How Active Shooter Protocol Has Changed Since Columbine

Active Shooter Training Photo Credit: KCNC
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Law enforcement officers responding to a shooting at Arapahoe High School Friday immediately initiated the Active Shooter Response Protocol that was developed after the Columbine High School massacre.

One of the key differences in the new protocol is that officers now immediately try to track down the suspect and eliminate the threat while keeping other students safe.

The school resource officer, who is specially trained to respond to an active shooter situation in the school, was the first one to initiate that protocol, said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson. Other responding officers did the same.

Ted Faul is one of the people who trains officers and deputies. He told KKTV sister station KCNC the training is as realistic as possible. Even if someone receives a minor injury during the training, it's used as a teaching opportunity.

“You can teach all day long but the best way and the most effective way is to put these people in the actual scenarios and let them see for themselves. Sometimes we make ourselves better by making mistakes,” Faul told KCNC.

In Colorado Springs, police spokeswoman Barbara Miller told 11 News every officer has been trained to respond to an active school shooter.

She said officers can download maps in their patrol car of any school in the district, giving them crucial information about the floor plan, and things like the location of stairwells and emergency exits.

That information is vital, Miller said, because police are often the first to arrive at the scene and will take immediate action to save lives, rather than waiting for the SWAT team to arrive.

She said even after officers find a shooter, they will methodically search every room in the building until they are sure there is not a second or third suspect.