MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The FBI's Minneapolis division is talking with state and local law officers about lessons the bureau has learned in active shooting situations around the country — with the goal of helping first responders be ready for anything.
The active shooter response training, which will be held Thursday and Friday in St. Cloud, is part of a White House initiative announced after December's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Minneapolis FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said the training marks the first time the agency has taken the knowledge it's accumulated in these emergencies and shared it with state and local law enforcement.
"When these types of incidents occur, it's typically local responding officers who are first on the scene," Loven said. "The overall philosophy is to assist state and local agencies to be proactively engaged if or when the time comes when they have an active shooter situation."
"We're not just sitting back and waiting for things to happen," he added.
As part of the training, presenters will break down past situations — including the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting and the recent hostage incident in Alabama where a 5-year-old boy was held captive — and discuss what worked well and where things could be improved.
The recent tragedy in Boston will likely not be part of the training, as that is still an active investigation, Loven said.
The two-day session will include everything from advice on how to manage an active shooter scene and evidence collection, to dealing with the media and assisting victims. On the second day, Loven said, participants will work through a scenario, putting what they've learned to use.
St. Cloud Police Sgt. James Steve, who conducts active shooter training for schools, government buildings and health care systems in St. Cloud, will be among the participants. He said he's eager to hear what the FBI is doing and hopes to put some of their practices into his current active shooter plans, which he said he tweaks as different threats come to light.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, he said, was a "game changer." He made some improvements to his own plans after that tragedy. Since then, he said, he's been getting one or two calls a week from businesses wanting to have some sort of training for their workforce.
"It's what people are talking about," Steve said, noting that Minnesota has had its own share of active shooter situations, including the 2003 shooting at Rocori High School, the 2005 shooting at Red Lake High School, and last year's workplace shooting at Accent Signage in Minneapolis.
"We've had things right in our backyard," Steve said. "It's very nice that they come here and share the information that they have with us. ... It's always good for us to look at what's out there."
About 50 law enforcement officers are scheduled to participate. Loven said the FBI plans to hold future sessions to include more officers from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.