Ep 25: Staging

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Episode 25: Staging

Why Staging is so important in an Active Shooter Event, how it works, and how it can save you

Bill Godfrey:

Welcome back to our next podcast. Today's topic is going to be staging. That probably sounds a little boring to some of you, but it turns out it's pretty important to having a successful response to an active shooter event. My name is Bill Godfrey, your host for the podcast. I'm one of the instructors here at C3 Pathways. And I am joined by three of our other instructors, Ken Lamb law enforcement Sergeant. Actually Ken you're up for promotion, aren't you?

Ken Lamb:

I am, a couple of months. Looking forward to it and looking forward to talking about staging today.

Bill Godfrey:

Well, welcome, Ken. We're also joined by Robert McMahan recently retired as chief deputy out of Colorado. How's retirement feeling Robert?

Robert McMahan:

It's awesome. It's awesome. Really enjoying it.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. And of course, many of you are familiar instructor to the podcast, Bruce Scott, retired from the fire service. Bruce. Thanks for coming in again.

Bruce Scott:

Thanks a lot, Bill. I appreciate it.

Bill Godfrey:

So we're going to talk about staging today, as we said, and this is a familiar topic to the fire service and in some cases it may even be a yawner, or a gloss over, but it really shouldn't be. As we talk today, we're going to talk a little bit about some of the differences between doing staging in an active shooter event versus how we might stage in a structure fire. So there's certainly some important stuff here for the fire service overall, but clearly the fire service is familiar with the idea of staging, use it almost every day and use it regularly enough to be pretty good at it in most cases. But what about law enforcement? Ken, Robert, is staging important to law enforcement? Is it something that law enforcement by and large sees as a necessity in events like these or in large events?

Ken Lamb:

Right. So in events such as an active shooter event, staging is important and it is part of the, it's really embedded in our policy as far as making sure that our units are staging prior to arriving after the first five or six responders have made it on scene to neutralize the threat. Where it does become problematic is that you have a lot of radio traffic that's taking place in that initial response. And sometimes people get caught up in initial response and forget about the staging so that it can complicate efforts, if you don't have one person that's thinking about staging, stop short, starts relaying, or communicating to responding units, to move to staging.

And what we see is an over convergence on the target, if staging isn't set up and it also, what we find out takes some pretty skillful communication with fire rescue in order to coordinate that staging location because most times, as you mentioned, fire rescue has already established staging. So even if we have that one person that says, "Hey, I'm going to stop short and I'm going to stage here," we have to make sure we're staging with fire rescue because if not, it can surely complicate matters as well.

Bill Godfrey:

Robert, Ken's talking from a perspective of, I think an agency that's already culturally kind of adopted that posture, or at least in the process of doing that. And I know that the agency you came from had done that as well, but it wasn't always that way, you kind of led through that transition. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Robert McMahan:

Sure. Ken makes some great points and one of the problems that we had in one of our active shooter events was not getting law enforcement and fire to staging together. And what it resulted in is an inability to get sufficient security assigned to RTF so that they could be ready to go down range and take care of patients. And the over convergence pieces is huge. That's the first thing that's going to happen if responding officers don't respond to staging and once you get those initial contact teams going. And they're going to overwhelm your incident, they're going to run over the top of you. And you're going to spend all your time trying to get your arms around that instead of doing other critical things that get patients to the hospital and save lives.

Bill Godfrey:

So you're talking about one of the lessons that you guys learned, and Robert, if memory serves me correctly, you've responded to three active shooter events in your career. Am I remembering that right?

Robert McMahan:

Yes.

Bill Godfrey:

As we always want to try to draw lessons learned from that, I know you shared with me and with the audience now, some of the lessons learned from that particular response, but has the message penetrated in the organization that you were a part of and in your surrounding communities, what's been the net effect of that? Was kind of learning that lesson once enough to turn the water?

