their gear and holsters and walked strategically through the hallways before locating the four suspects and shooting at them precisely.

A masked roleplayer ran past the officers who all had their weapons raised, ready for any surprises. They took down the suspect and rushed into a classroom with multiple “students” and a teacher lay on the ground with wounds.

Though each role player (shooter, officer and student) was wearing protective headgear, the situation had a sense of reality — from the planetary orbs hanging from the ceiling to the Hamshire-Fannett Longhorn painted on the wall.

Mike Carroll, an ALERRT instructor, commended the group for their constant communication and calmness during the situation.

“You took care of the threat down the hall, put the suspect down and pumped the brakes like you were supposed to,” Mike Carroll said. “There was constant communication and you slowed things down — you did a great job.”

Rod Carroll said that he is happy to report that there are not many situations where Active Shooter training will come in handy in Southeast Texas.

“However, fail to plan and plan to fail,” Rod Carroll said. “The methodology they use in this class is not what normal patrolmen use on a daily basis.”

He said that after Columbine, officers were taught to “charge, charge, charge” to save lives faster and more efficiently. Unfortunately, these reactionary techniques have come into play several times recently with the school attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. and the shooting at Santa Monica College earlier this month.

Southeast Texas has been lucky, Rod Carroll said, but it’s best to be prepared.


Twitter: @julesbmt


Text Only
Top Stories
  • FireHFONLINE.jpg Hamshire-Fannett Elem badly burned

    With smoke still hanging in the air and water blasting hot spots in the smoldering ruins of Hamshire-Fannett Elementary School, the administration and parents of hundreds students are left wondering what’s next.

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 86th Academy Awards -_Edge.jpg ’12 Years a Slave’ rises up at Academy Awards

    Perhaps atoning for past sins, Hollywood named the brutal, unshrinking historical drama “12 Years a Slave” best picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards.
    Steve McQueen’s slavery odyssey, based on Solomon Northup’s 1853 memoir, has been hailed as a landmark corrective to the movie industry’s virtual blindness to slavery, instead creating whiter tales like 1940 best-picture winner “Gone With the Wind.” “12 Years a Slave” is the first best-picture winner directed by a black filmmaker.

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obit Shirley Temple_Edge.jpg Shirley Temple, iconic child star, dies at 85

    Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, has died, according to publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.

    February 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Winter.jpg Freezing rain, sleet Thursday into Friday

    Wicked winter weather is heading to Southeast Texas Thursday night into Friday.
    An arctic cold front will be passing through bringing along with it much colder and windier conditions, according to a National Weather Service press release.

    January 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Oscar Nominations_Cowl.jpg ‘Hustle,’ ’Gravity’ lead Oscar nominations

    The Academy Awards appear to be the three-horse race many expected it would be, with “Gravity,” “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” all receiving a heap of nominations. All were among the nine films nominated for best picture. The other nominees are “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Philomena.”

    January 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wendy Davis.jpg Wendy Davis tours Port of Beaumont

    State Sen. Wendy Davis burst onto the national political stage in June, when she spent 11 hours filibustering in an attempt to block Senate Bill 5, a contentious piece of legislation that banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and required abortion clinics to meet the same standards as an ambulatory surgical center. Although the bill passed the next month during a special session called by Gov. Rick Perry, Davis breathed new life into a Texas Democratic Party that last saw an official elected to statewide office in 1994.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Jack-knife trailer.jpg Jack-knifed trailer snarls traffic, closes Rainbow Bridge

    October 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • fall.jpg UPDATED — Where to go: Fall Fests, Trunk R Treats and Pumpkin Patches

    If you're looking for a place to bring the kids trick or treating, or maybe looking for a great patch to grab a pumpkin here is a list of events planned around the area.

    October 28, 2013 1 Photo

  • IMG_9345.jpg Overturned 18-wheeler shuts down portion of Hwy 73

    The portion of Highway 73 traveling eastbound at U.S. Highway 69 will be blocked for two to three hours due to an overturned 18-wheeler. Motorists should take an alternate route to avoid the area.
    The Port Arthur Police Department is on scene and investigating the accident. No further details are known at this time.

    September 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • AwaitingArrival.jpg Streets lined to pay respects to Maddox

    Motorcyclists, Coast Guard and members of the Hamshire-Fannett Fire Department along with the public are gathered at Jack Brooks Regional Airport to pay tribute to fallen soldier Anthony Maddox.

    August 2, 2013 2 Photos

Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Sports Tweets