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Demand for active shooter training on the rise in the United States

Posted at 10:24 PM, Nov 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 00:24:48-05

A country music festival in Las Vegas. Sunday church in a small Texas town. And just last night, an elementary school in Northern California. All three are now the sites of darkness and destruction by active shooters.

"There's really no safe haven anywhere," Bill Price said.

It's a harsh reality he has to face as the youth minister of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Tempe and also as the spa director at the Arizona Grand Resort. Two different kinds of soft targets that have seen the same kind of gun violence in recent weeks. 

"You really have to be prepared wherever you are," he said.

And that's why Price, and more than a hundred others, attended an active shooter training in Tempe. It's a free, 8-hour session, hosted by the Department of Homeland Security. It's open to people from all walks of life — from folks who work at banks, churches, shopping malls — even fellow law enforcement officials. 

Part of it is learning to report what you see. 

"As law enforcement, we simply can't do it by ourselves," explained Capt. Jesse Galvez, the director of the Arizona Counterterrorism Information Center. 

Reporting can help tip law enforcement off, but sometimes, even the most trained person can miss the threat, which is why having a plan in place is crucial. 

"Who to contact, what do do, whether you need to lock down the building, even developing safe rooms," explains Christine Figueroa, the Protective Security Advisor in Arizona for the Dept. of Homeland Security. 

The demand for these kinds of training is on the rise.

In 2016, the DHS held 35 of these kinds of sessions and in 2017 they're on track to double that — holding 70 across the country, including three right here in Arizona. 

For more information on the DHS Active Shooter Preparedness Training. And remember, if you see something, say something to law enforcement. Tips can be given anonymously and online.