Robert McMahan:

You would like to say so, but not always. I think we turn a little bit each time and we get a little better each time, but it does take a lot of effort to get law enforcement to change and adapt to go with the staging models that we're talking about because, we're cops, we want to run to the gunfire. We want to go take care of the bad guy and that's well and good, but there's other things to do in the incident besides that. And over time, I think law enforcement has gotten a lot better, but we certainly have to be more disciplined in the staging process and getting our resources to a place that they are ready to deploy with a mission and get a job done.

Bill Godfrey:

Before we leave this topic, can you share a little bit more for the listeners on the details of the incident that you're, you don't have to necessarily give the specifics, but just kind of set the stage form a little bit and tell them the practical of what happened to you guys.

Robert McMahan:

Sure. We had an active shooter incident in Colorado, not too long ago, just a few years ago that resulted in eight students being shot. And initial response was handled very well by the initial responding officers they got in and, and took care of the threats. And, but it was the other officers that kept coming. We had some neighboring agencies and they just overwhelmed us. They just kept coming and coming and coming right on top of the incident. And that resulted in an over convergence like Ken talked about, on the incident and creating chaos in the incident that didn't need to happen. These incidents are chaotic enough without having an over convergence of resources that you're not in control of.

And the second thing that resulted was not having enough officers to assign to the RTF teams and they just would not move out of staging without that, and they're not supposed to. And so our officers adapted to that and they got the students out and to medical help quickly anyway, but that would have been a much better response to provide medical personnel to them at the casualty collection point, rather than having to drag them out and put them in ambulances on the street.

Bill Godfrey:

So if I'm understanding you correctly and reading between the lines, you had a staging location that was established, that your organization had set up and had effectively up and running. But when you're neighboring agencies, mutual aid, I presume rolled into the incident, they didn't go to the staging area you'd set up?

Robert McMahan:

That's correct. And one of the reasons for that is they were listening to their main channel, instead of going to our channel, which the incident was occurring on. And that's one of the things that we have talked about in the past. And one of the agreements that we had in place at the time was to go to the main agencies channel to get those instructions and that didn't occur and we debriefed it. They owned it and that's fine. And I think they're learning from that. I think we learned from that, but we did establish staging right away and our fire brothers were great at doing that. And so we had staging, but just no cops at staging that could be deployed to specific duties.

Bill Godfrey:

So Bruce, Robert's talking about having the staging area set up and having fire rescue ready to go. Can you talk us... I know you've done it hundreds, if not thousands of times in your career rolled into staging for a structure fire or other incident, but can you talk a little bit about what makes staging a little different for fire EMS in an active shooter event than a structure fire.

Bruce Scott:

Yeah. And there's a whole lot of difference Bill. Number one, on an active shooter incident, the first thing that's going to be different is ideally you're going to have a law enforcement staging manager there side-by-side with you. So you can begin, as Robert was alluding too, you begin forming up those rescue task forces with that law enforcement staging officer. Typically on the fire department, we stage, we wait for the incident commander to say, "Hey, engine one, come on down to the scene," or "Engine two, lay me a line," or "Ladder one, ladder the rear of the building." And you get those orders directly from the incident commander and the model that we use and we teach nationally now, as a standard, you may be getting those orders from tactical.

You may be getting those orders from triage. You may be getting those orders from transport to fill those resource requests. So the only way to overcome this, so you don't figure it out on the day that bad things happen, adopt it as policy, train to those policies and then exercise those policies with all the agencies that may be involved. And that's the only way you can overcome it. So you don't deal with this problem when the bad things happen.

Bill Godfrey:

So one of the things that jumps out at me is in most models, you've got a single staging manager and maybe a deputy manager. We found out years ago that doesn't work very well here. You need at least one law enforcement staging manager. You need at least one fire EMS staging manager. If EMS is separate, you need a staging manager for them, basically for each one of the radio channels that you're using.

Bruce Scott:

Absolutely.

