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Marching to the Sound of Gunshots: Virginia Tech Incident Puts Emphasis on Active Shooter Response

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 34 Issue: 6 Dated: June 2007 Pages: 54-60,62,63
Ronnie Garrett
Date Published
June 2007
9 pages
This article describes the National Tactical Officers Association’s (NTOA’s) Immediate Action Rapid Deployment (IARD) training course designed to teach police officers how to respond to an active shooter.
“Active shooter” is the termed coined by law enforcement to describe an armed individual who has used deadly force and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims. The IARD training course teaches officers dispatched to active shooter scenes to first assess the danger and if the danger is imminent, officers are instructed to move toward the gunfire at a sustained pace to stop the active shooter. Once the shooter has been identified, officers may either disarm them if possible or kill them. The IARD protocol is much different from the protocol patrol officers have been taught in the past. Traditionally, officers called to the scene of an active shooting were taught to secure the perimeter and call for back-up, generally SWAT. However, following the Columbine school shootings, it became clear that active shooter scenarios required a far different response than emergencies of the past. The IARD can be applied to numerous settings and types of threats, such as in schools, churches, buildings, and shopping malls. IARD follows the incident command protocol, in which the first team at the scene oversees the crime scene operations. Contact information is presented to learn more about the training course, which costs $666 for NTOA members and $706 for non-members. Exhibits