VT police needed a plan...

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    VT police needed a plan...

    "State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller praised the officers' response time, noting that had police simply rushed into the building without a plan, many would have likely died right along with the staff and students. She said officers needed to assemble the proper team, clear the area and then break through the doors."

    Here's a plan: Go inside, find shooter, stop the slaughter.


    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070426/...8xck3PAFZH2ocA

    By KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press Writer
    2 hours, 55 minutes ago


    BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech gunman started his day of mayhem lurking outside a dormitory before 7 a.m. Moments later, he sneaked inside and shot his first two victims with two lethal rounds from a 9 mm pistol.

    The next wave of carnage involved much more firepower. Police said he unleashed 170 rounds on the classrooms of Norris Hall during a nine-minute rampage. Thirty people were killed in the building; more were wounded.

    During that spree, police spent three minutes rushing to the building and then about five minutes carrying out the complicated process of breaking through the building's doors, which Seung-Hui Cho had chained.

    A timeline of Cho's morning and the final moments of his life emerged Wednesday during a news conference by police who are still struggling to figure out why the 23-year-old student carried out the rampage.

    The five minutes police spent breaking into the building proved to be crucial as Cho moved through Norris Hall unimpeded, with police locked out.

    Authorities eventually blew their way into the building, and as they began to rush toward the gunfire on the second floor, Cho put a bullet through his head and died, surrounded by his victims.

    State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller praised the officers' response time, noting that had police simply rushed into the building without a plan, many would have likely died right along with the staff and students. She said officers needed to assemble the proper team, clear the area and then break through the doors.

    "If you go in with your backs turned, you're never going back," Geller said. "There's got to be some sort of organization."

    Some police and security experts question the five-minute delay, saying authorities should have charged straight into the melee.

    "You don't have time to wait," said Aaron Cohen, president of IMS Security of Los Angeles, who has trained SWAT teams around the country since 2003. "You don't have time to pre-plan a response. Even if you have a few guys, you go."

    After the Columbine massacre in 1999, police around the country adopted new policies for so-called "active shooters." Police would no longer respond to emergencies such as school shootings by surrounding a building and waiting for the SWAT team.

    Instead, the first four officers rush into the building and attempt to immediately end the threat. This system was used to end a 2003 school hostage standoff in Spokane, Wash.

    At Columbine, no officers entered the building until about 40 minutes after the first 911 call from the school. Critics have said that decision might have contributed to the death of a teacher who bled to death from gunshot wounds.

    Tom Corrigan, former member of a terrorism task force and a retired New York City detective, said five minutes seems like a long time when gunfire is being heard, but he added it's tough to second-guess officers in such a chaotic situation.

    "I would have liked to have seen them bust down the door, smash windows, go around to another door, do everything to get inside fast," he said. "But it's a tough call because these officers put their lives on the line on a daily basis and I am sure they did the best they could."

    Al Baker, a former 25-year veteran in the New York Police Department, echoed that sentiment, but said sometimes officers have to do whatever is necessary to enter a building — whether it's throwing a rock through a window or driving a car through the door. He said the crucial issue is ensuring that officers have the proper training and equipment.

    "This is a seminal moment for law enforcement as far as I'm concerned because it proves that minutes are critical," he said.

    State Police Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty, who is overseeing the investigative team looking at the shootings, said police have been unable to answer the case's most vexing questions: Why the spree began at the dormitory, and why 18-year-old freshman Emily Hilscher was the first victim.

    Witnesses place Cho outside the West Ambler Johnston dorm shortly before 7:15 a.m., when he fired the two shots that killed Hilscher and 22-year-old senior Ryan Clark, a resident assistant at the dorm, Flaherty said.

    It is not known how Cho got in.

    Police searched Hilscher's e-mails and phone records looking for a link. While Flaherty would not discuss exactly what police found, he said neither Cho's nor Hilscher's records have revealed a connection.

    "We certainly don't have any one motive that we are pursuing at this particular time, or that we have been able to pull together and formulate," Flaherty said. "It's frustrating because it's so personal, because we see the families and see the communities suffering, and we see they want answers."

    Virginia Tech police chief Wendell Flinchum said Cho had a class this semester in Norris Hall, although it was not scheduled to meet on the day of the rampage.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    It's amazing to me that even after the courts have said over and over again that the police have no duty to protect individual citizens, we seem to expect them to do the impossible.

    "During that spree, police spent three minutes rushing to the building"

    Three minutes sounds like an excellent response time. But I imagine that many students died in that first three minutes.

    I wish we would quit setting the cops up to be the fall guys by asking them to do the impossible.

    Like it or not, citizens are the first line of defense - armed or not.
    fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).

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    Excellent post Paul. What more do people want? I will never go walking into certain death, I just ain't going to do it.
    Will I take a known, calculated risk? Yup. I do it everyday.

    "Here's a plan: Go inside, find shooter, stop the slaughter."

    Spoken like a person who has no concept of combat or reality.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    "If you go in with your backs turned, you're never going back," Geller said. "There's got to be some sort of organization."
    Seems to me that the tactical take-down of an active threat is one of the core skills trained into every officer of every police organization in every state of the country. Doesn't training take care of that organization, ahead of time, such that when a half-dozen officers exist they can quickly act? Unknown if it was known at the time how many shooters existed nor where they were exactly.

    Any of the LEO's here care to comment on the training that occurs to guard against slow reaction times?

    I fully appreciate this is armchair analysis and worth less than the knowledge at the scene. Am not criticizing the actions, per se ... just trying to understand. Nobody's looking to die, "backs turned" (as suggested by the interviewee) or otherwise. But, officers have a job to do. How does this work, in practice?

    At Columbine, no officers entered the building until about 40 minutes after the first 911 call from the school. Critics have said that decision might have contributed to the death of a teacher who bled to death from gunshot wounds.
    The most-important lesson: time is of the essence. Always is.

    Like it or not, citizens are the first line of defense - armed or not.
    Yup. I hope that schools, businesses, legislators and citizens wake up, after these executions. Reality will happen. Can't call someone 3mi away to alter reality, as it'll happen anyway. One can often only alter reality on the instant of reality biting.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; April 26th, 2007 at 09:50 AM.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    The folks doing the critiquing spend their time running high-speed responses. Track Olympians can laugh at highschool runners......but should they? 5 minutes is pretty darn good, by any stretch. If guys who train for this once every couple or three months rush in like LA or Harris County (who do fast-raids on a weekly basis), odds are good several of them will get shot.

    Sooner or later, we will see a concerted assault on a school/public building, and a Keystone-cops response will work to the benefit of the BGs.

    If we want to criticize, we need to look at the campus administration, and the culture it fosters.

  7. #6
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    There are several methods that road patrol officers are taught to deal with an active shooter. The most popular is the "quad" method, which has more faults than I'll go into here. I refuse to be part of a "quad". They are also taught not to be cowboys.
    Most of your average road guys get little to no building clearing, active shooter response. Just a working knowledge of how to, but they are by no means good at it.
    The biggest weak link is communication. In the age of information, the responding patrol units get little. Conflicting reports of Joe Citizen on his cell phone, bad dispatching, and different responding agencies on different freq. all play a role. Toss in people running up the the LEO giving more and most likely bad info, its a mess.

    Bottom line is a SWAT team is never close by when you need them, and they do not just fall out of the sky ready for anything, thats only in the movies. It takes time to gather everyone from whatever they were doing before, gear up, brief and respond.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Never been a "beat" cop, but I know in my agency this type of thing is NOT a focus. We do train on it some, but once out of the schoolhouse, there is very little continuation training for most agents. This is, of course, a very perishable skill, so most who don't actively seek out additional training/practice quickly lose the knowledge they gained. I can't imagine the VT police having seriously planned for and rehearsed a situation like this - barricaded suspect, active shooter, multiple shooting scenes, et cetera - to the point where they could seamlessly initiate the plan as soon as the officers arrived. Training is time consuming and expensive, after all, and the individual officers can only be expected to do what they have been trained to do.

    All that being said, the only REAL defense against this sort of thing is active and effective resistance from the would-be victims. No one can get there faster than those already on the scene...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Another related article:
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/column.../?id=110009988

    In June 2000, the Bremer Report of the National Commission on Terrorism described virtually everything we needed to know about preparing for the kind of attack that occurred in September 2001. Similarly--and you can guess what you're about to read--in 2002 the Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative, conducted by the Secret Service and the Department of Education, told us virtually everything we need to know to prevent a Virginia Tech.
    .....

    .....Still one must ask: Why do we refuse to take our own best advice?

    ....the study was led by the Secret Service. Why? The study doesn't quite put it this way, but it was because the Secret Service's main job in life is preventing the nuts from killing someone. Simply, the study's goal was to try to figure out what is "knowable" before an attack. .....

    One of the Safe School report's most relevant findings, for the purposes of stopping another Virginia Tech, is that the 37 school attacks weren't typically carried out by severely ill, unhinged psychotics like Cho Seung-Hui. This is not to say they were happy campers (the study interviewed 10 perpetrators in depth). Though few of them would get off by reason of insanity, they were all mentally very unhappy campers; and what is more, other people knew that. And in nearly every case, someone knew they were planning the attack: "In nearly two thirds of the incidents, more than one person had information about the attack before it occurred."

    Among the reasons widely adduced for not doing something about Cho's violent proclivities are HIPAA and FERPA, the confidentiality laws for health records and college students' records. Well, there's no FERPA for high schools. There is merely the weird cultural refusal to turn in bad actors to adult authority. In one school attack, so many students knew it was coming that 24 were waiting on a mezzanine to watch, one with a camera. The enemy is us.

    Prior to the studied assaults, some 93% of the attackers behaved in ways that caused concern to school officials, teachers, parents, the cops or other students. "In one case, the student's English teacher became concerned about several poems and essays that . . ." well, you know the rest.

    Psychological flameouts were indeed present in virtually all the attacks--depression (61%), prior suicidal attempts or thoughts (78%), a sense of loss, feelings of being persecuted or in fact bullied.

    A lot has been made of the police failure to apprehend Cho for two hours. Fair enough, but that's not typical. In the Safe Schools 37 incidents, most of the attacks were stopped by administrator or teachers, largely because half didn't last longer than 15 minutes. The cops stopped only 25% of the attacks--an argument for deputizing and arming someone in the schools. (In testimony this week to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, the head of the association for all campus cops explained the "safety issues" that mainly keeps them distracted: "At the top of the list are issues related to high-risk drinking and the use and abuse of illegal and prescription drugs.")

    ......Over time we have accreted a culture in the United States--of rules, laws, liability concerns and mindsets--that adds up to no-can-do. Or, Attorney may I?.....

    ......the message screaming off the pages of the Safe School report, the exhortation is to do something, no matter what the intimidations of the law or received wisdom.
    What this means is that some college presidents, and their lawyers, rather than rolling over before those confidentiality laws, should tell some aggrieved student who is refusing to take the medication prescribed for his psychosis: So sue! Let a judge decide whether 32 deaths warrant a reconsideration of these restrictions.....
    The whole article is worth the read.....
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    ^^ The Secret Service reports can be found here: U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, SAF, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Those who would have PD rush in immediately should voluteer to be the pointman. As they get hit it should show officers where the threat is.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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    If officers rush in with no communication with other officers who are rushing in, then some very bad things can happen.

    I can not carry a cop, that's why I carry a gun. The police would love to have a teleporter to insantly appear when someone dails 911, but they don't. 3 minutes is fast for a response time, if this was a rural setting it could have been half an hour or more.

    The first line of defense is the concerned citizen. One who is informed and has a realistic and rational view of the world. This is sadly not the usaual case, most citizens wish the world was a better place and refuse to leave the comfort of their safe mindset. If a citizen wants to be armed, and meets the requirement to do so then they should. If they don't want to be armed then they don't have to be. But all citizens have the responsiblity to pay attention to what is really going on around them and their community.
    “You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”

    ― Robert A. Heinlein,

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    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Time factor and police response

    When one of these events takes place unexpectedly, the odds are that any police able to respond will be 5 to 10 minutes away. In this case, the shooter had created a diversion on the other side of the campus from the main assault in the engineering building, which guaranteed that the police would be elsewhere. By shooting two people in the dorm and not fleeing the campus, the shooter ensured that available police in the vicinity would be focused on the dorm building or searching the surrounding town for a fleeing shooter.

    Maybe this was intentional on Cho's part, or maybe it was accidental. But the net effect was to guarantee that the police response would be slow, and that Cho would have an uninterrupted 10 minutes or so to shoot as many people as he could in the engineering building. And his act of chaining the building doors shut also slowed the police response and bought him a few more minutes. The fact that he shot himself just as the police arrived shows that he had no intent of shooting it out with the police. They had nothing to do but tend to the wounded and collect evidence, since they arrived after the event was over.

    Cho very cleverly used surprise and timing to his advantage, thereby rendering the police response impotent. Future criminals of this type may well do the same thing, which underscores the fact that only the intended victims have a chance of stopping the shooter, by instantly organizing some defense of their own. And school children are not likely to be capable of this. Had the engineering class been populated by ex Marines, the outcome may have been different.

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    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    Gun Free Areas

    The only way to get a faster response is to have an armed CCW on sight. This is the only thing that would have spared a lot of these students. This is not the time to do a bunch of finger pointing. It's time to think why it happened and what can be done to make sure it never happens again. Disarming the CCW students and teachers is not a solution to the problem. The people who commit this type of mass murder could care less about gun free areas.

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    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    For all those skeptical of police "charging in", I'd point to the excellent Salt Lake City PD response to the Trolley Square shooting. The first four officers on scene entered the building immediately, cornered the shooter and killed him. The department invested heavily in "active shooter" training (including a training scenario involving a shooter in a busy mall) and it certainly paid off in terms of lives saved. Would that more departments did the same.

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    Like it or not, citizens are the first line of defense - armed or not.
    I want to give the cops a break - in as much as, barring a miracle they cannot be on the spot immediately and yes - they need some time to organize and group etc.

    Call it seconds or minutes - it will still be a longer time than that needed by the determined and resourceful citizen - preferably an armed citizen. This decidedly could limit bad things.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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