It seems like there are daily Breaking News stories of yet another active shooter situation, while innocent people are in harm’s way as they are going to work, picking up groceries, eating dinner, visiting the doctor, getting gas, taking the kids to daycare, going to school. It is easy to feel helpless and angry and out of control, whether you are a civilian or peacekeeper, a grocery clerk, or a police officer.
In an active shooter situation, all hell breaks loose. Civilians, officers, and first responders are at risk. The status of the shooter is unknown, the media hovers nearby, and it is impossible to predict the outcome. Officers rely on their training and on each other, hoping that they can get the situation under control before casualties occur. Unfortunately, and all too often, the shooter’s behavior and motives are unpredictable and unfathomable. It is up to the officers to assess the situation, protect the community, and try to maintain calm in a situation that is terrifying and has escalated out of control.
It would be impossible to envision every scenario—and it is, unfortunately, impossible to save every life, no matter how well we prepare. But what we have heard from MILO Live and MILO Virtual customers is that in times like these, they find it most helpful to go beyond the library of existing active shooter scenarios and work with some of the potential high-risk locations in their communities to train for active threat response. MILO instructors are trained to film and edit their own scenarios at locations within their jurisdictions. They can then bring community leaders and facility managers into the MILO room to talk through preparation and response, working to mitigate damage, de-escalate the shooter, and participate in debriefing and feedback that will help them hone their skills while safely processing the cognitive and emotional toll that active shooter situations take on everyone involved. In fully customizable MILO Virtual simulators, officers and first responders can safely participate in iterative training that allows for multiple outcomes based on officer response, so that they can develop the instincts that will save the most lives.
Training alone won’t end the crisis of mass shootings, and it won’t solve the societal problems that cause them. But training with MILO Live and MILO Virtual simulators can help officers prepare for and produce the best possible outcomes in truly impossible situations.