Albany County Sheriff Offers Civilian Training In The Event Of An Active Shooter Situation
Last month, Crossgates Mall in Albany County became the site of a mass evacuation, as thousands of shoppers on a busy Saturday responded to a report of gunshots in the mall. In the end, the incident was far less scary than the mental picture initially conjured. But it got plenty of people thinking about what they would do in such a situation. This morning, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office teamed up with the Better Business Bureau and several area chambers of commerce to present a workshop entitled "Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events."
When an active shooter situation developed last month at Crossgates Mall, it turned a Saturday afternoon upside down for thousands of holiday shoppers, according to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple: "That was not an active shooter, that was more gang violence. But you know, an active shooter, somebody continues through that mall, and we're pretty proud of the response from a lot of our locals, and some, I don't even know what the accurate account would be, but, there were cops there that I've never seen before in my life and uniforms that I've never seen before. They just came. And that's what we really need."
Tuesday at the Radisson Hotel on Wolf Road, two deputies spoke to a room packed with business owners and some of their employees, explaining how a slight change of mindset could mean the difference between life and death for anyone caught up in an active shooter event. "What we've done in the sheriff's office over the course of the last, well, probably four years, is really key on preparedness. When Sandy and Irene came through, we got our butts beat bad here in Albany County. And to say we were prepared wouldn't be accurate. So we really started to beef up our emergency preparedness. And with that fell in our civil defense. And then unfortunately these cowardly acts started to occur more and more frequently throughout the country. And we said, 'You know what? We need to step up our game as far as being prepared to respond, and letting people know what to expect when we respond, and more importantly, folks that are in those businesses, what to do when they're in there and one of these cowards comes in and is an active shooter, or multiple people come in.’"
It boils down to quickly deciding whether to run, hide or fight back, with the emphasis on preserving your own life and safety, sometimes at the expense of other people. Apple says a shooting can happen anytime, anywhere. And it's best to be prepared.
Warren Clark is president and CEO of the Upstate New York Better Business Bureau. "We've been We believe that this is really important, to get the information out to the public, so we've been starting to work with chambers here in the Capital District for about six months, and after the shooting at Crossgates, we had talked about this as an event we kind of had 'in the box,' and they called us and said 'can we do this soon?' as opposed we were talking about 2017 doing a bunch of things. So Tom Nolte from Colonie actually kind of coordinated the chambers, there were five chambers that were involved, Albany County Sheriff's Office and the Department of homeland Security. Everybody wants us to be out and we're fortunate enough to be in a position to reach a lot of different segments of the population and of the community."
Employers interested in holding a workshop at their place of business can contact the Albany County Sheriff or the Better Business Bureau.