Bill Godfrey:

You're going to need some. And those staging managers together literally have to be together, working together. It's not like they stand on different sides of the parking lot. They're standing working together to make the team assignments. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Bruce Scott:

Absolutely. So they're in their hip pockets. So if Ken and I were working staging together, we be talking constantly. Him being a Sergeant, soon to be a Lieutenant on the Sheriff's house. He has some authority, so he can tell those officers, he can direct those officers. And myself as a captain of a fire department, I could certainly tell these units, "This is what we're doing." So we have some authority in the staging manager positions that can kind of direct those folks. In the fire service, you know this Bill, you spend a long time in the fire department. We used to use our, I hate to say this, our weakest link to be our staging manager. We knew they were probably not do well down at the fire scene so we would use that resource to the best of our ability. That cannot be the case in an active shooter incident. You need to have your well-trained, well-versed that can listen to what's going on, onto their radios and lean forward and prepare for what they think may happen next, go ahead and begin assembling those resources.

Bill Godfrey:

I completely agree with you there. Culturally, do you think it's a challenge for the fire service to kind of recognize that active shooter event is a little bit different than the way it gets managed and to let go of some of the, I'm not even sure what to call it, the rigidity of the ICS of having to flow those things through the commander that they... I'm not even sure quite how to phrase that question, Bruce, but you know where I'm trying to go. Culturally, how difficult is it for us to get fire service to recognize that just because of the way they do it on a structure fireworks doesn't necessarily mean that's the best model here and that that's all still okay under the incident command system. The incident commander can designate that authority to the staging manager, delegate that stuff.

Bruce Scott:

He should. He should delegate that authority to staging manager.

Bill Godfrey:

What are the cultural things that you think get in the way of that and how do we overcome it?

Bruce Scott:

Again, I think the only way to overcome it is to practice it where it becomes part of your normal organizational culture. You can't expect to have a plan and do something one way 99.9% of the time and then on this one particular type of incident changed the way you do things. So I think again, practicing it, using special events to practice it where you're staging extra officers or extra fire rescue folks at special events. Use every opportunity you can have available to you to practice it, but our own organizational cultures get in our way. We used to say in the fire service, we spent 200 years of tradition unimpeded by progress.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. It's funny. I was thinking that when Robert was talking about how law enforcement is slow to change, I'm thinking, no, not compared to fire service, it's like comparing a glacier to a flowing river.

Bruce Scott:

Yeah. We've gotten better at it. I think we're constantly in this training mode now and recognizing the importance of training. But again, I think the only answer to this is to adopt a policy, train that policy and practice that policy. And that's the only way you're going to overcome it long term.

Bill Godfrey:

So Ken, we're talking about the culture of the fire service kind of getting in the way a little bit here and having to overcome that. What about the culture in law enforcement towards staging?

Ken Lamb:

Right. So.

Bill Godfrey:

If your organization made the shift or at least is trying to make the shift, of the four of us here, you're the only ones still on active duty.

Ken Lamb:

Right.

Bill Godfrey:

What was that like? What's that culture shift like and what do you have to say to get officers to understand it?

Ken Lamb:

Right. So what I like to tell my officers, I learned from Billy Perry, which you're obviously familiar with is we need thinkers and doers and shooters. So I need officers that want to be part of the solution, but also need officers to have the ability to think outside of the box. So if they recognize that there are enough resources downrange taking care of the problem, then take a step back and realize what else needs to be taken care of. And in this case say, "Hey, I'm going to set up a staging area at this location," and coordinate that with the dispatcher. And one thing that I love about your programs is that it incorporates a dispatcher because I think the dispatcher or the telecommunication expert can be a critical piece of this and constantly putting over the radio when they're able to, the location of staging and reminding officers to respond to staging instead of going to the target location, because oftentimes the tunnel vision sets in with these officers, and understandably so traumatic event is taking place and they want to get there and be part of the solution.Right. So what I like to tell my officers, I learned from Billy Perry, which you're obviously familiar with is we need thinkers and doers and shooters. So I need officers that want to be part of the solution, but also need officers to have the ability to think outside of the box. So if they recognize that there are enough resources downrange taking care of the problem, then take a step back and realize what else needs to be taken care of. And in this case say, "Hey, I'm going to set up a staging area at this location," and coordinate that with the dispatcher. And one thing that I love about your programs is that it incorporates a dispatcher because I think the dispatcher or the telecommunication expert can be a critical piece of this and constantly putting over the radio when they're able to, the location of staging and reminding officers to respond to staging instead of going to the target location, because oftentimes the tunnel vision sets in with these officers, and understandably so traumatic event is taking place and they want to get there and be part of the solution.

