AUSTIN, Texas — A law enforcement training facility based in San Marcos is helping officers and civilians respond to active shooter situations. The program also shows civilians what they should do during active shooter attacks.
At the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center (ALERRT) at Texas State University, the Hays County Sheriff's Academy spent the day practicing their shooting for when the call comes to take down an active shooter.
“Basically what we do is we’re trying to provide the best research-based active attack training in the country," ALERRT Assistant Director, John Curnutt said.
The program started right after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. ALERRT was granted state funding to begin developing a curriculum to train first responders on active shooter response training throughout the state.
Many law enforcement officers were on the ground in Uvalde, Texas Tuesday trying to stop a gunman on a shooting spree. Curnutt teaches law enforcement how to respond to active attacks, but he's also helping civilians learn how to react.
"If you can’t get out or get away, then you try to keep them out or keep them away by closing, locking, and barricading doors. We try to remind people not only do you have the right to defend yourself but you need to have the ability to defend yourself,” Curnutt said.
At the ALERRT Training Facility first responders use scenario-focused training to recreate a real-life event. They have staged classrooms that are used to simulate incidents like what happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
"We’re trying to train police officers and paramedics in a community in a packaged civilian response presentation and a stop the bleed presentation so they can go into their communities and teach their people what they want them to know,” he said.
ALERRT is in the process of creating a new curriculum to help prepare students by partnering with the Texas School Safety Center to build out an age-appropriate program. The program helps teachers and students learn how to avoid the attacker, deny the attacker access, and defend themselves. The curriculum will also help teach first-aid and trauma care.
"It's frustrating that we live in a world where people do this to each other. Our job is to wrap our minds around it to train people to mitigate the chances of it happening or the chances of it negatively impacting them when it does happen," Curnutt said.