WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Macomb Police Offer Active Shooter Response Training

Feb 17, 2016

The mass shooting in San Bernardino, California in December led to a national conversation about workplace safety.  Business owners in Macomb who want to provide training to their employees on how to respond in such a situation can now go through the Macomb Police Department.

ALICE training stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. Macomb Police Officer Derek Wiley became certified in the ALICE method late last fall along with a couple of his fellow officers. 

He said they learned that doing anything is better than doing nothing. "In the past everybody has just ducked and hid so it’s an easy target, but if you’ve got people up and running they can’t pinpoint who they want to go after."

That was demonstrated by two scenarios they completed during the certification class. The first was a typical lockdown. Someone was given an airsoft gun and managed to shoot almost everyone who hid during the drill. 

But in the second simulation, the participants were told to run, hide, scream, and throw things as they made their way toward an exit. Wiley said he was shot at six times and hit once in the knee.

"I can survive being shot in the knee, but ducking or hiding and being shot in the chest, head or something like that, you can’t live through," he said.

The ALICE training also teaches that if you can't escape, try to counter the attack. “That’s not saying you’ve got fight back. But it might just be yelling because a loud noise might throw somebody off or throwing objects, whatever you have in the room, just doing anything at all to throw this guy’s mindset off."

Wiley believes this type of training might discourage workplace violence because an employee knows there will be a strong response from co-workers.  And he said workplaces should not have a specific plan -- a potential attacker shouldn't know how the response will unfold exactly, but rather that it will be chaotic.

"When you have someone you know come into a building and try to do something like this. A lot of times if you call them out by name and start disseminating that information to people throughout the building. That's a mental thing they will have to overcome and say, 'Oh man, these people know who I am and they know who to be looking for.' And that may not be something they are mentally prepared for."

The ALICE training is provided free of charge by the police department. Wiley said training can range from a brief presentation to an instructional class lasting several hours and including practice scenarios.