Advice from the OK City Police Department
Tracy Cinocca recently attended a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Course during a Tulsa County Bar Family Law Business Meeting at the OSU Tulsa Center. The speakers were from the Oklahoma City Police Department and gave a presentation titled: Active Shooter, Personal Safety and Domestic Abuse Issues. This blog highlights some of the information from this presentation we found to be particularly insightful.
*The information in this blog is to be considered thought provoking; your business or school should have policies in place in the event of a critical incident which are to be followed.*
An Active Shooter can be domestic related, work related, school related, emotionally disturbed, and/or a terrorist. Within domestic abuse the dynamic is often such that the victim is paralyzed with fear. The abuser threatens with “if you tell anyone I’ll….” and uses the in-house abuse to find power and control. While domestic abuse can be threatening and intimidating, involving a third party such as a friend, police, or attorney, causes the abuser to lose some control and power. (Paraphrased from Oklahoma City Police Department’s Active Shooter, Personal Safety and Domestic Abuse Issues presentation slides). Consider the progression to violence, by example, in this way:
The most notable recent workplace violence outbursts in Oklahoma did not involve a gun. In September of 2014 Alton Nolen, a disgruntled Vaughan Foods’ employee in Moore, OK, beheaded one women and stabbed another. It was after he began stabbing his second victim the company’s CEO shot Nolen, putting an end to his workplace violence attack (Keneally 2014; Perez-Pena & Schmidt 2014). Thankfully, a gun was on the premises for safety or both women would have died. An active shooter could refer to any person ready willing and able to use violence to harm others.
Prepare for confrontation: The police department recommends you portray “yourself as an undesirable target or cause the predator to pause by the way you look and act” (Oklahoma City Police Department’s Active Shooter, Personal Safety and Domestic Abuse Issues presentation slide 13). Off duty police officers are rarely a target of a crime, so mimic one: imitate their stance and posture, give off a command bearing presence, even if you do not innately behave this way, you can learn it or act it if necessary. This is important, so here are some more details:
- Lean into aggression and stay on centerline: This is where your power is
- Good posture
- Walk with purpose
- Scan when walking
- Eye lock challenge
- Give the perpetrator the “look” (paraphrased from Oklahoma City Police Department’s Active Shooter, Personal Safety and Domestic Abuse Issues).
Active Shooter Guidelines: Depending on the situation at hand, your options for how to handle the active shooter will vary. It is best to remove yourself from the situation and contact local law enforcement for help if at all possible.
- Run: Escape and evade if the situation allows. Keep cover, avoid long halls, and run in a serpentine or zig sag motion.
- Hide: If you cannot remove yourself, seek shelter. Lock doors and barricade and look out for the fatal funnel. The fatal funnel is the range of vision a shooter has when he or she enters the room. For example, it would be best if you hid behind a door when he or she enters to not be in the “fatal funnel” line of sight.
- Fight: If cornered or the active shooter is chasing you and you cannot get away, consider attacking. This is a very personal decision and must be made uniquely to the individual! Utilize non-traditional weapons such as puncturing objects (ink pens), heavy objects (fire extinguishers, chairs), and chemical sprays (paper spray, perfume, cleaning agents). (Paraphrased from Oklahoma City Police Department’s Active Shooter, Personal Safety and Domestic Abuse Issues presentation slides).
In a critical incident you can get: Remember:
1. Tunnel vision 1. Slow your breathing
2. Quick and shallow breathing 2. Recall training and a crisis rehearsal plan
3. Lose fine motor coordination. 3. Under stress you will revert to your training
- Active shooter weaknesses: when they reload the weapon, opens doors or rounds corners, and coordinated group attacks- these are prime times to make an attack.
- Maintain a Winning Mind! You are worthy, you may get hurt or wounded, but you will survive, and never give up!
Police Response and What to Expect: The police will engage the shooter as quickly as possible, but until the shooter is stopped, police will not render first aid. It is possible that the officers will cuff, search, and debrief you as you leave. (Paraphrased from Oklahoma City Police Department’s Active Shooter, Personal Safety and Domestic Abuse Issues presentation slides).
This information was provided to us by the Oklahoma City Police Department during a Family Law Business Meeting Continuing Legal Education Course titled: Active Shooter, Personal Safety and Domestic Abuse Issues.
Meghan Keneally. (2014). Fired Oklahoma Food Plant Employee Beheads Woman, Attacks Another. ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/US/fired-oklahoma-food-plant-employee-beheads-woman-attacks/story?id=25780332
Richard Perez-Pena & Michael Schmidt. (2014). Women is Beheaded in Attack at Oklahoma Food Plant. NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/27/us/oklahoma-man-is-said-to-behead-co-worker.html?_r=0
Other excellent reads to motivate you to learn self defense include: