PROJECT | Run, Hide, Fight. { 25 images } Created 18 May 2017

As mass shootings become more common, the FBI has endorsed a training program for first responders.

“Police! We’re coming in!”

Two cops yank open a warehouse door and rush inside, pistols drawn, using flashlights to peer through the gloom.

The officers spot a man with an assault rifle, surrounded by the slumped shapes of bleeding hostages. They aim. They fire. Gunshots echo off the bare walls. The police hit the man in the torso. Radios then crackle as the officers count casualties and request backup, before pushing farther into the building. Outside, police, firefighters and medics wait for the call to enter. They want to make sure it’s safe.

Fortunately for the officers and medics on the scene, this was not a real attack. It was a training exercise on the outskirts of San Marcos, Texas. The building belongs to Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT), a school that trains law enforcement and ordinary people how to stop an active shooter. Supported with federal funding, the San Marcos Police Department and Texas State University, ALERRT is the largest school of its kind. Since it’s founding in 2002, the organization has trained more than 105,000 police officers and 85,000 civilians from across America.

Over the past five years, ALERRT and companies like it have seen enrollment balloon. And with good reason. The number of active shootings not related to drug or gang activity has more than tripled, from an average of 6.4 per year between 2000 and 2007 to an average of 20 per year in 2014 and 2015, according to the FBI. Data isn’t available for all of 2016, but in June of that year, Omar Mateen killed 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida—the worst act of terror on American soil since 9/11 and the highest number of people killed in an active shooting in the U.S. This year, there have already been several high-profile incidents. In mid June, for instance, a gunman attacked a congressional Republican baseball practice in Virginia, leaving House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, in critical condition.

Published in words with Newsweek, and images with TOPIC.
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