Auburn Hills Police Teach Active Shooter Defense to Residents

Auburn Hills Police Teach Active Shooter Defense to Residents

(Sam Gurwin, Feb. 23, 2018)

Auburn Hills, MI – Since 2016 Officer Brian Miller of the Auburn Hills Police Department has been hosting trainings for the public on how to respond to an active shooter situation in their school or workplace.  Another training took place this week, with the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida still fresh on the minds of those who attended.

An Active Shooter Event is defined as “Attempted Mass Murder,” which Officer Miller said is “a truth of our modern times.” To fight this increasing type of crime, Auburn Hills Police started training people of all walks of life to survive these events.

Officer Miller also has been training students from Kindergarten to 12th grade- including staff. They train the school system in “ALICE.”  ALICE stands for “Alert, Lock-Down, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.”

This standard, says Miller, is the “same platform” used for training adults for workplace and public space attacks. “When you have victim-initiated mitigation you lower causality rates and that’s across the board” Millers said. “These programs won’t save everybody but they will lower casualty rates.”

“Avoid, Deny & Defend” is another process Miller suggested. It was chosen because “it is an active response versus a passive response.

Miller said “We don’t want people to flip into their brain and say ‘okay hide under a desk and be fine’ because the statistics show that you won’t be.”

.Avoiding if possible comes first trying to “avoid the threat” but if that isn’t possible “Deny Access” means not letting a shooter near you if possible. 75% of gunshot victims survive but in Active Shooter situations only 40% survive- because of this passive response. If you can’t avoid or deny, one must defend themselves, he said.

Miller stressed the following research-based points:

(1) Active response versus passive response
(2) You have the legal right to defend yourself
(3) Get away from “olden days” of locking yourself up

(1) Filling your “Toolbox” (knowing ways to deal with situation)- actions through knowledge
(2) Stages of Disaster: Denial and how to get through it quickly
(3) “Doing anything is better than nothing” says Miller
(4) “Script and Practice” learn techniques to make them second nature
(5) Combat Breathing/ Slow down and lower your heart-rate.
(6) Get away from your emotions.
(7) Know where the exits are
(8) Have situational awareness of your surroundings
(9) Most shootings at schools & businesses
(10) Victim-initiated mitigation reduces causality rates
(11) Try different exits and other routes (know where they are)
(12) You are allowed to break window- You are empowered
(13) Delay the Bad Guy- time matters as Authorities will come if trapped
(14) Throw any object at the Shooter- Be a hard target

Two major Social processes come into play and can help or hinder your decisions. Training in ADD helps to make quicker and more intelligent choices:

NORMALCY BIAS: Our brains take the easiest route. This training helps break during events.
SOCIAL PROOF: Following the social norms for signals as what is right may be a fatal mistake. Following a crowd to one doorway where egress is delayed can cost precious moments. Know this and take initiative.

There are three stages of Response: Denial, Deliberation & Decisive Moments. One must be aware of these caveats and react to them for the best outcome for survival.

(1) Denial: Shooter events happen. From 2000-2016, 179 events occurred. Don’t ignore alarms and evidence you see. Report weird things or bad behavior. Ask a Co-worker if weird behavior or signs show. Be pro-active.
(2) Deliberation: Realize something bad is happening and to react. Our brain goes into freeze mode and one must slow their heart rate. Script and practice these techniques.
(3) Decisive Moments: “Don’t do nothing”. Know where you are in a building so you can exit. Swarming or leaving as a group lowers shot rates in simulations. You have the legal right to survive.

Jim, Jamie and  Dan from Auburn Hills like the program. “I think it (the program) is wonderful” says Jamie. Jim thinks the program is “A necessity of the times”. He adds, “I think its good to have information on what to do. Hindsight is 20/20 and there is always regret after the fact”. Jim mentions his church doors are locked during services to prevent potential shooters from entering.

Pastor James of Auburn Hill’s Impact Church was in attendance with a few other clergymen from the area. “I think this program is great with all of the shootings occurring within churches and schools. I think it’s important we get some strategies & tools on how to keep our congregants & people safe”.

(1) Normal People can use these techniques- no special skills required
(2) Have an active response- “Don’t do nothing” as Miller says
(3) These are options- no size fits all. Size up the situation
(4) Do not hide unless there are “zero options”
(5) Your heart-rate & stressed thinking will go up- training & practice will make this stuff automatic
(6) Barricading does save lives
(7) Get tactically ready- Where Gunman coming from
(8) Fire Extinguishers- As a weapons and to break windows
(9) Interrupt the Shooters ability to pull the trigger- Thought-process/throw something
(10) Safety in number
(11) If you disarm the gunman do not hold gun- Police may think you are the Shooter
(12) Have medical supplies- tourniquet and such on the premises

For questions about upcoming trainings or other information, the Auburn Hills Police Department can be reached at:

1899 N Squirrel Rd
Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326
(248) 364-6850

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