Police teach civilians to ‘avoid, deny, defend’ in active shooter response classes

Posted at 9:44 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 22:24:26-04

WEST OLIVE, Mich.-- The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office is offering courses for civilians to learn how to best respond during an active shooter situation.

The 'CRASE' course, which stands for Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events, has been in high demand, according to Sergeant Chris Koster, as mass shootings and the threats of shootings become more common in schools and public places.

“A lot of them are just seeing what’s going on in the world and in the country as far as the active attack events that have happened and are continuing to happen and I think a lot of them don’t want that helpless feeling," Sergeant Koster says.

On Monday evening, Sergeant Koster says it was the second course he'd taught within a week.

The class deters people from misconceptions like playing dead for an attacker. Instead, Sergeant Koster encourages people to use the 'A.D.D.' strategy, which stands for avoid, deny and defend.

First, Sergeant Koster says to "avoid" the situation by trying to get out of the building or area as quickly as possible.

"If you can’t, find a place where you can deny them the access to you, whether it’s a closed door that’s locked, then you barricade stuff against the door," Sergeant Koster says. "Shut the door somehow and latch it so it can’t be opened. If that’s not a possibility, then we encourage people to prepare to defend themselves against harm.”

When defending themselves, Sergeant Koster encourages people to get creative.

“Your imagination is your limitation on weapons," he says. "I mean, everybody thinks of the common weapons, the knives, the guns, the baseball bat, if you will but you can use other things as weapons to arm yourself and defend yourself.”

The course also educates people on the steps officers take to deescalate a fatal situation.

“Our priority to work is to stop the killing first," Sergeant Koster says. "So our officers are trained to arrive and go right in and try to find the threat and to try and stop that threat by whatever means are necessary to stop the threat.”

CRASE courses are taught at the West Olive Filmore complex and are open to anyone 18 years of age or older.

To find the next CRASE course, click here.