Saratoga County deputies host ac­tive-shooter train­ing

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Post [email protected]­i­tal­first­media.com

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. >> Deputies from the Saratoga County Sher­iff’s Of­fice pre­pared peo­ple Tues­day for a sit­u­a­tion they hope never hap­pens.

An ac­tive-shooter drill at Clifton Park-Half­moon Pub­lic Li­brary taught staff and pa­trons alike valu­able lessons about how to sur­vive such life-and-death in­ci­dents.

When a cri­sis oc­curs, peo­ple should know how to re­act be­cause there’s no time to ask: “What now?”

“You’ve got to have a plan,” Deputy Ken Cooper said. “Don’t [wait] for an in­ci­dent to hap­pen.”

He and deputies Ryan Ma­han and Austin Brooks are cer­ti­fied ac­tive-shooter in­struc­tors and have all taken the Civil­ian Re­sponse to Ac­tive Shooter Events (CRASE) course. All three are school li­aisons who teach sim­i­lar lessons to kids through­out the county.

They were joined Tues­day by sher­iff’s In­ves­ti­ga­tor Court­ney Sal­away,

This marks the sec­ond time an ac­tive-shooter drill has been held at Clif-

"The best way to sur­vive an ac­tive-shooter event is to pre­pare for one." — Deputy Ken Cooper

ton Park-Half­moon Pub­lic Li­brary.

On Mon­day evening, about three dozen peo­ple at­tended an hour-long train­ing ses­sion. Tues­day’s drill gave peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to put those lessons into prac­tice.

First, at any pub­lic venue, of­fi­cials said peo­ple should know where the ex­its are. In short, be aware of the sur­round­ings.

“It doesn’t have to be an ac­tive-shooter event,” Cooper said. “It could be a fire.”

If some­thing does hap­pen, of­fi­cials said try to flee the scene and seek cover in a tree line or be­hind another build­ing.

If this isn’t pos­si­ble, of­fi­cials said peo­ple should lock them­selves in­side a room, or bar­ri­cade it with chairs and tables if it can’t be locked. Once in­side, don’t hide in a cor­ner. Stay near the door. This way, if an in­truder tries to break in, peo­ple in­side can at least try to con­front the at­tacker in­stead of be­ing trapped help­lessly in a cor­ner.

“That’s the last re­sort,” Cooper said.

Sim­i­lar train­ing pro­grams have been held at area med­i­cal fa­cil­i­ties and churches. Plans call for hav­ing one soon, just for staff, at Corinth High School.

“It’s very im­por­tant that we did this,” li­brary em­ployee Jen­nifer Staude said. “It brings to peo­ple’s at­ten­tion what they should do if there is an ac­tive shooter. It could hap­pen any­place.”

Some em­ploy­ees, un­able to reach an exit or locked room, con­cealed them­selves be­neath desks and be­hind chairs.

“It’s in­valu­able and very im­por­tant for peo­ple to get this kind of ed­u­ca­tion in this day and age,” said li­brary Di­rec­tor Alexan­dra Gutelius.

Af­ter head­ing up­stairs, Deputy Brooks went from room to room, mak­ing sure each door was locked. Once peo­ple get in­side, they shouldn’t leave un­der any cir­cum­stances un­til po­lice come to get them out, he said.

“If some­one slides iden­ti­fi­ca­tion un­der the door that says Of­fi­cer Brooks, don’t open it be­cause he might have taken it from me,” Brooks said.

Upon en­ter­ing an un­locked room, he an­nounced him­self as a po­lice of­fi­cer to pre­vent a po­ten­tial at­tack from some­one in­side.

Af­ter the drill, li­brary staff and pa­trons gath­ered near the cir­cu­la­tion desk for a brief cri­tique to dis­cuss how things went.

Brooks said he no­ticed a cou­ple of peo­ple reach for per­sonal be­long­ings be­fore start­ing to flee the scene or head­ing for cover. This is a mis­take be­cause it could take pre­cious sec­onds that make the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death, he said.

“Get out or get se­cured,” Brooks said.

Cooper pointed out how quiet the li­brary was once the drill be­gan. The les­son is that peo­ple should si­lence their cell phones as soon as pos­si­ble to keep from giv­ing away their lo­ca­tion.

“You want peo­ple to leave the train­ing em­pow­ered and ca­pa­ble of sur­viv­ing,” he said. “The best way to sur­vive an ac­tiveshooter event is to pre­pare for one.”


Deputy Austin Brooks checks to see if an up­stairs room is se­cured dur­ing an ac­tive-shooter drill at Clifton Park-Half­moon Pub­lic Li­brary on Tues­day.


Li­brary Di­rec­tor Alexan­dra Gutelius, left, and Deputy Austin Brooks, right, dis­cuss safety pro­ce­dures dur­ing a Tues­day drill.


Deputy Ken Cooper, right, cri­tiques an ac­tive-shooter drill with staff and pa­trons at Clifton Park-Half­moon Li­brary on Tues­day.

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