And what we've been taught since maybe officers is stop the killing, stop the dying. So they want to go and achieve those two objectives. But the reality is it doesn't take many officers to achieve that objective. And we have a whole lot of other people, a whole lot of other responders trying to be part of the solution coming, and we need to start getting our arms wrapped around this. And when we have thinkers, doers, and shooters, I think that finding their place in those three is really key to organizing this response and having a successful response and achieving this, stop the killing, and stop the dying and getting those people who were injured or survivors who are injured to the hospital within that golden hour.

Bill Godfrey:

So Ken, Robert was talking a little bit about his personal experience in an incident there. I know you were a responder on one of the active shooter events in Jacksonville.

Ken Lamb:

Absolutely.

Bill Godfrey:

What were your experiences? Can you talk a little bit about that?

Ken Lamb:

Absolutely. So one of the challenges that we had is that we had placed our incident location, staging command post, our witness holding area. We had placed those very close to the target location, that complicated efforts for a variety of reasons. I mean, the first being that you had a large amount of resources right across the street from the incident location, which led to folks who were not in the field level management diving into the field level management, if that makes sense to you. And it also was confusing as to who was checking into staging, who was assigned, who was doing what? And I think a lot of those problems can be solved by having some distance between those locations.

And when we talk about staging, having that staging in a cold zone and easily identifiable by all the responders, as well as individuals on that are assigned to the incident so that you know where to go get available resources, because many times you would run across an officer and, "Hey we need someone to do this," and, "What are you doing?" "Well, I'm doing this," and, "I'm doing that." And it was difficult to differentiate who was doing what, and I think that some distance in that staging location would have assisted.

Bill Godfrey:

If I'm understanding, you're saying that your staging location was almost literally across the street from the attack site?

Ken Lamb:

Right. And I don't necessarily fault the initial response because there was a lot going on. Understandably so, there was some conflicting information that was coming on or coming in, which led them to stage at that location. But I think that at some point in time, when additional resources arrive and you recognize probably change this location and back this up a little bit and identify this as the new staging location and move in any available resources in that location so that we know the pool to draw from. And it eliminates a lot of the confusion in an already complicated situation.

Bill Godfrey:

Well, that makes sense. So you're describing a problem that's a little bit different than what Robert was talking about. Did you have any problems with mutual aid or non-agency units-

Ken Lamb:

Yes.

Bill Godfrey:

... Not coming to staging or things like that?

Ken Lamb:

We had problems with units that were not of our agency coming to the command post. So they weren't even checking in and staging, they were just coming straight to the command post. And part of that was due to our setup and the fact that we were so close, but I remember numerous alphabet agencies in the command post that had not checked into staging. And it certainly did complicate things.

Bill Godfrey:

Does that sound familiar, Robert?

Robert McMahan:

Yes it does. I want to talk a quick, about a point Ken brought up about dispatch helping out with reminding where that is. And I think that's very important. You get that information out repeatedly so that people coming in to service that, Oh, we heard something's going on. They go jump on the radio. They get that information about where staging's at. I went as far with our dispatchers to, I gave them the checklist. And one of the roles that tactical has is to set up staging right away. I told dispatch if tactical gets up and running and he doesn't tell you where staging is ask him where would you like staging? And that reminds him, that's a conversation that everybody's having like, Oh yeah, we got staging. We got to do that. And that helps get the process rolling in the right direction.

