Hanover Police Department introduces active shooter training

by Rachel Pakianathan | 2/23/18 2:05am

The Hanover Police Department will now offer a free course designed to teach strategies and guidelines for surviving in an active shooter event to local businesses and organizations. The “Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events” course was developed by the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University to teach the center’s “Avoid, Deny, Defend” strategy.

According to ALERRT’s ADD website, the ADD strategy involves avoiding the threat by moving away as quickly as possible, denying the threat by creating barriers and being prepared to defend yourself if the “avoid” and”deny” methods fail.

CRASE’s curriculum was developed by examining what has and has not been effective in past responses to active shooter events, according to Hanover Police captain Mark Bodanza.

“Law enforcement has been trained to be able to go out and teach these classes throughout the country,” he said. “The course exposes people to the reality of where active shooter events happen statistically, the profile of what an active shooter looks like and ways to protect themselves if in fact something happened.”

Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said the ultimate purpose of the course is to increase the chance of survival for those that find themselves in an active shooter event.

“This is real life,” Dennis said. “These events are happening, so it’s all about what can we do and what tools can we give you that may help you survive if you find yourself in such an event.”

He added that civilians must often make quick decisions before law enforcement arrives, since most active shooter events last less than five minutes. The course, Dennis said, is about helping people understand how their brains react to trauma and stress and training them to think about their options and exit strategies.

“Many times, including the [recent Parkland, Florida school shooting], the shooting event was over by the time law enforcement arrived, so we’re trying to give you some pre-planned response options that the CRASE program is built on,” he said.

Bodanza said he hopes the course will encourage individuals to have discussions with their peers and families about entering situations with more awareness of their surroundings.

“When [civilians go] to a hockey game or a movie theater, they’re looking for the exits, or if they’re at an event, they’re thinking of the ‘What if?’” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we have come to that point in society of thinking, ‘What if it happens?’”

Three members of the Hanover Police Department were trained to teach the course last year. The department has been rolling out the CRASE course in the community for the past six months, according to Dennis. He said there is no intended end date for the program.

“As long as we see events like this occurring in our country, we want to provide the training that may save someone’s life,” he said. “Since the press release went out [on Feb. 15], we’ve had about six or seven groups or businesses that have contacted us.”

He said the groups requesting the course have included banks, retirement centers, churches, schools, nonprofit organizations, a construction company and several individuals.

Interim director of Safety and Security Keysi Montás expressed support for the CRASE course and encouraged those interested to take part in the training.

“It’s a general approach course; anybody can take advantage of [CRASE] because it’s great information,” he said. “We do collaborate in our response [to active shooter events] with Hanover Police. But we provide joint training with them that is also site-specific and college-oriented.”

Bodanza and Dennis both said that they would be interested in teaching the course at Dartmouth if asked.

“If there’s an association, a group, or if there’s a particular community within Dartmouth that’s interested in hosting, then we would entertain the idea of collaborating with Dartmouth or the entities to be able to bring in to the College,” Dennis said.