BCSO active shooter course aims to prevent tragic events

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

A mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017 resulted in 58 deaths and more than 500 people injured. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, targeted musical festivalgoers from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay hotel (pictured). Photo by Glen Sapienza

A mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017 resulted in 58 deaths and more than 500 people injured. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, targeted musical festivalgoers from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay hotel (pictured). Photo by Glen Sapienza

BURNET — The Burnet County Sheriff’s Office will take aim at potential active shooter situations with a course focused on how to respond and stay safe during these violent events, which sometimes result in mass casualties.

BCSO personnel with expertise in the field will present Civilian Response to an Active Shooter from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8, in the auditorium at Marble Falls High School, 2101 Mustang Drive.

Although the event is open to the public, presenters are encouraging groups and leaders from churches, volunteer organizations, and government entities to attend.

“We reach out specifically to that target audience of people who want to have contingency plans ahead of time (and) who have the responsibility for schools and church groups,” BCSO Capt. Tom Dillard said. “You can review headlines over the past few years and see why this is something important.

“As we learn painfully, those who would do harm and want to cause mass casualties have found ways to do it,” Dillard added.

In the past two years, authorities nationwide reported an apparent spike in mass shootings, including in June 2016 at a nightclub in Florida during which 49 people died and 58 were wounded; in October 2017 in Las Vegas that resulted in 58 deaths and more than 500 people injured; and in November 2017 in Sutherland, Texas, when 27 people were killed and 20 injured after a gunman opened fire in a church.

“We get these questions all the time, ‘What should we do?,’ ‘What should my church do?,’ ‘What should we do if we’re at a sporting event?’” Dillard said. “This course has good information for John Q. (Public). …”

“It’s more general information about how to protect yourselves and your loved ones when something like this happens,” he added.

BCSO Deputy Tracy Weems, who specializes in the tactical knowledge, response, and prevention regarding such events, is scheduled to conduct the course.

“There seems to be a demand for this type of information,” Dillard said. “We’re fortunate we’re in the position to deliver that with some expert instructors like Deputy Weems to help disseminate information.”

The presentation will be conducted in the first hour and followed by an hour-long question-and-answer session.

To find out more, call the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office at (512) 756-8080.

connie@thepicayune.com

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