Bill Godfrey:

It's interesting how much sway dispatchers can have on an event going smoothly. And the idea of having them prompt that is something we try to reinforce in training. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but giving the dispatchers the checklist, making sure that they're just as educated on the checklist and the items and the terminology as the responders, I think is critically important. Bruce, would you agree?

Bruce Scott:

Absolutely. And I'm glad Robert brought the point up because that's the point that I wanted to bring up as well. Right. I don't know how many times in my career our dispatcher saved my button reminded me of things that I had forgotten about. Just simple little things like, "Hey, command, where, where where'd you put your staging area?" Dang, I didn't put a staging area. Maybe I should do that. So I don't know how many times they've saved us.

Bill Godfrey:

Absolutely. And I think that those items not only empowering the dispatchers, but the other piece is that, they've got to have the training, which I think is one of the reasons it's so important as Ken mentioned, to have dispatchers be part of the training we do, is they need to know what the process is supposed to be. What is it supposed to look like? What is it supposed to sound like? And what are the elements that are critical that if they're missed, as you just saying Bruce, I probably ought to provide a gentle reminder.

Bruce Scott:

Yeah.

Bill Godfrey:

That we need that benchmark. So Ken, I'm interested to know if you're comfortable talking about it because I realized this wasn't that long ago.

Ken Lamb:

Right.

Bill Godfrey:

With the staging area, almost literally across the scene from the attack site, was it a problem for you to get your fire department to stage with you in the same staging area?

Ken Lamb:

So the interesting part of that response is, by the time the following resources arrived, the fire department had already taken the survivors and transported them to the hospital. So they were gone. So it was kind of chaotic. We did eventually get them back and be part of our response, and Bruce can comment more on this than I could, but in my experience, they travel as a package. So when they arrive as a package, they're all leaving as a package.

Bruce Scott:

And the interesting thing on that particular call is that, the first responding fire units, weren't dispatched.

Ken Lamb:

Right.

Bruce Scott:

They were literally across the street doing some training exercises at a parking garage and heard the shots and people screaming, running out of the landing. So the firemen did what firemen do.

Ken Lamb:

Absolutely.

Bruce Scott:

They ran to it, without any help.

Bill Godfrey:

That's a whole new meaning to a first responder.

Bruce Scott:

Absolutely.

Ken Lamb:

Right.

Bruce Scott:

I think that led to what Ken's leading to is some difficulty getting them out of the hot zone because they were already in there treating them.

Bill Godfrey:

So Ken, more recently you had a civil unrest incident that required a fairly large response.

Ken Lamb:

Right.

Bill Godfrey:

And if I remember correctly, you inherited the staging manager role.

Ken Lamb:

Absolutely. And I was excited to do it because obviously been to this training, assisted in the instruction, so it was excited to take on that responsibility. And I remember watching this play out on TV and I was like, Oh, I can totally run this staging. Let's do it. And I got the call.

Bill Godfrey:

How did it go?

Ken Lamb:

It went really well. At first, so there were a lot of challenges. The first challenge that I had to overcome is, and we really don't think about this in time, but you have to get permission from individuals use their property. I mean, we're police, we just can't go take over someone's property and fortunately.

Bill Godfrey:

You can't?

Ken Lamb:

No. You can't.

Bill Godfrey:

I thought you could.

Ken Lamb:

We can't park 500 police cars on someone's parking lot and just say, "Hey, this is our parking lot for the next seven days." But fortunately we have really good partnerships in that area. And we had reached out to the local community college, their head of security, and he was gracious. It was during COVID. So they weren't having class anyways. Or if they were, it was very limited. And he gave us permission to use their entire parking lot, which had a good access control point. That was my first thing I was looking for is how can I control access to this? Because I feel like security is really important, particularly in this situation, we didn't want any of the protestors coming to our staging location and essentially starting an additional protest at that location, which brought up our second challenges that the protest was constantly moving. Like it started at this area and then we would find on social media that now they're going to do a protest in this area, which there was a park right next to our staging location, which meant we had to move our staging location from the parking lot.

