Frisco PD to Host First Ever Active Threat Training for General Public

While police have hosted active shooter training at schools or private businesses, we're now seeing a shift to training the general public on how to survive an incident.

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What would you do if you were caught in the middle of an active shooter situation?

Police in North Texas say simply having to ask that question shows the harsh reality we live in.

“Unfortunately, sometimes when we talk to the public, we will hear things like ‘Oh, that happens somewhere else, that doesn’t happen here,'" said Officer Radd Rotello with Frisco Police Department. "And the best advice we have for those people is that you can’t be oblivious to this, you can’t live in a bubble. This is real. And it doesn’t matter where you live in the world, you’re open to it."

While police departments have hosted active shooter training at schools or private businesses, Rotello says we're now starting to see a shift to training the general public on how to survive and protect your family. That's why the Frisco Police Department is hosting their first ever active threat training that is open to anyone in public on Thursday night.

“When I started as an officer, I wanted to put bad guys in jail and save peoples lives. I didn’t realize how much paperwork it would take but I can see that officers on the street -- we make a difference with every call that we answer," said Officer Rotello, who is one of the leaders of the training. "But I never thought that we would be in a situation where we have to sit down and have these tough talks and educate the public, but I’m glad that we’re doing it. I think that every department if they’re able to, should start some sort of program to educate the public.”

Frisco police said they've actually had a lot of families reach out asking for this type of training. It's in such high demand, police were shocked to see how quickly they ran out of reserved space -- more than 200 seats filled up in 24 hours.

Rotello said more and more police departments -- most recently Plano -- are starting to host these types of survival training for the general public.

He gave NBC 5 a sneak peak at the training, which teaches you how to look for signs of a potential attacker and the steps you can take to survive.

Bottom line, Rotello said doing nothing is a deadly mistake -- run or hide.

"Pushing past denial and into deliberation, where you’re actually starting to focus on want to do. That’s when your body is going to respond and say hey what do I need to do, just some thing," he said. "If you ever find yourself in that type of situation, getting past the denial and forcing yourself to do something is going to be the strongest thing that you can do. And anything is better than nothing.”

Rotello said you should have a plan in the event of an active threat and rehearse that with your family. Establish a meeting point in case you are separated.

"If you have an exit, take the exit - don’t sit around and wait. And if you have no way of getting out, barricade yourself into the closest room that you can. Turning off all the lights and being completely silent is gonna be your best bet," Rotello said. “And then defend, as a last resort. If it comes down to you were them, you make sure that you’re going to win that fight. And that’s just the mindset that you have to have.”  

While an attacker can be anyone -- there are some things he's training people to look for.

“What you can’t see are some signs coming from them beforehand. Those that know, those that see hey this is some thing a little bit off. Most of the time after an attack, someone comes forward and says you know something was off about this person and I thought something was gonna happen but I didn’t think to report it," he said. "That’s where people really need to start reporting, because they were going to say some things usually. Studies show that they’ll post things on social media, they’ll be sympathetic to terrorist causes."

Several officers will also be on-hand to answer questions one-on-one Thursday night.

"This presentation and our communication to the public is really going to say hey this is happening and here’s what you can do to be ready," said Rotello.

They're also are working to get a hard copy of their training materials out to the public as well.

The class is filled up, but the department plans to have many more of these trainings throughout the year -- the next one planned for this spring.

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