We are currently in to another parking lot. So I had to find an additional staging location and work through all the logistics of moving 200 plus police officers in addition to a change of shift, to a different location. And the communication there in was certainly complicated. But using many of the processes that we teach as C3 Pathways that really enabled a smooth transition and in my mind, my number one priority is I want to ensure that the officers know where they're going, what they're doing, and why they're doing it so that they're not disgruntled. Because I know this will be shocking to all of you guys, but there's nothing worse than disgruntled police officer, particularly in staging. They find creative ways to do things, but just drive you a little nutty.

Bruce Scott:

Affirmative.

Bill Godfrey:

And what's your joke about the three steel balls?

Bruce Scott:

Yeah. You put a fireman in a room with three steel balls, come back an hour later, one will be missing and they won't know nothing about it.

Ken Lamb:

Absolutely.

Bruce Scott:

And you and I ran into this when we were going to Katrina. We stayed for a long time with our task forces. And the worst thing you do is have them just standing around. They're tearing stuff up.

Ken Lamb:

Absolutely. I tell you, one of the things or the aspects of staging that I didn't think about until I was doing this and I had the large amount of resources is, I was working with the ops section chief, which was Travis Cox, he's also an instructor here. And he wanted to know what are my resources in staging and create that common operating picture. And that's where we started kind of really thinking of some innovative ideas where a separated command post or a separated law branch or whatever branch could understand what was in staging because they're ordering resources but sometimes in the communication there would be some hiccups and you would order 20 police officers and 40 police officers would show up.

And when you talk about finances and overtime and all these other aspects that come into play, when you have these resources, you want to know, do I have what I ordered? And if I don't, what do I have? Is it less, is it more? So that they can adequately staff, whatever group or resource or strike team that they're trying to form and put in a place that they have the adequate resources for that?

Bill Godfrey:

How many folks did you have working with you, Ken in staging?

Ken Lamb:

Yeah, I had an assistant staging manager and I was able to get many of the, the resource unit leader team members over to assist with the check-in and kind of managing that flow into staging because as I had mentioned, we wanted to make sure we had a access point and an exit point so that we just didn't have officers kind of going in different ways, either coming in or leaving. And it was easier to keep accountability of folks when you had one point of entry and one point of exit. But the challenge is that you didn't want to have a large line of resources checking in and just killing time waiting in line. So we got a bunch of resources check them.

Bruce Scott:

Yes. The reason I ask is that, you think of the staging models and even the one where you're using where you have one law enforcement officer, one fire EMS person, but you do what you need to be successful. Right?

Ken Lamb:

Right.

Bruce Scott:

And again, instant command system allows that. If you're practitioner of the incident command system that allows that.

Ken Lamb:

Absolutely.

Bruce Scott:

It allows you to do check-in and staging, it allows you to do those things that you need to do to be successful. But Bill, the one point that I wanted to make, I think is really important. I think the mentality is, if I stop in staging, we're wasting time. And really the truth of the matter is if you stop in staging, you get an assignment, you get a task, you go down range with that assignment and task, you have the information you need to be successful, it's actually faster. And I think that's the important thing.

Bill Godfrey:

Bruce, I completely agree with you. One of the, and having been doing this for so long now, I mean, we've been doing the training and teaching this for over a decade. And I remember some of the early conversations with some key law enforcement figures, as we were working through processes and procedures and saying, because they kept saying, I need every gun down range. And I said, "Look, I agree, but don't you need every gun exactly where you need them when you need them?" And they said, "Well, yeah." And looked at me kind of puzzled. And I said, "If you've got 10 guns, 12 guns, 20, whatever that number is, how are you possibly going to make sure that each one is where they need to be when you need them there, if you don't organize this a little bit?" And that was kind of a breaking point. Now Robert you've in the business a long time, how many years on total?

Robert McMahan:

32.

Bill Godfrey:

32 years. And you've seen a lot in your career change. How does what we're doing now what we're training now compare and contrast to the very first one you experienced?

Robert McMahan:

It's a light years ahead of where we started. And you guys talk about managing resources and making sure you have guns down range where you need them. And that's very important. And we talked about the time factor here and saving time and Ken alluded to how law enforcement often has to go find somebody and what are you doing, and try and repurpose them. If you have officers in staging, when that next tax comes up, like perimeter group or reunification security or whatever it is, you don't have to go try and pick them out of the mass that's out there and try and repurpose them and figure out if they're doing something essential now, or can I repurpose them for something else they're going to be there that will save time, that will drive towards a better result in these things.

And we just have to remember that from Columbine when we experienced that to today, that the way we do this has changed and it's got to keep changing it and we got to keep getting better at it because at the end of the day, we're here to save lives, but that's not the only thing we do there. We've got a whole other incident to manage. Once we've saved the lives, it's still an incident.

Bill Godfrey:

Yeah. It's we have to save lives and not just the traumatic injuries of the physical body, but also the recovery of those survivors. And as we've all learned sometimes painfully so, how that incident gets managed can have a positive or a negative impact on the long-term recovery of survivors, the recovery of the community, and the ability to pick yourself up and not let that define you. I remember my conversation vividly with a young lady that was a survivor of one of these horrific events. And she said, the turning point for me in my recovery was when I shifted from seeing myself as a victim to seeing myself as a survivor and this thing happened, but it doesn't define me. And I thought that was a really, really powerful message.

Robert McMahan:

It is.

Bill Godfrey:

Really powerful message. We talked just not that long ago with John Michael Keyes and about the idea I was reminded as I relistened to that because that podcast, we originally courted right before COVID in December of 2019 before COVID and I had forgotten, we were talking about reunification. We were talking about the new SAVE them programs, school safety and violent event incident management course, we're doing. And the tail end of the conversation, we got talking about this idea of an emotional responsible room entry. And I'd kind of had forgotten about that conversation because COVID just kind of derailed everything that we were working on. And I realized that we needed to pick that back up. And I know it can be a difficult challenge for us to think about as responders, but when these events occur, especially when they occur with young kids and you've dealt with the threat, you've dealt with the injured. Now it's time to start clearing and moving the kids to a secure offsite reunification.

How you do that, how you make those room entries can either help or harm the emotional health of the traumatization of the kids, of those children. And the conversation we were having and this is one I think that law enforcement really needs to grapple with. And there's not an easy answer. And that's part of the frustrating part is there's not easy answers to some of these things, but how do you do a tactically safe room entry without scaring the bejesus out of a bunch of little kids? What does that look like?

Ken Lamb:

Right. And from my professional experience, if the threat is neutralized or you have good information to believe that the threat is not in that location, then it's a slow and deliberate room entry, which is doing clearing as much of the room as you can from the outside of the door, which means a less dominating room entry. So if we're just conducting a pie from outside the room, you're able to identify the people inside the room. You can talk to them, their emotions aren't as high because you're taking your time. And I know from my agency's perspective, that's the tactic that we adopt once the threat has been neutralized, or we have a known location for the threat is that the rest of the structure is just a slow and deliberate. We're using mirrors, we're using cameras, we're using any and all technology that we can leverage to clear the inside of that room from outside.

Bill Godfrey:

Interesting. I think we probably could and should do an entire podcast just on this topic and maybe do a round table of some of our law enforcement instructors to kind of talk about what that might look like. Robert, I know that you have some personal passions on this subject. You guys, Robert, you mind coming back and talking about that in another podcast?

Robert McMahan:

Oh, absolutely.

Bill Godfrey:

All right. Well, we'll get that one scheduled in the future. It was an interesting tangent from a staging podcast. I'm not even sure how we got there, but gentlemen, thank you very much for coming in and talking about this important topic. Ken, Robert, Bruce, it's always a pleasure to have you here.

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